Not every coffee strainer carrier can make a decent café. Also in restaurants and bars often they invest a lot of money for expensive espresso machines. Unfortunately, they are training very rare the employees how to prepare a tasty coffee. A very good machine alone does not make a good espresso, but the right skills and, of course, aromatic and good quality whole espresso beans are required too.
This article, however, it will be less about the gastronomy area and more about your home kitchen. All coffee lovers which can prepare and enjoy a good coffee and espresso at home they increase the quality of their life. It is a great feeling to offer to our guests and our family a great Cappuccino or a Cafe Latte.
I would like to answer you the following questions
For which types of coffee lovers is a sieve holder the right choice? What types of espresso machines are there? Which espresso machine is right for me? How can I use strainer holder? Where is the problem and I cannot get a decent espresso? The last years, I answered these questions to many people invested a lot of money to buy an espresso machine and have no the results they expected. It was mostly the quality of the espresso beans used. But also the handling of these machines must be skillful – but don’t worry, it is not a witchcraft, everyone who is willing to invest a little bit time will get good results. I would like to say clearly:”A sieve holder is only suitable for people are willing to deal with their equipment and the espresso preparation, to practice and to try.” For everyone who has fun in life and in his free time for himself, his family and friends likes to play the ambitious “barista” [The word barista is an Italian word, and in Italy, a barista is a male or female “bartender“, who typically works behind a counter, serving hot drinks (such as espresso), cold alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and snacks. The native plural in English is baristas, while in Italian the plural is baristi for masculine or mixed sex (baristi: “barmen”, “bartenders”) or bariste for feminine (bariste: “barmaids”) Wikipedia], the coffee machine is not the main point to create a tasty perfect coffee. Every real “Home Barista” is on the hunt for the perfect shot, playing and testing with its sieve holder and observes the changes and improvements in the espresso preparation results. If you are a daily Barista, you need to plan time for the machine’s preparation before you use it. The espresso machine needs to heat up and be cared with a lot of love. There should always be available fresh milled espresso coffee. A high-quality coffee grinder is also necessary for the espresso preparation. What are the prerequisites to find “your” espresso machine? – You have to invest time to master the sieve holder.- You have to be prepared to buy good espresso coffee beans.- You have to invest some more money for a good espresso mill.- You have to enjoy the machine maintenance and cleaning- The preparing of Espresso should be a ritual of enjoyment, which is wonderful but connected with a lot of time investment too. Warning..!!! The enjoyment of good quality espresso coffee becomes an “Addiction” and you cannot drink any more a bad or mediocre coffee or espresso. In cafes and restaurants, ordering an espresso is often a big disappointment. Those who meet the above criteria will soon be able to enjoy better espresso at home than in 99% of the cafes and restaurants in his city. Of course, I have not forgotten the 1% of the super cafes, where everything is right and the ambitious espresso chefs are creating a great espresso coffee. Even the high-priced restaurants have often bad quality coffee. On the other hand, it’s also a very good great idea make a pointed espresso at home that has an amazing taste like the home baked bread or the home made marmalade.
What is an Espresso Machine?
A sieve holder is a special coffee machine used for the preparation of espresso with the help of pressure. The milk foaming for the espresso beverages is usually prepared manually with a foam lance. The espresso is usually milled in a separate device and compacted with a tamper in the sieve holder. This prevents the milled coffee to be stirred up in the brewing chamber and ensures that the heated water (about 90 C degrees) with the necessary pressure (approx. 9 bar) for the espresso preparation can be built up and be pressed through the compacted espresso. An automatic coffee machine can prepare an espresso too. Here, the milling of the coffee and all the rest till the coffee creation is generally automated. The Different Types of Espresso Machines: Simple sieve holder machines are often used as starters. They have mostly the best price you can get. Compared to two sieve-holders espresso machines, they are the most favorable. Technically, “single circuit” means that the heated water is used both for preparing the espresso and for foaming the milk. This is a big problem because we need a higher temperature for the milk foaming (more than 100 C for steam) than this preparing the espresso (90 C degrees). This means that the single sieve holders must continue heating up after the preparation of the espresso or have to cool down for the next shot, after the milk is foamed.
Single circuit Espresso machine
In the single-circuit espresso machines, a single boiler builds their core and supplies brewing water and steam lances at the same time.
If an espresso is made with too hot water, it becomes bitter and it’s difficult to be digested and this challenge shouldn’t be ignored.
For the quality of the espresso drink (for example cappuccino), a fast connection of the espresso coffee with the frothy milk is very important, that’s why the double-circles machines have an extra advantage. With this Espresso machine the milk can be foamed simultaneously with the preparation of the espresso.
Pros and Cons of Single-Cicle Espresso Machine
The most important advantage of a single circuit is the relatively low purchase costs.
The disadvantage is the waiting time between the espresso and the foam lance preparing. And the result of course is a loss of quality.
Single Circuit Espresso Machines under $250
In this low cost class we have not much choice for a new machine.
DeLonghi supplies a solid and inexpensive starter coffee device with thermoblock heating system. It is also a very small and light espresso machine, which doesn’t need so much space. However, it does not have an ideal center of gravity and must be retained when the sieve holder should be connected to the machine. Overall, it cannot keep up with the stability of expensive models.
DeLonghi EC 680.M Dedica → we can purchase this espresso machine in best price online..!!!
Single Circuit Espresso Machines under $650
Choosing the Rancilio Silvia espresso machine you can get a real, beautiful espresso machine with a short warm-up time. A double heat exchanger compensates the disadvantages mentioned above by single-circuits devices. The foam lance cannot be completely freely adjusted. The pressure can be controlled via a built-in manometer.
What I find pretty good is that the second heating circuit can be switched off manually. This is practical and saves energy when only espresso is prepared. The sieve holder functioning very good and correctly. We can also place the cups on the warm-up plateau and get them ready to celebrate a small party.
Rancilio Silvia → we can find here online the best current price of this very good single circuit espresso machine together with the QuickMill Orione 3000 run through heater.
Single circuit Espresso machine
Anyone who has carefully read the section on single –circle machine has already been able to imagine that the double-circle Espresso machines is a sieve carrier with two water circuits, which are differently tempered.This has the advantage that the steam for the milk foaming and the brewing water for the espresso preparation can be taken simultaneously and without any waiting time. The water in the boiler has 110 ° C – 130 ° C. This water is used for the steam lance and prepares the milk foaming. At the same time, a pipe runs through the boiler, which supplies the brewing circuit with hot water which is heated by the high temperature of the boiler when it runs through it and it is 90° C – 94° C.
The advantage of two-circlers compared to single-circuit machines lies in the absence of waiting time, which adds more quality to the espresso milk drinks.
Recommended two-circuit espresso machines up to 800 € The model Oscar of Nuova Simonelli is the most famous starters’ model in the field of double-circuit machines. It takes about 20 minutes to heat up. There is also a time switch for early risers. The machine is small and compact and still weighs 17 Kg. There are very less double circuit machines in the market which are so small. Even its low price it is a very well processed and functioning sieve carrier. The spare parts supply is very good. It needs an extra coffee bleeding device for the coffee beans. Oscar Nuova Simonelli -> we can find it here in very good price online.
Recommended two-circuit espresso machines over 1’000 $
The Technika IV by ECM blurs the boundaries between the private and professional fields of expresso coffee application. This espresso machine meets real professional requirements. It looks beautiful and is great equipped. The Espresso machine is a about 26kg heavy shipment and when the packaging is off, (still without water in the tank) still remains a 24kg shining stainless steel device on the kitchen work-surface (or rather in the living room?) Actually, this machine should really get all the attention. The best current prices of the ECM Technika IV Espressomaschine can be found here online.
Dual Boiler Espresso Machine
These Sieve Holder have two boilers which are independent of each other and have different temperature. Boiler I supplies the sieve carrier with water between 90 ° C and 94 ° C and builds up the pressure of the 9 bar required for the espresso preparation. A higher temperature would damage the espresso as we remarked also above. Boiler II is responsible for the steam cycle and the supply of the foam lance. Here we need 110 ° C to 130 ° C. Without these temperatures, no decent milk froth could be produced.
The Dual-Boiler VS Dual Circuit Espresso Machine
The advantages over a two-circuit which has only one boiler: In dual boilers, there is no “overheating problem”. Both boilers are independent to each other. Of course the machine also includes two water containers because of the 2 boilers.
Recommended Dual Boiler
Now it will be personal, so I will recommend in this category also only a dual boiler-master-machine, the one for which I already have a separate small money save bank account. As soon as I’ve finished my studies, this wonderful 30kg heavyweight device, the “Rocket Espresso Dual Boiler R58”, got a special place in my living room. It just looks stunning. And it simply deserves its name because of the power. It has flexible adjusted brewing temperature and PID external control. What is a PID control? A PID controller is the device attached to your espresso machine that regulates the temperature so that it stays exactly at the degrees you need to make the perfect cup of coffee. PID is an acronym for “Proportional Integral Derivative”. This controller continuously calculates the changes in temperature due to many small things. If you didn’t have the PID on your machine or if it wasn’t functioning, if the temperature of your water would change for some reason, you cannot control it and correct it and you don’t want that….Because you WANT a perfect and tasty coffee. The Rocket Espresso Dual Boiler R58 has excellent design, is good equipped and functions very quiet. Yes, it is not cheap but I believe, no other Dual boiler is in this very good price-performance ratio! Rocket Espresso Dual Boiler R58: You can find it online here in this link.
Which espresso machine to buy? This is a question everyone who is looking for an espresso machine will ask. Then the question narrows down to amount to spend. If you have a budget of 500 euro, you may be expecting a reasonably good home espresso machine. However, if you do a little more research and look at any internet coffee forum, you will soon realize that one can easily spend upwards of 1500 euro to 2000 euro for a home espresso machine. Then you may have to reevaluate and your question now becomes, “what do I really need?”
The fundamental question that needs to be clarified is which system is preferred. Very much simplified: there are 3 systems in existence. With this 3 systems in mind and the various price range, and if you are not just buying a coffee machine but an espresso machine, then your question is based mainly on this concern: Whether the system can provide the necessary temperature stability while getting espresso. Otherwise, your espresso might not taste like espresso and you may also have a hard time duplicating the same result.
Fundamentally, the 3 different systems are:
- System with 1 circuit
A single circuit system has a boiler which is heated up to get steam. For espresso, it must be cooled.
- System with 2 circuits
A system with 2 circuits also has a boiler, but through this boiler a tube is passed. This tube is called the heat exchanger (HX, for short) and machines with this type of configurations are called Heat Exchanger espresso machines (or HX espresso machines).
The boiler is under a high pressure and is used for getting steam (for steaming milk) and also hot water (for tea or hot cocoa, for example). When espresso is drawn, cold water is pumped into the heat exchanger. This tube is designed in a special way, so that the water is heated up while flowing through the HX and arrives at the brewgroup with temperature (about 88-95°C) ideal for espresso extraction.
- Dual boiler (Double boiler)
As the name implies, a dual boiler has two boilers and is basically like a system with 2 single circuit. One boiler is designated for espresso brewing and another, for steam used for milk frothing/steaming.
As a side note, you could consider the hand lever machines and the thermoblock machines as independent systems. But on the whole, they belong to the categories mentioned above.
All 3 systems have their place and there is no real ‘better’ system. It depends on the application and the personal preference. In short:
- For a system with 1 circuit, you can decide if you drink mostly espresso or milk based drinks such as Cappuccino or Caffe Latte. However, if you are more of a milk based coffee drinkers, then this system is a bit limited since you need to frequently froth milk. Frequent milk frothing will raise the boiler temperature and subsequently cooling it down for espresso can be a challenge.
For pure espresso drinker (and an occasional Cappuccino), a single circuit machine can be the perfect choice. It is cheaper compared to the other systems and does exactly what it should. With an addition of a PID controller, such a system will allow you greater control over your brewing preferences.
- If drink more milk based espressos (i.e. Caffe Latte or Cappuccino) and requires much milk frothing, then choosing a system with 2 circuits could be your best choice. It eliminates the annoying heating up and cooling down heating routines. With the 2 circuit espresso machines (HX espresso machines), you get a very stable system, which allows you to get consecutive shot after shot of espressos or your preferred milk based espresso drinks.
- However, if you demand absolute technical perfection and want to know that you have the maximum technically capable machine in your kitchen, then you should consider a dual boiler. The advantage with this system is that both boilers can be independently controlled.
Do note that the best machine is not a guarantee for a perfect espresso. Other influencing factors such as skill of the operator, quality of the grinder and the freshness of the beans, to name a few, affect your brew.
Once you have decided on a system, you can consider other factors, including your personal feeling on the machine.
Xenia is not offered in the 1 circuit system configurations. Our decision is solely based on the limitations of this system and also the fact that Cappuccino (milk based) drinkers seem to be in the majority. From our experience, a system with 2 circuits system is usually the better choice, with reasonable costs.
With that in mind, even the basic version of the Xenia offers everything you need to prepare good espresso and Cappuccino (assuming the influencing factors we mentioned earlier are taken care of).
We recommend a system with 2 circuits as a good and rational choice to start your espresso journey. It offers the best value in terms of cost/benefits trade-off.
If you are a perfectionist and want only the best (or if you find out later that the basic Xenia is not enough), you can upgrade your Xenia to the Dual Boiler version.
You can be confident that based on our experience, a solid and simple system with 2 circuits is exactly what many people need.
The Xenia offers you the flexibility to start “small” without a higher machine investment “risk”.