Espresso Machines: Where to Start?
When trying to decide on an espresso machine, the options and choices can be excessively overwhelming, so much so, in fact, that many people give up the quest completely and resort to buying their espresso at coffee shops for life. This is not only extremely expensive and unpractical, it causes people to entirely miss out on the experience of making the espresso. The process of creating espresso, of controlling the pressure, of playing with the timing, all of these allow a person to become even more intimately connected with the drink itself. And, to miss out on the aroma of a freshly brewed espresso...
But, where to start? The questions are endless: What do you really need versus what do you think you need? What do you want versus what can you afford? What actually makes sense, and what doesn't? Here's a three-step breakdown to make the process simpler.
Clearly, you can spend as much as you want. Espresso machines can surpass the $40,000 mark, but that's most likely not what you can afford, nor what you need. Hence, before anything, set a budget. Give yourself some flexibility, you may find a feature or two you can't live without that'll bump up your planned cost, and on the other hand, you may find everything you need for slightly less. Once you have a number, chances are, you'll have greatly reduced the selection already, making the process that much easier.
Next, determine what espresso means to you. Is it just a solid shot of energy you can't live without and so you mindlessly down them regularly every morning? Or, do you relish the aroma and the entire process of creating and perfecting your espresso, regardless of how much time it takes or will take over time? This observation alone is going to split your selection in half. You'll know if you need to purchase something very automated that requires nothing more than the push of a button, or if you should look into products like those that use leverage technology that allow YOU to control every aspect of the process. This will also separate out the time invested in the coffee: those that use pre-made, pre-packaged pod espresso machines, those that grind the beans for you, and those that require you to freshly grind your own in an additional grinder.
This is the fun part, and because of the two choices you just previously made, the field will be very much narrowed already. You probably aren't going to find a time-consuming do it yourself, relish-every-bean-and-every-aroma espresso machine that comes in neon pink and looks like a small spaceship. Rather, you'll find deep wood colors and brass materials. Likewise, if it's industrial, get-you-out-of-the door espresso you're seeking, you'll probably easily find those in standard black and stainless steel. But, within those categories, there are variations, and that's where it gets personal. An espresso machine is something that will easily become a reliable friend, an accomplice in gearing you up each and every morning without fail and meeting your demands to send you on your way. Pick a design that's entirely you. There's variety enough for everyone.
With these three steps done, you should be well on your way to finding the machine that's just right for you and you alone.