If you’re an espresso lover, you know that making the perfect espresso at home requires the right machine. But with all the information out there, how do you really know if you’re getting the best espresso maker for your buck? Well, read on…
Stovetop Espresso Makers
A stovetop model is a great choice if you want amazing espresso without spending a fortune. They are affordable, with most under $100 and many others under $50. They have no moving parts and are made from only a few pieces, so tend to be durable and last a long time.
Two models really stand out…the Bialetti Moka Express, and the Vev Vigano Kontessa Tubo.
The Bialetti starts out at $29.99, but don’t let the low price fool you. It makes terrific espresso, and it makes it in less than ten minutes. Because the Bialetti is made from aluminum, the water heats up fast and the coffee is rich and full-bodied. It’s simple to use…you just fill the bottom chamber with cold water, put it on the stove, and once the brewing sound stops you’re ready to pour. The only drawback is you don’t get crema…but you do get the same taste and aroma. If you’re looking for your first espresso maker or you camp a lot, the Bialetti is a perfect pick.
The Vev Vigano Kontessa Tubo is made of stainless steel, and quite honestly looks gorgeous. If you want a pump machine but want to spend less than $200, go out and get yourself a Vev Vigano instead. Not only is this little beauty something you want sitting out on your counter for people to see, it also makes rich, flavorful espresso with amazing consistency. The three parts are easy to unscrew, and it washes easily with soap and hot water.
Pump Espresso Machines
If you want something a little less hands-on, a step up is a semi-automatic…and my favorite is the Breville Cafe Roma ESP8XL. It doesn’t take up too much counter space, which is a plus in my house, and the hand brushed stainless steel looks slick and stylish. It has a pressurized portafilter that produces just the right amount of pressure to extract the rich espresso aroma, and the crema comes out thick and gorgeous. The steam wand works great, giving very consistent dense foam over and over. The big control button on the front makes it easy to switch from brewing to steaming. Another nice feature that I love is the cup warmer, because it helps my espresso stay warm for longer.
But if you want a totally hands-off espresso making experience, go for a Seaco Talea Giro! It grinds, tamps, brews, froths and even disposes of the used grounds all by itself, in one cycle. I don’t have the space to list all the amazing features here, but my favorite is that you can customize the strength and extraction for each individual cup you brew. If you have the budget and are serious about your espresso, then this model is well worth a look.