Making coffee is some kind of art form, and the better the machine you have, the better the result you will achieve. There have been numerous advancements in recent years, including advances in espresso machines, which have made the process of purchasing such an important element of your catering equipment very exciting. A good espresso machine is a major profit generator for many businesses, and is often the one equipment that management, staff, and even customers become attached to.
What Makes A Good Espresso Machine?
With so many different espresso machines to choose from, trying to sift out the best one for your specific needs can be a daunting task. But there are a few considerations that can help anyone find the ideal equipment for their situation:
- Size of the machine
One confusing notion among coffee lovers is that all coffee machines produce espresso coffees at the same pace as each other, meaning that a bigger machine is no faster than a smaller one. However, this is not true. Bigger specification machines are designed to handle higher outputs for longer durations, with greater ease. You should also expect the availability of hot water and steam to be different, which affects the quality of coffee produced. The ideal size of espresso machine depends on the number of cups that you expect to produce per hour and per day.
- Temperature control
A coffee machine is supposed to stay at the optimum temperature to ensure that the group head, as well as the water temperature at the point of infusion is stable, at 90 – 95 degrees Celsius. Most espressos are made from only around one-fluid ounce of water, allowing the machine to remain stable regardless of the frequency.
However, if people have to take out a lot of hot water from espresso machines, like for large cups of tea, it impairs the performance of espresso machines during busy times and results in two key effects:
- Espresso coffee becomes under extracted – weak and sour tasting
- Reduced steam availability – lack of sufficient power to work the milk
As such, it is important that you consider using a separate water boiler if any volume of hot water, like for tea, will be required.
- Level of Control
Experienced Baristas, who like to maintain control over every coffee shot they create, prefer to use semi-automatic espresso machines. To make coffee, you simply turn the Group switch on and wait until the desired quantity of espresso has been expressed before switching it off. These machines come with automated boiler temperature controls, and are the most popular today.
Fully automatic espresso machines come with buttons that electronically control everything, including the amount of water pushed through the espresso. Super automatic espresso machines, on the other hand, come with all the bells and whistles, including built-in grinding apparatus and other useful gadgets. They are the most ideal for business settings, because it requires minimal effort to prepare a cup of espresso.
Manual espresso machines are very complicated and should only be considered by experienced baristas. The final product varies considerably, because the machine does not maintain constant water pressure, and the user has to push water through the espresso manually.
- Water filters
Water is the largest ingredient in your espresso, so it is critical that you install the right filter on your machine to ensure drink quality remains at a high standard, and the build-up of scale is reduced to a minimum.
- Grinder selection
The best coffee grinders are usually expensive, but you will notice a difference in terms of performance and quality of coffee produced. There are two types of grinders: standard and on-demand.
Standard coffee grinders function by grinding beans from the hopper, and then storing the ground coffee in a dosing chamber, where each dose is dispensed by pulling a lever on the chamber’s side.
On demand coffee grinders, on the other hand, grind a shot or double at the push of a button, at the time when the user is preparing the espresso. These grinders are better for several reasons:
- Freshness and aroma – every shot is perfectly fresh, delivering optimum aroma retention, unlike standard grinders that hold the coffee for some time in the dosing chamber, where it can deteriorate quickly.
- Dosing consistency – the use of electronic dosing promotes precision, which ensures that the coffee produced is consistently good.
- No wastage – any ground coffee in standard grinders has to be discarded, which is not necessary for on demand grinders.
It is important to note that your choice of grinder will be mainly influenced by your urgency of application. Standard grinders are faster than on demand grinders, which make the former better for locations with high volumes of users. On demand grinders should be used where optimum coffee quality and consistency is more important than speed.
This is the most fun part of buying an good espresso machine. Traditional coffee machines were fairly industrial in appearance with stainless steel box-like styling, but there is wider variety today. So, once you determine the coffee machine that is best suited for your needs, you can visualize each of your options on your service counter to see the style that fits it best, and even enhances your interior presentation. Consider size, colors, appeal, and whether retro or contemporary.
In conclusion, a good espresso machine is one that can give you exactly what you want. Though whether or not you get what you want will depend on how much money you are willing to spend. Super automatic espresso machines are very common in business settings, though a little training may be necessary to ensure that the equipment is used and maintained properly.
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