A flavorful cup of espresso or cappuccino, packed with caffeine, is worth waking up for. A muddy, tepid brew can not be rescued even by an accompanying tray of Danish pastries. Read on to find out more about how you can brew the best.
If at all possible, buy your beans whole and grind them as needed – an electric grinder is really not expensive, and the added flavor simply superb. Find a cultivar and roast that is perfect for you; darker roasts have a deeper, more challenging flavor, while light roasts are more mellow. Use purified water in your machine, since any chlorine or dissolved minerals will noticeably affect the taste of the final product. Finally, use very fresh whole milk: that extra tiny fraction of a calorie is really not the end of the world.
Manual Espresso Makers
There are automatic machines on the market that can grind the beans, froth the milk and even empty its own porta-filter on its own prior to brewing the next cup. These tend to be hugely expensive, and they don’t allow you the control you have with a manual espresso maker machine.
For most households and small restaurants, a hand-operated appliance costing around $200 is just perfect. It will take a few tries to get the hang of using it, but the process is not that difficult as long as you understand the principles. From starting the grinder to serving, the whole process will not take much longer than 2 minutes or so.
Your main interest might be espresso, but do try to get a model that also includes a milk frother, for your guests if not yourself. The extra versatility of being able to produce beautifully smooth lattes and cappuccinos really is worth spending the few extra bucks. Many otherwise manual machines boast a one-button option for producing froth, but experienced baristas and coffee aficionados scoff at the result. The best way is still a steam feeder arm feeding off the boiler. Learning the tricks of temperature to steam or froth milk perfectly will take some time, but the end result is well worth it.
Making Your Selection
Whichever model you choose to buy, make sure that cleaning and maintenance will not be a headache. Well-known brands are preferred for reliability, but you can often find excellent performers from less well-known manufacturers at bargain prices. Internet reviews are your best source of information on this.