Close-up of a commercial espresso machine pulling a shot

Do You Need an Expensive Machine to Make Espresso?


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Whether you are a coffee aficionado or a beginner in the craft, making the best cup of espresso at home can be quite easy if you know the rules. You might have been fascinated by the many machines you see at your local coffee shops, but those are not the only tools that can be used to make your favorite morning brew. So, do you really need a fancy machine to create the perfect cup of espresso?

The answer is yes and no. One thing you need to consider is the number of people you will be making drinks for and the speed with which you want to make the espresso.

How Is Espresso Made?

Unlike many other forms of coffee, espresso does not just happen with hot water and beans. A sizeable amount of pressure needs to be maintained as hot water passes through roasted, ground coffee beans. The high pressure ensures that the strongest brew is produced with the crema being a standard for a good brew. The roast and grind of the beans also matter, as a darker roast will give you a darker blend compared to a lighter one. More finely ground coffee has a higher resistance that offers a richer, stronger, espresso.

When Is an Espresso Machine Needed?

If you want to open up a coffee shop, then you will need a fancy machine. A shop will require huge amounts of espresso to be brewed very quickly, so you need a machine that will enable you to produce many cups of coffee—especially during the rush hour times such as the mornings. The last thing you want is a long line of people impatiently waiting for a cup of coffee.

However, if you just want to make some for yourself and your family, you don’t need the coffee machine. You can use something simple like a French Press or an Aeropress, as you probably only need to serve a cup or two at a time. This ensures that you can enjoy your espresso as fresh and strong as it should be.

Making Espresso with a French Press

The French Press is one of the oldest techniques for making the espresso and coffee bases for many drinks. The espresso it produces might not be as dense as the professional machines, but it works well for home use and beginners.

Making Espresso with an Aeropress

The Aeropress on the other hand is an upgraded home-brewing version of the French Press. It still makes a few cups at a time, but the pressure delivered is greater and can be adjusted to suit your taste and preference. The taste may also not be quite the same quality as a good commercial machine would produce, but it will give you the kick you’re looking for.

When using either of these tools or techniques, you need to understand the roast levels of your beans. How light or dark the roast is will determine the pressure to use, the heat of the water used and more. Each technique has its own taste, and if you play around with them enough, you will find your taste.

Final Thoughts

Unless you happen to be a coffee connoisseur who knows their taste, textures, aromas, and more, making good espresso at home is not rocket science. Using the right tools, you can easily make it happen if you know and understand your tools well.

coffee roast, espresso drinks

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