So, you’ve heard all the hype about espresso machines, right? But do you know what all the hype is about? Here are some frequently asked questions about espresso machines, along with the corresponding answers :

1). What is the difference between Espresso and Coffee?

Espresso is coffee that is brewed by forcing steam or hot water through packed, super finely ground, darkly roasted coffee beans: Coffee on the other hand is brewed by simply running hot water through ground up coffee beans. Although they sound like the same concept, Espresso is made using pressure as well as hot water or steam, which draws out the natural flavors much more intensely then regular coffee brewing techniques like drip brewing.

2). Where Can I buy an Espresso Machine?

You can buy Espresso machines at Amazon, Starbucks and Best Buy. However, the best way to purchase a home espresso machine is to check around at your local specialty coffee shops and ask the experts what they would recommend. Most of the people who work in shops like these know their espressos and the machines that make them inside and out and will be able to point you in the right direction.

3). How Much do Espresso Machines cost?

There is quite a large range of prices for home espresso machines. On the low end of the scale, you’re looking at about two hundred dollars(200$) to eight hundred dollars(800$) give or take. In the middle, or for an average espresso machine, they usually run anywhere between eight hundred( 800$ ) to two thousand, five hundred dollars (2,500$). On the higher end, for a top of the line espresso machine, you could be paying anywhere from two thousand, five hundred dollars (2,500$) to five thousand (5,000$) give or take. (These prices are for both commercial and home use espresso machines.)

4). How do You Use an Espresso Machine?

Most pump powered espresso machines use a pod or a capsule containing really finely ground coffee beans. You insert the pod into the brewing chamber( making sure of course that you have in fact put the water in the machine), and you choose from the many brewing options that your machine is capable of. Of course, there are always variations to this depending on what kind of machine you have, so be sure to read the user manual for proper use instructions.

5). Are all Espresso Machines the Same?

No they are not all the same, there are two different types of espresso machines. The Lever operated machines, are recommended for EXPERIENCED espresso makers ONLY and can be pretty expensive, these kinds of machines take a great deal of time and skill to operate efficiently in order to make the perfect espresso. However, the Pump powered espresso machines are much more user friendly and require less skill than lever powered machines. Many of the machines on the market today have multiple capabilities. For example, Keurig machines are capable of making coffee, lattes, espresso…etc. Basically whatever they sell in their Keurig cups ( K-cups). Some other machines such as the Tassimo can even make hot chocolate and teas! In fact, most machines that specialize solely in making espressos are more expensive than multi-capable machines, and take a lot more time to learn how to use properly.

6). How do I Know If I Have Made my Espresso Properly?

You will know if you’ve made the ” Perfect Espresso” by the “Crema” as the espresso Gurus call it. It is a nice fluffy layer of creamy brown foam that forms on the top of the drink. This crema, is the final product of properly brewed espresso. When there is 130 pounds of pressure used to extract the oils, essence and flavor of the coffee, the gases are suspended and neatly disbursed in the form of crema.

7). What If I Don’t Get it Right the First Time, Does That Mean I Can’t Make Espresso?

Just because you don’t make the perfect espresso the first time or even the hundredth time you try, it doesn’t mean you will never be any good at making them. Espresso making is an art form, to make one perfectly takes years of practice, patience and much of what many like to call ” trial and error ” Experimenting with different techniques, different grinds and different machines can be very trying, however once you get the hang of it, you will be the talk of the town. :))

8). How do I Clean My Machine? 

Cleaning operations vary greatly depending on what espresso machine you have. As a general rule, you shouldn’t try to put any parts of your machine in the dishwasher unless specified “dishwasher safe” by the manufacturer. For most parts, wiping it down with a damp cloth should suffice. Use extreme caution when wiping down the steam wand, because you have to clean it when it is hot, there is a very real risk of steam burns.