Before you dive in and make your decision based on our advice, hold still. There are some very important things to consider before spending any money. Whilst you may know which machine you want, it’s important to consider the following information:
Size and Weight
This may not mean too much to some but you need to know if the machine can be moved easily if needed. Will it take up too much space in your kitchen, or fit in its allocated space? Can it be efficiently installed? If the model you have in mind is too big for your kitchen or can’t be moved once installed, perhaps you should look elsewhere. Bigger is not always better!
Ease of Use
If you’re the type of person who can just about be bothered to boil the kettle for a cup of coffee, a Manual Espresso Machine is not for you. You must consider the amount of time and effort you’re willing to put into your brew.
The higher the wattage your machine is, the quicker it will come to a suitable brewing temperature. If you’ve got a lot of coffee to make or need to brew rapidly, go for a higher wattage.
This is simple – your machine must operate between 9 and 15 bars of pressure. Anything else is redundant as far as a coffee machine is concerned.
Without doubt the element of choice is the Thermoblock. These operate at around 90 degrees centigrade which is the optimum, anything more and you’ll overheat the coffee resulting in a bitter taste.
Automated Shut Down
You should always look at the energy rating of the appliance before you buy it but should also look out for an automated shut down function. They are usually programmable, allowing you to limit when the machine shuts down or goes into standby mode. You wouldn’t want it to take the afternoon off just when you wanted another cup!
If you prefer a latte or cappuccino, you will need a steam arm. Granted, they aren’t the easiest things to use but it’s the only way to get the most from your latte.
Water Tank Capacity
Trust us; you need a removable water tank. A fixed tank makes cleaning a nightmare and is usually a feature of cheaper machines. You also want a clear/translucent tank so you can monitor the water level, there’s very little as annoying as wanting a fresh brew only to find the tank is empty.
Most people refer to this as RTFM but, in brief, always go through the instruction manual thoroughly. The manual should include a section on maintenance and this should be adhered to at all times. Not doing so may void the warranty.