An espresso is about 25 to 30ml of strong black coffee, and should have a good crema – a golden froth that is rich, firm and creamy enough to sit on top of the coffee until you finish. An espresso maker makes coffee with a more intense caffeine hit than a filter machine or cafetière. Espressos form the base for milky coffee drinks like cappuccino and latte.
Most espresso machines have a steam pipe (sometimes called a milk frother or steamer nozzle) for hot milk and foam, so you can make lattes or cappuccinos using the espresso as a base.
Freshly ground coffee is always best for taste and crema, and some machines take pre ground coffee as well.
Coffee espresso machines that use ground coffee will come with one or more removable baskets that you fill with ground coffee. Filter baskets are available in different sizes: the two standard baskets are for single and double shots, but some also have a third basket for use with ESE pods.
The portafilter is the handle and holder of the filter basket. Some portafilters have a plastic flap in the handle, which folds over to hold the loose filter basket in place when emptying it of the hot, used ground coffee.
There are 4 types of machines
LEVER MACHINES – Here you use hand pressure on a lever to push hot water through the coffee grounds. The hot water is contained in an integral brass boiler and the coffee grounds in a filter holder. To get the best result grind your beans freshly as pre ground coffee tends to go stale quickly.
It’s the oldest and most iconic method.
PUMP MACHINES – A motor-driven pump forces water from an integral water tank through a thermo block or boiler, which heats it quickly, then forces it through the ground coffee under pressure, usually between 8 to 15 bars of pressure. Some machines have a device inside the filter holder to enhance the crema, so you can use pre ground coffee and others an adapter to take ESE Coffee Pods.
BEAN TO CUP MACHINES – These have a bean container built in so they grind the coffee beans directly into the drink you are making. You can programme many sizes types and strengths of drinks and make cappuccinos at the touch of one button, and there are automatic cleaning programmes. You can also use pre ground coffee normally for a blend, e.g. decaf which is not your main drink.
CAPSULE MACHINES – Coffee capsules are hermetically-sealed pots of ground coffee that are inserted into an espresso machine. The machine pierces the capsule and forces hot water through to make espresso.
Capsules stay fresh for up to nine months, which is ideal if you’re only an occasional espresso drinker. Like ESE pods, they contain just enough coffee for one shot, and are mess-free.
We offer a range of Italian roasted capsules which work in Nespresso type machines.
HANDPRESSO – For espresso on the go. You pump it up like a bicycle pump, add hot water from a Thermos and ground coffee or ESE Pods, press a button and the espresso is there for you! There is one for the car which plugs into the cigar lighter.