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Once upon a time, if you wanted good espresso, you had to leave home to get it. These days, there’s a huge variety of espresso machines made – pardon the pun – espressly for the home market. You can have everything you need to make the perfect shot of espresso or capppuccino right on your kitchen countertop. Choosing the right espresso machine for your home can be confusing with so many choices on the market – and the “expers” are so divided in their opinions that they’re not a whole lot of help either. You’ll find many coffee web sites that offer user reviews to help you choose, but in the end, your choice will be down to personal preference. If you’re just starting to research espresso machines with an eye to buying one of your own, here are some very quick capsule reviwes distilled from numerous espresso machine reviews to give you an idea of the features of the most popular companies and their best-selling models.
Back in 1905, la Pavoni was the company that started it all with the first manufactured espresso machines for coffee shops in Italy. They were also among the first companies to start making espresso machines specifically for the home market. They feature only the best materials in construction – marine brass and heavy steel – and are renowned for their quality, making them the choice of many home baristas.
One of La Pavoni’s most popular models is the low-priced Lusso Espresso/Cappuccino machine. The high quality machine is powered by a pump which is an absolute must for the serious espresso connoisseur, and will run you about $300 retail. It includes a 36 ounce water reservoir to make up to 16 shots of espresso before refilling is needed.
Gaggia is another well-regarded name in the espresso field. It was Achille Gaggia who was responsible for revolutionizing the industry with his piston driven design for the espresso pump.
Gaggia makes the oldest continually available espresso machine for home use, the Gaggia Classic. It costs about $500 retail, but it regularly pulls the best reviews from consumrs and professionals all over the net. It’s a commercial grade machine scaled down for home use, and features a pressure release 3-way solenoid, a heavy marine brass portafilter and group head, and an elegantly refined brushed nickel finish. According to those who use it, the coffee quality is consistently excellent with little fidgeting or fiddling.
The Swiss manufacturer of commercial espresso machines entered the home market with one of the most popular espresso machines of all time. The Rancilio Miss Silvia is regarded with nearly universal awe as the ultimate machine for the home barista that wants to learn how to really make excellent espresso. The Miss Silvia retails for about $$30, putting it solidly in the low price range for quality commercial grade machines.
One of the newest entries into the home espresso market is Capresso, founded in 1994 by a former president of Krups. Capresso features a full line of home espresso makers from full-fledged coffee centers with the works to the Capresso Mini-S, a steam powered moka pot. Their most popular model is the Capresso Espresso Clasci, which retails for about $200. It’s generally regarded as one of teh greatest starter machines on the market.