Which coffee machine is right for you?

This is one of the most asked questions we get. Choosing which espresso machine is right for you can be a daunting experience, especially if you are new to the home barista world.

To start off, there are a few key questions you must ask yourself. With the most important being ‘What type of coffee do you drink’ as this will dictate which direction you need to go into when choosing the right machine.

I believe the easiest way to consider which machine is to explain the different types of espresso machines and what benefits they may have to suit your coffee needs and desires.

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Thermoblock

Usually, the cheapest machines on the market, the only one we currently stock is the Solis Perfetta. These work by heating the water up as it passes through it. This isn’t necessarily ideal for an espresso, as you can’t ensure temperature stability. You will also have a short wait after producing your espresso shot for the water to heat up enough for steaming. However, for a price of £200- £500 they are great machines for those who are looking from their first espresso machine.

Single Boiler

These are the next step up from thermoblock machines. Again, they act as a great starter machine and can last years if looked after correctly. The boiler ensures temperature stability for espresso shots but you will still have to wait for the water to heat up sufficiently to create steam for those cappuccinos, flat whites and lattes. However, for those who drink mainly espresso, a single boiler machine is a good option as many of them now come with PID’s to allow greater control over the brew temperature. These machines can range from £500 to £1200.

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Heat Exchangers

A heat exchanger is ideal for those who want a great ‘all rounder’ machine at an affordable price. Again, these are single boiler machines but feature an internal pipe supplying water from the reservoir to the grouphead at the correct temperature for brewing espresso. There is also no wait time between pulling a shot and steaming milk, in fact this can be done simultaneously. Many heat exchanger machines are built around the E61 grouphead, which is the industry standard for producing high quality extractions on domestic machines. Due to them having just one boiler, they tend to be more compact machines, meaning they are great for those who have limited space. The price for these machines can range from £900 - £1800.

Dual Boilers

As the name suggests, these machines have two separate boilers; one for brewing and one for the steam and hot water function. Most dual boiler machines include PIDs, allowing the user full control over the temperature in each boiler, in particular the brew water temperature to extract and enhance certain flavour profiles. Furthermore, some dual boilers even boast ‘pressure profiling’ and ‘flow control’ functionality giving the user the ability to create their own recipes for espressos using varying pressures through the course of the extraction. Dual boiler and pressure profiling machines are what you could consider the ‘holy grail’ of espresso machines as they are for those who really like to understand and apply the science of creating the perfect espresso. The price of these machines can vary from between £1200 to £5000.

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Hopefully you now have a better understanding of which type of machine would suit both your kitchen and lifestyle but if you would still like to chat to an expert with any questions you may have, please call us on 01933 273 275 or email at contact@bellabarista.co.uk