This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer for more information.
To brew a rich, silky espresso, you need the right beans and, most importantly, a quality grinder. You can buy a separate grinder, but there are many options of an espresso machine with grinder at your disposal to save you money and counter space.
If you’re not sure what beans to use, refer to this ‘best beans manual guide.’
A cheap grinder will never give you the results you want, no matter how expensive your machine might be. Without a quality grinder, you are just wasting money!
Espresso Machines with built-in grinder are budget-friendly and are usually developed by high-end companies such as Gaggia, Sage(Breville), De’longhi, Phillips, etc.
In this article, we will go over each brand that made our list, specs, price, and the quality of the grinder.
|Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Large, Stainless Steel||Prime||Buy Now|
|De'Longhi ESAM3300 Super Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine||Prime||Buy Now|
|Calphalon BVCLECMPBM1 Temp iQ Espresso Machine with Grinder and Steam Wand, Stainless||Prime||Buy Now|
|Gaggia 1003380 Accademia Espresso Machine,Silver||Prime||Buy Now|
|De'Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine with Sensor Grinder, Dual Heating System, Advanced Latte System & Hot Water Spout for Americano Coffee or Tea, Stainless Steel, EC9335M||Prime||Buy Now|
The Ten Best Espresso Machines With A Built-In Grinder
With so many products in the market, it can be exhausting to choose the right espresso brewer for yourself.
We have concluded the ten best espresso machines with a built-in grinder for you through research, reviews, and personal experience.
These high-end built-in grinder espresso machines offer a wide range of features, including super-automatic and semi-automatic espresso machines with automatic/manual steam wands, auto-tamping/manual stainless steel tamper, auto/manual dosing, programmable/automatic brewing.
- They are concise and elegant.
- Life is more convenient with touch and brew technology.
- You don’t need to clean them separately.
- They offer higher grind size settings to essence espresso coffee art.
With this option, you control the tamping, dosing, temperature of the extraction, milk temperature, brew volume, and brew time.
This easy-to-operate machine puts has five buttons that control everything- power button, filter for the grinder, program button, one cup, and two cups.
It also has three dials to adjust grind size (on the left facet of the machine), one dial beside the power button (to adjust grind amount), and one on the right face of the device (to switch between steam and water outlet)
Unlike other Breville’s creations, Barista express is a handy, affordable entry-level machine that introduces you to the wide variety of exceptionally programmable devices Breville offers.
Breville Barista Express’s Built-in grinder.
Breville Barista grinder comes with 450 grams of hopper capacity. The hopper is present on your top-left and is distinguishable.
On the machine’s left face is the dial to select the grind size settings. Barista Breville offers eight grind size settings. Number one being extra fine and the eighth setting being coarse.
Unlike other advanced Breville machines like Oracle Sage and Oracle original, Barista Express’s grinder doesn’t dose and tamp automatically. Despite that, it does come with a cradle that catches the ground coffee.
You can program the amount of ground coffee by pushing and holding the portafilter until the desired quantity is churned. (For automatic dosing, rotate the grind amount dialer, press one/two filter, strain, and let go of the portafilter)
This machine comes with a stainless steel tamper (you can easily hang it in the device on your left). The tamper is complimented with a razor to finish the coffee puck’s surface.
Please note: Your extraction flow can tell a lot about your grind. If your coffee takes 25-35 seconds, the grind size is correct. If it takes more or less time, your shots would be either over-extracted (bitter) or under-extracted (stale).
- You have the control of dosing and tamping manually. Manual dosing saves you a lot of coffee because you grind the amount you need, no extra on the wastage side. Manual tamping will always be more accurate.
- You can also steam the milk manually to get the texture of your preference.
- The machine comes with a milk jar that has a temperature color-stick to sense milk temp. The ideal recommended milk temperature is 60-70 degrees celsius.
- It also has four baskets: two pressurized baskets (that work best with a bad tamp and grind), two non-pressurized baskets for regular use.
- Barista Express has two indicators: clean me cycle and hot water. They illuminate to inform you of the status. Apart from aesthetic buttons, it also has a central pressure gauge to display extraction pressure. The pressure gauge has gray markings to exert accuracy.
- Stainless steel body
- PID controller
- It can brew americano, espresso, espresso-based drinks like cappuccino, latte, etc.
- It’s a single-boiler machine. You cannot brew coffee and steam milk at the same time.
- The device is entirely manual. This is only a bad thing if you want an automated process
- Barista Express needs a preheating time (5 minutes) to extra hot espresso shots.
- There’s a lot of programming to do before you’re able to brew coffee for the first time, but once you have everything set to your liking the process is much more streamlined. You need to find the ideal settings for grind size, dose, tamp, brew time, brew temp, milk temp, milk time together to extract your personalized cup.
A completely different espresso machine with a new superior design is Delonghi ESAM33. Its tall body with a built-in hidden grinder gives you auto-dosing, auto-tamping, auto-brewing.
Delonghi Magnifica comes without a portafilter giving you a hands-free operation. (The machine comes with a spout that automatically pours the coffee without having to unlock/lock the portafilter)
Delonghi offers automation and yet programmability at a low price compared to other expensive brands.
These programmable buttons include the volume of coffee (short, medium, and long), coffee flavor dial (weak, average, strong), and grind size settings (don’t alter the factory preset grind size settings for the initial brew).
Not only this, Delonghi Magnifica has a bypass doser that allows you to use pre-ground coffee when you are out of whole beans or want decaf.
This bypass doser comes with a scoop and can only brew one cup at a time. Delonghi comes with many indicators like water level, grinder volume, descaling, decalcifying, hot steam, etc.
Delonghi ESAM33’s Grinder
Delonghi’s grinder is present at the top; the hopper is inside the machine and isn’t visible. It’s rectangular and has a volume of 8.8oz (249.4 grams). There’s a grind size adjuster inside the hopper that you can easily manipulate when the cap is removed.
This machine has 13 grind size settings and provides a wide variety of coarseness and fineness.
Please note: DO NOT CHANGE THE FACTORY SETTING BEFORE THE FIRST SHOT! Although you find the extraction too slow or too fast, you can adjust the grind settings while operating the grinder.
For fineness, rotate the dialer counter-clockwise (when the coffee is too runny and brews faster than the exact brew time) and for coarseness, turn it clockwise (when the spout gives out drops of coffee, too slow)
As stated, this machine doesn’t come with a portafilter. So, when you press one cup/two cups, the device will grind, auto-dose, auto-tamp, pre-infuse, and extract the coffee. It’s super-automatic!
- The machine registers the programs that you manually install for future brews unless you change them.
- The machine comes with a manual steaming wand for cappuccinos and lattes.
- The device indicates when it’s ready to brew. The one cup/two cup button illuminates when it reaches an optimal temperature for brewing.
- It’s easy to clean and operate.
- The spouts go up and down to adjust multi-sized cups.
- Cup warmer tray
- Provides 188-190 degree Fahrenheit temp
- Manual stop and start of the extraction period
- Rinse and decalcify buttons.
- The water tank is at the front for easy filling.
- You cannot dose, tamp or install the portafilter manually, this is only a negative if you enjoy the process of making your coffee.
- You cannot adjust the temperature.
- The water tank is smaller with less volume.
Another look-a-like of Breville is Calphalon Temp iQ with standard automation and a simple interface with sufficient programmability.
This machine offers you pre-programmed shots with the optimal temperature obtained by its thermoblock technology and PID controller.
A PID controller and thermoblock together stabilize the coffee’s temperature and heat the system pretty fast.
Calphalon is by far the handiest and easy-to-operate espresso machine with unique features such as a separate manual button to brew manually (you can set your volume and timer with the coffee scale’, hand-on demand grinding.
The Calphalon has four simple buttons: a power button, a manual button, one cup, two cups, and a single knob to choose between hot water and a steaming wand.
Calphalon Temp iQ’s grinder
Calphalon comes with a beautiful grinder that’s visible on your top left. It has a round body with a capacity of 250 grams, very ideal. It offers 30 grind size settings that you can easily adjust to by rotating the grinder.
Temp iQ grinder is marked by coarse, medium, and fine readings to better understand the settings without the instruction manual to make things simpler.
The hopper and upper burr are removable for easy cleaning. This machine also has a grinder cradle to hold the portafilter for grinding. Simply push the portafilter to start grinding and let go when done.
The Calphalon comes with a stainless steel tamper for manual tamping and an indicator right below to indicate if the grinder is full/empty/protection mode. It has conical burrs to provide consistency with each brew.
- It comes with a stainless steel milk jug for efficient steaming.
- 58mm portafilter, single/double-walled baskets, 58mm tamper.
- One of the biggest water tanks, 2.8 liters of capacity
- The casing has a mix of plastic and stainless steel; it’s not all stainless steel.
- Less programmable features and a minimal design
- You cannot adjust the temperature in this machine.
- The machine is very light-weighted and doesn’t stay put when locking the portafilter.
Gaggia Accademia will be a completely different experience if you haven’t had the pleasure to use the brand.
Gaggia is a super-automatic espresso machine with everything on the device’s frontal panel, including a graphic display.
The machine has easy-to-operate buttons to brew instantly. These buttons include espresso, coffee, and Caffe lungo on the left.
Cappuccino, latte macchiato, latte, and ‘clean me’ on your right. Gaggia’s model is very different from that of Sage’s.
Unlike other super-automatic machines, Academia comes with automatic milk steaming carafe. This carafe is attached to the device and pours steamed milk directly in the espresso cup with its funnel.
Not only this, despite the availability of an automatic steaming carafe, Gaggia has a second manual steaming wand if you wish to steam your milk manually.
It’s a non-portafilter machine that grinds, auto-doses, auto-tamps, auto-brews your cup of joe without any manual action; the device is entirely programmable.
You can change the temperature(low, medium, high), pre-infusion timer, coffee amount, coffee length, milk length, milk texture, along with many other machine’s settings (water hardness, filter on/off, brightness, language, etc.)
Gaggia Accademia’s Grinder
The grinder is present inside the machine, and the hopper is not visible from the outside.
With eight grind size settings, Gaggia brews seven pre-programmed espresso-based coffees within a couple of seconds.
This grind size settings dialler is present inside the hopper; you can unlock the upper lid and easily change the size settings for a finer or coarser coffee.
Please note: You can only change the grinder’s setting when it’s grinding. It won’t change when the machine is off or at the final stage of brewing.
Gaggia also comes with a bypass doser that allows you to brew pre-ground decaf coffee at the center.
- It has dual boilers that steam and extract together without wasting time.
- The coffee spouts go up and down to accommodate different cup sizes.
- The hopper has a double lid aroma-saver to keep your beans fresh.
- Gaggia offers infinite programmable options and endless automation to satisfy your demands.
- Double steaming options: steaming carafe and steaming wand.
- The body is stainless steel.
- Removable brew group and front door for easy cleaning.
- Additional flow knob for stronger/weaker coffee.
- The water reservoir and coffee container is small and needs refilling often.
- The drip tray is also comparatively smaller.
- It requires a lot of auto-cleaning that consumes most of the water.
- The steaming carafe doesn’t heat the milk enough. Nonetheless, the wand has an adequate heating temperature.
- Gaggia doesn’t indicate when its hopper is empty.
- Slow heat up.
Delonghi La Specialista is probably one of the most beautiful-looking machines with a stainless steel body, visualizing buttons that illuminate when in action, and a central pressure gauge to display and judge your grind size setting.
This machine offers multiple programmable options, unique auto-tamping with closed valves, and a unique rinse option to preheat the portafilter for a hot espresso shot.
With Delonghi, you can automate three pre-stepped brews: espresso, americano, and coffee. Another ‘my brew’ feature lets you manually decide shot volume, shot timing, and save future preferences.
The tamper is completely unprecedented. It allows you manual actions and yet air-less tamping.
You lock the portafilter inside the grinder to catch coffee grounds; it then doses and auto-tamps on your demand.
The side pressure-handle at your left tamps the ground when you rotate it clockwise.
Another little detail that I enjoy is the small grill stand to accommodate smaller cups. The grill tray can be easily folded back to accommodate larger cups.
It also has a separate water spout. So, you can brew americano with espresso and water running together.
Delonghi La Specialist’s Grinder
The hopper is located on your left with a stainless steel border to mark the grind size settings. The lid of the hopper is also stainless steel to keep the whole bean’s freshness alive.
Please note: Allow the first brew at the factory preset settings, do not disturb the grinder for the first brew. Later, you can change the coarseness/fineness of the coffee by rotating the dialer.
Delonghi comes with a unique grinder that senses the amount going inside the portafilter while grinding.
Unlike other brands that overflow for the coarser grind (more volume, less weight), Delonghi senses the right amount of ground coffee being delivered!
It comes with six grind size settings and is preset to 3 for the first brew.
To start brewing, click OK present at the machine’s center below the gauge, after selecting (one/two cups), setting the dialer to espresso, americano, or coffee. The device will automatically grind, dose, and tamp.
- Thermoblock technology for optimal temperature.
- The steaming wand lets you choose between foam and flat milk.
- It starts to function right after you click the power button; it doesn’t need a preheat.
- Separate water spout for an americano
- You can change the brewing temperature with this machine through internal settings (It has two max settings-normal and high, refer to the manual)
- A separate rinse column to pass hot water through the portafilter is advanced.
- Pressurized baskets to subside a bad tamp, grind.
- Limited automation and control over the machine.
- The drip tray is small and overflows often.
- The steaming wand steams less quantity at a time.
A simple, small footprint to satisfy your easy-to-operate demands. Gaggia Brera is a bean-to-cup machine with the most straightforward format. With four easy buttons and one knob, it’s one of the easiest machines to use.
Gaggia Brera also comes with a LED screen for ease of use.
Surprisingly enough, you can still program the volume and brewing period of your shot by pressing and holding the cup button.
You can also program the strength of the coffee by clicking the grinder/bypass button once (weak), twice (regular), and thrice (robust coffee)
It comes with a double spout to extract the coffee, and the machine automatically grinds, doses, tamps, and brews. Unlike other barista-style devices, Gaggia doesn’t come with a portafilter.
The design is minimalistic with less on the front, the water reservoir’s (your left), and the puck dustbin (right) at the frontal panel.
Gaggia Brera’s Grinder
Similar to all portafilter-less machines, the hopper is infused within the model and isn’t visible at the top. However, you can see the upper sealed lid that stores your fresh beans aroma inside.
The grinder has ceramic burrs, which savors the authentic taste of the whole beans (steel conical burrs might give away a burnt taste, but that’s not the case with ceramic ones.)
It has five grind size settings from fine to coarse coffee beans; you can change this setting while the grinder is in operation. This knob to change the settings is present inside the hopper and visible when you remove its lid.
The hopper can handle volume up to 250 grams of coffee beans, which is considered ideal. You can also see the bypass doser right within the hopper that allows you to brew decaf anytime.
To switch between whole beans/pre-ground, click the grind/doser button four times for pre-ground coffee. The button is present at your right (lower button below the power switch)
- The Panarello steaming wand heats up at an accurate temperature within 10 seconds.
- Customization with automation and easy operation
- The machine saves your last programmed settings for future brews.
- It’s easy to clean with no portafilter. The device opens from the right face to clean the brewing unit.
- The spout is adjustable and can go up and down to accommodate different size cups.
- The machine has a small footprint and can adjust easily on a small counter and an even smaller kitchen despite being a super-automatic machine.
- A big dial to switch between steam, standby mode, and hot water.
- It brews espresso and Lungo.
- It comes in three colors: silver-brushed, black, and red.
- Given its concise size, the water reservoir is small.
- The largest cup it can accommodate is 4.5″, which is not convenient for people who drink americano.
- Only the frontal panel is stainless steel; the rest of the machine is plastic and might not give an authentic feel than other high-end all-stainless steel products.
- The appliance rinses itself a lot, depleting water from the reservoir.
- The unit is heavy despite its small size.
This is the machine that I own and I would have it number one if I knew that it would appeal to the masses.
Since it has a high price tag and needs more of a learning curve to operate correctly, I tend to put it lower on the list.
With Breville Oracle, you can brew with a touch of a button if you’re in a hurry on a Monday morning, or you can perform barista-style brewing techniques on a relaxing Sunday; the machine offers you both!
You can program shot volume, shot temperature, milk temperature, milk texture, pre-infusion period, clean me cycle, timer, clock, auto shut off, auto-on, tamp settings, and long black adjustments.
The machine comes with a factory preset to brew ideal espresso without having to program anything at all!
The easy-to-operate five buttons let you power on the device, select one cup/two cups, hot water, and long black. An additional button menu/exit to program internal changes.
Two knobs, one to adjust the grind size settings and the second to change milk temp/texture manually. Breville Oracle auto-grinds, doses, tamps in a compressed system without air invasion.
It comes with an automatic steaming wand that steams the best milk, as good as a professional barista would froth!
Breville Oracle is a dual boiler machine that extracts your espresso shots and steams milk together at the same time.
It’s equipped with a PID controller to stabilize water temperature throughout the brewing process.
Breville Oracle’s Grinder
The hopper is present at your top left with conical stainless steel burrs. It has a capacity of 280 grams.
Here’s the powerful feature of Breville Oracle; it comes with 45 grind size settings, which is a lot of adjustabilities to find your perfect setting.
You can adjust these grind size settings from the dialer present at the left face of your machine. A small digital screen displays the grind size setting for more accuracy.
Once you click the buttons to brew your joe, the device automatically starts grinding when you install the portafilter in the grinder. You can hear the grinder working up because it does make some noise!
The grinder comes with a portafilter locker/cradle. You can lock the portafilter in to create a closed vacuum system.
The portafilter then catches the ground and is ready to brew after auto-tamping. The machine doses between 19-22 grams.
- Breville Oracle now offers one-touch americano with a separate water spout. You can also select the strength and size of americano through the knob.
- There’s a big rectangular display that features every action going on and around the machine. From displaying the shot’s temperature to the infinite programmable option, you can see it all on the display screen for accuracy.
- Breville Oracle gives precision. Unlike other devices that change the settings between low, medium, and hot, Oracle has numbered accuracy. If it’s 195 degrees Fahrenheit, the digital display will read 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
- All the buttons illuminate to indicate different processes.
- It creates the best micro-foam to make your cappuccino a personal delight.
- The machine saves your programmed settings.
- It comes with a stainless steel pitcher, two baskets, 58mm portafilter (commercial size)
- The steaming wand’s tip detects milk temp and automatically stops when read on the screen.
- Stainless steel body with stainless steel dual boilers
- The water reservoir is big and has a top opening for easy refill.
- You cannot auto-dose, and it might result in a lot of waste.
- No option or manual tamping unless you are using pre-ground coffee and buying a separate stainless steel tamper
- It’s expensive.
- Oracle demands barista skills and might confuse coffee novices. There’s a lot of programs. However, you can use the automatic feature.
Jura E8 offers you three extraction spouts. Two spouts are present at the center to brew espresso, Lungo, and coffee. A separate single faucet that runs along the steaming wand is present at your right and brews milk-espresso beverages.
This high-end machine can customize twelve total drinks, including ristretto, espresso doppio, macchiato, coffee, exceptional coffee, cappuccino, latte macchiato, latte, etc.
You can customize these drinks by adjusting shot temperature, shot volume, and milk temperature.
The unique foaming wand has a front-on dialer that lets you dial the amount of foam you want!
Jura is probably the only brand that provides espresso shot volume between 15ml-80 ml; the milk-based beverages/special coffee can be customized up to 240 ml.
The hot water also ranges between 25ml-240ml.
Jura also provides eight customizable coffee strengths, and you can manually switch off the extraction as well.
The six buttons let you operate the whole machine, present side by side the TFT screen. TFT has a visual representation of the operation going inside the machine.
Other classic Jura features include the PEP-pulse extraction process to optimize the extraction period of espresso and ristretto, a one-button touch function, intelligent water system to detect water filters.
Jura E8’s Grinder
Jura’s grinder is centered at the top with a separate column to adjust grind size settings on your right and bypass doser beside it on your left.
Jura’s bypass doser is the only doser in the espresso machine industry that accepts two scoops of coffee!
The hopper has a capacity of 280grams, and it comes with six grind size settings.
Please adjust these settings only when the grinder is operating. The grinder might get damaged if you change the settings when it’s not under operation.
Jura E8 is a portafilter-less machine. It will auto-grind, auto-dose, auto-tamp, and auto brew with single-touch buttons. The lid is an aroma-server; it’s granted with a rubber seal to lock the bean’s aroma inside.
- Automation with programmability.
- Easy interface and modern design.
- The device has chromium plating to protect it from scratches, corrosion, and increased machine longevity.
- It lacks the portafilter and thus the barista feel.
- Needs to be cleaned often.
The newer version of Delonghi Eletta has a lot of the features on display! There are four factory pre-programmed drinks, including a milk menu that lets you choose between milk beverages like a flat white, latte macchiato, steamed milk, etc.
Another ‘my brew’ feature of this machine enables you to brew your customized coffee within a couple of seconds.
Delonghi comes with a decent carafe that has a dialer to adjust foam level. Unlike other steaming wands that seam milk separately, Eletta pours the milk directly in the espresso shot to reduce your work!
It has a concise yet tall body with a frontal removable water reservoir on your right. The milk carafe is present at your left and can be removed to get hot water from the steaming wand.
There’s a lot of space between the adjustable spouts and the drip tray; it can accommodate larger mugs. Plus, the carafe outlet is mobile; it can go up and down, back and forth to adjust properly inside the cup!
The center alphabetical display is small but very convenient. You don’t get digits on the screen but actual sentences of what the machine is doing.
The screen has a blue backlight. Another excellent feature of Eletta is the auto-start. You can set the timer and dial your settings for your morning coffee without the hassle.
Delonghi Eletta’s Grinder
The grinder is present behind the cup warmer and has a rubber-tight lid to protect the beans’ aroma.
Please note: do not use flavored, oily beans in super-automatic machines. Only use naturally roasted, matte-finish beans.
The hopper has a capacity of 400grams, which is probably the most oversized hopper you will find in the market for super-automatic machines!
The rubber-sealed lid is made of tinted glass (smoky colored) to protect your beans from UV radiation.
The pre-ground bypass doser is present with the hopper; it can brew one scoop at a time. For instance, if you wanted a decaf.
The grind size dialer is present in the hopper towards the left and provides seven grind size settings.
You can switch between grinder to bypass doser by clicking the last button (the screen should read pre-ground coffee). With Delonghi, you can program pre-ground coffee as well.
- The Delonghi allows you to pre-program shot volume, shot temperature. The machine brews pretty hot espressos, including foamed milk beverages; it is still hot with extra-foamed milk.
- There’s the auto-shutoff mode, stainless steel cup warmer, stainless spout casing, stainless steel drip tray.
- Auto-cleaning features.
- The machine offers 16 language changes!
- Additional menu options to change the settings.
- There is a lot of plastic on this machine. Except for the spout, cup warmer, buttoned display, and drip tray, the rest of the unit is entirely plastic, which is the machine’s biggest downside, given its price.
- It’s expensive. Although the machine offers a lot of functionality, it should have been all-stainless steel because when you invest that much money, you want the looks just as equally as the features.
On the modern side is your Phillips 3200 (EP3221/44) espresso machine with a concise, tall body to adjust beautifully on your kitchen counter.
Despite the plastic exterior, the machine is designed beautifully with a frontal touch display section with yellow indicators at the top of the device, a bit of chrome decoration, innovative milk steaming wand, and extraction spouts.
Philip 3200 comes with four pre-programmed beverages. These include espresso, espresso lungo, coffee, and an americano.
Along with these factory preset buttons, you also have controls for hot water and steam.
With this machine, you can control the coffee strength, coffee: water strength, and temperature. All these settings have three levels- min, moderate, and max. On double-clicking the brew buttons, you get double espresso shots.
Another exclusive feature of Philips 3200 is a pause and start button. You can pause the brewing process whenever you want; you can even pause the steaming wand when brewing milk-based beverages.
Philips offers a free aqua-clean that eliminates constant descaling. Brew 5000 cups without descaling; you will need to change the aquaclean when it expires.
It’s installed in the water tank. The water tank can be removed from your front right.
Philips 3200’s Grinder
With ceramic burrs, forget the burnt taste in your brew in Philips 3200. The hopper is present at the back of the top with a smoky lid to protect beans from UV radiation.
The cover also has a rubber fitting to safeguard the freshness of your beans.
Philips’s grinder comes with 12 grind size settings, and the dialer is right inside the hopper.
This machine also comes with a bypass doser and a scoop to brew decaf or other specialized coffee. The capacity of the hopper is 275 grams.
Philips 3200 directly grinds, doses, tamps, and brew through the double spout, no portafilter in this machine.
Also, the spout offers a lot of space between the drip tray and can adjust bigger cups. It’s one of the largest species that I have seen in a super-automatic machine.
- It has an intuitive touch display, which is very modernized for its low price.
- The machine is very affordable compared to other super-automatic espresso devices.
- Many indicators to inform you of descaling, cleaning, water tank empty, empty the coffee puck container, etc.
- It’s easy to use, easy-to-clean.
- We cannot ignore the fact that it’s completely plastic.
- The touch display is very sensitive.
Should You Buy An Espresso Machine With A built-In Grinder?
I suppose you are thinking about upgrading your coffee game with freshly-grind coffee to brew espresso shots.
In that case, a multi-functional machine will be a more affordable and advanced selection compared to a separate purchase of a grinder and machine.
Before we begin, built-in grinders are an exclusive part of super-automatic espresso machines, but now you can find them in semi-automatic machines as well.
- Space saver: The first purpose these machines serve is to give your kitchen counter more space. The combined espresso machine with a built-in grinder is usually more concise than separate devices.
- Compatibility and high-end service: A high-end espresso machine will demand an advanced grinder to meet specific demands. With a built-in grinder, you get compatible products together without having to surf through the market.
- Advanced technology: It’s no mystery that espresso shots need science to extract flavors. A multi-functional machine will be more advanced and will have more technology behind it.
- Auto-dosing, auto-tamping: With a super-automatic built-in grinder espresso machine, forget the constant stressing over manual dosing and tamping. The device does it for you with single clicks and controls.
- It saves money: The cost comparison is in favor of the super-automatic espresso machine.
- Constrict: The built-in grinder will not be compatible with other brewing methods like the brewing techniques that demand a coarser grind. However, some super-automatic espresso machines provide high grind-size settings (Sage: 45 max).
- If they break, they break: Once the built-in grinder breaks down, you cannot exchange the parts or get them repaired. Fortunately, if it fails within the warranty period, the company will replace or repair your machine. To keep your grinder healthy, don’t use oily and flavored seeds in the hopper.
- Coffee wastage: There’s no way of emptying the grinder for cleaning other than grinding the whole beans out even when you don’t want to brew. This results in a lot of wastage.
What Questions Should You Ask Before Buying An Espresso Machine With A Grinder
Before buying the machine, an in-depth study of the product is essential to avoid an irresponsible purchase.
These Q&As will guide you through many such queries that will help you eliminate the machines you cannot afford and introduce you to features you’d like in the espresso machines.
How big is it?
Although super-automatic espresso machines will cover less space than a separate grinder and espresso maker, they naturally are bigger and heavier devices, given all the functions.
Depending on your kitchen counter and space, choose a machine whose size will allow you to brew without feeling cluttered.
If you have enough space on your kitchen counter, a bigger machine will be less messy than a compact one.
A smaller device will have a congested interface to put all the features together. You will have to be more precise while handing a smaller machine.
A smaller espresso machine will have a mini water tank, drip tray, and mini hopper. The cup warmer will also be small or might not even be there.
Nonetheless, it’s not that big of a problem if you can avoid these concerns. If your kitchen space can adjust to a smaller machine, the feature won’t disappoint you whatsoever.
One thing that we often ignore is the height of the machine. If you are going to place this machine below kitchen cabinets, you might not be able to use the cup warmer, refill the tank easily or use the bean hopper properly.
Check the height between your kitchen counter and kitchen cabinet and see if your machine can adjust with enough space to adapt cups on the cup warmer, pour beans without spilling.
How quickly does it brew and grind?
Super-automatic machines will auto-dose, and the time can depend on the volume of the shot you chose.
Fortunately, many high-end espresso machines allow you to set the grind amount, and the auto-tamping is pretty quick as well.
You can expect it to grind and tamp within 15-20 seconds.
With a semi-automatic, you have complete control over the ground amount, and you can brew for as long as you push the portafilter in the grinder cradle. Semi-automatic does not tamp.
Many high-end machines like the Breville Oracle allow you to set brew timer, brew volume, and brew temperature.
The ideal timing for brewing espresso shots is 20-25 seconds. Anything below 20 will stale your espresso; anything above 35 will have a bitter taste.
Some semi-automatic machines have a timer factory preset for 35 seconds, and while some might consider it an overly-extracted coffee, it does give you a strong punch.
The brewing time can also depend on the grind size.
A finer ground will over-extract the coffee and take a longer time to brew (<35), too coarse will under extract the shot and take a shorter time to brew (>20)
Overall, your machine shouldn’t be too fast, and neither too slow; the timer should be optimal and between 20-25 (sometimes 30s) seconds.
How loud is the grinder?
Noise is inevitable with a built-in grinder or even a separate grinder. But some machines, like the Delonghi La Specialista, produce significantly less sound while grinding the beans.
You can notice the less noisy feature with every portafilter-less espresso machine that comes with spouts and a hidden hopper.
The reason behind low noise is that the hopper is inside of the machine which decreases the noise. Of course, even the quietest grinder will make a good bit of sound.
It’s best to keep the baby away from the kitchen while brewing.
If you have a small apartment, you might need to consider this purchase and scrutinize your choice towards Delonghi La Specialista or Philips 3200 (if you are OK with extracting spouts.) It’s tranquil as well.
How much does it cost?
Super-automatic machines are expensive. There’s no getting around it.
A high-end, defined machine will cost you anywhere between $1800-$2500.
Fortunately, many brands have started to build semi-automatic espresso machines with a built-in grinder.
That’s a substantial relief because semi-automatic machines will cost you half or even less than super-automatic espresso machines.
Semi-automatic espresso machines can range between $500-$1000.
If you are willing to spend on built-in grinder machines, semi-automatics can be a great choice; you can enjoy the hands-on experience just like the professional baristas.
If you are willing to pay for super-automatic, there’s no comparison to the flavor profile and features they provide!
How Consistent Is The Temperature And The Pressure?
Machines equipped with a PID controller, pressure controller, thermoblock technology, and dual boilers will have more control over the temperature and pressure than devices with basic-temperature technology.
Usually, a super-automatic espresso machine will have advanced technology to stabilize the temperature, unlike the semi-automatic espresso brewers.
Still, they don’t come cheap. There’s a reason why super-automatic espresso machines are so expensive.
The PID controller and thermoblock technology stabilize the temperature for consistent heat throughout the brewing process.
Single boilers cannot heat the brew well or the milk; you will notice this in semi-automatic espresso machines.
It doesn’t mean the beverage is icy; it just isn’t as hot as it should be especially if you use frothed milk.
On the other hand, a dual boiler heats the water and the milk separately. So, both of them will be equally hot and prepared together.
You don’t have to wait between extraction and milk steaming to lose additional temperature with double boilers.
How Efficient Is The Steam Wand
Steam wand introduces steam and air bubbles in the milk. The hot steam heats the water, and the air bubbles produce the milk foam.
The efficiency of the steaming wand can highly depend on the holes the rod has. More spots will produce more steam at high pressure.
Numerous holes will be smaller compared to one/two holes in the steaming wand. These smaller holes will put forth the steam with more pressure due to less space.
Super-automatic espresso machines are equipped with a more advanced automatic steaming wand that produces decent microfoam with a dual boiler.
On the other hand, the manual steaming wands will generally have one-two holes and will produce steam at lower power than high-end espresso machines.
Sage’s steaming rod also has a temperature detecting tip to detect the temperature directly from the milk.
How easy is it to use?
If you want a machine without getting into the technicality and barista skills, a super-automatic espresso machine will brew your joe cup with a single touch button.
Not only this, but many super-automatic espresso machines will also provide programmable features if you do want to try out some personalized coffee on a free day.
On the other hand, home-barista espresso machines require more in-depth knowledge about coffee and the device itself. It will take many shots of coffee before you land on your favorite taste.
Home barista espresso machines come with buttons and knobs to operate and brew. They might or might not have a digital display to exhibit what’s going in the machine and at what speed.
Touch screen super-automatic espresso machines can also be challenging to conduct if you are not used to advanced technology. Fortunately, there’s a wide range of espresso machines to choose from:
- touch screen/buttons & knobs,
- digital display/image display,
- portafilter/without portafilter.
Auto-dosing and auto-tamping are probably the most demanding espresso chore you will come across. If you still lack the skills, choose a machine that does it for you, including automatically steaming milk.
Flavor and texture of the espresso.
Espresso is a dark, dense fluid with a creamy layer of crema on the top. The right proportion for espresso and crema is 1:10. That is 1gram of crema on top of 10grams of espresso.
Espresso should be rich in colors and should have a thick density.
The colors can range from dark brown to chocolate brown as the bottom layer, comparatively a lighter brown above the bottom layer, and a silky-brown top layer as the crema.
Crema results from the oils present inside the coffee beans, and upon grinding, they come out on the surface.
Although you cannot test every machine for its flavors and textures, look out for these features. Espresso flavors and textures depending on several things;
- The coffee beans you choose for brewing: Freshly roasted beans with a dark-to-medium tone. They should have a matte finish to suit your bean-to-cup espresso machine. Always use beans that were roasted and delivered to you within a month. Most of the high-quality brands dispatch coffee beans with the roast date on the packet.
- The grind size settings: To brew espresso, you must grind the whole beans to a fine level. A fine grind will ensure more flavors and textures to the coffee because every particle of the coffee bean would be churned to dust for facilitating a darker, dense extraction. A coarse grind will never extract as many flavors because they are packed together. Water cannot soak inside thoroughly with coarse whole beans’ ground.
- Tamping: Without proper tamping, your coffee grounds will be loose and uneven. A loose coffee puck will result in an uneven extraction, and too tight of a tamp will not allow water to soak in with the coffee properly.
- Extraction Time: The right extraction period for brewing espresso shots is 20-25 seconds.
- Extraction temperature: The right temperature to pull an espresso shot is 195-200 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the espresso machine provides the finest grind size setting, auto-tamping/stainless steel tamper, an accurate extraction time and temperature, you are bringing a suitable device at home.
Does it include a tamper, knock box, and a milk jug
High-end espresso machines either provide automatic tamping (super-automatic espresso machines) or a stainless steel tamper (semi-automatic).
If it comes with a plastic tamper you will have to buy a stainless steel model for consistency and durability issues.
A knock box is a dispensing container used while tamping and removing the coffee puck from the portafilter before brewing.
Super-automatic machines or portafilter-less espresso machines will not come with a knock box because they auto-tamp and auto-dose your shot without air exposure.
Mostly, machines either offer a knock box or a milk jug. The milk jug is a stainless steel addition to steam milk. Sage’s Barista express offers a milk jug with a temperature color stick to display its temperature.
Does it come with single or double-sized filter baskets?
Single-sized filter baskets hold less amount of coffee ground to brew a single shot. They have a funnel-shape to fit in the portafilter. Single-sized filter baskets can usually contain 7-12 grams of coffee ground.
Double-sized filter baskets can have a capacity of 12-21/22 grams of coffee ground.
These baskets have a round bottom or slightly tapered bottoms. Bigger filter baskets will brew double shots.
Both the baskets have extraction holes to extract espresso.
Filter baskets go inside the portafilter and the grinder cradle for catching grounds and extraction.
Super-automatic espresso machines that extract through spouts do not come with a portafilter or baskets because they do it all for you inside the brewing unit.
What Is The Difference Between The Various Espresso Machines?
As the name suggests, espresso machines are divided by the amount of automation they provide.
Would you prefer automation and programmability together, or would you like to try home-barista skills to level up your espresso game?
Depending on the budget and your preference for automation or programmability, you can choose between semi-automatic, fully automatic, and super-automatic machines.
Please note: A super-automatic espresso machine will be more expensive than a fully- and semi-automatic espresso machine.
Also, espresso machines with a built-in grinder will be more expensive than a grinder-less machine.
Semi-automatic espresso machine
Semi-automatic espresso machines are the most preferred espresso brewers because they allow you the privilege to brew your personalized cup without the factory preset settings.
Semi-automatic espresso machines now come with a built-in grinder. So, you can try your hands on the device while also grinding together.
- These machines are affordable because the espresso science is in your hands.
- They are home-barista machines.
- You can manually dose and tamp with these machines.
- There’s no automatic steaming wand.
- With semi-automatic machines, you have the power to start and stop the brew.
- These machines come with a portafilter.
Fully-automatic Espresso machines
Fully-automatic is the junction between semi-automatic and super-automatic espresso machines. These will provide automation but will still give you the freedom for some manual work.
- Fully-automatics are slightly more expensive than semi-automatic machines.
- They allow you automation with minimal programmability.
- You manually dose, tamp with these machines.
- It comes with a fully-automatic steaming wand to steam without troubling you.
- The device auto-brews your espresso shots. With a single touch, you can brew espresso without having to pause it manually. You also don’t need a timer because the machine does it for you.
- These machines come with a portafilter.
Super-automatic espresso machines
These are the most-advanced espresso machines you can buy.
They are automatic and equipped with infinite features, including advanced technology, PID controller, dual boilers, Pressure controller, and whatnot.
- The most expensive espresso machines in the market.
- These provide automation at every step. Not just that, you can switch to infinite programmability with these machines as well. So, you have both automation and yet personalization.
- The machine auto-doses and auto-tamps the coffee ground. (Please note: These machines do not allow you to manually tamp if you are using the built-in grinder)
- A fully-automatic wand that you can customize.
- These machines can have a portafilter.
- The machine auto-brews but still allows you the options to change the brew time, brew temperature, milk temperature, texture, pre-infusion period, shot volume, etc.
- These machines either come with a portafilter or have spouts to extract espresso.
Do All Espresso Machines Grind Beans.
No, not every espresso machine will grind for you.
Apart from super-automatics, whose prominent feature is a built-in grinder, Semi-automatic espresso machines and fully-automatic espresso machines may or may not come with a built-in grinder.
There are grinder-less options for you in the market; those are semi- and fully-automatic espresso machines.
A super-automatic espresso machine will always come with a built-in grinder. There’s no other way around.
Which Grind Setting Should You Use For Espresso?
Every espresso machine will come with factory preset grind size settings. Depending on the particular device and the number of grind size settings, you may expect a wide range of variations.
Some machines offer 1-8 grind size settings, which is not enough if it has a coarser factory preset.
Sage’s Barista Express offers 45 grind size settings, and that’s a lot! You can have a lot of variety and choices to brew just the perfect cup for you.
If your espresso machine offers 1-8 grind size settings, the factory will usually preset it to 3-4 fineness. You can change this grind size setting after brewing a couple of shots or as the company suggests.
With an espresso machine that offers 30+ grind size settings, there’s a lot of room to test which fine grind is the one for you.
Usually, these built-in grinders will favor espresso grind size settings because their default is to brew espressos.
A machine with 45+ settings will have a factory preset of 30.
You can change it later after tying 3-4 shots. These shots will tell you the level of fineness the factory preset will provide.
You can then change it to coarser if it’s too dark and dense for you, or you can change it to a more refined setting if the shot is too thin and light.
1-5 is considered the right grind size setting.
Your result should be a fine coffee ground puck without uneven filtration of bigger coffee chunks. It should have the texture and density of talcum powder.
How Many Seconds Should You Grind Beans For Espresso?
The ideal time for grinding is 20-35 seconds. It can also depend on the amount you are grinding; one-shot takes 15-20 seconds.
There is no hard-fast rule, if you find that you like your beans a little less fine and you only need to grind them for 20 seconds then go with that.
It will always come down to your preference and the flavor profile that you enjoy the most.
Do Hand Grinders Make Fine Enough Grinds For Espresso?
Hand grinders or manual grinders are assumed to be average-grinding tools, but the result might surprise you.
Some out-of-the-box hand grinders can and will grind whole beans fine enough to brew espresso.
But manual grinders will take a lot of effort on your hand; you will have to grind harder and longer for espresso.
Hand grinders come with 1-8 grind size settings, which competes with some of the high-end separate electric grinders.
It can be harder to dial in different settings every time you are grinding, but hand grinding is worth the pleasure.
It provides an integrated feel while grinding, the sound is pleasant, and you can enjoy the whole process if you avoid the sore muscles it comes with.
Baristas don’t recommend hand grinders for espresso because you will have to rotate the handle for a very long time to grind less than 50 grams of beans.
Hand grinders are still an exquisite addition to your kitchen, even if you already have an electric grinder or a built-in grinder espresso machine. These will come in handy when you are out of electricity, as a conversation piece, or traveling outdoors.
What Is More Important When Making Espresso, The Machine, Grinder, or Beans?
It’d be unfair to pick a single choice because every step while brewing espresso is equally crucial.
Choosing the right beans is necessary. Finding the grinder that grinds fine is essential, and an espresso machine that provides the correct pressure, brewing time, and brewing temperature are equally important.
Why are whole beans necessary?
As discussed, the wrong whole beans such as lightly-roasted, weak-colored beans will never extract rich crema or rich flavors in your espresso shots because the young roastery age doesn’t extract full flavors in the beans and neither the oils.
Espresso demands whole beans that have been slow-roasted for a more extended period to give their authentic dark-rich-brown colors with visible oils on the surface.
Please note: These oils should be evaporated in the sunlight before using them in the super-automatic espresso machine to avoid damage.
Why is a grinder equally important while brewing espresso?
Espresso needs the finest of fresh-coffee beans because these finely grind coffee beans provide more surface for water to soak in thoroughly and extract all the flavors.
With a fine grind, oils and flavors are on the surface and entirely exposed in the portafilter for extraction.
Since espresso machines use bar pressure to extract shots, the process is faster and requires a quicker mechanism and collision of coffee ground and water.
A coarser grind will never give you espresso because it’d be too light and thin to be called espresso shots.
A coarser grind will not completely expose its flavors and oils since they are crumbs of packed coffee.
The extraction period would be too short for the water to get inside coarser coffee beans and extract rich espresso. Thus, without an efficient grinder, espressos will never be espressos.
Why is the espresso machine important?
As I have said multiple times, espresso demands science and advanced technology because it uses bar pressure to brew shots.
Without an espresso machine and the bar pressure mechanism, you can never brew espresso because the pressure is not something you can attain manually.
Thus, an espresso machine is a significant part of the whole brewing process. These machines also ensure the right brewing time and brewing temperature.
We can say espresso machines top the game of importance at the base level because you can brew espresso without whole beans (pre-ground coffee) or a fine grinder. Although it would be a stale espresso, it would still be an espresso.
But you can never brew espresso without an espresso machine. So, that’s that.
(An undefined grind will still brew espresso; it might not be an excellent shot, it’d still be a shot. But without the espresso machine and the pressure, you cannot brew! That’s a fact!)
How To Make A Great Cup Of Espresso
Espresso’s richness can depend on very delicate details in the brewing process.
It’s essential to master these little details to brew your cup of joe. These include the right temperature, the correct grind size, freshly roasted beans, the proper dosing, preheating the machine, manual tamping, pre-infusion, etc.
While there’s a lot to cover, you can master this coffee brewing art within a couple of days with precise focus and dedication.
Espresso is best tasted when it’s hot. A cold espresso shot will taste sour and flat even with the milk.
Thus, it’s necessary to heat your machine correctly, including all its equipment, and set the right temperature during the complete brewing process.
Preheating involves heating the whole system for 20-30 minutes. To heat the complete unit, turn on your machine and allow it to warm up for 15-30 minutes before brewing.
Super-automatic espresso machines do not require a preheat because they are equipped with advanced technology to heat the device in a couple of seconds (max 3 seconds).
That’s not all; most espresso machines come with a cup warmer to heat the cups because pouring in a cold cup will disturb the temperature. (Semi-automatic espresso machines might not warm your cups enough. )
After warming your cups, preheat your brewing unit, portafilter, and baskets by backflushing them with hot water. To rinse the tools, lock your portafilter with the baskets and attach them to the group head.
Make sure your water tank is full, and then click the brewing buttons. Hot water will spout out of the portafilter; your machine is warmed up!
The brewing temperature must always be between 195 degrees Fahrenheit to 205 degrees Fahrenheit; colder than this would result in a sour espresso shot.
Brewing temperature and drinking temperature are two different things.
Never drink your espresso shot at 200 degrees; it will scald your tongue and deprive you of the real coffee taste. The ideal drinking temperature is 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit.
Super-automatic espresso machines allow you to change the brewing temperature with actual degrees.
The Semi-automatic machine will provide you three levels of temperature: low, min, and max.
Soft or filtered water
Your espresso shot has a ratio of 1:2 (1gram of coffee ground results in 2gram of extracted espresso shots).
Water and water’s quality is just as equally important as the coffee beans. Now, you might wonder, water is water, but there’s a great variety of water that might make or break your espresso machine.
You must have come across four famous water types: distilled water, hard water, soft water, and filtered water.
- Hard water: Hard water will result in limescale. Limescale is the buildup of minerals in the valves, tubes, and boiler.
Prolonged scaling of minerals will degrade your espresso machine by thinning the outlets and reducing the machine’s heating capacity. Hard water usually contains calcium and magnesium that result in limescale.
You will need to descale the unit frequently if you are using hard water every day. Thus, many espresso machines come with a rigid water strip to test your water’s hardness.
If it’s too hard, you will have to descale the unit every month. (Descaling instructions are written on the manual and the descaling cleaning powder comes with the machine itself)
If possible, it’s best to avoid descaling and hard water to prevent degradation in your machine.
- Soft water: It has no calcium or magnesium content. Soft water only contains sodium, which results in the salty taste of the water.
- Distilled water: Distilled water is obtained by boiling the water. Purifying the water ruins all the mineral content in the water. Thus, it’s not recommended.
- Filtered Water: This water doesn’t altogether remove the minerals but only the chlorine in the water. Many espresso machines come with a filter to filter the water.
Water hardness strip test:
Espresso machines offer strip tests to test the hardness of the water. These strips change color according to the hardness of the water.
The color palette is present in the espresso machine; there are four to five hardness levels, starting from soft water (0 ppm) and the last color denoting (500+ppm), indicating hard water.
Dip the strip in the water and match the color to detect your water’s hardness. Another way to test your water’s hardness is using soap. Soft water will create a lot of foam, and hard water will create thin foam.
Perfect the grinding of your espresso beans
Grinding is significant while brewing. The perfect fine grind will make your espresso taste delicious.
The grind settings can highly depend on the individual machines. Every machine will have different factory stepped settings.
While some grinders will provide fine perfection at the dialer 5, others might not be as efficient. Super-automatic espresso machines offer a wide range of fine grind sizes.
Semi-automatic espresso machines will also grind fine, but they won’t have as many settings as the super-automatics.
To adjust to your new grinder, brew the initials shots with the factory settings. These initial shots will tell you a lot about the grind size settings and if you’d want a finer ground or coarse ground.
If the espresso shot is too weak, light, and thin, dial the grinder’s setting to a finer number.
If the espresso is too thick, dark, and bitter, adjust the grinder to coarser settings. Please note: Always change the grind size settings while the grinder is in operation. Please don’t do it when the grinder is not functioning; it might damage the dialer.
Practice your tamping technique
Tamping is very crucial to brewing the perfect espresso cup. Before that, what exactly is tamping?
Tamping evens out the coffee ground surface and levels the ground particles. You pressure down the loose ground into a packed coffee cake inside the filter basket.
There’s a specific tool to tamp your coffee ground. Many espresso machines offer stainless steel tamper for your accurate tamping.
Don’t ever depend on the plastic tamper; it can never correctly tamp the coffee ground or even-out the surface.
The tamper is a round metal disc with a handle. The correct tamping will level your loose coffee ground without leaving any cracks or creases behind.
To tamp, apply gentle pressure on the coffee ground with a tamper (It has the same diameter as the filter basket.) Please don’t use too much force while tamping; let it be gentle and light-handed.
If your coffee ground is packed beautifully without any holes, it’s good to go, but if there are holes, disturb the filter basket again and tamp again. There’s another tool that tests and removes uneven surfaces; it’s called a razor.
Super-automatic espresso machines tamp automatically without the need for a tamper.
Learn how to steam milk manually
While super-automatic espresso machines automatically steam and froth milk, semi-automatic espresso machines will require manual action.
To manually steam and froth milk, use a pitcher and a stainless steel steaming wand.
For a cappuccino, you need microfoam milk. For a latte, you will only need hot/steamed milk.
To create microfoam bubbles, place the steaming tip ½ inch under the milk surface. This proximity will allow the steaming tip to source air from the body.
Frothing the milk doubles up its volume. So, when you are frothing for cappuccino, always fill the pitcher with ⅓ of milk.
Please don’t put the steaming tip right at the surface or above it because that will create giant bubbles instead of micro-foam bubbles.
Once the required amount of foam is met, you can dip the tip further inside to eliminate surface air involvement.
For a latte, you don’t need microfoam but only steamed milk. Steamed milk can be obtained by merely heating the milk.
Please note: The accurate temperature for steaming/frothing milk remains 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below this temperature will let the milk dominate the espresso instead of the coffee’s taste.
Anything above 160 degrees Fahrenheit will burn the milk and ruin your coffee; thus, make sure to measure your temperature while steaming milk.
Super-automatic espresso machines allow you to set milk temperature.
These espresso machines will sense the temperature either from the drip tray sensor or from the milk pitcher or directly from the milk (Sage offers this sensor tip to sense straight from the milk)
As a novice, rotate the jar clockwise to heat the milk thoroughly and maintain a beautiful swirl movement inside it.
Once you start to get used to the steaming wand, find a permanent position to swirl the milk without moving the pitcher.
A stable pitcher will provide accurate micro-foam.
What Is The Difference Between Steaming And Frothing Milk?
Steaming milk simply means heating the milk in the pitcher. On the other hand, frothing the milk means creating microfoam in the milk and doubling the it’s volume.
Latte usually needs steamed milk (hot milk without the microfoam), and cappuccinos demand microfoam milk.
To steam, dip the steaming wand deep inside the pitcher to avoid air introduction in the milk.
On the other hand, for microfoam bubbles, dip the tip ½ inch below the milk surface; this position will facilitate air bubbles in the milk creating microfoam.
You will still need to heat the milk throughout the surface. While creating microfoam at the tip, submerge the steaming wand occasionally to warm the lower body of milk.
What Maintenance Is Involved With An Espresso Machine
Like every other device, espresso machines also need regular, weekly, monthly, and yearly maintenance.
An espresso machine’s components are a built-in grinder, brewing unit, group head, shower screen, portafilter, filter baskets.
All of these should be cleaned after every use.
It’s not as hard as it might sound. To brew fresh coffee every day without the stale test of leftover coffee/milk, you must clean the outlets to keep the machine as fresh as a daisy.
The cleaning cycle is pretty simple and requires rinsing after every brew. Rinsing in itself is pretty straightforward.
To rinse, empty the baskets and pull a couple of blind shots through the portafilter without adding coffee. These espresso machines come with a cleaning kit, tablet, cleaning disc to clean the outlets properly.
Please note: Always use the cleaning tablets when it’s utmost necessary, you don’t need to clean it every day with a tablet, hot water will do just fine.
Wipe the wand with a damp cloth every time you steam milk. The machine then auto-purges itself to remove leftover milk from the steaming rod.
If your device doesn’t auto-purge, you can purge it manually as well by allowing hot water to pass through the steaming wand.
Monthly steam wand cleaning will require dissembling all the steaming wand parts and soaking them in the cleaning solution for 20-30 minutes.
This cycle will unclog the holes altogether; you can rinse the parts, assemble them back again.
The grinder shouldn’t be washed with water as the conical burrs might get damaged. To clean the grinder, use the cleaning brush that comes with the unit and brush away all the fine coffee leftovers.
Many super-automatic espresso machines allow you to remove the upper burr, making the grinder easy-to-clean.
For monthly clean-up, you can vacuum the coffee particle away from the grinder. Daily cleaning the grinder with a brush will increase your machine’s longevity.
If you are using hard water, your machine will require descaling every month to remove the scale buildup.
Most of the super-automatic espresso machines will notify you when the device requires descaling.
Descaling is an easy chore, simply fill the water tank with descaling powder, run blind shots to empty the water tank. Once the step is done, refill clean water in your water tank and pull blind shots until the whole water tank is empty.
Espresso machines come with 2-3 years of warranty, and you can change the essentials parts if at fault. Contact the company and initiate the replacement process.
You can have a top of the line machine and use the best green coffee beans but if you’re using an inferior grinder that isn’t consistently giving you the correct grind size you’re going to either under or over-extract your espresso resulting in a bitter undesirable experience.
If you’re in the market for a new espresso machine, do yourself a favor and buy an espresso machine with a grinder.