An espresso machine forces hot pressurised water through coffee grounds to produce rich, concentrated espresso suitable for creating lattes or drinking as is. The espresso machines available on eBay include models suitable for home and commercial use, so it is crucial to set a budget and evaluate your needs before you start shopping. Choose a suitable automation level and machine type, and look for practical features that promote ease of use.
Espresso Machine Automation Levels
Espresso machines come in four automation levels: manual, semi-automatic, automatic, and super-automatic. A manual espresso machine or lever espresso machine requires the most skill to brew good coffee. A semi-automatic espresso machine has an automated pump and automated boiler temperature controls, and manual activation switches that start and stop the pump. An automatic espresso machine has an automated pump, automated boiler temperature controls, and automated settings for specific water volumes. A super-automatic espresso machine does everything from grinding the coffee beans to brewing the coffee to clearing the used coffee grounds. Finally, a Nespresso machine produces coffee using sealed capsules. This type of machine is the easiest to use and requires the least cleaning. However, you are bound to the supplier's range of coffee types. Choose an automation level that suits your budget, preferences, and skill level.
Espresso Machine Type
Although there are numerous types of espresso machines, most fall into three broad categories. Single boiler, dual use machines have one boiler and multiple thermostats. One thermostat controls the water for brewing coffee and the other creates steam for steaming milk; the two thermostats cannot work simultaneously. Single boiler, heat exchange machines have reservoirs that remain at ideal temperatures for producing steam. As the machine draws water from the reservoir, it moves through a coiled tube that acts as a heat exchanger. These machines allow simultaneous brewing and steaming. Dual boiler machines feature two reservoirs that provide water at ideal temperatures for brewing and steaming. They allow you to brew coffee and steam milk at the same time. Dual boiler machines are the most expensive. Single boiler, dual use machines are more affordable and ideal for home use.
Espresso Machine Features
Indicator lights should be easy to see under fluorescent or other kitchen lights, and LED indicator lights are the brightest. The amount of clearance between the spouts and drip tray should be adequate to fit the cups you intend to use. Switch configurations should be intuitive and switches should be easy to reach. Stainless steel parts and accessories offer superior hygiene, effortless cleaning, and durability. Consider the ease with which you can remove parts for cleaning, and look for rubber feet and similar practical construction features.