Buying the right espresso machine for your family
Buying an Espresso Machine
by Dollar Stretcher Contributors
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Buying an Espresso Machine
My husband and I buy a lot of espresso. We're thinking of buying an espresso machine for home use. We don't know which features are important or which brands are best. Can anyone help us buy the right espresso machine?
Maintain Espresso Machine to Save
We received a basic, single serving espresso maker as a gift and it worked wonderfully for us for 16 years, making two cups every day. To keep it working well, we ran a batch of vinegar through it every four months or so. We also never used the milk steamer function, finding it easier to heat milk in the microwave for lattes while the coffee brews. The weak part of those machines seems to be the carafe (more specifically the plastic components). Replacement carafes are easy to find at a large thrift store or simply brew directly into a coffee cup.
Can’t Afford a Pricey Espresso Machine
After some experimenting, I now make espresso in my $10 drip coffee maker. I use two filters instead of one, and when it is finished dripping through, I have flavorful, strong espresso without the price of a special machine. I also shop outlet stores for marked down espresso and have found some wonderful Cuban, Costa Rican, and Mexican espressos. If you want to get really cheap, buy beans like Sumatran (rich, dark and smoky!) and grind in the store using the “Turkish” setting. I also have an iced tea pump dispenser I pour it into so I can enjoy it at leisure while not scorching it as it sits on the coffee burner.
My “Forever” Espresso Machine
I bought two electric espresso machines, which just barely outlasted their guarantees. After living overseas, I remembered the stove top espresso machines used there. The brand name is Bialetti, and they can be purchased online. You can choose an aluminum model or a more expensive stainless steel model and the replacement parts are available from the same supplier. I've replaced rubber gaskets and screens, so it's pretty much a "forever" coffee maker!
What Most Italian Households Use
The best thing to buy is an espresso pot that goes on the stove. There’s a bottom vessel that you fill with cold water and a top vessel that contains the finished espresso. There’s also a container that fits in between that you put the coffee in.
The problem with espresso machines is the whole thing has to get really hot to make the proper espresso with the “head” on top. If you're only making a couple cups at a time, it doesn't work. The pots are inexpensive and what most Italian households use. You can buy them to make two, four or eight cups at a time.
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