Buying an Espresso Machine in 2021: The Definitife Guide - Caffe2go

Exquisite sunrise to breezy evening, piping hot Espresso is a fix for every mood, weather, and season. Whether you guzzle down three cups or a single cup before setting off for work, it’s essential to enjoy the delicious Espresso every time. To ensure a consistent and delicious taste, picking up the right Espresso machine is extremely important. 

But when you look out for an Espresso machine, the bombardment of advertisements and marketing is enough to leave you clueless. Espresso machines – ranging from a few to thousands of Euros- are available with a different set of features, detailing about materials, and attractive presentation. To solve the problem of choosing the right Espresso machine once and all, I’ve come up with the best Espresso machine buying guide for you.

Types of Espresso machine

To start on the right foot, let's cover some of the basics. What's the difference between coffee and Espresso? The answer is all types of coffee are Espresso, but not every type of Espresso is coffee. So, if you're letting go espresso machine by thinking, "I'm a coffee lover," you'd better need to buy an espresso machine. It'll make every type of coffee, too. More on the difference between coffee and Espresso later, in another article. Let's come back to the topic.

There are four primary types of espresso machines available in the market.

Manual espresso machine


Manual espresso machine


The first one is a manual espresso machine. It's for those who really want to take control of their Espresso making process. As the name suggests, from grinding the coffee beans to heating at your preferred temperature – you’re fully in command. If you do everything right while preparing the hot cup of Espresso, you'll enjoy the finest taste. However, a minor mistake can spoil the drink, and you'll end up with the undesired result. That’s another negativity of a manual espresso machine, second to a time-consuming process.

Steps to operate manual espresso machine

  • Ensure there is water in the chamber
  • Turn on the machine and wait until it gets warm. Since the manual machine warms all the water inside the boiler at once, so it'll take around 15 minutes to complete this procedure.
  • Remove the portafilter handle (which holds the metal filter basket)
  • Put the pre-determined volume of coffee grounds into a filter basket and tamp manually (press down with a tool or hands)
  • Reattach the portafilter and place the cup beneath the portafilter
  • Lift the brew handle and gradually press it down to force hot water through the ground coffee
  • You can refill it with the fresh ground coffee and repeat the last step until water is there in the boiler. But once the water runs out, you have to start from the beginning.

Note: This process looks like an easy one, but it would take a lot of practice and time to learn the skill of preparing a perfect shot of Espresso with a manual machine. Also, it creates a mess and takes 20 to 30 minutes. However, it can surely get you the espresso taste of your choice, which at times can't be possible with automated machines if you have a different or unique taste preference. 

Semi-automatic espresso machine


Semi-automatic espresso machine


With an electric pump, a semi-auto espresso machine uses a motorized pump mechanism that eliminates the need for a barista to manually pump the piston to achieve the pressure needed for a shot. In other words, the barista decides when the shot is done instead of you. This gives you a large part of control over your espresso-making process besides the semi-automation. From grinding to tamping, you’re in command and can prepare coffee grounds as per your wish. It's also slightly time-taking, and you have to know how to operate a semi-auto espresso machine.

Steps to operate semi-manual espresso machine

  • Ensure there is water in the chamber
  • Turn on the machine and wait until it gets warmer (approximately a couple of minutes)
  • Remove portafilter handle (which holds the metal filter basket)
  • Put the pre-determined volume of coffee grounds into a filter basket and tamp manually (press down with a tool or hands)
  • Reattach the portafilter and place the cup beneath the portafilter
  • Press the brew switch and turn it off when the desired volume is pour-in.

Fully-automated espresso machine



A fully automated espresso maker eliminates manual control over the brewing process. It has the flowmeter along with the electric pump, and the flowmeter determines exactly how much water passes through the puck and stops the flow when the appropriate amount has filtered through. This is the only significant difference that comes with the automatic machine. Although this is a convenient way of preparing your Espresso, still you'll have to do tamping and grinding yourself like with the semi-auto espresso machine. The rest of the steps are the same.

Super-automatic espresso machine


Super-automatic espresso machine


A super-automatic espresso maker is a state-of-art machine that has a built-in coffee grinder. It also has brewing mechanisms installed that fill and tamp the filter basket. It brews a pre-determined volume of espresso and finally dumps the consumed coffee grounds into an internal waste container. A few super-automated espresso machines have automatic milk frothers or steamers that directly add the dairy element into your cup. 

So, if you're on the lookout for a quick caffeine fix, or take several espresso shots throughout the day, or don't have concerns about the intricacies of the flavor, a super-automated espresso machine is a go-choice for you. You just need to put coffee grounds and push the button. Bingo, the hot Espresso with the consistent quality and taste will be in front of you within a couple of minutes.

Steps to make Espresso with super-automated machine

  • Ensure there is water in the chamber and coffee beans in the grinder
  • Press the power button and turn on the machine
  • Place the cup under the brewing head
  • Press the release button; the machine will complete the procedure (grind the coffee beans, fill the filter basket with coffee grounds and tamp it down, brew a pre-determined volume of Espresso, and finally dump the waste into a built-in waste container). After that, it pours the Espresso into a cup.

How to choose an espresso machine: Final verdict

As you’ve come across all types of espresso makers in this espresso buying guide, you might have already figured out the one that is best fitted to your needs. However, hang on, and let's go through my choice.

Presso X: Portable coffee maker



With its compact design, you can carry it anywhere and place it at any place. Unlike the super-automated espresso maker, it doesn't occupy a large place. Traveling, road trip, or camping, and even at home; inside the bedroom – Presso X will always prepare the delicious Espresso instantly. And guess what? It comes with a rechargeable battery!

If you're a fan of capsule coffee or love ground coffee, or like both of them, again, Presso X has got you covered with its interchangeable adapters. The Presso X has an 80 ml water tank that allows you to customize your coffee size to the size you like, whether it be an espresso or a large coffee.

Presso X Specs


Grab the portable Presso X here and receive the delivery at your doorstep.

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