The fragrance of the first coffee of the morning is a small, vital moment of pleasure for the majority of Italians. A sort of sacred ritual that must be performed perfectly. But to prepare a good espresso you need to have the right tools.
It is not enough to buy the best quality of coffee. First of all you need to know how to recognize and choose the best coffee machine.
There are different types of professional coffee machines for sale on the market that promise to give you an espresso as good as the one in the bar. At the time of purchase, it is therefore normal to find yourself a little confused in front of the various models, the complicated descriptions and the infinite features you have never heard of before.
Having some difficulties and not being able to make a decision is perfectly understandable and for this reason it is important to inform yourself well on the subject.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an expert barista to know how to choose the right professional coffee machine. Just read up a little about the most important things, which will guide you in choosing the perfect coffee machine for your needs.
The first step is to be able to understand which type of machine is right for you. Next you will have to evaluate the main features of each model, to understand which is the best.
To help you choose the perfect espresso machine for you, we have prepared this article in which we will learn in detail the main types and the most important features that must be evaluated before purchase.
Professional coffee machine for bars or home… what does it change in the choice
Those who love traditional espresso, with an intense aroma, are inclined to think that the coffee in the bar has no equal. Many enthusiasts are persuaded that the drink extracted outside the home is tastier than that obtained with the traditional coffee maker or with electric machines.
In reality, every coffee machine works the same way: both home and professional machines have a similar scheme and their mechanism is the same. All machines have a boiler in which the water heats up. For a good coffee, the temperature must be between 90 ° and 96 °.
Subsequently, the water goes upwards and passes through the pressed coffee powder, which is enriched with the organoleptic characteristics of the blend. Finally, it arrives in the cup.
Why is coffee from the bar better?
In reality, there are two secrets to obtaining an espresso like the one of the bar:
- the variety of blends used;
- the type of coffee machine.
As for the quality of the coffee, the choice depends entirely on your tastes. There are now different types of coffee on the market, from Arabica to more robust blends, which allow you to experiment and find the aroma you prefer.
For a coffee like the one in the bar, you have to learn how to buy a pure powder and how to preserve the beans to preserve their aroma over time.
However, the real difference is the coffee machine. The professional machine has a larger boiler that keeps the water temperature constant. A bar serves a large number of coffees throughout the day and always has to ensure an optimal aroma for customers.
To enjoy a coffee as good as the one of a bar at home, it is necessary to dedicate more time to home preparation and choose a manual coffee machine that can balance the water temperature.
What are the types of coffee machines on the market?
There are 4 main types of coffee machines and each of them prepares the drink in a different way. Precisely for this reason, it is important to know the characteristics of each one, in order to choose the one that best suits your tastes and needs.
Main types of professional coffee machines for home use:
- Lever machines;
- Capsule machines;
- Automatic machines;
- Pod machines.
Lever coffee machines
Lever coffee machines represent a real turning point in the extraction of coffee. Designed at the end of the nineteenth century, manual coffee machines made it possible to serve the customer immediately whenever he wanted a coffee.
Thanks to this machine, therefore, the bar customer no longer had to wait at the counter for his cup of coffee but could drink it instantly. And this is how the Italian coffee par excellence that we still drink today was born: espresso.
This system was revolutionary both in terms of taste and in terms of people’s daily habits, leading to the birth of tasting circles, first in Italy and then in the rest of Europe.
This type of coffee machine is the one we still use today, as it allows you to have full control over the preparation of the drink. It is in fact thanks to the lever that whoever prepares the drink can determine how long the water will remain in contact with the coffee.
In addition to managing the water temperature, the manual coffee machine allows you to manage the pressure during coffee extraction.
So you can coordinate the extraction according to your tastes. This allows you to obtain an intense and incomparable coffee in terms of flavor. In addition, the total control over the extraction ensures that the organoleptic characteristics of the drink remain intact and, indeed, are enhanced.
The peculiarity of the manual coffee machine is precisely in the lever. To prepare the coffee, the latter is lowered, generating a vacuum in the tank. The thrust activates the mechanism that allows the water to pass through the pipes, reach the powder and arrive in the cup.
If you are a coffee enthusiast, the lever coffee machine is the ideal choice. Thanks to this equipment, in fact, you can prepare a traditional espresso, preserving the gestures and the ritual dimension that have made its history.
Capsule coffee machines
In recent years these coffee machines have become very popular in Italian offices and homes. They are the modern version of the pods, but they should not be confused.
Both machines use single-serving portions of coffee, but the coffee in the pods is pressed and sandwiched between two layers of rice paper, while the capsules are usually contained in a plastic or aluminum casing and have a conical shape.
They are much loved for their practicality: just insert a capsule and press the button to activate the delivery.
One of their strengths is the freshness of the coffee. The powder is dosed in advance and the coffee keeps its characteristics intact thanks to the casing.
However, in addition to the high cost of the pods, they have another flaw: after the machine has been turned off for a few hours, the first coffee is usually unpleasant, which could ruin the start of your day.
This equipment do not allow you to have control over the factors that influence the extraction of coffee, such as water temperature and pressure. The only possibilities for customization are at the time of purchasing the capsule. In fact, on the market, there are different types of capsule to prepare coffee-based drinks:
- large coffee;
- hot chocolate;
In general, capsule coffee machines are very compact, and you must buy a quality product so that they do not discolor or deteriorate over time.
Furthermore, it would be good if it had a special collector in the lower part of the machine to throw away the exhausted capsules. Unfortunately, these devices are not environmentally friendly. The capsules have a rather high environmental impact, unlike traditional coffee machines.
Automatic coffee machines
Automatic Coffee Machines are equipped with an internal grinder and therefore for their use, it is necessary to purchase coffee beans. This type of machine allows you to control the degree of grinding of the coffee, however, it does not allow you to manage the extraction phases of the drink.
The advantage of this equipment is in the freshness of the coffee. Coffee begins to lose its organoleptic characteristics right from the grinding, due to the high content of volatile substances. Therefore, to preserve the product and have excellent quality coffee, it is necessary to use coffee beans, to be ground only at the time of use.
The automatic machine allows you to obtain an optimal result since it grinds only the coffee needed to prepare one or two cups at a time.
This solution is compatible with the environment: the waste is collected in an internal container that can be emptied directly into the organic waste.
In terms of cost, coffee beans have much lower prices than ground coffee. And it’s much cheaper than pods or capsules.
The automatic coffee machine is not as widespread as other types of coffee machines, as it is available on the market at quite high prices.
These appliances have a system that allows you to customize the temperature, intensity, aroma, and length. Some models even allow you to store each user’s personalized settings.
The main difficulty in using automatic coffee machines is maintenance. The brew group must be cleaned every week and the drip tray must be emptied daily. Also, every month it is necessary to lubricate the internal parts of the machinery.
Pod coffee machines
They are compact machines that use single-dose pods to prepare the drink. The coffee powder, contained between two layers of filter paper, is inserted into a special arm through which, once the machine is activated, the hot water will pass. The espresso delivered by this type of machine is often less full-bodied than that produced by the others. This makes them suitable for lovers of long American coffee.
Pod machines consist of an arm that contains the filter and the spout from which the coffee flows, unlike those with capsules which have a compact body.
The pods do not keep the characteristics of coffee for a long time, so they must be consumed quickly so that the taste remains unchanged over time.
Consider that these appliances allow you to prepare a coffee or two at a time, and you need to bring the water to the right temperature before using them.
Each type of machine has its strengths and weaknesses which can be evaluated according to your needs. However, some technical features go beyond personal taste and that certainly should not take second place when choosing your new coffee machine.
This equipment can be made of different materials, including plastic, brass or stainless steel. Therefore, prices vary depending on the choice. When purchasing, it is important to consider how the internal parts are built, since they are those that come into contact with water at a high temperature. They can be subject to wear and, over time, they could release toxic substances.
The price may vary depending on the features chosen. Some pod coffee machines allow you to prepare different types of drinks and also work with ground coffee.
What should be considered in order not to make a mistake in choosing the coffee machine
Once you have identified the type of espresso machine that can suit you, you will need to evaluate 5 fundamental points to be able to find the perfect model.
Drinks you want to prepare
The drinks you plan to make play an important role in choosing a coffee machine for home use. Usually, coffee machines are suitable for preparing various drinks in addition to the classic espresso. For example, American long coffee, cappuccino and even tea and infusions. If you intend to use it mainly to prepare an excellent espresso coffee, there is no doubt: the lever coffee machine is the one for you.
The steam wand
This is a very important element, present in most professional coffee machines. The steam wand is essential for preparing drinks such as cappuccino. It is therefore very important to evaluate well the material used for the realization of this element. A steel marker is preferable to a plastic one, the latter, in addition to having a shorter duration, often tends to alter the flavor of drinks.
The material with which it was made
The materials used for the construction of the coffee machine play a fundamental role in the choice of these domestic appliances. The duration of the machine and the quality of the drinks produced depend on them. Many modern coffee machines are made with various plastic components, however it goes without saying that the classic stainless steel and brass remain the best materials for the realization of these products.
They may seem like secondary aspects, but design and dimensions should not be underestimated when choosing the perfect coffee machine. Thanks to the various offers on the market, it will not be difficult to find the model that best suits your needs. Usually, the dimensions of each machine are shown in the product datasheet. By viewing the datasheet, you can be sure to buy a product that can adapt to the space you have available and have other useful information.
Given the different needs that our customers may have, we at Pontevecchio offer two different models of lever coffee machines: export and luxury.
Buying a good professional coffee machine involves a more or less high expense, and for this, it is necessary to carefully evaluate the longevity of the chosen product.
Obviously, machines built with more precious materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, and brass will be more durable than those made of plastic or other less resistant materials.
If you are looking for a coffee machine that can give you every morning an authentic espresso like the one you are used to drinking at the bar, the choice can only fall on a lever machine.
Why choose lever coffee machines?
If you are a true lover of Italian espresso, no doubt remains: lever coffee machines are the only ones that will be able to ensure the quality standards you are looking for. This type of coffee machine is a classic choice, which almost a century after its invention remains the only one able to guarantee an excellent drink.
The main advantages of lever coffee machines are:
- extraction management;
- always clean water;
- quality of materials;
- high longevity;
- low environmental impact.
The lever machines are the only ones that allow you to independently manage the extraction of espresso coffee so that you can bring out the taste and aromas of your favorite blend.
The quality and efficiency of Pontevecchio coffee machines are guaranteed by the production and manual assembly, as well as by the long experience of our company in the production of high-quality machines for home use or for catering.
Our machines are made using only the best materials in order to make them last longer.
Finally, choosing a Pontevecchio lever coffee machine means choosing the solution with the lowest environmental impact. Unlike modern pod machines, ours are completely mechanical and do not require excessive use of plastic.