OK those of us who care already have a machine, but there are a new top 3. Not sure, but I think the 3rd one may be a toaster.
Test results for 15 manual and semi-automatic espresso machines priced between $299 and $995
(hopefully choice won't get upset with me for stating their test results and using their images here ...)
MAGIMIX L’Expresso Program Automatic 11233, $499
SUNBEAM Café Latte EM5600, $299
DELONGHI Le Cube EN185.5M+ Aerocinno, $449
some good tips
- The standard amount of ground coffee for an espresso is 7 grams for 30 mL of water. If you like your coffee stronger and with more flavour try increasing it to 8 or even 9 grams (if you dare!). Or try reducing the amount of water to about 20-25 mL.
- If you are making a short black don’t run more than 30 mL of water through the machine as it will remove flavour and make the coffee too bitter.
- Always use fresh water straight from the tap or bottled water that doesn’t have a chlorine flavour.
- During the warm up period keep the group handle in the group head so that every part of the machine that comes into contact with the coffee gets hot.
- A warm cup keeps the coffee hot which in turn keeps milk coffee frothy. Some machines have an inbuilt cup warmer, or just run some hot water from the machine into the cups instead.
- If you like milk coffees consider buying a thermometer for your frothing jug. Milk should be heated to around 65-70◦C, any higher you risk burning it.
- Be sure to froth your milk straight after making an espresso, if you wait the coffee will cool down and the crema will start to disappear.
- Aim for a creamy froth with tiny bubbles. Every machine is different so it’s a good idea to experiment with the steam operation. Ideally, steam should be constant and strong so you can froth the milk quickly.
- After frothing, bang the jug on the table to remove the larger bubbles, swirl it around, bang it again and then pour it straight onto the coffee. Clean the nozzle with a sponge between goes.
- Run a small amount of water though the machine after frothing milk to cool the internal parts down. This is important if you are going to make more coffees as the extra heat from the frothing process can burn the grind.
- Play around with different brands and roasts to see which suits you best. One of our testers swears by using local beans over the major players, which he believes to be fresher than those available in supermarkets.
- For the best and freshest tasting coffee, grind your beans just a few minutes before you use them.