Steam espresso machines first came around in the late 1800s as one of the first methods of brewing espresso. Since then, the line of espresso makers has expanded. However, the humble steam machine still holds a near and dear place in the heart of those who love a simple, low-maintenance appliance that brews a strong shot of espresso.
So, to begin, there are two types of espresso machine: pump and steam. A pump espresso machine is more complicated and expensive due to the number of mechanical parts within. A steam espresso machine is a brewer that takes espresso brewing to its simplest form.
A boiler inside heats the water, creating the steam that will then let itself through the grounds, giving you a nice shot of espresso. Steam machines tend to brew hotter espresso, which can be bitter. But if you love strong coffee, it’s perfect for you. Another difference is you won’t get the crema on top of the espresso that you get with a pump machine, but you will still get to drink a wonderfully delicious shot.
Because of the streamlined, simple nature of steam espresso machines, they are relatively cheap and super easy to use.
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Why buy a steam espresso machine over a pump machine?
There are any number of reasons to buy one of these appliances. For one, it’s economical. A lack of moving parts simplifies the process of making coffee and means that you don’t have to pay for a bunch of parts.
They’re stylish. The models may be small, but they can cram a lot in design and function. Some look like they belong in a 1950s diner, which would add a perfect touch of character to your kitchen.
Because of the low cost, it can be a practical buy even for non-coffee lovers. It has multiple purposes, like brewing hot water for tea, so even if it does just sit on the counter in case of coffee emergencies, you don’t have to feel bad.
Even if you don’t like the taste of straight espresso, steam espresso machines come with a steam wand to make lattes and cappuccinos. It’s a fun way to practice, feeling like a barista right at home.
The lack of parts means that these bad boys are easy to clean, taking one more thing off your ever-growing to-do list.
Because these guys have such few parts, it’s easy to find a machine that fits in your budget. Amazon has plenty of choices as low as $35! Even with a moderate price tag, you’ll get what you need from your appliance. If you invest a little bit more, you’ll be able to get a steam espresso machine with some fun programs that makes brewing even more convenient.
These little guys are perfect for the kitchen. Unlike standard espresso makers, steam espresso machines are compact and easy to store. Some models even have cords that can be retracted.
Most have design in mind, with stainless steel finishes. Depending on your taste in style, you can definitely find a model in your price range that will fit right in your kitchen.
Even if you have a set budget, you don’t have to worry about a machine that can’t keep up with a crowd. Most can brew multiple cups, and some have the ability to brew drip coffee, so you’re getting two appliances in one!
There are some fun features that come in this fun-sized brewer. All machines come with built-in steam wands for making a latte, cappuccino, or macchiato, and a heated top cover to warm your demi cups or mugs while the coffee brews. Most models allow you to use espresso pods as well as ground coffee, depending on which you feel like having at that moment.
Some machines allow you to brew two cups at a time. They are very quick, taking only about a minute or less to brew. The machine moderates the temperature of the water, ensuring that the espresso is brewed at the correct temperature. There are some models that allow you to determine how much espresso you would like to brew at a time, ranging from one cup to about 4, though some may vary.
Parts come apart easily for easy cleanup. Most machines also tamp and dispose of the grounds for you, freeing you from the worry of cleaning up another mess.