How To Make Good (And Cheap) Espresso At Home

Rich, robust, satisfying — all of these words describe the drink known as espresso. It’s popular all over the world, especially with coffee drinkers who desire bold taste. What, exactly, is espresso? It’s basically strongly flavored black coffee that is made by quickly forcing steam through ground coffee beans. An espresso machine is needed to make the drink, with the exception of powdered instant espresso. However, most coffee drinkers can easily tell the difference between flat instant coffee and freshly made espresso. The smell of each alone is enough to send one racing for the latter.

In addition to drinking straight espresso shots, you can use this style of brew to make delicious gourmet coffee drinks. Do you like lattes, cappuccinos, and mocha? All of these are made with espresso, and the better the quality of the brew the more tasty your final drink creation will be. Making good espresso at home used to require very expensive equipment. Spending well over $500 for just one machine isn’t uncommon, and for those who savor the taste of espresso it’s a worthwhile investment. Fortunately, there are also less expensive espresso machines on the market that produce a good cup of coffee. These aren’t the cheap espresso makers of yesteryear. The modern affordable espresso machine uses a double wall basket, also known as a pressurized basket, to better extract flavor from the coffee beans.

Double wall baskets are made of mesh that has a second layer. This layer, or wall, increases the pressure created during the brewing process, and generally has just one small hole for the brew to pass through. If you’re looking for an affordable espresso machine, definitely look for one with a double wall basket. This feature is also commonly found in higher end espresso makers due to its efficiency. As pressure builds up behind the second layer of the basket, the water is able to cover a greater surface area of the grounds and draw out more flavorful oils from the beans. The double wall filter relies less on the accuracy of the user and quality of the coffee and more on the machine to produce excellent espresso.

One of the best advantages of choosing an espresso maker with a pressurized basket is it improves the consistency of your coffee and gives you more room for error. In other words, no matter how well your coffee is ground, whether your water temperature is a few degrees off, or if you haven’t tamped the coffee perfectly, you’re still very likely to get a great brew. It’s also possible to use regular, pre-ground coffee from the store in an espresso machine with a pressurized basket and still get a nice crema. For those of us who love espresso but don’t want to cough up a ton of cash, this is especially appealing.

Using high quality, fresh, finely ground coffee beans with any espresso maker is optimal, but with the right machine you’ll still get a delicious cup of coffee with little effort on your part. If you’re looking to save money and still have a gourmet coffee experience, go with an affordable espresso machine that has a double wall basket.