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espresso machines

The Convenience of Espresso Pod Machines During the Holidays

On a day-to-day basis, espresso pod machines can reign superior over more standard espresso machines because they offer the convenience of less cleanup and easier drink preparation. The disadvantages fall with the lack of control over what you’re brewing and there aren’t any extra accessories like steamers or grinders because they aren’t exactly necessary when brewing from pods. During the holidays, when there is extra chaos, guests, and traffic in your home, espresso pod machines are ideal.

User Friendly

When more people are using your machine, there is more of a chance that it could be damaged by overuse or incorrect use. This is where pod machines can be your savior because these machines are easy for anyone to use. The person who wants a cup of espresso needs only to drop a pod into the reservoir and push a button to get the brew they’re craving. All you’ll have to worry about is filling up the water tank when the indicator light tells you it’s necessary.

Space Saver

Traditional espresso machines may be bulky and take up a lot of valuable counter space that you’ll need to prepare and cook your holiday feast. Pod machines are smaller and easier to install and move around and this makes them perfect for holiday guests. You may have a lot of people staying in your home or simply coming over for the day and they all take up space on their own. This way, you’ll still be able to serve delicious espresso throughout the day or throughout the entire time you’re guests are visiting, however long that may be.

Is It Really Espresso?

There are some enthusiasts that argue about the authenticity of pod machines and the brew they deliver because they say that the method of brewing is not the same as with traditional espresso machines. The pods are packed coffee and finely ground coffee but they’re not packed the same as they would be in a portafilter and the pressurized water is not pushed through the same way. Others argue that the light foam known as “crema” present on the top of a pod-brewed espresso shot is proof that it was brewed in the correct fashion.

Unless the guests that will be attending your holiday celebrations are extremely particular about their espresso, you’ll be able to pass with espresso pods. Most people will be impressed by the gourmet quality of the brew either way and they’ll feel as if they’re in the lap of luxury as you host them.

Create a Space

Don’t be afraid to dress up your machine a little for the holidays with some festive ribbon, decorations around it, or on the surface where it’s kept. Add some holiday themed flavors to the table as well or keep some flavored creamers in the fridge for use with the espresso pods. There are also flavored pods that may attribute to the mood you’re trying to create. Keep the season alive in everything you do, including brewing espresso, with a few extras that let each person enjoy their favorites in their own way.

Accessories

Pod machines lack the accessories of traditional espresso machines and so you can’t really create lattes or cappuccinos. There are a number of pour over and stand alone steamers that are available to use alongside pod machines and you can try setting one up with your personal machine. As with the issues that come with other people using your standard machine, if people unfamiliar with steamers attempt to use one, there is a risk of the machine being damaged.

Consider employing a “family barista” to help with accessories like these. This person can be assigned to the machine and operate it for all those who don’t know how. If you have some willing to volunteer for the position during your holiday celebrations, you won’t have to worry about who else is using the machine and you won’t have to do it all by yourself.

Gift a Machine

Pod machines can be excellent gifts for people who love espresso but don’t want to deal with the complications of using a traditional machine. They tend to cost a little less, last a bit longer (depending on use), and require less maintenance. Espresso pod machines are an upgrade from the average product you see on the shelves and produce a more gourmet type of brew. The recipient of this gift won’t have to learn about the best types of beans for espresso or learn about grinders in order to fill up the portafilter for the machine since they’ll simply have to drop a pod in the reservoir.

Stock Up

You use a certain amount of espresso pods in your machine and you know how many you need but with extra people in the house, you’ll need a lot more pods than usual. Stock up on a variety of different flavors and strengths so that your guests will have plenty of options to choose from or stock up on one particular type that you usually use and if they’re not consumed, you’ll have extra when the holiday is over. Be sure to also stock up on things like sweetener and creamers that you think people may use but be wary of expiration dates. If refrigerated items are not empty when everyone’s gone, you’ll be left with the excess.

Encourage Variety

If your friends and family are familiar with pod machines or use them in their own homes, encourage them to bring different flavors for everyone to try. You can create a grab bag of sorts, do an exchange, or put the different flavors together into gift bags for each person to have a stash of their own. Enjoy the wonders and varieties of pod machines with all of your friends and family members as well as the convenience!

How To Use the Milk Steamers on Your Espresso Machine to Revitalize Your Tea Experience

Traditionally, the espresso machine is used to make espresso and the steamer wand (or wands) that are attached to the machine are used to steam milk for lattes, also made with espresso. The art of the hot beverage has come a long way and, in some cases, very old traditions have been revitalized to create brand new beverages that you may not even realize you can make using the machine that sits right in your kitchen. Explore the ways you can create lattes with tea or mix tea and coffee for combinations you’ve never imagined that will dazzle your taste buds and have you using your machine in many exciting ways.

  1. Learn How to Steam Properly

It’s likely that the steamer wand on your espresso machine has instructions that are included in the user manual, but the process can still be a bit confusing if you’ve never done it before. Trial and error might cause a lot of scorched milk, foul odors, and even injury but if you learn how to steam properly, you could turn out beautiful stiff and shiny foam for your hot beverage. Watch how it’s done, either on video or the next time your at a local café and you’ll find out that the process isn’t all that difficult once you know the details.

  1. Tea Lattes

Once you know how to make the right foam, you can top off your favorite tea to make a latte. The product of your espresso machine might be a dark brew that gives you an excellent jolt but it’s actually very light and the foam you top it off with is even lighter. The process that steamers conduct while they’re at work adds air to the milk so even though it looks thick and stiff, it’s incredibly versatile. When you top off your tea with foamed milk instead of simply adding milk after it’s brewed, you’re giving it an aesthetic charm as well as a feather light and tasty addition. Drinking tea with milk can often feel like the tea has sort of lost its constitution because the milk is a bit heavy but foamed milk is wonderfully light, giving you the creamy texture and taste you want without compromising the texture of the beverage.

  1. Frothing Different Types of Milk

Rest assured, dairy allergy sufferers, there are ways that you too can enjoy a latte. You can steam almond milk, soy milk, and a few other types to add a topping to your beverage that doesn’t upset your stomach. The milk steamers on your espresso machine can handle this job the same way they handle any other type of milk. The catch is that these non-dairy milks steam into froth at a different temperature than cow’s milk. It will take a little bit of trial and error before you’re really able to get the perfect texture but when you do, you’ll be happy you tried. In most cases, nut milks and soy milk have a much lower fat content so you won’t have to worry much about them burning or getting to hot as you steam since it’s the fat that mostly threatens the idea of “cooking” when you steam milk.

  1. Yuanyang

This is the name of a popular drink in Hong Kong that’s made from a mixture of tea and coffee. Without the same tea that they use in the region, it won’t be exactly the same when you try it at home but the alternative is still delicious. Try using one part espresso and three parts herbal tea to start out making this drink. If you use a spiced herbal tea like Bengal spice or a cinnamon blend, you can use the milk steamers on your espresso machine to create a topping that complements the brew nicely. Sprinkle a small bit of cinnamon or nutmeg on top for a special touch. Yuanyang can be enjoyed piping hot or over ice so it’s a delicious treat any day of the year. Try using different herbal teas with your espresso to create flavors you never dreamed possible.

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice

Unless you’ve used a milk steamer before, you’re probably not going to get it right the first time and you shouldn’t be discouraged by this. Keep trying and each time you’ll get better at it. Also, what works for everyone else may not work for you. There is a certain way to use the steamers on your espresso machine, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll want exactly the same consistency as the pictures or videos that teach you how to use your equipment. You may enjoy a lighter froth or a stiff and stable foam and you may not be sure what you really love. The only way to find out is to try and keep trying until you discover the best way for you. That’s the beauty of having your own machine, though. You get to use that trial and error method to find out what you like instead of simply accepting what is given to you.

Temperature Gauges and Other Such Things

There is more than one type of espresso machine out there that uses milk steamers and while many people will tell you that a temperature gauge isn’t necessary, it can come in handy when you’re steaming different types of milk or when you’re figuring out the consistency you like best. Some machines also come in the fully automatic variety so you don’t have to learn as much in order to operate them. You’re best bet is to go gourmet, and when you do it’s a good idea to pour over every feature that the machine has. Ask questions, call customer service, and find out what the machine can really do. You won’t be sorry when you’re machine is installed and you see how easy it can be to brew and top the perfect latte in the comfort of your own home.

Discover Your Coffee Personality and the Perfect Home Machine

Think about the way you like to have your coffee. Is it extra hot with foamy milk on top, a shot of espresso straight with gourmet flavor, or maybe a cappuccino with sweet additions and a beautiful garnish? You may not know what your perfect coffee drink is whether you’ve been an enthusiast for years or you’re just starting to whet your coffee curiosity. You might be surprised to know that the way you like your coffee can say a lot about you or even that the way you are could determine what your coffee bliss could be. Learn about the fun of matching coffee to personality and find the home machine that will deliver your coffee soul mate whenever you want it right in your own kitchen.

  1. What Your Favorite Drink Says About You

If you already have a favorite coffee drink, it will be fun for you to learn a little bit about what it says about you. Maybe your favorite drink doesn’t match your personality quite like you thought it would and you could be compelled to try something new, which leads to all kinds of delicious possibilities. According to an infographic that Time.com put out in April of 2014, there are a few personality traits that match up with all kinds of coffee drinks. Discover more about yours and you can find the home machine that completes you. Remember, don’t take it too seriously, coffee is about fun and energy.

  1. Espresso

Let’s explore some of the things that are attributed to most espresso drinkers. The straight shot of espresso is usually drunk by those who lean toward leadership roles, and these people mean business. They don’t have time for a full cup of coffee. They want the quick burst of gourmet flavor and boundless energy that helps them tackle challenge after challenge throughout the day. If this sounds like you, an espresso machine is a wonderful addition to your kitchen. Get your fix in the morning, after lunch for a quick boost that gets you over the midday hump, or at night when you need a little extra to keep you going until the wee hours of the morning.

  1. Black Coffee

Many people, especially enthusiasts of the best kinds of coffee, will tell you that black coffee with no extra additions can taste truly amazing. Sure, you’re skeptical, but if you’ve ever tasted what comes out of pod machines, your mind might be changed. There are a lot of flavored coffees and robust tastes that can be added to pod machines to give you the perfect cup in minutes with the touch of a button. The drinker of black coffee doesn’t want to bother with adding milk and sugar. They are the ones that give it to you straight and often the most honest of people. They want coffee in its true form, not with flavor that’s been obscured by additions. If that sounds like you, pod machines might be something you want to take a look at.

  1. Cappuccino

The cappuccino has layers, much like the person who loves to drink it. Cappuccino lovers tend to be the most imaginative of the coffee personality bunch and they’re very friendly and good at talking to people. The Frappuccino lover is similar but a little more daring. The iced nature of the drink and the embellishments on top denote a person who is very artistic and probably impulsive. We all need a little cappuccino in our lives but those who love to have one every day will benefit from the home cappuccino machine and having the ability to spark their creativity whenever they please.

  1. Lattes

The latte is like an espresso that has been dressed up and there are many kinds of espresso machines with the attachments for you to do it all in your own kitchen. The latte drinker, like the espresso drinker can be hard working but also like those who love to dress up, they also enjoy pleasing others. The latte drinker is a gentle soul, who enjoys cutting the bitterness of a strong espresso with the velvet smoothness of steamed milk. You can find an espresso machine that is all dressed up, just like your espresso will be when you turn it into a latte.

  1. The Importance of Getting the Best

Whichever home machine you choose, you should take care to choose one that is among the elite. There are a lot of different machines out there and the choice can seem almost as difficult as choosing your favorite coffee drink. Be sure to look at every feature, see how they work, ask questions about maintenance, so that you know you’re choosing the machine that matches you and your lifestyle. You’ll want something that you can operate easily and clean safely. If you take a look at a complicated machine, however shiny and enticing it is, and you’re not certain you’ll be able to operate it once it’s installed, you’ll end up with that machine sitting on your countertop unused.

Share Your Thoughts

Choosing coffee drinks according to personality traits is incredibly entertaining, as you may have learned while reading this article. Share your thoughts with your friends, including the thoughts you have about which home machine you want to include in your kitchen, and you’ll find yourself laughing and having a lot of fun choosing which coffee drinks match each other well. Who knows, you might discover a few things about yourself, your friends, and the kinds of coffee you love. Explore the gourmet experience and enjoy the nuances that every taste has to offer. There is a lot to learn about coffee and the many ways it can be prepared. When you install your new home machine, there will be no end to the combinations you’ll want to create!

How To Use Chocolate With Your Espresso Machine

Any espresso lover will tell you about the wonderful feeling they get when they take the first sip of a good cup of their favorite brew. Chocoholics worldwide spout the beauty of chocolate with flowing poetics. Imagine the fantastic deliciousness you’ll discover when you combine the two. There are many ways to use chocolate with your espresso machine, and all of them come with their own recipes and maintenance concerns for your machine. Learn about how you can create smooth and chocolaty espresso drinks right in your own kitchen.

  1. Food and Espresso Combinations

Of course, the most common way to enjoy the chocolate and espresso combination is to involve chocolate infused baked goods and other foods. Your espresso machine will produce a very strong gourmet coffee and sweet desserts are an excellent way to cut the bitterness of the drink. Chocolate brownies, cheesecake, fudge, and other rich foods have a good taste combination as well as texture, especially when the espresso is hot. Spruce up your desserts or reduce the portion of food and have a special snack that will make any day better than ever.

  1. Adding Chocolate to Espresso Grounds

Ground dark chocolate can be added to grounds before you put them into your espresso machine to brew. There are several things you need to do to prepare this mixture in order for it to combine smoothly. A burr grinder is your best option to get uniform particles that will mix well with the espresso grounds and brew correctly. Dark chocolate crumbles best and it should be dry and cool before it’s ground. Espresso is packed very finely into the basket and pressurized hot water is put through the espresso machine to make your drink. These considerations prevent clumps from forming in the basket when the grounds are tightly packed so that the water goes through them properly and your brew is smooth.

  1. Types of Chocolate to Add

As indicated in the previous step, dark chocolate that is cool and dry is the best for adding to grounds that will go into your espresso machine. There is a lot to understand about chocolate and your main issue with adding it to any kind of coffee is combining smoothly.

  • Ground chocolate is not the same as melted chocolate and if you’re looking for a sweeter taste, you can melt melted chocolate to add to brewed espresso.
  • Milk chocolate will clump when it’s ground up so it’s not a good idea to add it to espresso grounds before brewing. You can add milk chocolate shavings to hot espresso and it will melt on its own if you don’t want to melt it before adding.
  • Flavored chocolates can be added but filled chocolates don’t melt very well. The same rules apply as with unflavored chocolates. Flavored dark chocolate that is cool is and dry can be added to grounds and milk chocolate can be melted and added to a brewed drink.
  1. Cold Drink Additions

When we think about mixing chocolate and coffee, we often think about melted chocolate but there are a few ways to add chocolate to iced espresso drinks that is still well blended and delicious. The ways that additions to coffee grounds before they’re added to the espresso machine can still work with cold drinks because the espresso is first brewed and then shaken or blended with ice. You can also use chocolate ice cream, chocolate shavings, chocolate mousse, or chocolate yogurt to blend your drink. Simply add them to the ingredients to the blender and blend with chilled espresso until smooth. These drinks are perfect for a hot summer day or to serve at a party.

  1. Other Additions

Chocolate itself can be bitter when certain kinds are used and espresso is also a little bitter when served alone. There are additions that can enhance the flavor of chocolate and espresso to cut that bitterness. Sugar, flavored creamers that are typically added to coffee, and even flavored syrups are all things you can add to the chocolate. It’s a trial and error process and you’ll have to do a little experimentation to specify your drinks to your own tastes.

  1. The Importance of the Machine

The espresso machine that you choose to brew your drinks with or without chocolate plays a huge role in the finished product. A sub par machine won’t be able to give you a smooth brew, mostly because the pump may not work right or the other parts won’t last as you try to brew more than just espresso. A gourmet machine is best for any kind of high volume or extra additions. You’ll be able to experiment with your brews more and learn about making espresso in newer and better ways. When you look at the different machines, you might find that the gourmet machines do cost more but the extra money you spend will be well worth it.

Maintaining Your Machine with Additions

When you decide to use chocolate in your espresso machine, there are a few extra things you should do to maintain it. You should always look at the user manual to find out how to properly clean and maintain your machine and if you have any questions, don’t ever be afraid to call customer service. The user manual is not likely to tell you how to maintain your machine when you grind up chocolate to add to espresso grounds. Be careful of clumping and any clogs in the spot where the coffee comes out into the cup. Before you check, make sure that the machine is turned off and cooled to prevent injury due to hot water or espresso. Be careful when you melt chocolate to add to coffee for the same reasons. Otherwise, add your chocolate and enjoy the delicious combination of chocolate and espresso in your own kitchen every chance you get!

Beyond Breakfast: Get the Most Out of Your Home Machine

Most people get up and have a cup of coffee with breakfast, or before they eat anything at all. Some people have meals comprised entirely only of coffee. It’s a popular time to drink it, to get a boost for the day and feel good about moving. We see coffee as the drink to pair with baked goods, sweet treats, and sometimes eggs and bacon. What you may not realize is that coffee not only pairs well with other foods but it also helps with digestion, among many other benefits besides a beautiful taste and aroma. Learn how to recognize the meals that can be enhanced by coffee so you can get even more use out of your home machine. You’ll be surprised how much more you can do.

  1. The After Dinner Drink

One way to include the use of your home machine with every meal is to have coffee after dinner (or breakfast or lunch) to top of the way you enjoy your food. Many types of coffee drinks like cappuccino or a latte can be mixed with spices or flavored syrups to resemble something like a dessert, or even better than dessert. After you have your meal, enjoy a coffee drink and you’ll have the energy to keep going with the rest of your day. Have your workout, some after dinner conversation, and the motivation to simply get through the second half of the workday with the same fervor that you had when it began.

  1. Common Coffee Pairings

In order to recognize the meals that you can add coffee to, you should first know the common tastes with which coffee is often paired. This will tell you the best ways to include your home machine in all of your meals. Breads, other baked goods, and chocolate are the most popular tastes that people like to pair with coffee drinks. Along with those, nuts and tart fruits not only match pleasantly but also tend to cut out the bitterness that occurs with some kinds of coffee. This is also true for salty foods like the bacon and breakfast meats that often make appearances at the table in the morning. You can mix and match all of these tastes with the different kinds of coffee to make delicious combinations.

  1. Different Coffee Types

A frequent mistake that happens when attempting to pair coffee is using the wrong type of beans to brew your drink. Your home machine is not limited to one kind of coffee and you can try new brands, strengths, and flavors to find the one that works best with your meal. The espresso machine, cappuccino machine, or other kind of coffee maker you have may open your eyes to these new types of coffee, giving you a truly gourmet experience.

  1. Make Your Meals

Now that you know the basics, you can get started enjoying coffee with all of your meals. It will take a lot of trial and error to get the best combinations but after a few meals, you’ll get the hang of it and be pairing like a pro.

  • A light meal can still be combined with a good coffee drink for a healthy boost that gets you over that mid-day slump. Summer salads often include notes of citrus or strawberries that go very well with a blonde coffee. Brew this in your cappuccino machine to make it a dessert with your lunch and make it an experience instead of just a break.
  • An iced coffee drink from your espresso machine makes an excellent addition to steak and potatoes, a good burger with fries, or a chicken dinner topped with a heavy cream sauce. The result will be refreshing and will help you from feeling like you ate way too much after such a big meal.
  • Spruce up any barbeque with flavored coffee drinks using syrups and toppings that add a decadent touch to your meal. Instead of a soda, have coffee and feel a new kind of happiness the next time you eat ribs.
  1. Take it Outside the Home

These meal suggestions will make your coffee experiences even better but think of the enjoyment you can bring to your employees and colleagues if you add an espresso or cappuccino machine to your office environment. As much as you love using your home machine with every meal you make, the others at your office might get the same feeling when they enjoy coffee drinks with the things they eat. They’ll be able to have the tastes and energy boost they want without having to waste time leaving the office. Not only will you be adding a mood elevator to the environment but you might even notice an increase in productivity. When people love where they are and what they have there, they’re much more likely to want to do more with their days.

Maintaining the Extra Usage

As you begin to use your home machine more frequently, you’ll also have to maintain and clean to keep it working effectively. Check back with the users manual to find out if you’re doing everything correctly and don’t be afraid to call the customer service number if you have any questions. A gourmet experience every day and with all of your meals depends on this maintenance. You may also want to consider ordering extra parts like filter baskets and other pieces that can be removed for cleaning. This way, you can set aside parts as you use them in a basin of warm soapy water and use a new part and wait to clean them all together at the end of the day. You’ll reduce the amount of cleaning you have to do because you’ll find that cleaning several small parts together actually takes almost the same amount of effort as cleaning them one at a time. The extra cleaning and maintenance will ensure that you can enjoy coffee with every meal and learn about pairing in a taste adventure you never imagined.

Learn About The Parts of Your Espresso Machine and Make Your Drinks Like a Professional

End Espresso Machine Intimidation

When you first install your espresso machine, the look of it might be intimidating but don’t be discouraged. It won’t take long to learn about the different parts and once you do, your machine will be more like a welcome friend instead of an intimidating piece of equipment. This guide will show you the basic parts that are present on most espresso machines and the way they work. Besides familiarizing yourself with your machine and being more comfortable using it, learning about the details of how it works will help you maintain it better and prolong the life of the machine.

  1. Functioning Together

All of the parts you’re about to learn about function together to bring you a steaming cup of espresso. You’ll love the way the aroma fills your kitchen and the burst of energy you get from your gourmet experience. A high-end machine will change the way you look at coffee. The difference is that an espresso machine doesn’t simply put hot water through coffee grounds to brew your drink. Espresso beans are ground more finely and packed tight into the basket, then a pump pushes pressurized hot water through the grounds and the result is beautiful. You’ll notice it with the first tiny cup you sip and you’ll never want to go back to regular drip coffee again.

  1. Basket and Brew Head

The parts that make up the filter basket and the place it attaches to your espresso machine are called the “portafilter” and “group head (sometimes also called “brew head”). The portafilter is made up of the filter basket, which is smaller than most coffee filter baskets because you’re packing the coffee differently. It has a handle that sticks out on the front of the machine and a sort of spout on the bottom where the espresso comes out and pours into your cup. The portafilter attaches to the brew head and is secured along with a metal filter and a rubber gasket that keeps it extra tight while the pressurized water is pushed through.

  1. Front Dial Display

This is a round display with an indicator and numbers on the front of your espresso machine. Some machines have more than one dial. Essentially, this measures the pressure and temperature of the water that is coming through your machine. The gauge is really only there to show you what is happening. There is usually a dial that can change these things but it shouldn’t be necessary for you to change these functions to suit your brewing needs. If the dial shows that the pressure or temperature of the water is too high or too low, it’s mostly an indication that you should call an expert for help. Messing around with the way it works can cause unnecessary damage and even injury so it is always best to use this feature purely as a regulation tool.

  1. A Few Extras

There are a lot of different models when it comes to choosing an espresso machine and they each have different features that are other parts included on the machine. You might choose one that simply makes a shot of espresso one at a time or you might decide on something a little more complicated that produces different sized shots and also delivers plain hot water when you need it. There are still more complicated machines that also include parts to steam milk for a latte. Here are a few of the extras you can expect on some of the different varieties of machine.

  • Different sized shots produced by buttons on one side of the machine. You can choose a single shot, double shot, sometimes a triple or what is known as a long shot, which is in between a single and a double. Some machines also have a button that allows you to pour a continuous stream of espresso for the amount of time you keep the button pushed for carafes or in between sized drinks.
  • Hot water delivered by a button sometimes from the same spout where espresso comes from or from a separate spout on the machine. This is usually used for those who also like tea and want to use their espresso machine for that occasional cup. The idea is that you can have hot water whenever you need it without a wait.
  • Steaming wands give you the power to steam milk separately that is used for lattes. Most machines that include this feature also have a lever or a knob of some sort that allows you to control the temperature and pressure of the steam that comes out of the wand. It looks like a metal tube and the user puts a heat resistant cup of milk under the tube and moves it up so that the tube is submerged in the cup. The steam comes out and the user moves the cup to give all the milk universal consistency as the steaming wand works. Commercial sized machines and some professional series may include multiple steaming wands.

 

Use Your Machine Frequently

The best way to learn how to make the most delicious and professional looking drinks in your espresso machine is to use it frequently. Read the manual with care and get comfortable with each feature one at a time. Be sure to also clean your machine correctly as you use it. The manual should tell you how this is done and if you have any questions, you should not hesitate to call the customer service number and ask them. Once you’ve learned about the parts of your machine and how they work, keep making espresso. Make the drinks you love or create your own and enjoy having a gourmet experience right in your kitchen.

The Costs and Benefits of Your Next Double Boiler Espresso Machine Purchase

Your Espresso Machine Purchase

Realizing you want to produce espresso in your own kitchen yields the decision to buy a home machine. You will then notice that there are many different models to choose from and you might be overwhelmed about which one to choose. Double or single boiler? Traditional or fully automatic? Do you want your machine to steam milk for you? Do you want your machine to grind your espresso beans and if so, what kind of grinder should be included? These choices do not have to be overwhelming. By figuring out a few simple answers, you’ll be able to find the perfect machine for you and your home.

  1. Double and Single Boilers

If you’ve seen a double boiler pot that some people use for melting chocolate or other things, this is not the same. The amount of boilers on your espresso machine refers to the functions it will be able to perform. A single boiler machine has just that, a single boiler. It can only boil water to brew espresso OR steam milk. It can’t do both at the same time. Many single boiler machines have a traditional look and might come in copper or other shiny looking and beautiful designs. A double boiler is a little larger and can have boiling water ready to both steam your milk and brew your espresso at the same time.

  1. Milk Steamers

The design and compact size of many single boiler and traditional home machines may appeal to you and your needs. This doesn’t mean that you can’t steam your milk and enjoy lattes as well. You’ll probably have to do a bit more work and you’ll have more parts to clean but milk steamers will get the job done. Since these parts don’t attach to you machine, you’ll be able to store them separately and keep extra room in your kitchen.

  1. Grinders

Your machine may be equipped with a grinder or you may choose to purchase one separately. Grinders are a matter of preference, with some people who are perfectly okay with a blade grinder and others who prefer the more precise method of a burr grinder. Burr grinders use a surface to literally grind the espresso beans against another surface. The result is uniform grounds that are better for packing into an espresso machine’s basket. Also, those uniform particles make it easier for the water to brew through the grounds more effectively. You’ll get more consistency in the strength and flavor of your espresso with this type of grinder. If your machine includes a grinder, make sure you inquire as to what type it is, blade or burr.

  1. Fully Automatic

This doesn’t mean that you won’t have anything to do with how your espresso is made. A fully automatic machine, when turned on, has the components to brew whatever type of espresso drink you like with the touch of a button. You’ll have to fill the machine with water, espresso beans, and keep it cleaned and maintained. These are the double boilers that have tanks for boiling water for both espresso and steaming milk. This is the kind of machine that is excellent for entertaining or the espresso lover on the go. If you’re always on the way out of the house, this is the machine you can turn on, press a couple of buttons, and have your latte without ever having to make a stop at a café on your way to your next destination.

  1. Aesthetics

You’ve taken the time to painstakingly design your kitchen exactly the way you want it and your new espresso machine should match up with the aesthetics. The different models are all there to help with this decision. A traditional model has a lot of flair and a very distinct look while the more commercial models may have more functions but are usually larger and sometimes cumbersome if your kitchen space is small. Be sure to measure the space you’ll be putting your new machine carefully. Leave room for the machines around it and to remove the machine from the space for cleaning and that there is a power source close by. In the end, it has to look good to you because you’re the one who will be looking at it and using it every day.

  1. Functionality

What do you want your espresso machine to do? It may be a personal machine just for you or something you’re purchasing for your office and all the employees to use. A machine that will get heavy use needs to be able to handle that traffic and a machine that won’t get as much use might be one you’d like to have that’s aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. Take these considerations into mind before you make your purchase and you’ll know that the machine you have is the one you’ve always wanted.

The Financial Side

After you get your answers, the espresso machines you look at could be pretty expensive. Do not let this stop you from making a purchase. If an espresso machine is what you want, it’s best to go high end. The better machines will give you the kind of brew you’re looking for and will last longer. Check with the manufacturer for payment plans, warrantee information, and service packages to keep your machine running in top shape for as long as possible. Proper cleaning and maintenance will be the best way to enjoy your machine every day. If this is a purchase you’re making for a large household or an office where many people will be using it, educate the other people about the way the machine is supposed to be used as well as how it should be cleaned between uses. A high-end machine will give you the gourmet experience that you and everyone else who uses your machine can really feel good about. Make a good decision with an excellent purchase!

How You Can Rearrange Your Kitchen to Make Room for an Espresso Machine

You may have thought about buying an espresso machine in the past but weren’t sure how you could make room in your kitchen. There are many ways you can rearrange and reorganize the items on your countertops so the dream of owning the machine you always wanted can come true. Through a few simple steps, you can not only make the room you need but also take the opportunity to make your kitchen look better than ever.

  1. Clean Up The Clutter

Making room for your new espresso machine might be as simple as clearing unnecessary items from the countertops. Even if there’s more to it, this is a great place to begin. Survey the appliances that you have out and ask yourself if you use them on a daily basis. If not and they can be put away and accessed whenever you do plan to use them, store them someplace else. Take a look at the other items that are left after this step and use the same method to clear out food containers, condiments, and other things that can easily be stored in other places.

  1. Make a Diagram

Once you’ve gotten rid of the clutter, draw out a diagram of what you have left. You don’t need to be exact and it doesn’t need to be your best work of art, just a sort of map of your kitchen that you can use to move things around without actually moving them around. Use paper tokens or other pieces for appliances that you can move on the diagram to make the process easier and even a little more fun.

  1. Make Practical Decisions

All of your appliances, including your new espresso machine, will need a power source and this has to be taken into account when you’re rearranging things. Also, be careful where you put certain items like countertop dishwashers and toaster ovens. You wouldn’t want your dishwasher to be too far from the sink or the toaster oven to be too close to the stovetop. You can also use the kitchen table or an island to arrange appliances. Use this opportunity to make practical decisions that will make it easier to prepare and cook your meals. The new arrangement will also make your kitchen the perfect place to entertain.

  1. Kid Friendly Kitchens

When you first arranged your kitchen, the kids might have been too young to be helpers when you cook. As they get older, though, you can rearrange things to give your little ones safe and easy ways to help out. Of course, the kids won’t be using your espresso machine but they may want to help out with other preparations and you can teach them with fun and excitement. If you don’t have children of your own, you can still take this step into account for nieces, nephews, friends’ children, or grandchildren. Being safe is never a bad idea.

  1. Measure Well

Your diagram will show you a potential arrangement but you’ll need to measure each space before you decide how you’ll fit your espresso machine into the mix. Make sure you leave at least a couple of inches between appliances so you can remove them to clean the countertops underneath and the machines themselves. You’ll also want to factor in space to hold accessories that you use often for each appliance.

  1. Choose Your Machine

Try out a few arrangements before you decide where your espresso machine will go. When you have your measurements, you’ll be ready to choose your machine and after you do, you’re not going to want to go through all of this again when the machine arrives. Make sure it will fit by being sure the arrangement you have is the one you want. You’ll find that there are many different kinds of machines, including compact versions that can fit in smaller kitchen spaces.

  1. Don’t Forget to Decorate!

Part of rearranging is adding your own personality and style to the space and this is the perfect opportunity to do so. You’ll see your espresso machine sitting on your counter looking shiny and beautiful and you’ll be compelled to spruce up the rest of the space. Try adding some wall art, a cute novelty spoon holder, mug tree, or other decorative item that is also practical. You’ll be able to add to the style of your kitchen while creating more function.

  1. Set Up Maintenance Areas

Anyone who uses their kitchen on a regular basis knows that it gets messy fast. Cut down on your cleaning time by setting up areas that make maintenance easier. You’ll find that some parts of your new machine require careful cleaning and regular maintenance will prolong the life of the machine, as well as other appliances in your kitchen. Use hanging shelves on cabinet doors, basins that can be filled with warm sudsy water and placed next to the sink, and clean, dry areas to store replacement sponges and cleaning brushes. By making these items easily accessible, you’ll find that cleaning goes a lot faster and you won’t end up making more of a mess while you’re trying to get things done.

Enjoy The Boost of Espresso

The benefits of owning your own espresso machine far outweigh the extra work it might take to rearrange things in your kitchen. You’ll get a quick boost whenever you’d like and learn all about gourmet coffee. The experience of espresso is much different than the product of the average coffee maker and you’ll discover this on the first day you install yours. Enjoy inviting friends over and serving espresso, pouring it over ice for a refreshing treat, and adding things like ice cream or chocolate syrup to your drink in the way that you desire. Once you’ve rearranged your kitchen to make the proper room for your new machine, you’ll have the ease of motion and happy results of espresso drinks however and whenever you want to enjoy them.

8 Creative Coffee Dates Using Your Espresso Machine at Home

When you’ve been with someone for a long time, the idea of date night can become monotonous but you can use your very own espresso machine to spice up your next date night and make it something your significant other won’t forget. Use these suggestions to create a coffee date at home that might be sweet, romantic, or relaxing. Find out how you won’t have to leave the house or wait in endless lines on date night to have a memorable evening.

  1. The After Hours Sweet Night In

Not everyone with a career has the chance to leave the office early on Friday night and head home for a date with their favorite person. When you’re stuck working late, plan a night at home baking cupcakes, watching your favorite movies, and wrapping it all up with espresso that keeps you awake to enjoy it all no matter how late you end up getting home.

  1. Sunday Brunch at Home

For a long time, brunch was the trendy thing to do but now there aren’t too many people out there who want to go out for the breakfast/lunch combo after sleeping in until noon. You and your significant other can bring brunch home with your espresso machine as the star player. Cook your favorite foods or order in and add the café experience to your breakfast/lunch combo to have a brunch that’s even better than the brunch you used to know.

  1. The Gourmet Coffee Experience

Turn your kitchen table into a gourmet experience if you’re lucky enough to own a gourmet espresso machine and the right coffee beans. Head over to your local bakery, find some beautiful pastries, and set your table to complete the ambiance. Pull out the good china, use cloth napkins, and light some candles to have a gourmet coffee date that costs less than going out and will still wow your significant other.

  1. Espresso Picnic on the Patio

Nothing will make your patio picnic better than some iced espresso blended with ingredients that create a dessert you’ll love. The view takes care of itself when you have a nice breeze and a pretty day. You can bring the creation from your espresso machine to a private picnic on your own patio or you can take it with you to the park and enjoy the wonders of nature along with the beautiful person at your side.

  1. The Perfect First Act

You might not want to stay home all night and that’s okay. Your espresso machine can provide the perfect first act to your night out, giving you a boost to get out the door and a delicious few minutes alone with your significant other before you leave. Enjoy an espresso while you’re getting ready for a big night out together and relish in the aroma and taste of this quick boost. Have the perfect first act and then dance the rest of the night away!

  1. Game Night Revival

If you have kids at home and you can’t find someone to watch them while you go out, enjoy a night in and let your espresso machine give you the energy to revive the idea of game night. You won’t have to trudge through board games when you have the luxury of as much espresso as you need to take you through the night. Infuse new life into the fun you have with your kids and bring back the tradition of real connections on a special night with the family. Add a twist like theme decorations or costumes to make the night even better and bring a nostalgic touch to your time together.

  1. Let the World Fall Away

Fill your home with the smell of espresso and settle in with the one you love, your favorite hot beverage, relaxing music, and a few good books. Let the world fall away and use your home machine to have a night of reading, conversation, and no one else in the world but the two of you. Instead of the hustle and bustle of a café in the bookstore, create the same environment in the comfort of your own home.

  1. Home for Lunch Date

The busiest of us can sometimes even have trouble finding a couple hours free in the evening but you can have a lunch date at home complete with espresso to beat that mid day slump. Enjoy lunch at home with your sweetheart and have a cup of espresso to top it off. Make your busy day a happy day by taking just a few moments to have lunch in a place you love with a person you love.

Observe Proper Maintenance of Your Home Machine

Owning your own machine can be great fun but if your machine dies out quickly, that will be the end of the creative coffee dates you worked so hard to make. Observing proper maintenance will ensure that your machine keeps running for years to come and you’ll be able to make the drinks you love. All it takes is a few minutes a day to keep your machine maintained. Read the users’ manual or call customer service to find out the best ways to clean and how you should maintain your machine.

Learn to Make Espresso Right

The best way to make your coffee dates at home the best they can be is to learn how to use your home machine correctly. Teach yourself about making espresso and find out how you can add to your coffee beans before they’re brewed and give each drink a gourmet touch that is even more special than anything you’ll find in a café. Before you know it, you’ll be giving the baristas a run for their money and impressing your love with the skills you have to make coffee beautiful.

7 Ways to Use Milk Steamers in Your Kitchen for Coffee Drinks

High-end coffee in your home, whether it’s with an espresso machine, cappuccino machine, or something else, is the exciting opportunity to learn how to make your favorite coffee drinks in your own kitchen. One tool you may not have thought about is the milk steamer and it can be the difference between a plain shot of espresso and a professional quality latte.

The Wonder of Beautiful Coffee

Learn about the varieties of steamers and the ways you can use them so you can have the luxury of the latte whenever you please.

  1. Know Your Steamers

You can learn to master equipment that is a little complicated or you go with a fully automatic steamer that does everything for you. The choice you make really depends on what kind of effort you’re willing to put in to making your coffee drink. If you need something quick, fully automatic steamers might be the way to go but there are more functions and options that come with some others. Factors like temperature, foam consistency, milks besides cow’s milk, and the kind of drink you’re looking to make all play a factor. Peruse the selection and be sure to look at every feature as well as the maintenance instructions to find out what’s best for you.

  1. What Kinds of Drinks Do You Like?

If you’re not a latte lover, this conversation about steamers might be lost on you, or you could become a convert who decides they need a steamer in their kitchen. You may not realize as well that the macchiato and the cappuccino can also be achieved with the help of a steamer. If you’ve never had a latte before, it may be a good idea to head to your local café and try one before you commit to purchasing a steamer. There are also other ways to make your own latte at home if you’d like to try your hand at your own version to sample.

  1. Entertainment Value

In addition to the sheer joy of making your own latte, you’ll be opened up to a whole new way to entertain your guests. It could be the next gathering with your family and friends, a book club meeting that needs a bit of perking up, or even a casual night at home with your significant other. Any event large or small can be enhanced by foaming milk over gourmet coffee. Add some garnish and you’ll see a simple coffee drink turn into a beautiful presentation.

  1. Experimentation

Speaking of presentation, owning your own steamers is a great reason to find new coffee drinks or even invent something new. Try layering milk foam with coffee or garnishes or adding new serving elements to the table that pair well with the concoctions you create. Let your imagination run wild with the spices you add to your coffee and the garnishes you top your drinks with to wow those you entertain with drinks they’ll never find at a café.

  1. Steamers Work With Other Milks Too

If the idea of using cow’s milk is stopping you from enjoying a latte, you might be surprised to know that other milks can also be used to make the drinks you can’t usually order at the café. Goat’s milk, almond milk, soy milk, and coconut milk can also be used to make coffee drinks and are good alternatives for those who can’t handle dairy. If you’ve ever cooked with different milks as alternatives when dairy is called for, you may have noticed that the finished product isn’t the same as when you use cow’s milk. With a little bit of finesse and the right equipment, you can learn to make the drinks you love and get the consistency you want.

  1. Adjusting The Method

There is more than one way to make a latte and there are other drinks besides lattes that can be made using steamers. The cappuccino and macchiato are just a couple of the other options. In order to get the perfect drink, you’ll have to learn about temperature, froth, steamed milk, and getting the consistency right which isn’t the same for every drink. You can learn to do this without a steamer to see what froth looks like in a larger capacity in a pan if you’d like so you can used to what to look for. When you see it, you can graduate to a steamer and do the same thing in a mug to make your coffee drinks at home.

 

  1. Don’t Forget Maintenance

Whichever one of the many steamers you choose, make sure you never skimp on maintenance. Learn about how you should clean the steaming wand and if other parts need regular cleaning. With some machines, especially the fully automatic ones, there is a self-cleaning mechanism that makes this step a lot easier. Otherwise, find out which parts can be detached, if any of them are dishwasher safe, and how often they should be cleaned. Look through the user’s manual and call customer service with your questions before you make a plan. Good maintenance makes your steamer last longer and work better.

Enjoy Your Latte

You might be a latte lover, a cappuccino crazy, or a macchiato match. Milk steamers help you enjoy your passion no matter the kind of gourmet coffee drink you’re inclined to create. Now that you know about how to make your own drinks at home, try your hand at one or more of them and look for the steamer that’s right for you. It could be a fully automatic variety, a petite machine, or something more complicated that allows you the freedom to choose temperature, milk variety, and different drinks. The choice is yours and the possibilities are endless. Simply choose your beverage, obtain your ingredients, and enjoy turning your kitchen into your very own café.

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