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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
When you look at the menu at a coffee shop, you see all kinds of beverages offered in all different varieties but it’s likely that you go for the same handful of choices that you know and love each time you’re there. We all like our routine, the things we understand, and knowing that the first sip to the last drop will be worth every penny spent. However, there is an entire world of coffee, espresso, and mixtures that you could be missing out on simply because you don’t really comprehend what each kind is and how it’s made. Learn about these varieties and the ways your home machine may be able to deliver them to open your eyes and taste buds to new textures and flavors you never believed could be better than your favorite order at the coffee shop.
Black Coffee and Espresso
These two are often confused as the same thing, with very strong black coffee being served in tiny cups to be passed off as espresso. If
you own your own espresso machine, you already know that the difference is in the brewing process and that properly made espresso is nothing like regular black coffee. The drink is rich, velvety, and goes well with milk steamed correctly from the milk steamed from a steamer wand. Fully automatic steamers are particular useful in this respect but a lot of espresso machine models also have steamer wands attached. Black coffee is still an excellent base for many kinds of drinks. Premium beans and a good grinder (most connoisseurs prefer burr grinders to blade grinders) are your best friends in this endeavor.
The Infamous Latte
The Dainty Cappuccino
Cappuccino is another combination of milk and espresso but the major difference between a cappuccino and a latte is that
a cappuccino has more layers. The bottom is a shot of espresso, the next layer is steamed milk, and the top layer is all milk foam. The top layer is usually also garnished with a bit of spice or something flavorful and decorative. This drink is most popular at social gatherings due to its stylish look as well as wonderful taste. A standard cappuccino machine will usually deliver a cappuccino with the push of a button. Most models are fully automatic. You can use the steamer wands on your espresso machine to make cappuccino as well but you’ll have to steam milk for the middle layer and then keep steaming it into foam for the top layer. If you have a separate steamer, you can simulate the drink using regular coffee or flavored coffee but it won’t be the same premium beverage as a traditional cappuccino.
The Mark of the Macchiato
The macchiato is actually the same name for two different types of premium coffee beverage with the same meaning: the beverage is “marked” which is the literal meaning of the word “macchiato.” An espresso machine will make both varieties of the beverage easily. Depending on your preference, your macchiato will be either espresso with a little bit of steamed milk or steamed milk with a little bit of espresso. In most cafes, it means the latter more often then the former as well as syrups and other additions that make signature drinks similar to the way lattes are served.
Explore Your Machine
Now that you know how these different varieties of premium beverages are made, try making a few with your own home machine. This may take a bit of trial and error but have fun with it, try some variations you wouldn’t see at a coffee shop, and make each drink your own. Invite your friends over and serve your creations for other opinions and ask them what kinds of drinks they make using their own home machines. Share your explorations on social media and coffee connoisseur websites to get tips from others who have tried the same before you. These endeavors will help you learn from your mistakes and make better drinks every time you try again. Learn everything about how your machine works so you know how to use, clean, and maintain the parts throughout this trial and error process. Who knows, you might develop your own signature drink to make at home and you’ll never have to wait in line or hope someone else makes it correctly for you!
People have written songs about their love of lattes and depend on them for a source of energy and mood elevation on a daily basis. This is arguably the most popular form of espresso and milk throughout the world. Here in the U.S., the drinks are even considered artistic in many coffee shops and the foamed milk is mixed with the espresso in such a way that a pattern forms in a controlled manner.
The latte is, in its most basic form, espresso with milk that is steamed into foam poured over it. In many cases spices, syrups, and other additions are added to make signature drinks. You can use recipes of these additions to make a latte in your home. The best way to do this is with an espresso machine and a steamer wand or fully automatic steamer.
These descriptions will certainly assist you in creating premium beverages with your home machine but it’s also a good idea to go out and try them the way the professionals make them as well. By doing this, you can get a good baseline for how each beverage is supposed to look and taste. Go out to different coffee shops and cafes and order the drinks you’ve never dared to try, then go home and try them with your own machine. Have fun with it and don’t forget to enjoy every drop of your beautiful coffee.
When one thinks of a «convenient latte», the idea is probably a latte from a café. However, there are other ways to enjoy the convenience of a fast and easy espresso drink without having to deal with paying an extravagant amount and waiting in a line for someone else to make it. Espresso pod machines offer this convenience, but there are many connoisseurs who view this method as incomplete and debate that it delivers a sub par product that isn’t worth the added convenience.
The Espresso Process
Espresso is often misconstrued as a type of coffee when actually the process of how it’s made is where it gets its name. Espresso must be tightly packed into the portafilter portion of the machine, and then pressurized water is pushed through the grounds to create the espresso shot you love. Fully automatic espresso pod machines use a prepackaged packed portion of espresso in a pod that is dropped into a reservoir for the water to be pushed through. An espresso pod machine uses powdered condensed milk to automatically steam for the latte topping and a more advanced espresso machine uses milk steamers that steam fresh milk.
One of the best components of a truly excellent espresso shot is using quality beans and quality grinders to add to the portafilter for production. Espresso pod machines use pre-ground and pre-packed capsules so there is less autonomy for grinding and packing the beans the way you’d like. You also have to look for the flavors and strengths you want in capsules and the selection is not as vast as it is with whole beans. Some pod machines employ the use of empty capsules that allow you to grind the beans as you use them for each serving and pack them yourself.
Froth and Foam
There are many types of fully automatic steamers that will steam fresh milk for you as well as the steamer wands that come on many espresso machine models. Fully automatic espresso pod machines use a different kind of process with powdered condensed milk. The main issue among espresso connoisseurs is that the foam from this process is not really foam but more of a milk froth. The finished product isn’t as smooth as a latte from a more professional espresso machine or from a café but the taste is similar. The big difference is in texture.
Syrups and spices are often used to spruce up the average latte and spices added directly to the grounds are the best way to infuse the finished shot of espresso. Since espresso pods use prepackaged espresso, it’s a lot more difficult to add spices before brewing. It’s possible to open the pod and make additions but since they’re packaged specifically, it’s not recommended that you do so. The milk froth that comes from an espresso pod machine has a different consistency than the fresh milk foam from steamers. Infusing this portion of the latte with flavoring or adding syrup will be a bit of a trial and error process if you’re not used to making it this way.
When you consider these factors, you may side with the connoisseurs and decide that pod machines sacrifice too much quality to enjoy the convenience. You may also not be willing to spend the cost of an espresso machine that doesn’t operate using pods. There are alternatives to both options that you can explore but the bottom line is that none of them are going to give you a café quality latte without a lot of time and work. Any of them may still work for you if you don’t plan to make lattes at home all the time. There’s also a good chance you’ll still have to purchase some equipment to make these options happen.
Learn a New Skill
Pod machines allow any person to brew espresso at home without having to learn about how an espresso machine works. It would still be advisable to learn about how espresso is made, how your own machine works, and the recipes used to create premium drinks. You’ll learn a new skill and be able to make the most of your home machine, whichever model you decide to purchase.
Know Your Machine
When considering a home machine, espresso pod machines are appealing because they require a lot less cleaning and maintenance than a more traditional espresso machine. Pod machines are also user friendly but no matter what, you need to know your machine well before you purchase it and use it daily. Ask questions of espresso machine owners that you know and find out what will be required of you to use and maintain your machine. Doing the research allows you to choose a machine that you’ll get the most use out of. Be sure to also measure the space where you’ll be putting your machine so you can determine if the one you want will fit. Check outlets and find out how to install the machine or if you’ll need someone to do so for you.
The facts about espresso pod machines show that you won’t get a café quality latte at home but the sacrifice to quality is not too great that you should dismiss the idea all together. It all depends on the time you’re willing to take to maintain the machine, to learn to use it, and to make your drink. Once you answer those considerations, you’ll be able to better determine if a pod machine is right for you. There are several other models of home machine to choose from so if your desire is for something more advanced or of professional quality, you’re sure to find what suits you with a little bit of research. Make sure your machine is right for you and not simply the next fad. You’re the one who has to operate it and will enjoy it for several years.
Your Favorite Beverage
The latte that you love can start to burn a hole in your budget, and that’s what leads many coffee lovers to buy a premium home machine and learn to make their favorite beverages in their own kitchens. There are many barista’s that argue that this is a great way to ruin the café experience that originally offered you the delights of espresso and foamed milk. They believe that the average person simply doesn’t know about all the subtleties that make each beverage wonderful and so the products they make at home are subpar. Learn about what these subtleties are and if you’re really aware of how to make the best latte possible using the machine you’ve chosen for your kitchen.
- Pull a Shot
An espresso machine with milk steamers included is the best piece of equipment you can use to make a latte. In order to get a professional grade beverage, you first need to start off with a good shot of espresso. This is the basic building block of every premium beverage you can make with your home machine. It may take some trial and error, but make sure you can do this effortlessly before you move on to another component. If you have this part wrong, you’ll likely to be disappointed with the finished product.
- Know Your Machine
If you’re having trouble pulling a shot, learn more about how your home machine works so you can find out where the difficulties really are. You may be packing the portafilter too tightly or not tightly enough or you may have accidentally adjusted the water pressure or temperature to something that is not ideal. All of these components contribute to pulling a shot that creates a delicious beverage. Learn how each works and you’ll always be able to fix the problems that occur.
- Building Your Beverage
After you have your espresso, it’s time to add the rest of the pieces that will give you the latte you’re craving. It’s likely your espresso machine has steamers or you can purchase a separate steamer to achieve the correct foam consistency. While there are other ways to steam milk besides using a steamer wand, these ways are what give you a subpar product, strengthening the argument from baristas that you can’t get a good latte from a home machine. There are specific recipes concerning flavor additions like spices and syrups. Learning these recipes will better help you to make your own creations without diminishing the natural flavors and strength of the espresso itself.
- Dos and Don’ts
There are some things that the professionals will always frown upon, like pouring shots over ice or overloading it with sugar and flavorings. These may seem like things that you’d enjoy but what most baristas will tell you is that they shock, strangle, or otherwise diminish the best parts of your beverage. When you use a home machine, you aren’t operating off of a menu. There are no restrictions to what you can do with your drink and in some cases that can be a bad thing. Make sure your getting gourmet quality beans, that you’re grinding them into uniform pieces, and that the other ingredients you are using are top quality. When you’re creating a beverage, give yourself the time to do it right. Even with a fully automatic machine, you have to make sure you’re putting the ingredients together correctly before you start to brew your beverage.
- The Ambiance of It All
One of the biggest ways that a home machine may ruin the café experience for you is that you’ll be enjoying your beverage at home instead of amongst the art, music, and people of a café. It’s true that you won’t have a smiling face delivering your order and you won’t get the change of scenery offered by going out to a coffee shop. However, the ambiance of your home could be enough or even better than what you’d find in a café. You can put together your own art and music, catered to your tastes and you can create a little café right in your kitchen.
- Social Aspects
A very popular meeting place for dates, gatherings with friends, study groups, and work colleagues is at coffee shops and cafes. When you have a home machine, this experience can either be enhanced or diminished, depending on what you do and how you set the scene. Your home café setup can be more comfortable for the people with whom you want to associate, giving you the social aspects of a safe and trendy meeting place without having to go out to a café. If you’ve mastered the arts of creating premium espresso beverages, the people who meet at your home will never know the difference and you won’t have to wait on lines or hope you can find a table.
Pros and Cons
There are good parts and bad parts to both ways of doing things. A home machine allows you the convenience of having a premium espresso beverage whenever you’d like but you’re the one responsible for cleaning up when you’re done as well as cleaning and maintaining the machine. At a café, someone else is responsible for these things and they make your drink perfect every time, and if they don’t they’ll fix the issue post haste. In your home, there is comfort and the convenience of having your familiar things around you but at a café, you don’t have to worry about the kitchen looking spotless or inviting people you don’t know to your house. A barista is a professional coffee connoisseur but there are ways you can learn similar techniques and be just as good with your home machine. The choice is yours! If you’re looking to purchase a machine of your own, it has to be something you want so do your research, weigh these pros and cons for yourself, and enjoy your premium espresso beverages in the way that’s right for you.
Those of you who work in non-profit organizations helping others and creating a better world often do so with little to no gratitude coming your way and yet you continue to do your work. Happy people are better at making others happy and what better way to make yourself and those that work with you happy than by adding a premium espresso machine to the beverage station at your offices? Give everyone the energy and positive mood to do the good they came to do.
- It All Starts At Home
Getting an espresso machine added to the beverage station at your non-profit’s offices could take awhile and even be logistically difficult. Start with your home machine and upgrade to something that delivers a gourmet beverage. A good cup of coffee in the morning can elevate your mood and make difficult situations easier to deal with throughout the day and gourmet coffee has the taste and aesthetics to give you the extra boost you need. You probably have a coffee machine in your home now and it’s likely that you also stop at the local café to get a premium beverage during the day. When you use a home machine, you can skip that step and start out with the best.
- Share Your Love of Coffee
A premium home machine is able to handle more than the standard coffee maker. With the right machine, you can brew enough to bring a treat to share with everyone on those mornings when you know it will be a long day. The happy surprise will give everyone around you the elevated mood to handle tough problems with a positive attitude and keep things running smoothly. Let everyone have the drive and motivation to start the day right and power through with beautiful coffee.
- Become Your Own Barista
Using an espresso machine is not something that everyone simply knows how to do and it’s not the same as using a standard coffee maker. The idea of using the steamers on the machine to foam milk is an education in itself. You can learn these things easily, though, and with a little practice you’ll be your own barista and able to make gourmet beverages even better than they do at the café. You can be the beneficiary of these skills on your own or choose to share what you learn via social media or by making drinks for the people you know.
- Sustainable Coffee
One of the reasons that many non-profit offices choose to opt out of a premium espresso machine or other gourmet treats is because they cause more trash that needs to be cleaned and handled. Coffee can be extremely recyclable if the right practices are employed and you can use washable mugs or have everyone bring their own cups that they wash for use with the machine. Show your organization how you can use coffee in sustainable and economical ways and they’ll be more inclined to believe that a new machine is beneficial to everyone.
- Commercial Machines
Depending on how many people your espresso machine will service, the option to install a commercial machine might be a good idea. They’re more expensive, but in the long run you won’t be paying for a new machine a short time after you purchase one since the commercial machine will be able to handle all the use it will undergo. In a non-profit office, things can get hectic fast so a lot of people could be using this machine all day. The last thing you need is for it to stop working due to sheer exhaustion.
- Outside Help
Installing a premium espresso machine at your non-profit offices may only be the first step. These machines need cleaning, maintenance, and to be operated properly in order to get good use out of them. In many cases, getting outside help to keep the machine operating well is necessary. This is also a good option if you want to offer premium beverages to people that come into the offices for help or to partners and colleagues that come in for meetings. You’ll have someone else there to make the beverages so you don’t have to waste time doing it yourself.
- Other Options
If you’d like to spruce up the beverage station at your non-profit offices and give the people you work with the perk they deserve, there are other options besides a premium espresso machine that may be less expensive and take up less space. Depending on the funds available, you can also consider pod machines or a fully automatic cappuccino machine. These options are also a bit more user friendly so the people in the office can use them more easily without having to worry about hiring outside help. You’ll also still be able to offer premium beverages to colleagues and clients when they come into your offices.
Donate Gourmet Beverages
If you know of a non-profit organization that can benefit from a premium espresso machine, you can find ways to donate the machine! Many of these organizations are operating on very limited funds so anything gourmet is out of the question unless they’re using their own money to make it happen. Your community can find a way to pool money together to purchase a gourmet machine to your favorite organization and give the people that work there something that makes them feel appreciated and lets them do more without spending more. This holiday season, when you’re deciding on gifts for friends and family, consider including your local non-profit in your list and see if others are willing to donate a little bit to give them the gift of beautiful coffee. You’d be surprised what a little treat can do for them all year round!
A Profound Love of Coffee
You have to really love the art of brewing and coffee itself to want to know what it’s made up of but if you do and if you’re a true enthusiast, then this exploration can open up all kinds of new avenues for you and your espresso machine. When you learn about how coffee behaves chemically with other substances, you can make new beverages and better versions of the ones you already enjoy. Not only will the taste be something different, but the presentation and effect on your energy can also be exponentially improved with this knowledge.
- The Basics
Do a little experimentation with the ingredients you already have. Pull a shot from your espresso machine and take note of how it looks when it pours, how fluid the stream is into the cup, and what kind of density it has when it’s done brewing. Use a glass mug and you’ll be able to see what sugar looks like when it’s added and the clouds that form from different kinds of milk. Let yourself get particular about these details and learn from them. Knowing how each ingredient reacts will show you how you layer, mix, and flavor your beverages to create better ones.
- Steamers and Milk
Milk steamers go hand in hand with your espresso machine because steamed milk is so often added to espresso. Using the steamer wands on your own machine can be tricky, requiring a lot of trial and error, but if you explore how the process happens a little bit further, you might be able to do it yourself with more flourish. It’s a pretty simple concept that’s precise and so that makes it a little more difficult to do right. Hot air is added to the milk, bringing it to a state that’s part steam and part solid. If you add too much or at too high a temperature, it will cook but if you don’t add enough, the milk will remain thin. Start with very cold milk in a cold cup and you’ll see how much faster and easier it is to get the consistency you desire with flawless moves every time.
Different sweeteners will mix with your beverages in different ways depending on what they’re made up of and the temperature of the beverage to which you add them. You’ll notice that granulated sugars and other sweeteners don’t mix well in cold beverages and some taste strange when mixed into hot beverages. If the sweetener you normally use isn’t mixing well, try adding it to your beverage at a different temperature. For instance, you could try mixing sugar into your espresso before adding milk or sweeten coffee before mixing it up with ice. There are more complicate ways to explore this avenue, like using liquid stevia or agave syrup after pulling a shot from your espresso machine. If you’ve never tried these options, though, be prepared for something you may not like. Don’t give up after one taste. The mixture may need some other additions before it’s exactly the way you like it.
Grinders play a big role in your espresso machine’s finished product and they’re the first step in getting the best brew. Many people neglect the way the portafilter is packed and that can be the first and biggest mistake when making an espresso drink. Burr grinders deliver a particle that is uniform and will pack into the portafilter more closely. The grounds won’t have little spaces that allow air and water to flow through without going through grounds first, which gives you an espresso shot that is richer and has a fuller flavor profile than if you used grounds from a blade grinder. Try it and you’ll see the difference on the first brew!
An espresso machine is a precise piece of equipment in itself. Every part of it works together to put perfectly pressurized and heated water through grounds and into your cup. If the machine is not top notch, one of these components may not work as it should and you’ll get a sub par shot instead of what you expect. In addition to purchasing a professional quality machine, always make sure that the parts are cleaned and well maintained. You can consult the user manual for this or call customer service. The manufacturer’s website may also have videos, tutorials, or an extra help section that will give you step-by-step instructions about how to get the most out of your machine. It’s not enough for the equipment to look good. The shiny machine you bought on sale at the local big box store might look beautiful but that doesn’t mean it works well. Do your research and find out about the parts and use before you decide on which machine will grace your kitchen counter. This is important to the rest of the chemistry of your brew because if you’re pulling a shot that’s not good to start off with, you’ll be working off a base that doesn’t work.
Share and Listen
These are just a few tips about the chemistry of your brew and how to use it to get the best beverage from your espresso machine. The real chemistry is a lot more complicated and, frankly, only of interest to the most enthusiastic. That’s not to say that it won’t be of interest to you or your friends. Share what you learn using social media, photos, and videos. Use tags and other tools to try and find others who are exploring coffee the same ways that you are and they’ll be able to learn from you and teach at the same time. You may be surprised about what and who you’ll find!
Aside from espresso actually perking up your employees, there are several other benefits to introducing a new espresso machine to your office at this time of year. The weather is getting colder and storms are rolling in. The days are shorter and the nights come faster. These are all factors that contribute to lowered morale in the office. No one wants to make a trip to the local café when there’s torrential rain pouring down along with cold winds. Instead of your employees and partners having to do without their afternoon (or morning or evening) pickup, introduce a solution that means they don’t have to leave the building.
- No Gaps in Productivity
When people have to go without their coffee, it can be more than an inconvenience for them. Working in an office often creates a routine for everyone involved and when that routine is interrupted, their whole day can feel wrong. An office espresso machine stops these gaps in productivity from happening whether it’s raining out, the line at the local coffee shop was too long, or people are simply running late. They’ll never have to give up this part of their routine because the espresso they want will be right there in the office when they arrive.
- Aesthetic Appeal
The old coffee maker in the break room might be sputtering and a little decrepit with all the use it takes to keep every employee happily caffeinated. Set up a whole new beverage station with a shiny espresso machine as the focal point. A simple tablecloth under the machine and a couple of stylish containers for extras close by will complete the station and make it look as good as the coffee that comes from it will taste.
- Encourage Creativity
Any new addition to the office can spur creativity but an espresso machine is an excellent incentive to encourage even more. Example: give out tickets for specialty additions or for permission to use the espresso machine at all. When an employee provides exemplary support, they can get extra tickets. There are other games you can play along this line like a voting box for a “drink of the week” where people can try to come up with new recipes that everyone will enjoy or getting the biggest coffee enthusiasts of the office together to choose new beans for the machine each month. These little ideas and games give people something extra to look forward to at the office and gives them a reason to use critical thinking skills that will benefit them in other areas of their work.
- Positive Reinforcement
Your office espresso machine will need to be cleaned and maintained. You can create a schedule that gives the job to a new person each week. The person before him or her will have to show them how to do it and people will have to hold themselves accountable for getting the job done. Provide positive reinforcement to the person who does this job every week by letting them leave an hour early on the Friday they’re in charge of cleaning and maintenance or some other recognition. This gives employees a job to do that benefits everyone else and a reason to support each other for doing it.
- Benefits for the Non-Coffee Drinkers
An espresso machine in the office is still beneficial for those who don’t drink coffee, especially in these increasingly cold weather months. These people can use the hot water spout to instantly have hot water for tea or hot chocolate. They can also enjoy the use of the milk steamers on the machine for tea lattes or a delicious topping to other hot beverages. They may not want the perks of caffeine but they’ll still be happy to have the means to warm up after coming in from the cold.
- Benefits for Clients
Your employees aren’t the only ones who are dealing with cold and storms as the season turns. Comfort your clients when they come to your office for meetings and give them a happy surprise that makes their day a little better. Instead of having to talk to clients agitated by the difficulties that come with cold and rain, you’ll be talking to clients who are made content by the hospitality your office will provide. Not only will they leave feeling good about their time spent with you but they’ll likely tell friends and acquaintances about their experience, which brings you even more business.
- Late Night Coffee
In this day and age, it’s a frequent occurrence to stay in the office after hours, especially for senior staff or while working on big projects. Make these late nights a lot better with an espresso machine to keep you feeling refreshed as you work. You’ll get more done and possible even leave a lot earlier than you imagined you would and even if you don’t, you’ll never have to worry about the local coffee shop being closed when you need a pick-me-up.
Invest in Espresso
Your research when deciding on the right espresso machine for the office might make you wonder if the expense is actually worth it. Take a moment to understand how much time is lost when people leave the office to get coffee from the local shop, how much is spent on office latte runs if you’re the one picking up the tab, and how much productivity is lost when there’s no time to make these trips at all. If you’re not willing to take the time and extra expense to clean and maintain the machine, a fully automatic model might make this decision a little easier. Either way, the positives are likely to outweigh the costs and your employees, partners, and clients will thank you for investing in espresso.
Share and Learn
Whether you’re an espresso machine novice or an expert at pulling shots, there’s always more to learn about what you can do with your machine. Your own imagination can be an excellent tool but drawing from the experiences of others can evoke even better ideas. Talk to other espresso connoisseurs, share your own ideas, and find out that they can spark your imagination to come up with extraordinary coffee drinks.
- Start with Basics
Additions, flavorings, and garnishes will enhance the drinks that come from your espresso machine but first you have to start with a quality shot of espresso! You may enjoy your regular espresso with cream and sugar, with steamed milk, or with some other mixture so take some time to pull a shot and taste how it is straight with nothing in it. This will give you an indication about whether or not you should try different grounds, pack them into the portafilter differently, or even try new ways of grinding the beans.
- Try New Recipes
Before you make your own unique creations to share with your social media friends, start with some simple recipes that will teach you about enhancing the beverages you can make with your espresso machine. Find several recipes you’d like to try and gather the ingredients you’ll need before you begin experimenting. The last thing you want is to start a recipe and then realize you’re missing an ingredient.
- Face-to-Face Sharing
Talking to people and tasting their recipes in person is a lot different from reading about them online. If you’re planning to share pictures of your finished creations and take videos of the process, you’ll need to learn a little bit about the best ways to do these things. Invite friends who have shared their own espresso machine adventures on social media and ask them to show you some tips and tricks. When you’re ready to share your own creations, your posts will look like the pros.
- Create a Theme
What kind of coffee drinks do you love? If lattes are your passion, make them your theme and experiment with different kinds of milk to steam. Try new additions to the espresso under the milk and garnishes for the top. If you’re a fan of iced espresso, try using coffee ice cubes or flavored syrups to spice up your drinks. Maybe your forte is trying different kinds of beans or making sure that the drink recipes you share are focused on healthy additions. Find your coffee passion and make it yours.
- Set the Scene
There’s more to sharing on social media then your recipes and pictures of your coffee drinks. You can make your espresso machine a focal point, show people how to pull shots with videos, how to use attachments on their own home machine like milk steamers or the hot water spout. The information that you put out into the world could help others who are struggling to learn how to use their machines properly. Use decorations, interesting place settings, and even fun sayings and language to make your pictures and videos more enticing. Your friends will enjoy the extra effort and any fans you gain will keep coming back for more.
- What Is Your Message?
Most people use social media to share with friends and family and have some fun with their coffee adventures. We use social media to find new ideas and to proudly display the ones we’ve come up with ourselves. You can use these tools for something bigger, though. If you run a coffee shop or other coffee – based business, social media can help you spread the word about the machines you use, the drinks you make, and the people who love them. Use your social media pages to connect with clients and customers and to build your business as you share your creations.
- Research and Marketing
There’s a lot to be said on this subject but in the niche of social media, you can get started with your coffee – based business marketing plan in a cinch. If you don’t already have a page for your business, create one and then make it yours. Put up pictures of your place and happy customers enjoying themselves. If your unsure about letting people see the espresso machine or other machines at your beverage station, give them a good cleaning or consider upgrading the machines so they look good on your pages and in your shop.
- Care for Your Machine
Through all your experimentation and imaginative creation, don’t forget to clean and maintain your espresso machine regularly. It’s likely that you’ll be using your machine more and that means you’ll have to clean it more. Refer to your user manual or call customer service to be sure you’re doing things correctly. You can even use this part of the process in your social media sharing. Take videos or pictures of the cleaning and maintenance process to show others with a home machine how they can do the same.
Beyond Social Media
Social media is easy to use and a great way to share your favorite espresso drinks from your home machine but you could want more. If you find that your creativity is awakened by the use of your espresso machine and all the things you can do with it, consider starting your own website or blog about what you’re exploring. You can write articles, post videos, and share pictures about the different things you learn and display it as one ongoing story. The upside to this is that it allows you to keep your social media pages personal instead of letting them become all about coffee. The choice is yours, so start mixing new drinks and sharing them with your friends today! Remember that the important part is you have some fun with it. Enjoy your beautiful coffee.
There are many ways to create better coffee using your home machine that include different kinds of beans, grinders that give those beans perfect consistency, and syrups or spices that enhance the taste. Some people love to use flavored creamers and some enjoy the simple milk and sugar additions. What really makes a great gourmet coffee drink though is not just the way it tastes but also how it looks. Milk steamers offer the easiest way to foam milk at home that you can use to top off your coffee and create the ultimate gourmet experience without leaving your kitchen.
- Why Use a Pour Over Steamer?
You can enjoy lattes without the use of milk steamers but several of the methods involve complicated steps and heating milk over the stove without a temperature regulator. When you steam milk into foam, the milk must be heated and then air is added to the heated product to create foam. Without a pour over steamer, you have to heat the milk over the stove and then add the air using a whisk or other method like pumping it in a French press canister. Pour over steamers do all of that work for you so that all you have to do is put the cup of cold milk under the steamer wand and move it around as the hot air from the wand steams the milk evenly.
- Temperature Regulation
Steamed milk should remain at a specific temperature throughout the entire process and when you’re using other methods besides pour over steamers, it’s difficult to maintain that temperature regulation. Fully automatic steamers do this for you so that all you have to do is turn on the machine and let the steamer wand do the work. Most steamers have a temperature regulation gauge on the machine that shows you what’s happening while you’re steaming your milk. A more manual machine allows the user to adjust this temperature but in most cases, this function is automatic and you should only be using the temperature regulation gauge as an indicator to tell if something is wrong.
- Commercial or Not?
Your milk steaming needs may extend beyond your home machine if you run a business that centers on beverage distribution. Your café or café setup in the workplace could warrant the use of commercial steamers due to the amount of traffic that the machine handles on a daily basis. Consider the amount of people that will use the steamers and the amount of drinks each of those people will make that include foamed milk. If your business or setup doesn’t involve a lot of drinks with steamed milk, then commercial pour over steamers are not necessary. For home use, it is very unlikely that a commercial steamer will ever be necessary but use your personal judgment to make this decision.
- Attached Steamers
When you decide that you want to enjoy beverages with steamed milk at home, it might be a good idea to upgrade to an espresso machine with attached steamers. These machines have a steamer wand (or wands) on the machine itself. Hot water is stored in a boiler tank and is ready to steam milk at a moment’s notice. There is also a temperature regulator and pressure gauge on the machine so you know it’s working properly on all accounts. You’ll be able to pull your espresso shots, steam the milk, then put your drink together all with one machine.
- Steam Milk with Confidence
No matter which machine you purchase, you need to learn how to use it properly in order to create the gourmet drinks you enjoy. You can find a tutorial, refer to your instruction manual, or look at videos to find out how to steam milk with the confidence to get the desired consistency. Fully automatic milk steamers are pretty easy to use because they regulate temperature and pressure without your manual involvement.
All you have to do is measure cold milk into a stainless steal cup, position it under the steamer wand so it is in the milk, turn on the wand, and twirl the cup as the hot air is added evenly. Before you start, it’s a good idea to “clear” the steamer wand by turning it on for a couple of seconds to let steam come out before the wand is put into the milk. There will be some trial and error to the process. Your first drink will not be perfect and the second or third may leave a little something to be desired as well but you’ll get it with some practice and before you know it, you’ll be whipping up lattes just like a professional barista.
Entertain with Flair
One of the best thing about owning an espresso machine with steamers, is that you’ll be able to serve coffee drinks to guests that look better than the dessert they’re served with! Once you learn how to use your new machine, experiment with different looks and garnishes for the drinks you serve. Try adding flavored syrups, spices, or other toppings to make your drinks look as good as they’ll taste. You can find new recipes in many places or you can ask friends who also own machines what kinds of recipes they’ve tried. Share your discoveries with your friends and other coffee lovers using social media and don’t forget to take pictures of your creations to post with your recipes. Go to your favorite café and order the lattes you’ve never tried in the past and then ask yourself what you did and didn’t like about them. Use those answers to tweak the recipes on your own at home and make them even better than the ones at the café. With a little experimentation, you’ll be entertaining with lattes that are better than gourmet and your friends and family will be in awe.
The coffee lover in your life will certainly appreciate a gift card but why not step it up and get them a gift they never expected. An espresso machine is the ultimate gourmet experience for the one who loves coffee and something they will use (and brag about) for many years to come. Finding the right machine for a gift is not the same as buying one for yourself, though, and there are a few things you’ll need to take into consideration before you make your decision and present your gift.
- What Occasion is This Gift For?
An espresso machine is a formidable piece of equipment and most of them come with a hefty price tag. A holiday gift, wedding gift, or milestone birthday is a good time to present this kind of generosity but otherwise, you might want to think twice about what your gift says before you buy one for a friend who celebrates Flag Day. Either way, the coffee connoisseur will love an espresso machine but timing is still everything when it comes to big gifts.
- Who Will Be Using the Machine?
The coffee lover you’re buying for is likely to have specific requirements for the type of coffee they make and the kinds of drinks they enjoy. If this is the case for your coffee lover, the espresso machine you buy must be able to meet those requirements. Take your gift recipient out for coffee at a café and see what they order. Strike up a conversation about the kinds of coffee drinks they like and use that information when you’re purchasing an espresso machine as a gift for them.
- How Much Space is Available?
Find out what the configuration of your coffee lover’s kitchen is to see if the espresso machine you want to give as a gift will fit. Are they willing to part with the machine they already have? If your gift is a surprise, maneuvering the conversation toward this answer can be tricky but it’s still a good idea to figure out what kind of wiggle room there is in their kitchen. The last thing you want is to give them the exact machine they’ve always wanted but they can’t use it because they have no place for it in their home.
- Style Considerations
Is your recipient a flashy person or a coffee traditionalist? Do they like sleek and compact or machines that have several functions without worrying about sacrificing space? Everyone has a style when it comes to the machines they keep and the espresso machine is no exception. Your coffee lover might want a traditional looking machine with its nostalgic style or they might want something fully automatic and compact. You can gather this information by viewing the types of machines they already have or simply leading the conversation to this topic.
- Functions and Attachments
There are instances where a machine that has multiple steamers or built in grinders are optimal and there are others where all one wants is to be able to pull a shot of espresso and drink it straight. When you learn about the coffee preferences of your recipient, you’ll learn more about the functions the espresso machine you purchase as a gift will need to perform. Does this person like to grind their own beans? Are they proficient in steaming milk for a latte? These are things they’ll need to know how to do if you give them a machine that has these functions.
You may not be the only one with the idea to buy an espresso machine for the coffee connoisseur in your life. If that’s the case, you can split the cost with others and add some accessories or other coffee related items to the gift that make it extra special. Create your own basket with unique finds or purchase something practical you know will be needed with the machine. Before you look for extras and accessories, try to find out what the recipient already has in their kitchen. This way, you’ll be sure to give them something that will surprise them and be appreciated.
- Include Instructions and Important Numbers
Before you wrap your espresso machine gift, open up the box and make sure that all the parts, instructions, and important numbers are there. This includes the serial numbers, anything needed to register the product, customer service numbers, and any electrical connections or numbers for a professional to install the machine. Put the instruction manual on the top of the box so it’s easy to find and include a gift receipt for the product in the card. This way, the recipient will be able to learn how to use every part of the machine, maintain it and install it properly, and return it if it’s too complicated or doesn’t fit in their kitchen. Even if you’ve taken the time to get all the correct information, you never know how someone will react when you give them a gift. Having all your bases covered ahead of time will be much appreciated when the time comes to actually use the machine after you’ve left the party.`
When purchasing an espresso machine for a coffee connoisseur, it’s important to get the best. They know what a good espresso machine looks like and chances are that if they wanted a basic one, they would have bought it for themselves already. Go the extra mile and get them a machine that shows you not only know and understand their love of coffee but also that you want them them to have the best of the best. They’ll appreciate the gift more and it will be one that they can enjoy for many years to come. Don’t forget to stop by once in awhile and have a latte with your favorite coffee lover from that gourmet machine!