We want to hear from you! CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. But if you’re ready to expand your repertoire to cappuccinos and beyond, a “prosumer” option might be a worthwhile investment that pays for itself. You can have all of the coffee maker bells and whistles, but they won’t do your cup of joe good if you don’t use them. Things like removable drip trays, built-in grinders, and the portafilter (the handled accessory that holds your coffee grounds during brewing) are all things that need care and cleaning, so keep that in mind too. You won’t need to stand by as it will automatically turn off when your espresso is done. 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Likewise, I follow tamping instructions (light, medium or hard tamp) if the manual provides them. To make your espresso, just add your grounds or pod, pour hot boiling water into the chamber, and press down on the pump. It’s never been easier to pull a perfect double shot or whip up a custom latte with these pro home appliances. Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes. Get smart home reviews and ratings, video reviews, buying guides, prices and comparisons from CNET. While excellent drip typically has a TDS percentage of 1.3% or 1.4%, great espresso has a much higher percentage. A … This yields a balanced cup, assuming you perform an even and efficient extraction of coffee compounds from your grounds (both flavor and caffeine). That means it produces a grind that's quite fine. It's a medium dark roast, suitable for brewing espresso as well. Single vs. double boiler: An espresso machine with a single boiler means you can’t brew coffee and steam milk at the same time; rather, you’ll pull your shot first, wait for the broiler to heat up again, and then steam (or vice-versa). It's the ultimate test for home brewers. Burr grinder: The first step to making espresso is finely grinding whole coffee beans, and that’s where a burr grinder comes in. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission. The crème de la crème of space-saving home espresso machines, Jura’s X8 offers 21 different options and customizable settings. What’s also great about this travel-friendly appliance is its modular design, which makes it easy to clean. If you want the time-saving convenience of pre-measured pods but enjoy crafting custom coffee creations, you can get the best of both worlds with Nespresso’s VertuoPlus coffee and espresso machine. You can also drop as little as $100, if you're willing to settle for a mediocre espresso, but I urge you not to pounce on products that cost less, especially if you plan on drinking espresso regularly. This data, along with readings from a portable refractometer, allows me to calculate two important percentages: total dissolved solids and extraction percentage. On the opposite end of the scale, underextracted brews tend to have undeveloped flavors. For home brewers ready to take their java up a notch, Breville’s Barista Express espresso maker is an excellent and versatile choice. Making espresso at home can be a tall order, though. Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. For those who crave great espresso at home but are nervous about getting the technique down, the Breville Bambino Plus is the perfect choice. Basically, if it was a coffee drink, I made it. Automatic and manual settings: Presets are great when you want consistency and are short on time. 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