Espresso maker recommendations

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Espresso maker recommendations

Postby sparks » Sun May 18, 2014 10:14 am

Hi, dh's Jura broke down again. It is a bean grinder cum espresso maker. I am thinking of getting a new espresso maker for his birthday. Dh is one who drinks his espresso kosong.

Any suggestions for a home machine that can make espressos like in cafes but durable & easy to maintain? Budget <$500. I have Philips Saeco & Nepresso in mind for the moment & would like to hear your opinions. Thanks!

To Add (just read from another website):

What’re the differences between semi professional machines and other machines?

Let’s begin by first introducing the 3 main types of home machines.

Fully Automatic


Does everything from grinding, frothing and extracting espressos, all in one machine at the press of a button.
Quick in operation.
Affordable to operate, coffee powder can cost as low at 6 cents a cup.
User has full freedom of choice to coffee available from anywhere.


“ Fully automatic machines are totally unsuitable for brewing a good espresso. This has to do with the fact that the fragile construction of the plastic brewing parts cannot build up the necessary amount of pressure that’s needed to sufficiently extract the brew from the powder.” - International Magazine of Design March 2008 Germany
The cleaning of milk tubes, and brushing of coffee powder trapped deep in the chambers, makes them the hardest to clean among all types of coffee makers.
Repair will be expensive as parts are proprietary and will be unserviceable upon phasing out.
Instead of using boilers as in those used in professional machines, most fully automatic machines use small heating groups known as “thermoblocs” which provide pretty weak and inadequate steaming power for frothing or extraction.
Very limited temperature and pressure control to refine coffee flavours.

Capsules Machines


Very fast in operation
Easy to clean


Like fully automatics, the machines are constructed using plastic components which limit the amount of necessary pressure to adequately produce a good extraction.
They have totally no control on the pressure and temperature to refine coffee profiles.
They are almost all the time running on “thermoblocs” which has unstable and inaccurate heating and frothing features.
As manufacturers strive to make their capsule machines smaller to be a selling point and reducing the cost, the thermoblocs used are also getting smaller which lead to lesser time available for heating. That leads to a common issue of coffee not hot enough.
Capsules machines normally use a much lower pressure than what they stated. It’s common that capsules manufacturers state that the pressure brewing are at 15-19 bars. The listed pressure is actually the initial pressure which lasts only for the first few seconds, which the machine use to puncture and perforate the capsules. It’s followed by a steady flow of lower pressure, of approximately 7-9 bars which is the actual pressure used for brewing.
Users are restricted by the number of blends available from the manufacturer.
The cost of running a capsules system is probably the most expensive among all categories.
Users consume toxic from Aluminium* and Plastic** as they drink, even more as they were extracted under pressure and high heat. It’s found that Aluminium releases toxic metal* which contribute to brain diseases like Alzheimer. 90% of plastic whether they are BPA free are found to leached estrogenic chemicals which causes certain types of cancer, puberty irregularities and impotency. We also like to highlight that we haven’t seen a lot of indications from plastic capsules manufacturers that they are BPA free. In our investigations, we found out that the shell of most 3th party capsules are made in China.

* Metal ions affecting the neurological system. [Met Ions Life Sci. 2011] - PubMed - NCBI
Aluminum exposure and Alzheimer's disease. [J Alzheimers Dis. 2001] - PubMed - NCBI
JEM spotlight: metal speciation related to n... [J Environ Monit. 2009] - PubMed - NCBI

** Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved

Semi Professional


With boilers, expect very strong, effective and efficient steaming power for frothing.
Boilers are normally made with full copper and copper is an elemental nutrient necessary for good health and does not lead to cancer or birth defects
Most semi-professional machines are able to produce a lot of hot water for other types of beverages.
Coffee get brewed at very accurate and preferred temperatures as the brewing takes place under the grouphead directly. As the water flows from the boiler to the portafilter for extraction, it may lose heat along the way. The grouphead serves it’s purpose by getting heated, so water that pass through will be reheated back to the required temperature.
They are extremely durable due to the use of mostly metal for it’s components and chassis. Most machines weight above 15KG, easily triple the weight of capsules/fully automatic machines.
User has full freedom of choice to coffee available from anywhere.
Affordable to operate, coffee powder can cost as low at 6 cents a cup
They are fairy easy to clean


More expensive, they will probably cost as much as fully automatics or higher.
Slower startup time.
They are bigger, about the size of a medium size oven.

Is Nespresso machine made of aluminium or stainless steel? I am a bit concerned with aluminium used in the machine & capsules.

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