Espresso refers to a method for brewing coffee that pushes very hot water through a bed of finely ground coffee beans. Espresso machines heat the water with a boiler or thermoblock device, then pressurize the water with a pump and push it through a brewing chamber into a basket filled with coffee grounds. The coffee liquid then comes out a spout ready to drink. The whole process takes an espresso machine about 30 seconds. There are a few different kinds of espresso machines, and they are...
Manual or hand lever: These espresso machines allow you to pump the espresso through the machine yourself. This is the Ďartí part, and the art is in the pumping. These machines, like the automated machines, can also make steam to produce steamed milk for lattes, cappuccinos and mochas.
Semi-automatic: Semit-automatic espresso machines automate some of the process. They automate the brewing of the water, and provide an electric pump. When the water is heated, you add the pre-ground coffee into the filter basket and push the brew button. When youíve got the espresso you want in your cup, you turn it off.
Automatic: Automatic espresso machines are just like semi-automatic, except they control the volume of water dispensed by the machine, so you donít have to monitor it. They can be programmed to dispense a certain number of shots of espresso.
Super automatic: These espresso machines go a step further and provide an internal automated brewing system and a high quality coffee grinder. They use a computer system to help ensure a consistent cup of espresso every time. You push the right buttons and the machine grinds, brews and dispenses, all by itself. These machines often also brew regular cups of coffee. Of course, they come with all the other bells and whistles, such as the steamer.