What is Espresso?
Espresso is actually a method of brewing rather than a type of bean. A coffee may be roasted for espresso, but in the truest sense it is the Italian method of brewing coffee: grinding coffee very fine and pushing hot, pressurized water through it, yielding a concentrated coffee beverage. In the early days this was done with spring-loaded levers to create pressure, but machines today utilize pumps to deliver consistent pressure at the touch of a button.
Traditional Espresso Machines
Traditional espresso machines are defined as espresso machines with brewing groups that use portafilters (the handled filter basket that coffee is ground into). These machines have 1 – 4 brewing groups and require a barista to grind and tamp coffee into a portafilter before brewing. Traditional machines require more training but give baristas more control over the brewing process.
Automatic traditional machines feature electronic controls that dose a programmed amount of espresso into the cup. Essentially, the machine stops the espresso shot for you, but still requires a barista to grind and tamp coffee into a portafilter before brewing. These volumes can either be programmed into the machine via USB or can be set using the machine interface on all Rancilio volumetric (USB) machines.
Automatic machines allow for some automation to control repetitive steps for the barista but still allow for human interaction with the brewing process. Benefits of automatic traditional machines are consistency, ease of use, and to maximize technological advancements in brewing (such as temperature profiling).
This type features less electronic controls and requires the barista to shut off the brewing manually. Why Choose Semi-Automatic? For full control by skilled barista and entry level pricing.
Super-automatic Espresso Machines
These machines grind, tamp, dose, brew and extract grinds on-demand with the push of a button. These machines are sometimes referred to as fully automatic espresso machines.
Superautomatic – One Step
This type only produces espresso on-demand and includes a milk delivery system that steams and foams milk on-demand with the push of one button. Why Choose One Step? For consistency, ease of use, to minimize training, for self-service.
Superautomatic – Two Step
This type produces espresso on-demand and includes a steam wand to steam fresh milk manually or with the use of an intelligent steam wand. Why choose Two Step? For entry level pricing or because the theater of making a drink is important.