The Different Types of Espresso Coffee Machines

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The Different Types of Espresso Coffee Machines

The espresso machine has been with us for over a hundred years and in that time, the concept of
forcing almost boiling water through a small amount of finely ground coffee remains unchanged.
The espresso machine has been with us for over a hundred years and in that time, the concept of
forcing almost boiling water through a small amount of finely ground coffee remains unchanged.
However the way the water is pressurised in espresso machines has seen its fair share of
advances over the years. These days there are four main types of espresso coffee machines,
each of which we''ll have a closer look at:


Steam Driven

The first espresso machines used steam pressure to force the hot water through the ground
coffee. Having no moving parts these were easy to manufacture and the method still remains
popular today. The classic Moka-Pot espresso maker uses the same method as these early
espresso makers, however in this day and age they are not considered to be bona fide espresso
machines as their design is too simplistic. However simplicity is at the heart of the stream driven
espresso maker as this is its beauty. The steam driven coffee maker need not be more complex
than it already is in order to make great coffee every time.


Piston Driven

The Piston driven coffee machine was developed in 1945 in Italy by Achillo Gaggia, the founder of
the famous Gaggia brand. The piston driven espresso maker does not rely on steam pressure to
force the hot water through the coffee, instead the force is delivered via a hand driven piston which
provides the pressure to force the hot water through the coffee grounds. Piston driven espresso
coffee machines are the most ''hands on'' coffee makers and are a popular device for many
café bars and bistros as pulling a shot is a bit like pulling a pint.


Pump Driven

In 1961 the piston driven machine was developed further and this resulted in the pump driven
machine. This replaced the hand pump with and electric pump and has since become the most
popular design in coffee bars as it delivers shots of espresso quickly and with little effort from the
barista. Since their conception in the early sixties a further 3 variations have emerged which
incorporate and separate the frothing arm by giving it a second boiler to enable two temperatures
of water to be attained; boiling for the frothing arm and 90-95 degrees for the coffee to avoid
scalding.



Air-pump Driven

The most recent addition to the espresso machine family is the air pump machine designed in
2007. This has been designed to make the perfect espresso whilst on the move and if your
pockets are big enough, this pocket-sized espresso maker is ideal for walking, fishing or cycling.
The hot water is provided by a kettle or flask and the pressure is provided by a hand pump which
works like a bicycle pump. This device also uses coffee pods rather loose ground coffee, however
for such a compact espresso machine designed for coffee lover on the move, it certainly packs a
punch.Barry Summers -


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