Traditional coffee machines or Pump Machines
Most coffee machines use a vibrating pump to force the water from the water tank through a thermo block (aka Heat exchanger), which heats the water to 96 degrees centigrade quickly then forces it through the coffee. Usually, they generate 10 to 19 bars of pressure. When the operator wants steam the thermo block heats up so the water turns to steam. It will then have to cool down again the produce an espresso; this delay can be frustrating if making more than one drink.
Some machines have 2 independent thermo blocks or boilers which stay at 110 degrees for steam and 96 degrees for Coffee production
Bean-to-cup coffee machines
If you want the freshest coffee possible, a bean-to-cup coffee machine may be the right choice for you.
Bean-to-cup coffee machines are automatic: you simply add coffee beans and the machine will grind them and dispense and tamp the correct amount by the touch of a button. There’s no need to use a porta filter – the coffee machine does all the work for you. They will very often foam the milk automatically as well. Although steaming milk manually will, if done correctly, produce creamer denser foam than a Bean- to- cup machine.
Bean-to-cup coffee machines tend to be pricier than traditional models and they can be noisy. But they’re easy to use, and can make great coffee if the beans are fresh. It does not however follow that spending more on a machine will produce you a better tasting coffee, that’s more about freshness than anything else
Capsule coffee machines
Capsule coffee or Pod machines are increasingly popular.
These coffee machines offer espresso for the microwave ready-meal generation – and those of us who lead very busy lives.
Instead of faffing around with loose coffee, you simply add a pre-packaged pot of coffee to your machine, press a button, and wait for espresso to drip out of the spout.
Capsule coffee machines are easy to use and clean, extremely convenient and there are plenty of options. The main downside is that most capsule machines only take one type of capsule (e.g. Nespresso, Dolce Gusto) and, though most ranges offer several varieties, you’re limited to the options they supply.
A lot of traditional pump machines will however accept E.S.E. pods as well as ground coffee giving the owner a much wider choice of blends and most important of all kept fresh until the time of brewing.