How The Best Cappuccino Makers Work
Many home coffee makers prefer using Cappuccino makers over standard coffee makers. With these products, you can brew your favourite café-style coffee drink in the privacy of your own home, with the bonus of having time to practice and perfect your best beverage.
These coffee machines work by heating the water and then forcing the heated water through the ground coffee. As the heated water moves through the grinds, the water extracts the flavour. The coffee used is ground finer than for regular coffee. Steam is also used to froth milk for cappuccino or lattes.
Types of Cappuccino Makers
There are two basic types of machines for brewing specialty coffee drinks: steam and pump models. Pump machines are the best rated for heating water to the optimal level quickly. The most expensive models all work with an electric pump. They make a great cup of espresso with good crema. Crema is the brown foamy layer on top of a cup of espresso.
Steam models are less expensive and are capable of brewing a good cup of espresso. Steam models have less pressure and less power. They are more affordable and make a good first machine. These products are definitely a step up from standard drip coffee makers.
A variety of coffee types are available for making espresso at home. The grinds are finer than standard coffee. Individual pods are available to fit most models. Pods are prefilled filter packets with the ground coffee measured and sealed inside. Many people love the convenience of pods and swear by them. A third of American households use single-pod coffee machines.
Other people feel the quality of the drink is much lower when pods are used. The finished drink can be weak or bitter, depending on the brand of coffee and how it is prepared. This is because as ground coffee ages it becomes more bitter, although processing techniques and storage pods have been developed to stop this.
Single-use Pod machines are extremely popular but their usage can be a little controversial also due to the environmental concerns over the quantity of non-recyclable used pods taking up our wastage dumps. Whilst sales of pod coffee machines continues, development is now making progress over multi-use pods and recyclable pods which can be used to fertilise gardens. Also many machines are now compatible with Nespresso pods but you can also use your own ground beans. In the meantime, many countries have pod recycling centres, or specific brands (like Nespresso) offer to take used pods back at their boutiques. Check your area for how to recycle or dispose of your used pods.
Super automatics are the top of the line in home cappuccino making. Super automatics can make all specialty coffees including espresso, cappuccino, lattes and mochas. An automatic milk frothing system prepares the milk according to your taste.
Super automatics are grind and brew devices that do everything for you. They grind the beans, tamp the grinds, measure the water, brew the coffee and froth the milk. The best models look and work very closely to ones you see being used in coffee cafés.
Used grinds are dumped into a waste box, which you empty to dispose of the used beans. You program the machine according to the strength, quantity, and temperature desired in the finished drink. You can brew two mugs at once with super automatics.
Burr grinders are used in most super automatics. You can set the grinder for the consistency you want in the ground beans. Super automatics measure the beans for you, depending on the number of cups you will be brewing.
Cleaning a Cappuccino Machine
Proper cleaning is important to keep your machine working well and making great tasting drinks. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper cleaning. The components vary from product to product, so following the directions is important.
The machine should be cleaned inside and out to keep it working well. How you will clean it depends in part on the material used in construction. Stainless steel is the easiest to clean and maintain. Follow the directions included to keep it working well.
You will need to descale and decalcify the machine regularly. This is necessary to remove build up caused by particles in your drinking water. Over time, these particles can clog the machine and interfere with the operation. How often you will need to do this depends on the quality of your water and how often you use the coffee maker. One way to avoid this build up is to use distilled water.
The brew group will need to be cleaned about once each weak. A removable brew group is easier in terms of cleaning. You slide the brew group out through the service door and rinse it regularly. This removes coffee residue and grinds and results in a better tasting drink.
A non removable brew group should be cleaned with the automatic cleaning cycle. You program this feature and it cleans the brew group for you. Cleaning tablets are sold for non removable brew groups. Follow the directions on the package for proper use.
Finding a Good Machine
If you are in the market for a good machine, there are plenty available at various price points. Look up and read reviews on the internet, sites like Wired provide yearly reviews and comparisons of the best. These machines are either called Cappuccino or Espresso Makers. Before going for the top range one, consider your usage needs, and what you already have. Some super automatics have so many features that they have a steep learning curve. And you may not need one with a burr grinder as part of the many tools, if you already have a grinder. Others can’t fit very wide or high cups under them.
Whilst you are in the market for a new machine also consider where it’s going (counterspace needed) and storage requirements for all the coffee and cups you’ll need.
By the way, you can also get little battery-powered portable espresso machines now, which you can take on vacation when camping or at the beach. All you need is the ground beans and hot water. Have fun with the many ways you can make yourself a good espresso or latte at home.