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Espresso Machine Buyers Guide -
How to Choose the Espresso Machine that is Right for You.

There is one thing in common to all espresso machines - they are all made for the simple purpose of extracting the flavor and aroma from ground roasted coffee beans. If that’s all there is to it, why does the pricing vary so much on espresso machines?
The task of extracting the flavor out of seven grams of roasted ground coffee beans for a single espresso shot is actually quite challenging, and some espresso machine manufacturers do it better than others.
Espresso machines can be compared similarly to other major appliances with a wide range of prices. For example, you can buy the simplest range on the market to roast a chicken for $399, or you can do pay up to $6,000 to accomplish the same task with a high-end range. By the same token, vehicles were originally invented to get us quickly from one point to another, and car manufacturers achieved that long ago - but you can still buy low-end and high-end vehicles for a wide range of prices.
With espresso machines there are three major factors that influence value:
Quality of components (that lead to better extraction of coffee and better reliability)
External design and materials used
User interface, programming, convenience, settings and ease of use
Manual Espresso Machines
La Pavoni EPC-8 Manual Lever espresso machineManual lever espresso machines were first introduced over 50 years ago. With this type of espresso machine, the user manually controls extraction pressure using a lever. There is no automated pump. The extraction quality depends on the operator pull and therefore requires additional expertise to get the same extraction results every time.
Manual lever espresso machines have an old charm design and can produce an excellent espresso or cappuccino if operated properly.  Manual lever espresso machines are still available in cool retro design, such as the La Pavoni EPC-8. These types of espresso machines are not for everyone. They require accuracy and give no break to beginners.  
Advances in technology have resulted in electronic pumps replacing the lever action in most other coffee machines. These pumps can be found both in Semi and Super automatic espresso machines and can be regulated to the exact pressure required to extract the ground coffee, taking away the guesswork out of the process.
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
Rancilio Silvia and Compak K3 Grinder espresso barSemi -automatic espresso machines represent the next generation of manual espresso machines. They have a pump and are much easier to operate. They still require some knowledge from the user, but require minimum practice to achieve the greatest extraction of coffee. In order to achieve maximum results, it is highly recommended to have a good professional grinder next to them.
Semi automatic espresso machines are used in most espresso bars and have also been introduced in a slim design for homes. Most of these semi-automatic espresso machines have commercial components in a smaller scale. If you have always dreamed about having your own espresso bar, today you can do it. Popularity and demand for these types of espresso machines has made them more affordable than ever before. You can be your own barista at home, achieving better espresso, cappuccino and lattes than most espresso bars can offer. You have control over the coffee beans you want to use, the grind level and more, to create maximum extraction and variety to match your own personal taste. These are not automatic and require passion in making espresso drinks. If you have a passion for coffee, go for it!
Maintenance of semi-automatic espresso machines is easy but does require some knowledge. Prices vary anywhere from under $300 for espresso machines such as the Capresso Ultima Espresso ( a good beginner espresso machine) to over $1,500 for a commercial grade espresso machine such as the Rocket Giotto. 
Super-Automatic Espresso Machines
Jura Impressa Z6, Z5 Chrome espresso machineThe newest generation of espresso machines, invented in Switzerland, provide us with easy to use, push button coffee drinks. These super automatic espresso machines require no experience or practice to operate.
All super automatic espresso machines have a built in quality grinder. It freshly grinds the coffee beans just before each cup. A simple push of a button and the machine grinds the coffee beans and then brews a fresh cup of coffee directly into your favorite coffee cup. Once done, the super automatic espresso machine automatically disposes of the used ground coffee into a built in container.
Super automatic espresso machines are the easiest espresso machines to use and offer the quickest, cleanest method of preparing fresh and great tasting espresso or cappuccino anytime, anywhere. Once programmed to your liking, super automatic espresso machines will provide the same great tasting coffee every time.
 The price range among super automatic espresso machines are due to number of settings, extraction power, number of cups required per day, temperature control and other bells and whistles such as digital displays where you can even program your name and set a cappuccino button to it. (Jura Impressa Z9)
Super automatic espresso machines are more expensive than semi automatic espresso machines mainly because they have a built in coffee grinder and use high-end technology components. The Swiss made Jura Impressa coffee makers are well known for their high level of reliability, user friendly interface and high-tech designs which fit well into today’s modern kitchens.  Maintaining Jura espresso machines is also quite easy. You simply replace the water filter in time, insert a cleaning tablet, push a button and you’re done.
Choosing an espresso machine that is right for you is not an easy task... we hope that this article has helped you understand the differences between the different types of espresso machines. Please use the "compare" feature to review the specific differences between espresso machines. If you still have any questions, please don't hesitate to call or e-mail us.
We would love to help you reach more educated decision!
Zcafe Canada Team
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