November 15, 2007

SingleServeEspresso Holiday Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again when we dreams of sugar plums and shots of espresso dance in our heads….. well, as more and more people find their way to the good life, they find that they want to get an espresso maker of their own. We’ve checked out a lot of machines and espresso this year, and have compiled a list that we feel is a good summary of ideas to hit many budgets.

Super Automatics >$700

DelonghiESAM3500.jpgDeLonghi ESAM3500 Esclusivo Magnifica Digital Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine - This maker does is all for you at the touch of a button. The whole beans go in the top, water in the reservoir and milk in the frothing attachment. Push the button and you get an espresso and steamed milk straight to your cup for that great latte or cappuccino. We call it the “barista-button” in our house. Grind, water levels and milk amounts are all optionally changeable. If you want a different style of coffee (i.e. Decaf) you can add ground coffee in the top of the “by-pass doser” to get that coffee used instead.

NespressoLattissima.jpgDeLonghi EN660.R Nespresso Lattissima Single-Serve Espresso Maker - A similar machine to the DeLonghi above, made instead by Nespresso and DeLonghi is the Latissima. A super-automatic that relied on Nespresso capsules for its coffee source, while still maintaining the automatic milk steaming capability straight to the cup.

JuraCapressoImpressaE9.jpgJura-Capresso 13204 Impressa E9 Automatic Coffee and Espresso Center
A step down but still a super-automatic, this machine skips the automatic frothing, but still offers you the ability to create wonderful espressos with super fresh beans and then you will just have to manually steam the milk to get your milk-based espresso drink. Super easy, Super delicious from another Super Automatic.

Espresso for the Aficionado
ranciliosilvia.jpgThe Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine is a true aficionado’s machine, as it does not have a pressurized portafilter, but instead a professional style portafilter that requires you to grind and tamp the espresso properly to get a great espresso. More difficult than most consumer machines, but can reward with excellent espresso. Requires a good or very good grinder, and a hand tamp to get a good espresso.

Nespresso Semi-Automatic Machine
NespressoC100T.jpgThe Nespresso C-100T espresso machine is a tiny espresso wonder; and I count it as one of my favorites. Drop the Nespresso capsules in the top and punch a button. Out comes a fantastic shot of espresso or a lungo. Beautiful Crema! Only uses Nespresso capsules available at or at Nespresso Boutiques. You might pair it with a Nespresso Aeroccino or a simple AeroLatte for milk based drinks.

Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
gaggiacarezza.jpgThe Gaggia 35008 Carezza Espresso Machine gives you a lot of ease at a pretty affordable price. You add the coffee as ground or pods, attach the portafilter and hit the button. The unit puts through a pre-determined amount of hot water to pull the shot. This is a pump-driven machine driving at 17+ bars of pressure to extract the great flavors, topping with a nice crema.

Entry Level Pump-Driven Machine
DelonghiEC155.jpgThe DeLonghi EC 155 is an entry level machine that offers the convenience and ease of ESE pods, and the flexibility of ground coffee. The unit is compact, and comes with a steam wand to make lattes and cappuccinos, and has the pump driven format to make a decent espresso. Comes with inserts to use both ESE Pods and Ground Espresso in the portafilter. At 35 ounces there’s, plenty of capacity in the reservoir to last for a lot of shots.

Classic Moka Pot
The Moka Pot may be inexpensive but don’t be shy about using one. Screw off the bottom and fuill to the line with water, add the metal filter basket and fill it with ground espresso. Screw the top on and heat until the coffee is forced up through the grounds to leave you with espresso in the top of the maker, and nothing in the bottom. Just as good as a “Steam Driven” espresso maker. Add a manual frother and you have a great inexpensive solution at home.


BodumPavinasm.jpgI can’t write up any recommendation without suggesting Bodum Pavina espresso glasses. The laboratory glass in a double wall cup keeps your fingers cool while your espresso stays hot. They REALLY show off the crema as the shot is poured, and show off a beautiful creation to guests.

bodumpaula.jpgLike a traditional espresso cup? These Bodum Paula Espresso Cups and Saucers are excellent too, beautiful on the outside and classic in design. No better way to serve a great espresso with maybe some espresso spoons on the side.

Need some espresso for that new machine?

  • Try an Espresso Pod sampler to figure out what you like. The experimentation is great.
  • Lavazza Gran Crema is the house pod here at SingleServeEspresso; I love it.
  • Buy some whole bean from your local roaster for the freshest espresso cup.
  • Try one of my favorites – Gimmie! Coffee of Ithaca and New York, New York. True purveyors of excellent coffee.
  • Head to Starbucks and order up some espresso beans there. If you like their coffee, this might just get you that same flavor right in your own kitchen.
  • Want Starbucks but not the hassle of ground? Try their ESE Pods – they taste just like the stuff in the store.
  • Head to the Nespresso site for Nespresso capsules to go in your Nespresso machine. Start with a variety pack. They usually ship in 2 business days.

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    Posted by Scott Martin at November 15, 2007 7:56 AM
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