If you following along on my Instagram Stories, you'll know that we were gifted a beautiful new espresso machine from a darling friend of ours. Daniel and I have never made our own espresso's before, but now that we have a machine, I have to say that we are both absolutely hooked!
I've been getting a ton of DM's and questions from friends about our espresso machine, if we like it and think it's worth purchasing, and so I thought I'd do a little review and talk all about it with y'all! I will say right off the bat... we LOVE it and literally use it everyday. Easily five stars (in case you just wanted to know, and didn't want to read through everything).
For the readers, read on!
* Btw, all these photos are from the amazon link, they are not my own.
So the day our espresso machine arrived, I think we spent all day + the rest of the weekend watching videos to try and figure out how to make espresso. We assumed it would be really complicated, and we needed to learn all there was to learn about pulling the perfect espresso shot.
....It wasn't until after we watched all these hours of videos that we realized that the espresso machine came with a pamphlet that explained everything you need to know. *legit face palm*
So I *highly* recommend that you if you're looking to help save some money and nix your Starbucks habit, wanting something that's super simple and user friendly, but still pulls a good shot, then this is the machine for you. We've had it for about 2 months now, and still love it. We're really happy with it - and had we not been gifted it and I knew how amazing it was, I would totally purchase it for ourselves!
One of the reasons I love this machine is because this kit pretty much comes with everything you would need to make your own espresso, short of the espresso beans themselves (which we'll get to in a minute).
It's roughly $100, which depending on your coffee spending habits, if you frequent a coffee shop everyday, you would pay this thing off in less 3 weeks time... So I would say it easily pays for itself, especially if you're a big coffee drinking household like us!
So what all comes in this kit?
Well, you get the machine (obviously), which is kind of like an all in one. It has a water reservoir (kind of like a Keurig does) that's detachable (for cleaning) so that you can pull several shots without having to constantly refill it. Small perk, but it's nice!
Continuing from left to right in the above photo - it comes with a scoop and tamp (the thing you push the espresso down with). Then the portafilter (the thing that holds the basket with the espresso), two baskets (a one shot and a two shot - these are what hold the espresso and one of these go inside the portafilter). Then you have the mini mug that holds the espresso, and then the silver frothing pitcher.
All of this comes with the kit, and in the pamphlet it will further break it down. But they're really simple and kind of once you learn what goes where, it's pretty straight forward :)
So like I mentioned.. It's really easy to make a good latte, cortado, cappuchino, etc. Whatever your preference! The little booklet that comes with this machine also explains ALL The different kinds of drinks you can make (many I hadn't even heard of like a cafe bombon). So that's been fun getting to experiment and see what options we truly love.
Now on the machine itself, there are two buttons on the front: one for espresso, and one for frothing.
You choose the button which action you want to do - for us, we usually pull the espresso first. So we'll turn the machine on (the red button on the bottom right of the above photo) then press the espresso button option on the front. There's a blue light around the button - it will flash while it's getting ready. Once it's ready, it will be a consistent blue color and that means it's ready to go!
Next up, we'll freshly grind the espresso beans (tastes better when they are freshly ground), put it inside the basket size we'd like to pull (usually the 2 shot), place the basket in the portafilter, and then attach the portafilter to the espresso machine (as shown above).
Then you see where the hand is? You'll turn the knob to the right, and that will start pulling water through and you'll get your fresh espresso!
You'll have to play with the timing on how you like your espresso - for a 2 shot of espresso, we've found that 12 seconds (once the water/espresso starts coming through) is perfect for us. That's just about filling the cute little espresso cup.
Then we'll change the front button to froth, and it takes maybe 30-45 seconds to be ready (it flashes a blue light, and it's a constant blue light when it's ready, same as the espresso button). Then we'll pour the milk (or almond milk, in our case) into the frothing pitcher, and then place the frothing pitcher under the frother. Then we'll turn the knob to the left, and start frothing the milk.
Now here's the part where I'd recommend you'd watch some youtube videos.
Depending what kind of drink you want, what kind of milk you use, etc. will vary how you froth the milk. I didn't watch any videos, and I've figured out how to make espresso in a way that I like (basically, I put the frother tip into the milk enough to stir it, but don't bring it to the surface often because I don't like a lot of foam). Then I will froth the milk until I feel like the frothing pitcher is warm.
I personally love cortado's, because I'm not a big milk person (even with almond milk) so I'll mix about equal parts milk and espresso. Daniel, however, loves a good foamy latte/cappuchino, so he will get a lot of foam and loves to have about 3-4x milk to espresso.
But really, I don't think you can do it wrong. You just have to play around with it until you figure out how you like it! This is the fun part :)
This machine has now become a part of my morning routine - I make my coffee, then sit down for my quiet time... And it's just about as close as I can get to having coffee with Jesus this side of heaven. On Saturday's, Daniel and I will make our drinks together, and enjoy sitting on the couch, or outside on the porch, and slowly drink our coffee over good conversations.
Like I've mentioned several times, we really enjoy this machine and love having it!
Now before I forget: probably the most important thing is the beans!
You have to buy espresso beans - regular coffee beans will not work! It's the way the bean is roasted - if you don't get the espresso beans, your espresso is going to taste pretty awful and watery.
Daniel and I quickly learned that store bought, already ground espresso is not the best tasting. The next day we went back, and purchased the only whole beans we found (Starbucks whole beans) and ground it ourselves, and that was much better. However, neither of us are big fans of Starbucks, so when we found out that Sprouts had an Espresso dark roast of organic beans, we've got those and they are our favorite! I feel like they are significantly fresher (because the beans aren't pre-packaged, you fill it yourself) and I love that we can get as much as we need for that week.
Anyways, I think that's it! If you have any other questions - don't hesitate to reach out. We really do love this machine, and found that it only took us a few days/tries to figure out just how each of us like our coffee in the morning!
To be honest, we weren't previously big latte drinkers. We were happy with just a good ole regular cup of joe. But if you ARE the kind of person who does frequent Starbucks or coffee shops and is spending a lot of money on lattes, this is definitely going to save you a bunch of money :) Plus it just makes you feel legit to pull your own espresso in the morning.
We're really looking forward to having our first house guests (well, once we finish getting the new house pulled together) and making them drinks in the morning! Daniel is a frothing pro (I have yet to master making latte art because I can't seem to froth the almond milk just right).
Anyways, here's the link to the espresso machine we use and love! It has everything you need (minus the espresso beans - here's a link to some from Peet's on amazon if you just want to add both to your cart to start until you can find some local). But you should be able to find espresso beans at your local grocery or health foods store. Or even better, go to the farmers market and buy local! A local roast will definitely be the freshest - only 1-2 days old, and it will taste amazing!
If you get the espresso machine - let me know! Tag me in your photos and let me know what you think - hope you love it as much as we do.