by Machine Type
There are four types of espresso machines. In an office environment, the types are in listed order of...
Semi-Automatic - These have an electric pump and the user depresses a switch to activate and deactivate the pump to extract the espresso. This category also includes machines with an E61 grouphead that has a little lever on the side and which depresses a switch on the front panel.
Fully-Automatic - The same function as a Semi-Automatic, except with the additional feature that there are 2-4 buttons to program the dosage of water through the coffee grinds. These can be operated as a semi-automatic, but with the use of a button on the touch pad.
Super-Automatic - These models typically have a built-in grinder, measure the amount of grinds, doses it into the brewing chamber, extract a programmed amount of espresso, and discard the spent grinds into the dump box - all at the touch of a button. Higher end models froth milk in one step as well.
Single Serve - these simple machines can be like a semi- or full-automatic, but they use E.S.E. pods, capsules, or cartridges. Although more expensive, these are the cleanest for use, as espresso making can be messy.
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