by Machine Type
There are five types of espresso machines. In an office environment, the types are in listed order of a) most difficult to least difficult to operate, b) small office to larger office, and c) more training to less training. In an office environment it is MOST important that one person and a backup are in charge of cleaning in maintenance to avoid costly repairs.
Manual Lever- there is a lever to pull down or push up to extract the espresso. typically, these have no electric pump. Although they require the most work and skill, they typically produce the desired flavor profiles of quality espresso blends.
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.
Full-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.
SuperAutomatics- 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 dumpbox - 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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