Pump Driven vs Steam Driven

The $64,000 question! What is the difference and what does it mean to me?

We want our customers to experience true espresso-based beverages similar to those found in specialty coffee shops. How do make a true espresso beverage? You start with coffee beans specifically roasted and ground for espresso. The extraordinary flavor is extracted by consistently pressurizing fresh water at about nine bar against the coffee grind. It is this extraction method that truly differentiates espresso-based beverages from other coffee drinks. The pressure creates the “crema” on top of the beverage. This creamy golden-brown foam on top is what holds the extraordinary flavor of espresso beverages.

Instead of explaining the difference with technical specifications, it is easier to understand the design differences between Pump Driven vs Steam Driven machines.

Steam driven machines

First, steam driven machines typically boil water to create hot water, steam, & pressure. The boiling water (212 °F, 100 °C) is too hot for your espresso grinds and will create an unfavorable taste in the cup.

Second, the steam in the boiler builds the pressure for the extraction of flavor from the grind. We wish this technique would work. However the pressure is greater at the beginning of the extraction and less at the end of the extraction. As a result of this inconsistent pressure, you will get a bitter cup. Therefore, steam driven machines, by design, make it quite impossible to enjoy a flavorful cup of espresso or cappuccino.

Pump driven machines

The pump creates the minimum and consistent pressure of about 9 bar needed to create the “crema” in the espresso. The water in the pump machines don’t have to boil the water to make pressure for pushing the water through the grinds. Overall, the end result is a better tasting espresso.

That is why we, at 1st-line, mostly offer pump driven (hand or electric) pump espresso machines for the home, office, and commercial setting

We do hope you can appreciate one of these finer machines when you and your guests enjoy tasting perfectly extracted espresso, cappuccino, and lattes.


Please note the above information is subject to copyright. It cannot be published in any means without the expressed written consent of 1st-line Equipment, LLC.