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Espresso Many Ways

Developed as a means of making small amounts of coffee quickly and repeatedly so Italian bars could serve shots of freshly brewed coffee as quickly as they poured grappa, espresso is a complex drink built around large scales and repeatability. So why would anyone attempt to make it at home? 

To be honest, there’s nothing quite like an espresso or an espresso drink from your favorite café. No amount of finagling will turn something that comes out of a drip brewer into the same rich and syrupy experience as an espresso shot. While there are many great places to get a Peace Coffee espresso drink out there, we, as Minnesotans, understand that whether it be due to a Polar Vortex or just not wanting to put on pants, sometimes leaving the house is a Herculean effort. So here’s what to know when you’re pondering a home espresso set-up, from the budget-friendly options to the elaborate set-up of your dreams.

The Original

Bialetti Moka Pot – Under $50

The classic “stovetop espresso machine” that lets you brew the European way is the Bialetti Moka pot.  This uses the pressure of evaporating water vapor to press the water through the puck of coffee in the center of the pot.  When used well and dialed in properly, it will make a delightful stronger-than-drip kinda-sorta-espresso-like drink that works beautifully to make a café latté in one’s home, and creates a fun and nostalgic atmosphere along the way.

Travels Well

AeroPress and Bellman Stovetop Steamer – $150

The AeroPress can’t technically make “real” espresso, but it does make a potent concentrated coffee drink that can be mixed with hot steamed milk from the Bellman Stovetop Steamer. This creates something that might not be a cappuccino in a snob’s eye, but it’ll look like one, smell like one, and most importantly, taste like one.

Just Getting Your Feet Wet 

Breville Bambino – $350

The Bambino does a lot of things well for not a lot of money or counter space. It might not rival your favorite espresso drink at your local café, but it will get you the better part of the way without a lot of deep espresso knowledge or financial investment.

The Intense Hobbyist

Gaggia Classic Pro – $450

At first glance, the Gaggia Classic Pro can seem a little clunky and difficult to use, but with time, patience, and effort to learn some barista skills, you’ll be dropping perfect shots and steaming gorgeous milk to wow your household–and yourself!–with some delicious espresso drinks.

Breville Barista Pro – $850

The Barista Pro grinds coffee beautifully, extracts it beautifully, and steams milk pretty dang well too.  It has all the bells and whistles one might want from a home espresso machine including an incorporated grinder, included tamp, volumetric controls and a digital shot timer, making it a cinch to make a beautiful espresso drink even while still pretty sleepy and/or lacking in barista skills and knowledge.

Never Want to Spend Money in a Coffee Shop Ever Again

It’s a tie – Rocket Appartamento OR Breville Dual Boiler $1600-$1700

These machines will crank out beverages beautifully and quickly, can steam milk and extract espresso at the same time, and are built sturdily enough to keep running for years after purchase. The Breville Dual Boiler has more features like volumetric shot controls and a built-in shot timer but the Rocket Appartamento is built with sturdier parts and is easier to fix. You really can’t go too wrong with either. 

For Those Whose Dream is to Open Their Own Coffee Shop

La Marzocco Linea Mini – $5900

Built like a tank with professional replaceable parts with a giant and powerful boiler and excellently engineered temperature and pressure controls, this machine can make 40 drinks a day that taste spectacular and keep on ticking for decades down the line.  If you’re a serious “money-is-no-object” shopper this is the “buy it for not just my lifetime” machine. 

Photo of Jackson O'Brien

Published by Jackson O'Brien on December 15, 2022.

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Sure! Here is approximately how long each of our package sizes lasts, based on mugs per day.

Daily Brew 12oz 20oz 5lb
1 mug / day
3 weeks 1 month 4 months
3 mugs / day
French Press
1 week 2 weeks 2 months
6 mugs / day
1 week 1 week 6 weeks
8 mugs / day
Drip Brewer
< 1 week 1 week 4 weeks

Your brew strength and mug size may vary!

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