There are a number of budget espresso makers on the market, so choosing the one that will work best for you can be an intimidating prospect, especially for first-time buyers.
Performance and Characteristics
The Hamilton Beach 40792 offers a powerful 15 bar pump which allows complete extraction of all the coffee flavors. It looks quite nice, somewhat like a scaled down replica of something you wouldn’t be surprised to see in a Milan cafe.
The espresso it produces is topped with delicious crema (coffee foam). Many home espresso machines will tend to pour out a shot without much of this at all, which is a shame: crema leads to a much smoother, more intense flavor, and in this regard the Hamilton Beach 40792 is just superb.
Using This Appliance
You can use either coffee grounds or espresso pods in this machine. As most of us know, obtaining a good seal on the filter is crucial. Unlike most espresso makers, where you twist the portafilter in order to secure it, this model requires you to gently slide the filter into its slot, then use a lever to lock it in place. The usual system has never been a problem for me, but I’ll admit that this arrangement is a little easier to use.
Cleaning is quite easy. There’s little splatter or dripping, so it’s mostly a question of washing the portafilter and drip tray in the sink. You can pour two cups at once, side by side, which certainly saves time.
One of the most common complaints about less expensive espresso makers is that the beverage is not warm enough when it comes out. With such a small amount of liquid, a large part of the problem is that a cold cup sucks out all of the heat almost instantly. Unlike many comparable products, the Hamilton Beach 40792 has a warming plate on top to heat up your cups before use.
Steaming and Frothing Milk
This step can mean the difference between a good cappuccino and one that disappoints. Instead of an automatic unit, this Hamilton Beach Espresso maker is provided with a steamer arm, which is not quite that simple to use but certainly not difficult.
Start by filling a stainless steel or earthenware jug halfway full of milk. Next, take an empty container and quickly put a burst of steam into it – this is just to clear any water out of the steamer arm while heating the pipe.
You will place the steamer arm’s nozzle inside the milk, moving it up and down to regulate the amount of foam vs. milk. Don’t let the nozzle touch the sides of the jug! With a little practice, you will become quite good at this, producing perfect lattes every time.