What are the benefits of using a single-boiler espresso machine vs one with a single-boiler with heat exchanger?


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Kinnek Knowledge Team

The benefit of a single-boiler espresso machine is that it is generally cheaper than a heat exchange espresso machine.  To make an espresso, a single-boiler machine has to change modes from coffee mode to steam mode, and there is an associated wait/drain time.

A heat exchange espresso machine simply provides a higher quality, more efficient system for brewing an espresso.  A heat exchange machine does not have any wait/drain time since the steam is already in the boiler.  The barista can steam the milk and brew the coffee simultaneously, which results in a fresher espresso than one made in a single-boiler machine.  Further, the water being used to extract the coffee from the beans is fresh, not reheated as in single-boiler machines.

For a higher quality espresso, a heat exchange machine is recommended versus a single-boiler machine, though the cost may be prohibitive depending on your budget.

Apr 3, 2014

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Melina Hunt from Prima Coffee

I would almost always recommend going with a heat exchanger.  Single-boiler espresso machines take much longer to make a great drink.

Single-Boiler espresso machines have to change the whole boiler temperature between steaming and extracting the coffee itself.  The difference is that a heat exchanger keeps a temperature at a higher temperature (a steam setting).  It is always ready to steam.  When you want to run the water through the portafilter it infuses some cold water to get it down to temp for the coffee extraction.  This makes a heat exchange much more efficient.  Also while waiting on the single boiler machine to change temps the drinks can go stale in the meantime, depending on how slow the temperature change takes.

Nov 5, 2015

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