Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Single Boiler and Heat Exchanger Machines

The Difference Between Single Boiler and Heat Exchanger Machines

If you’ve been trying to decide between a single boiler and a heat exchanger espresso machine, we’re here to help you figure it out. We’ll give you the buzz on what makes each of these machines unique and help you decide which one will work best for your needs.

Single Boiler Espresso Machines

The proper brewing temperature for espresso coffee is approximately between (195°F and 205°F). To produce steam pressure water needs to be heated to approximately (255°F to 270°F). With a single boiler machine this is a bit of a challenge since there is but one boiler with two different thermostats. If the coffee thermostat is turned on the water will be heated to between (195°F and 205°F). The boiler must be completely filled. After you make your coffee, comes the challenging part, to produce steam pressure in order to micro foam your milk. To do this you need to first turn on the steam thermostat which will raise the temperature of the water in the boiler to between (255°F to 270°F). As the temperature rises you must open the steam arm and allow water to escape from the completely filled boiler to make room for steam pressure to build. Once the pressure builds you can then steam your milk.
Overall, a single boiler espresso machine is perfect for making one or two delicious espressos at a time.
Here are a few more things to keep in mind when shopping for a single boiler espresso machine:
  • Great introductory machines for first time espresso machine buyers
  • Smaller in size and doesn't take up too much space
  • Quality espresso at an affordable price

Heat Exchanger Espresso Machines

Heat exchanger machines also have just one boiler however they operate quite differently. The boiler is always half filled with water, the top half is where steam is produced and stored, the water in the bottom half is what supplies the hot water spigot. Inside the boiler is a small chamber that fresh water passes through, that water is heated by the surrounding water and used to make espresso with. This piping or chamber is actually what is referred to as the heat exchanger. Heat exchanger machines automatically maintain proper water levels and temperatures inside the boiler. You do not have to switch back and forth from one mode to the other.
The most significant advantage that a heat exchanger espresso machine provides over a single boiler is that it allows you to steam milk and make espresso coffee simultaneously. If you need to make four or more drinks quickly, the heat exchanger is the tool for the job.
Heat exchangers are “pro-sumer” machines that cost a bit more than single boiler espresso machines, but the speed with which you can prepare drinks makes them ideal for restaurants, cafes, and individuals who may on occasion entertain a number of guests at a time.
From the outside, espresso machines may look quite similar, but what’s going on inside is drastically different depending on whether it’s a single boiler or heat exchanger machine. Both can produce excellent espresso, they just do it in different ways. If affordability is your top concern, then the single boiler is the way to go. But, if you want a machine that’s going to make you a great host by allowing you to prepare several drinks in a short amount of time, the heat exchanger is the choice for you.
Watch the video below to see how you can pull a shot and steam milk with a single boiler!

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