Espresso Coffee Machine

Recently I’ve learned that the most delicious traditional espresso is made with a horn coffee machine. Fortunately, we have this very type produced by IKEA. It is quite a good example, to tell the truth. I decided to share my feelings about the IKEA device and to tell why a coffee machine has horns and what they are used for. 

The utensil seems quite compact and functional: 

– To clear the space on the worktop you can place cups or the jar with coffee beside the water container.
– It is easy to keep it clean because of its detachable water container and tray.
– It clears space on the worktop, if it is installed as a built-in or if it has a tall case.

Why do I need it?

Some mornings it is difficult to get going without coffee doping and I like it delicious and flavorful. I have never learned how to boil it in a cezve, so the built-in version of a semi-automatic coffee machine is an attractive solution for me. Besides I don’t drink much coffee, preferring espresso.
According to the experts, a horn coffee machine makes some of the best hazel espresso without bitterness and with soft cream foam called “crema” and rich coffee flavor. 

The horn coffee machine took its name from a special device – a horn or holder for ground coffee which is screwed into a special fixture inside the machine called the post. Theoretically the horn should be metallic as it handles higher temperatures as compared with a plastic one. A stable temperature and pressure are two critical factors when delicious coffee is being prepared!

The IKEA coffee machine has a metallic holder – which is good for coffee – and a plastic handle.

The espresso coffee machine consists of a:

  • Boiler
  • Detachable water reservoir
  • Massive metallic holder with a portafilter
  • Electronic control system
  • Steamer for steam supply
  • Tamper for coffee packing

Some technical parameters:
Pump pressure: 15 bar. 
ESE filters can be used with this machine.
Water tank capacity: 1 liter.
Holder for a ground coffee filter and a single-serve coffee container. 
Steam jet for steamed milk for cappuccino. 
Capacity: 1100 Watt. 

How does it work?

Water flows from the reservoir into the boiler and heats up to 95°С. Then the water is pumped through the horn holding the coffee at the pressure of 15 bars and an energy-promising stream of ready-to-enjoy espresso pours into the cup.

Preparing and cooking is quite easy but some details are important.

  • The espresso coffee machine should be warmed up to reach the temperature level necessary to create the working pressure which takes 15-30 minutes. But the working condition can be obtained faster, in 5-10 minutes , if water is passed through a couple of times.
  • Coffee is put into the horn and packed with the tamper.

This tamping device for the coffee theoretically should be metallic – as the horn is – and quite heavy because the taste of espresso depends on the packing quality. The experts say that poorly packed coffee won’t give the right espresso quality in the end–it would be bitter and weak.

The IKEA tamper is not professional grade, but is plastic for home usage. That’s why you should try to pack it well!!

  • It’s important that the machine’s green indicator light flashes, which means that it is warmed up and the pressure is acceptable for the water supply. Wait for this before starting the device and watch the pressure thoroughly.

When the green indicator goes off, you’d better stop the coffee supply and wait until the machine reaches working pressure again. In practice the time spent on such on-off games in half of the instances makes you awake and cheerful without coffee. 

Well, that’s enough, it seems. Much talk and little action. In the end, you have a flavorful, foamy drink which clears your mind and gives you energy for the whole day with just a couple of sips.

Yet, it should be added that it is better to use freshly grounded coffee and filtered or bottled water, not tap water. The main thing to remember is that tasty espresso is identified by its foam which should be creamy. Espresso’s life is very short – only 15-30 seconds, so it’s better to drink it at once!!

What the appliance can do besides make espresso? 

  • Froth milk and make the foam for cappuccino with steam and a special whisk
  • Mull wine – with the same device for the steam supply, you can warm up wine already in a glass having put sugar and spices into it. Such a method was used in the restaurant where I worked during my time at the university. The mulled wine temperature is easy to control and in a couple of seconds mull wine of the proper temperature is ready.
  • Pour boiled water for tea. 85-95 С is enough to brew tea because good tea doesn’t require a high temperature!

If money and kitchen space are acceptable, I recommend buying this appliance. It will create a small café at your place and you’ll always have something special to treat your guests and yourselves. 

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