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A dual boiler espresso machine may cost a little more and take up a bit more space, but for coffee enthusiasts who care more about espresso taste and texture, it’s the best coffee maker money can buy. And they offer a variety of features, such as PID temperature controls, shot timers, and pressure gauges, so you’re able to get not only a great-tasting brew but also cafe-quality microfoam for milk-based drinks.
While they are expensive machines, they’re still a versatile asset because they can perform two functions at once. You can brew a shot of espresso and steam your milk for a cappuccino without waiting for a single boiler to heat up or cool down. Each boiler has a dedicated task and performs these tasks much better than a single boiler or a heat exchanger. Some models come with a built-in grinder, so you’ll get the freshest cup of coffee possible.
Read on to learn more about dual boiler espresso machines and how to go about selecting one for your kitchen.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a sizable 2.5-liter water reservoir, and its preheating can be scheduled in advance. Temperatures for milk and coffee can be set separately, and its steam wand produces very nicely textured milk.
The Breville BES920XL is an efficient dual boiler espresso machine made of brushed stainless steel and has a 2.5-liter water reservoir that owners can opt to fill through either the front or the back, or if they want, they could also remove it and have it refilled at the sink. It can also be programmed and scheduled so that it is preheated and ready for use by a particular time. The espresso machine also features a standby mode that it gets into after an hour of inactivity, as well as an auto shut-off mode that it’ll get into after four hours of inactivity. It features a double-walled steam wand for steaming milk and a dedicated hot water outlet for added convenience. However, it does not have a built-in grinder.
As a dual boiler espresso machine, it has one boiler for steaming milk and a separate one for brewing coffee, making the whole coffee-making process way more efficient since both activities can happen simultaneously. Temperatures for both coffee and steam making can be separately set, and owners will have the option to adjust the pressure level when brewing. It also has an LCD display for easy programming and offers owners the option to choose between one shot, two shots, or a manual setting for quantity control.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a built-in grinder ideal for added convenience and has a large tank capacity. Its quick-start functionality means it does not require any preheating, and it also has a separate spout for making tea or an Americano.
The De’Longhi EC9335R is a relatively advanced semi-professional espresso machine with a grinder facilitated through its sensor grinding technology for the best quality espresso. Its sensor ensures that users will never run out of beans when grinding and since it has two separate heating systems that are independent of each other, its coffee brewing and milk steaming processes happen simultaneously. The coffee machine also has a quick start functionality that doesn’t require any preheating to get going, and its advanced latte system allows users to decide their required style of foam. Still, it does not have digital temperature control to maintain a set brewing temperature.
Owners will also have the option to program and save their preferred drink volume and a steam wand that allows users to either warm milk or make a rich foam. Its hot water outlet makes it more convenient to make tea or dilute an espresso, and since it also comes with a pressure gauge, users will always be able to take note of the current pressure inside the system. A solid retractable cup stand is also included to avoid splashes, and since its water tank has an impressive 2.0-liter capacity, it can be used to make many cups of coffee before it requires refilling.
Award: BEST FOR EASE OF USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: The espresso machine is pretty easy to use and is both compact and lightweight for easy storage or portability. It has two different thermostats for water and steam pressure, and it uses either pods or ground coffee.
The WestBend 55100 is a compact-sized 15 bar pressure pump espresso machine that is pretty simple to operate and is also pretty compact. It weighs only 8.33 pounds, making it a good choice for users who want to use it for travel. Its water reservoir is located on its back, and since it also has a dual heating system, it can easily control the temperature of water and steam pressure. It also has a swivel jet frother that can be used to prepare lattes and cappuccinos. However, it cannot be pre-set to brew a single or double-shot cup of coffee.
The espresso machine can use either pods or ground coffee, and those who would want to brew a cup of cold espresso can also do so if they start the pump before it gets heated up. It is also pretty easy to clean, and its drip tray makes sure that the whole brewing process doesn’t get too messy.
Award: BEST FOR FINE GRINDING
WHY WE LIKE IT: Users will be able to choose from a wide range of grinding settings, and it has a detachable 2.8-liter reservoir that is pretty easy to refill. It also has a brewing time of only 25 seconds and has very customizable shot volumes.
The Gevi Espresso Machine is a commercial-grade coffee machine with a 2.8-liter water capacity and a built-in grinder for added convenience. It comes with a personalized dose control where users have the option to choose between a single-shot mode (25-60ml), a double-shot mode where it produces between (45-80ml), and a manual shot mode that produces up to 300ml of coffee at a go. It also has a quick 25-second brewing time and a powerful 360° steam wand for textured microfoam. Unfortunately, some have reported that it is pretty tough to clean.
Owners will have the option to pick from up to 30 adjustable grind settings, and since the machine also has digital pressure control, it’ll be able to heat water to the exact right temperature for an even and perfect flavor. The espresso machine has a warming tray on its top section, as well as a hot water sprout for those who would want to prepare tea or an Americano. Its steam wand is also perfect for heating and frothing milk for either a latte, cappuccino, or macchiato.
Award: BEST FOR PROFESSIONAL USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is ideal for use in a professional setting thanks to its large water capacity and ease of use. It also has a hot surface to keep drinks heated after brewing and a very classic design.
This dual boiler from Chef Prosentials is a premium coffee-making machine of a commercial grade and offers a sizable 2.9-liter water reservoir. The coffee maker relies on a manual volumetric control system and includes a warming tray to keep coffee heated after brewing. It also has an electric heating element that has an overheat protection switch and an overpressure protection system. Still, some might not appreciate its reasonably large size.
This coffee-making machine has a relatively high 3750 wattage and comes with a continuous brewing button for manual operation. It will work well in a professional environment such as a cafe, and it also has a brown stainless steel front panel that gives it a very classic look.
Award: BEST FOR QUIET OPERATION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is very quiet when brewing and can be programmed to brew in advance. It has a colored touchscreen for easy navigation and a relatively large water reservoir.
The La Spaziale Dream T Dual Espresso machine is an elegant-looking, dual boiler coffee machine with very easily customizable settings, a hot water outlet, and a stainless steel steam wand. It is packaged into a small and compact size that won’t take up a lot of space on any countertop. Its touch screen makes it very easy to use and navigate and has a 3-liter water tank that is removable for easy washing or refilling. It can be set to brew coffee in advance and features a built-in shot timer so that users know how long shots are running. Unfortunately, some have complained that the steam knob is very smooth and slippery to handle.
So as to not consume a lot of electricity, the machine also features an automatic shutdown function that kicks in whenever it is left idle for a few hours and a digital pressure sensor for an accurate pressure reading on screen. It also has a set of barista lights that can illuminate the working space and is also very quiet when brewing. If you’d prefer something more hands-on, you’ll want to check out our round-up of the leading manual espresso machine.
A dual boiler espresso machine is a coffee maker that has two internal boilers. As we mentioned above, an espresso machine with two boilers is capable of multiple functions, often simultaneously. One boiler heats water to boiling while the other heats water to brew temperature. This allows the machine to brew coffee or espresso while the other can froth milk using the steam wand.
For a look at some great espresso machines, check out our list of fine Breville espresso machines. Most of these tend to be great SCAA-certified coffee makers.
Some espresso machines only have one boiler. This boiler is used for brewing espresso and for steaming milk. It offers less consistency in brewing and frothing because the ideal temperature for brewing espresso is between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit, and the perfect temperature for steaming milk is 212 degrees. Since a single boiler can’t heat to two different temperatures at once, you’re going to experience a loss in quality in either the espresso or the milk foam.
In contrast, a dual boiler espresso machine can offer two different temperatures simultaneously, which means it can extract the best flavor and aroma for your espresso while allowing you to steam milk to the perfect texture. Each function draws water from the appropriate boiler, which means it’s the perfect temperature for its desired purpose.
If you’re looking for a dual boiler espresso machine, it may be worth it to look into an espresso machine that uses heat exchange. These machines can still perform two tasks at once, like brewing and frothing, but they differ from dual boiler units because they only have one boiler. They use a larger single boiler with a portion of the boiler dedicated to brewing at a lower temperature.
You may also want to consider the best dual coffee maker if you’re an avid coffee drinker or you find yourself entertaining quite a bit.
There are a consumer and commercial dual boiler espresso machines, and each draws its water from a different source. Consumer machines are more compact and meant for home kitchens. They draw their water into the boilers from a reservoir that needs to be refilled when it’s empty. A professional dual boiler espresso machine is typically connected to a consistent water supply and draws its water from this directly piped source.
For brewing espresso, the water is heated in the boiler and then a pump creates a minimum of 9 bars of pressure. There are rotary pumps and vibratory pumps that supply this pressure. The water is then forced through the puck that contains compacted coffee grounds, and espresso is dispensed into your cup through a group head.
Group heads are either saturated or semi-saturated. Saturated group heads are more common in commercial machines and they’re more expensive, but these commercial coffee machines last longer. Semi-saturated group heads are more common in consumer machines because they’re cheaper and easier to repair, but they may not last as long as an expensive, high-quality machine.
For steaming milk, the frothing wand draws steam from the boiler that heats to 212 degrees. Every wand is different, but the second boiler helps to maintain a consistent temperature, which gives the user more power over how they steam their milk.
It’s important that an espresso machine maintains consistent pressure and temperature to make the best espresso, which is why a dual boiler model often works better than a single boiler model. It can heat the water to the correct temperature without fluctuation for either brewing espresso or steaming milk.
If delicious espresso and other hot beverages like cappuccinos and lattes are important to you, then a dual boiler espresso machine will give you more consistency and more power over your beverages and the way they taste.
Espresso machines are built to last a long time. A consumer machine will last up to 10 years and the best commercial espresso machine can last 15-20. Investing in a quality dual boiler espresso machine, like the best De’Longhi espresso machine, will kick off a long-term relationship with something that you’ll be able to enjoy for a long time. It’s important that you clean it and perform the proper maintenance, or you will significantly shorten its life.
If you’re going to spend the money on a quality dual boiler espresso machine, you need to make sure you get one that works for you. It’s important to consider factors like temperature controllers, consistency, and water source.
Some espresso machines have PID controllers, and some don’t. A PID controller allows you to set your brewing temperature more precisely. It keeps water within a very small range of your preferred temperature, ensuring that your espresso is perfect. The temperature affects the flavor of beans with different roast levels more than most people realize. To get that optimal flavor, a dark roast is better at 195 degrees rather than 200 degrees.
A machine without a PID controller won’t allow you to control or customize your temperature as precisely, so if advanced features like complete control over the temperature are important to you, make sure you look for a machine with a PID controller.
The advantage to a double boiler is that you get a more consistent shot every time because there’s less difference in temperature from one brew to the next. Even drawing a lot of water from the steam boiler won’t affect the temperature of your brew, giving you the thermal stability you need.
If you’re looking into an espresso machine, this is an important consideration, because single boilers can’t provide this type of consistency. A heat exchanger may also be a legitimate option, but the compartmentalized boiler may affect your brew temperature more than you like.
3. Does my water source matter?
Pay particular attention to how your double boiler machine works. Many baristas argue that freshwater is one of the most important things for making the best espresso. If your brew water is drawn from the boiler rather than a freshwater reservoir or water line connection, you could be sacrificing taste due to stale water. It’s important to make sure your machine draws fresh water into the boiler every time, rather than letting the water rest in the boiler until the next time you turn it on.