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Pump vs. Steam Espresso Machine

Are you wondering what’s the difference between a pump and a steam espresso machine?

Perhaps you want to buy one, but you are unsure which one will be perfect for your home or office setting?

This article compares the two and weighs the pros and cons of using each.

After reading it, you will make a distinction, and know which one will be suitable for your home or office setting.

It’s easy for most people to confuse pump and espresso machines.

Here’s how the two differ: 

About Pump Espresso Machines

What makes the pump espresso machine unique is that it uses hot water and pressure to brew coffee.

The force of the pump espresso forces water at the bottom of the machine to create a tasty cup of espresso.

There is a piston on a magnet of the machine that helps the machine pump water.

Additionally, electrical power flows through a metal coil, triggers the magnet to move the piston back and forth, and pushes water through the pump espresso machine. 

How do the pump espresso machines work?

All pump espresso machines use a thermo-block system to create a cup of coffee.

Inside, it has a radiator responsible for heating water and converting it into steam.

Once water is super hot, it releases maximum pressure that creates a smooth cup of your espresso.

Your cup will then come out with a thick layer, which is one of the first things coffee lovers like to lick. 


  • Buying a pump espresso machine saves you money in the long run. You don’t have to spend more on espresso cups of coffee from coffee cafés.
  • Using a pump espresso machine is convenient. There is nothing as exciting as knowing that you can have a cup of coffee whenever you want.
  • A pump espresso is the best investment for your kitchen. When you own a pump espresso machine, you can sell it or exchange it for another machine. 


  • Pump espresso machines tend to be pricier than other types. Expect to pay thousand dollars to own an excellent pump espresso machine.  

About Steam Espresso Machines

A steam espresso machine is similar to a pump in that it also steams and forces water to create a tasty cup of espresso.

What makes a steam machine unique is that it has been around for many years.

It’s not uncommon to find folks in the countryside to use it.

Besides, almost every household can afford it.


  • Steam espresso machines are super affordable. You can pay as little as $49 for one cup steam espresso machine. 
  • They are user-friendly, especially in brewing coffee. It won’t take long to figure it out. 
  • They are easy to clean. It’s relatively easy to clean your steam espresso machine. All you need is a damp rag and water.


The main disadvantage of using steam espresso machines is that you can’t brew cups in succession.

You’ll need to wait for your steam espresso machine to cool down. 

How do steam espresso machines work?

Steam espresso machines usually generate steam pressure by boiling water inside a chamber.

Once the water heats up, it will become steam that will push coffee in all directions. 

Which is better to make Espresso at Home?

As a coffee aficionado, you may want to know which type of espresso machine is best when it comes to making espresso at home.

If your budget allows for it, then the pump espresso machine makes a better cuppa with a perfect layer of crema.

However, if you need a cheaper machine, then the steam espresso machine is the better option for you.

Just know in advance that steam espresso machines tend to make a weaker cuppa without crema.

Which type of espresso machine lasts longer?

It should come as no surprise that pump espresso machines have a longer lifespan than steam espresso machines.

  • Cheap, lower quality steam espresso machines last around two years.
  • Higher quality steam espresso machines last around four years.
  • Pump espresso machines last around five years.
  • High end pump espresso machines last around 10 years.

Keep in mind that to see long life span from your espresso machine, you should regularly clean it properly.

Are Espresso Machines Automatic?

As you shop for an espresso machine, you will notice that some are listed as automatic.

The espresso machines designed for consumer use at home are usually either automatic or semi-automatic.

In commercial settings, you will see more manual espresso machines.

Last thoughts

Both pump and steam espresso are nice to have for any coffee aficionado.

For those on a budget, the steam espresso machines are the best option.

And for those who care more about getting the perfect espresso with that layer of crema, then a pump espresso machine is the best option.

If you’re looking for a great way of brewing a cup of espresso, it’s always best to choose the type of machine that will suit both your needs and your bank balance. 

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