Pump vs. Steam Espresso Machines: Your Ultimate Guide to the Perfect Brew

crazy by Editorial Staff | Posted on March 31st, 2023

What’s the secret to brewing the perfect cup of espresso? It’s all in the machine! But with so many options to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?

We’re here to help you navigate the world of espresso machines and decide between two popular options: pump and steam machines. Let’s dive in!

espresso machine

Pump Espresso Machines: High Pressure, High Quality

Pump espresso machines are the go-to choice for coffee enthusiasts and professional baristas. These machines use a built-in pump to create high pressure, usually around 9-15 atmospheres, which is essential for extracting rich and bold espresso shots.


  • High Pressure: Achieve the “golden standard” of 9 atmospheres of pressure for authentic espresso.
  • Milk-Frothing: Equipped with steam wands for creating creamy lattes and cappuccinos.
  • Customization: Fine-tune your brew with adjustable pressure and temperature settings.


  • Price: Pump machines can be more expensive than their steam counterparts.
  • Complexity: They come with more features, which can be overwhelming for beginners.

Steam Espresso Machines: Budget-Friendly, Classic Style

Steam espresso machines, including the well-known Moka pots, use steam pressure to force hot water through coffee grounds. While they don’t produce traditional espresso, they create a rich and flavorful cup that resembles it.


  • Affordable: Steam machines are easy on the wallet and great for those on a budget.
  • Simple to Use: With fewer settings, these machines are user-friendly and perfect for beginners.
  • Compact: Their smaller size makes them ideal for kitchens with limited counter space.


  • Lower Pressure: Steam machines produce around 1-2 atmospheres of pressure, less than pump machines.
  • Limited Control: There’s less flexibility to adjust brewing variables like pressure and temperature.

Pump vs. Steam: Side-by-Side Comparison

FeaturePump Espresso MachinesSteam Espresso Machines
Pressure LevelHigh (9-15 atmospheres)Low (1-2 atmospheres)
Brewing ControlHigh flexibilityLimited control
Milk-FrothingYes (Steam wand)No (or limited options)
Price RangeHigherLower
Ideal ForEspresso aficionadosBeginners, budget users

Making Your Choice: Factors to Consider

When choosing between a pump and steam espresso machine, keep these key factors in mind:

  • Budget: How much are you willing to spend on an espresso machine?
  • Brewing Control: Do you want full control over pressure, temperature, and brewing time?
  • Milk-Based Drinks: Are you a fan of lattes, cappuccinos, and other milk-based espresso drinks?
  • Space: How much counter space do you have available for your espresso machine?
  • Ease of Use: Are you a beginner looking for simplicity or an experienced user seeking advanced features?

Our Top Picks for Your Espresso Adventure

Ready to start your espresso journey? Here are our favorite machines in each category:

Steam Pick: Bialetti New Brikka Moka Pot

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This classic Moka pot is designed to emulate traditional espresso and even boasts the ability to replicate espresso crema. Perfect for beginners and those who love a touch of tradition.

Pump Pick: Gevi 15 Bar Espresso Machine

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Gevi offers professional brewing features at an accessible price. Dual thermostats, a high-pressure pump, and a steaming wand make it perfect for aspiring home baristas.

The Bottom Line: Practice Makes Perfect Espresso

Whether you choose a pump or steam machine, remember that the art of espresso takes practice. Experiment with different brewing variables and enjoy the process. After all, it’s all about finding your perfect cup of coffee. And remember, as you hone your skills, you might want to experiment with different coffee beans, grind sizes, and brewing techniques to elevate your espresso game even further.

So, are you ready to embrace the joy of espresso making? No matter which style you choose, the journey is sure to be rewarding and full of delicious, aromatic moments. Happy Caffeinating!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links. Remember to support us by purchasing through the Amazon/Walmart/Impact Radius links provided. Last update on 2024-05-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.