If you want an all-in-one appliance that’s easy to use but helps you create a variety of simple espresso-based beverages, you might want to look into the Aicook espresso maker. It has a small footprint that doesn’t take up much room on your counter, and it’s easy to use.
Even if you’re a newbie to the espresso scene, you should be able to brew delicious espresso without much fuss. Plus, the built-in steam wand ensures that you can froth your milk to create lattes and cappuccinos without purchasing additional accessories.
The Aicook espresso machine is ideal for people who are looking for a budget-friendly product. This machine is affordable, but here are some things to consider when you’re looking for an inexpensive espresso maker.
Many of the lower-end espresso makers are made of less resilient materials than top-of-the-line models. Some inexpensive machines contain lots of plastic, which may not hold up well to boiling water and heavy use.
A coffee maker with a stainless steel reservoir will hold up better to hot water. The Aicook is made primarily of plastic. Although it’s inexpensive, it might not last as long as more costly models. Still, it has a 2-year warranty.
Most espresso aficionados say that you can only brew the perfect espresso if your machine has approximately 9 BARs of pressure. This machine maxes out at 3.5 BARs. It produces strong coffee, but some may say that it’s not an authentic espresso.
Even if you purchase coffee that has been roasted and ground for espresso, you can’t get the rich, buttery crema on top without adequate pressure. Still, you can brew potent coffee to add to milk or water to craft a variety of beverages.
What accessories are you looking for in an espresso machine? A product with a milk frother allows you to make different types of drinks.
Some espresso machines have built-in grinders and come with their own tampers. Because of the low cost, the Aicook doesn’t have a grinder. But a machine with fewer components has fewer parts that can break down or malfunction.
Do you want a high level of customization when you brew your espresso? Most affordable machines only give you one option for brew size and strength. If you just want a great cup of coffee every morning and don’t need to experiment with your barista skills, this shouldn’t be a problem.
With a machine like the Aicook, you can also make an Americano, cappuccino, latte, or macchiato.
The Aicook espresso maker is a steam espresso machine that exerts 3.5 BARs of pressure. It has a 240 ml water reservoir and can brew up to 4 cups of coffee at once.
You might not be able to pull a straight cup of espresso with thick crema, but you can make up for it by frothing milk and creating a fancier concoction. You might achieve more crema when you brew 4 cups at once than when you brew 2 cups.
- Powerful for a low-cost espresso maker
- Includes built-in milk frothing steam wand
- Small footprint
- Easy for beginners to use
- Comes with a marked glass carafe for convenient measurement and brewing
- Only delivers 3.5 BARs of pressure, which is not sufficient for producing crema
- Made largely of plastic and may not last as long as machines with more durable materials
- Can’t see water level from the outside
- Control knob is flimsy and can slip
For its low price, this machine offers plenty of features that make it ideal for someone who is new to the world of espresso or enjoys particularly strong coffee.
The Aicook 3.5-BAR espresso machine is easy to use. You don’t have to worry about preheating any of the parts or taking the temperature of the water. With that being said, you also don’t have much control over the pressure or temperature. If you’d prefer to have more control, you might want to look into a more expensive machine or a manual espresso maker.
To use the Aicook, simply unscrew the lid to the reservoir. Add the desired amount of water. Replace the lid, keeping it screwed on until the coffee has finished brewing. The lid contains a gasket that seals it and maintains the pressure and temperature.
Grind your coffee to the desired consistency, and add it to the portafilter. Tamp it down gently. Then, remove any excess coffee grounds from the rim, and replace the portafilter. Make sure that it’s in the “lock” position before turning on the espresso machine.
Twist the control knob to the brew position. The water will heat up and get forced through the portafilter. You’ll be able to watch your coffee dripping into the glass carafe.
The control knob uses pictures so that it’s easy to use and read. There are settings for brew, steam, pause, and off. If you’re looking for a strong espresso, you might want to turn the dial to the pause position once you’ve filled a small espresso cup. Otherwise, you end up with a cup of somewhat strong coffee instead of espresso.
The dial doesn’t automatically stop at each setting. You have to keep your eye on it to make sure that you set it appropriately. Also, ensure that you turn it off when you’re done with the machine. There is no automatic shut-off feature, and the espresso maker will stay hot if you forget to switch it off.
Many budget-friendly espresso machines lack a milk frother. You can always purchase one separately, but it’s convenient when it’s incorporated in the machine. As the water streams, it does double duty when you use the milk frothing wand.
To froth milk with the Aicook espresso maker, fill a cup or small jug with cold milk. Dunk the wand into the milk, and turn the knob to the steam setting. Move the cup up and down until you’ve achieved the desired amount of froth.
We recommend that you clean the milk frothing wand immediately after use with a warm, wet washcloth. If you let the milk dry around the wand, it hardens and becomes difficult to remove.
You can clean all of the other removable components on this machine in the sink. Detach the portafilter by rotating it clockwise, out of the locked position. Dump the used coffee puck into the garbage. Wash the portafilter and removable basket with soapy water and rinse it clean.
If coffee accumulates in the drip tray, you can disassemble it for cleaning. You can also remove the plastic nozzle from the milk frothing wand and wash it separately.
Before you use the product for the first time, you might want to run hot water through it a few times. You should also do this if you haven’t used the coffee maker in a while. Going through a brew cycle with fresh water will ensure that your first cup of coffee is fresh.
After you’ve run the brew cycle once, wait a few minutes for the reservoir to cool down before you brew another cycle. Otherwise, the water might splatter out as you try to pour it into the reservoir.
This espresso machine has a small footprint. Because it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, it packs a lot of features into a compact size. It should fit under most standard cabinets. The product is also much narrower than many other models.
The brew drips into the decanter that comes with this espresso machine. You won’t need a separate container to catch the coffee. The decanter has a handle, which prevents you from getting scalded after brewing the espresso. It also has a convenient spout, which makes pouring the beverage simple.
The glass decanter has marks to delineate the steam measurement as well as measurements for 2 and 4 cups of coffee. These guidelines let you start with the perfect amount of water. Because you can’t see how much water is in the reservoir from the outside, it’s essential to use the markings on the decanter as a guideline for how much water to use.
This espresso machine comes with a tamper. Some espresso pros don’t like the fact that the tamper is made of plastic. You can always upgrade it with a sturdier, more robust option.
But that might not be necessary with this machine. Because the Aicook espresso maker has low pressure, you don’t have to worry too much about the way that you tamp down the grounds. Just make sure that the top surface of the grounds is flat. You’ll leave more room for the water to fill the portafilter and saturate the coffee efficiently.
The manufacturer recommends using a medium to fine grind for all of the beverages that you make using the Aicook espresso machine. But some people want a stronger brew. In that case, you can use an extra-fine grind.
However, if the grind is too fine, it might prevent the water from dripping into the carafe. A product with more pressure would work better if you prefer a fine grind.
An Aicook espresso machine is a great option for beginner barista who wants a bold cup of coffee. You won’t have to concern yourself with the details of making authentic espresso. If you’re a true espresso aficionado, you might want to splurge on a manual or more expensive model because the Aicook 3.5-bar espresso machine doesn’t deliver a true espresso with crema. But you can make plenty of powerful coffee drinks with it.
There are several other starter espresso machines on the market that look and function similarly to the Aicook. The Yabano looks almost identical, has a similar price point, and operates in the same manner as the Aicook.
If you want something that looks a little sleeker and more modern, you might want to look into the Bella personal espresso maker. It’s made of plastic, but it has a glossy black finish. It also has the same features as the Aicook and might be a little less expensive.
What if you want an easy-to-use espresso maker that’s a step up from the Aicook? You’ll spend a bit more money, but you might consider the Delonghi Dedica 15-BAR pump espresso machine. This one also has a small footprint and is easier to use than many of the fancier models. Espresso experts will appreciate the fact that it delivers sufficient pressure for a perfect beverage with thick crema.
The Delonghi also has an automatic flow stop feature, which limits the flow of water once you’ve brewed the perfect espresso. It accommodates taller cups, too, which might be beneficial if you’re entertaining a crowd or making specialty beverages.
The Mueller espresso machine has a similar footprint as the Aicook. However, the high-pressure pump delivers up to 20 BARs of pressure. Even though it seems much fancier than the Aicook, the Mueller is easy to use. Backlit one-touch buttons can be programmed to your ideal settings. Also, the tank holds more water than the Aicook, making it ideal for serving all of your friends.
The Mueller is designed to work with Nespresso capsules, though. Traditionalists may prefer grinding their own coffee.
All of these products require electricity to work. If you’re looking for something to use in a snowstorm or take with you while you travel, you might want to choose a manual espresso machine. But for those who are looking to brew a bold cup of coffee in their kitchen on a daily basis without having to think too hard, the Aicook is an excellent starter espresso machine.
The entry-level espresso maker is ideal for people who don’t have a lot of experience as a barista. It’s user-friendly and works well in kitchens with limited space.