Pump vs Steam Espresso Machine – Which One Is Better?

As a coffee lover, you know how amazing it feels to get a quick caffeine fix. It helps to pep up your day. Well, you prefer home-brewed coffee more than getting one from a shop. That’s why you plan to get an espresso machine.

We say that’s a brilliant decision. Look, the taste and preparation time of your coffee depends on the type of machine you’re going to choose. During the process of searching, you’ll eventually mix up the choices between pump vs steam espresso machine. No worries, we’ll help you sort things out so that you can make the decision wisely.

Pump Espresso

Usually pump espresso machines are mostly used in bars and cafes. They’re superiorly designed that comes with a Thermo-Block system which heats up the water using a radiator. There’re other systems also integrated into them to generate the required pressure and to control water temperature.

Water is poured into a reservoir for heating precisely and converted to steam while passing by the Thermo-Block coils. Meanwhile, an electric pump produces 9 bars and more pressure for passing the steam through the grounds in order to deliver full-flavored extractions with rich, thick crema.

Pump vs Steam Espresso Machine

True espresso lovers often go for pump-espresso machines due to their capacity of giving consistent flavorful coffee.

Besides, its heating system can operate at a higher temperature to make frothed milk by a steam wand. Plus, you can also add up additional heating systems to it for getting hot water and steam on demand.

However, the differences, features, and overall build quality varies depending on the models of pump-driven espresso machines.

Categories of Pump Espresso

It’s important for you to know that pump-driven espresso machines can be classified into semi-automatic, automatic, and super-automatic.


While making espresso with this semi-automatic machine, you’ll have to give some effort for grinding, measuring, and tamping coffee. You’ll also have to control the water volume yourself. Basically, this type of machine heats the water and forces it through coffee beans.


With this machine, you won’t have to control the water level, and the pumping will stop automatically. However, you still have to do the grinding and tamping.

This type of machine may incorporate pre-programmed settings for doing the extractions for a longer or shorter period. Not only that, but it also allows you to program your preferable functions. 

Aside from that, you’ll find most automatic machines offering a steam wand by which you can heat and froth milk.


They are effortless to use as they automatically grind, measure as well as tamp coffee beans. As such, they extract shots and stop after brewing is done.

The best part of this super-automatic machine is that it does self-cleaning. So, you won’t even go through the hassle of cleaning this up pretty much. With this machine, you can use any type of coffee you want.

Advantages of Pump Espresso

The advantages of pump espresso are quite a and remarkable. They’re stated below;

Thermo-block system for heating water as well as frothing milk

They can provide the required pressure for brewing by an electrical pump

You can do the steaming as well as brewing without stopping for the machine to cool-down

Self-cleaning process in super-automatic for troubleless cleaning

Disadvantages of Pump Espresso 

There’s only one noteworthy drawback of these types of machines. They come with a really high price tag, which can be a crucial factor for coffee lovers shopping on a budget.

Steam Espresso

This type of brewer has a water tank that you’ve to fill manually and constantly. The water is then heated to a close boil in the tank to create steam pressure that forces the boiling-water through finely-ground coffee beans.

The resulting brew will simply stream into your cup. This process of brewing coffee is called percolation, which is the base of the coffee-making method.

Moreover, if you can equip this type of brewer, you can use its boiler system for sending steam toward a frothing wand. That way, you can steam milk for making cappuccinos, lattes, and other beverages. By the way, steam espresso machines can produce a pressure of 3 bars.

Advantages of Steam Espresso

After a lot of observations, it seems that steam espresso machines offer only one advantage. And that is, you can buy it at a more reasonable price, making it perfect for gifts.

Disadvantages of Steam Espresso

The disadvantages of steam espresso machines are major and quite disheartening. See them below;

  • Cannot produce enough bars of pressure
  • Produce burnt-tasting coffee
  • They can merely produce cream
  • Can get someone burnt if touched the reservoir before cooling down

Which One Is Better?

From the comprehensive description above, you already have gained enough knowledge about each type of machine.

The pump-driven machines are quite effortless to use depending on which type you choose as they offer three types. They can give you the most favorable espresso with rich cream. But they were pretty expensive.

On the other hand, steam espresso machines use more old-school methods, and they’re affordable. You’ll need to do most of the work by yourself during brewing, which you may find not so enjoyable.

Final Verdict

Adequate pressure, good water temperature, and extraction time are the important factors for getting a good cup of espresso.

We highlighted all the major to minor details above, and we believe that your confusion regarding the pump vs steam espresso machine is clear by now. So, get the one that suits your need and start making espresso now.

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