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Flavourful espresso from the comfort of your home? With a fine espresso machine, it is easier than you think!
This article will help you find the best espresso machine without overwhelming you. We have provided you with plenty of info necessary for a smart shopper.
We have researched a multitude of different products and created a list of 10 best, so you don’t have to. But, that is not all! You will also learn about the important espresso terms, different types of espresso machines, and how to pick the one that suits your needs.
If you are only here to take home the best choice, Breville Barista Express is the model to pick. It gives you a choice between and semi-automatic and manual operation to deliver a café-quality espresso shot in a few seconds.
Another excellent option is the Gaggia 14101 Classic. Complete with a Pannarello wand, you can enjoy espressos as well as cappuccinos and lattes your way.
In the espresso machine world, a high price tag means more control and better quality. Go for a model like Breville Barista Express. You won’t be sacrificing quality, but you may want to save up as it’s for those who are in a committed relationship with espresso.
This is an intermediate, semi-automatic espresso machine. You don’t want to go here if your skills are at the basic level. It has all the bells and whistles a barrister would like, but you can also learn the ropes, challenge yourself and show off your skills.
You will love to show off this machine. It has a coffee shop-esque design that you will marvel in the sheer depth of the intricate style.
It boasts a 1600W thermocoil system which is excellent at controlling temperature for the steam and water. It has precise PID temperature control on its infuser which allows it to detect temperature fluctuations and control it immediately.
With the integrated conical burr grinder and a half-pound bean hopper, the machine can maximize the surface area of the grind which in turn optimizes flavor extraction from every bean. It uses low-pressure pre-infusion which soaks the beans evenly and expands them for sweet, smooth, and creamy, extraction. The result is true espresso unmatched by most semi-automatic espresso machines.
Breville Barista Express seems too grand to be easy to use. But if you are used to tweaking stuff, this one should be a no-brainer. You have the portafilter with multiple baskets. It can allow you to brew single and double shots. It also has the manual steam wand that comes in handy for those lovely cappuccinos and lattes that are worth performing some floral art.
You will find straightforward dials that help to choose the grind size and the grind amount. It has soft to coarse grind settings that let you choose how rich you want the espresso to be. The hands-free grinding cradle dispenses coffee into the portafilter on-demand — no more bitter or light espressos.
All machines break down at some point. And when it finally starts acting up, you’ll want to order replacement parts. This is the part where you’ll have to skip espressos for a couple of weeks because Breville takes their time to ship out.
Unleashing your barrister is as simple as getting a machine that plays the part remarkably well. Breville Barista Express is just the model to take home and whistle your way to the best true espressos, Americanos, lattes, and cappuccinos.
From the looks of the Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso, it is easy to see that anyone even beginners can pull a quality shot without losing their mind. It is inviting and basic with only a few extras that will set you off in the espresso making journey.
Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso is a bargain that doesn’t disappoint. It has a lot going for it thanks to the brushed stainless body that is surprisingly robust and a dual-heated boiler that brews fast and gets steam faster. Although it has lots of commercial-style features, the capacity is great for home kitchens and entertaining a few friends.
With any semi-automatic espresso machine, you’ll have to put in some work to get the perfect shot. But Gaggia 14101 has the right combination of temperature control, a large 58mm portafilter, and a 17.5 bar pump to create creamy espressos. With two heating elements, the machine can deliver commercial-quality consistency and precision without investing a lot of money.
Gaggia 14101 offers the choice between a single or double shot espresso thanks to the inclusion of three stainless-steel filter baskets. One of the pressurized baskets is a single-shot pressurized filter basket ideal for brewing from pods while one of the double-shot pressurized baskets is ideal for pre-ground coffee.
For freshly ground coffee beans, you will want to use the double-shot, commercial pressurized filter basket. Your grind will determine the quality of your coffee. It should neither be to coarse nor too fine to get a rich but not bitter or light coffee. To know if you are doing it wrong, the machine will brew too fast when the grind is too coarse, and it will brew too slow when the grind is too fine.
This machine comes with an aluminum boiler. Perhaps to cut the costs but it is prone to corrosion. You will want to use filtered water to prevent corrosions and to keep it heating fast.
Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso machine is an easy choice for those looking to learn how to make espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos. Everything about it as the basic-level and you won’t be spending thousands of dollars to see it on your kitchen countertop.
You are probably wondering, what does the Rancilio Silvia have that other semi-automatics do not have? Well, it does not have just any boiler. It boasts a 12-ounce brass boiler with three thermostats for accurate temperature control.
The brushed, stainless-steel case houses the heating elements. It showcases extreme durability coupled by a chrome-plated brass group that ensures water and heat are distributed evenly. It results in high consistency, quality, and precision in every shot.
You get a commercial-grade portafilter that provides comfortable handling and superior extraction with every type of coffee. Not to mention the articulating steam wand that is effortless to use. It allows making of the professional quality froth. The precision steaming knob comes in handy to control the steaming pressure so that it warms your milk fast and evenly.
We touched on the brass boiler which is key to the kind of espresso you make. The boiler has a stainless-steel heating element instead of copper. It is resistant to burning out thus improving its longevity. The machine follows through with a 3-way solenoid valve that helps to relieve excess pressure and moisture after putting your shot. You can say goodbye to splatters and post-brew drips as it also a commercial-grade solenoid valve.
There are lots of stuff going for this machine, but the bottom line is that it is a plug and play model. It has four switches. One turns on the machine and tells you when it is getting ready to brew. After it reaches the right temperature, the light will turn off.
There’s the brew switch which when turned on activates the 15-bar pump so that water can get out of the group head. The third switch also fills the boiler so you can get hot water through the steam wand. The fourth switch is a steam button that activates the making of steam.
Other features that make it easy to operate include the removable water reservoir that holds 67 ounces of water, a drain tray, a tamper, and two filter baskets for a single or double shot.
This machine also needs regular maintenance to be in proper working order. If you are not ready to put in the work, you will be disappointed. It’s better to go for the super automatic ones like De’Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica which we’ll look at next.
This model is a high-end offering, but the espresso results are equally premium. Rancilio Silvia is out to give you quality, consistent, and precise results in a shot that you can control.
DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica is the perfect combination of full functionality in a compact, streamlined design. You can’t install a filter, but it has dual capabilities in that you can brew with pre-ground or whole beans. It is fully customizable to provide the benefits of an automatic machine.
This machine belongs to the low-end price range of Delonghi espresso machines. But it is a great machine with two boilers and is equipped with the Rapid Cappuccino System that ensures the temperature remains consistent for making cup after cup without waiting.
The brewing process is entirely automated. It has a professional conical burr grinder that grinds beans instantly. It is easy to clean and can work with all kinds of beans, flavored or not, medium or dark roasts the same. You can adjust the amount of water and ground coffee to make the right amount with the correct concentration.
DeLonghi ESAM3300 comes with a manual steam frother. It is not a cappuccinatore which is one of the features Delonghi had to cut out to save on costs. It is only disadvantage is when you are entertaining and need to make countless cappuccinos because it’s going to be by hand.
The best feature of the DeLonghi ESAM3300 is that it requires half the work to make true espressos and even clean the machine. You have a silent grinder with 13 settings. It has two chambers one for the beans and the other for pre-ground coffee to have your cup the way you like.
It does not have a display, but you get a rotary and push control panel. It provides adjustable settings for temperature, coffee strength, and size. This machine will remember your settings so that you don’t have to select again every time.
And to make cleaning more comfortable, it has an extractable brew unit that is super easy to clean. It also has programmable settings for descaling and is programmable for water hardness.
DeLonghi ESAM3300 lacks advanced features like a programmable timer. It is not a must-have feature, but if you want a totally-inclusive model, it may not be the one you want.
DeLonghi ESAM3300 is an exceptional espresso machine. Being super-automatic takes all the heavy-lifting from espresso making which ensures you have an easy time even in cleaning. Baristas may not appreciate the stuff it takes away though.
Breville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso Machine is one of the best in terms of the quality of the espresso. Breville uses technology to design a model that delivers flavor above all else. It’s all about the pre-infusion of coffee beans, a process that extracts and balances flavor in every shot.
Pre-infusion is not enough if a machine cannot control the temperature of its water and steam. That’s why Breville BES840XL comes in with its PID temperature control that is adjustable in 4 degrees. It also has a pressure gauge that guides you into getting the best shot.
This machine is a true workhorse. With a thermocoil boiler system, it can alternate between extracting and steaming in under a minute without losing on temperature. Not to mention, the auto purge function that will automatically adjust the water temperature after steam to make it hot enough for proper extraction.
Breville BES840XL does not have a grinder. You will want to invest in a high-quality one. The espresso maker allows you to program it for single shot or double shot espressos. It comes with two filter baskets and has the option for manually controlling the amount of coffee that ends up in your cup.
You also get a manual milk frother that can make up to three coffees. This is because it takes about a minute and a half for the whole process to be complete.
After getting the hang of it, using this product should come naturally. It has a moderate learning curve as it endears in taking the hassle out of most processes. This includes not worrying about when you need to clean because it tells you when to do it. All the controls are at the front, and every button shows you what it does.
The buttons include the Power, Program, single-shot, and double shot. There’s the pressure gauge in the middle. It lets you monitor that the pump is working at 15 bars. And then you have the hot water, steam, and Clean-Me indicators.
Breville BES840XL does not heat up as fast as other espresso machines. You cannot control the temperature of the milk or entertain a good number of people. It is limited for home use and a small crowd although it has professional-quality results.
A budget-friendly semi-automatic machine with a pre-infusion stage is hard to come by. That’s why the Breville BES840XL is easy to recommend. It has its flaws which no appliance lacks. For what it’s worth, you can count on its quality and performance.
If your apartment is cinching up on space but still need to enjoy a quality shot of espresso, the next option for you is this retro-modern Nespresso machine. Breville’s Nespresso CitiZ is a professional-grade espresso machine that performs much like larger machines.
Nespresso CitiZ though compact has a 34-ounce water tank and a large used capsule container of 10 capsules. Instead of using ground coffee or whole beans to make your espresso, you can use all sorts of flavored capsules to make your espresso. It simplifies the entire process making it ideal for dorms, couples, and those of us who still leave alone.
This machine is built with quality in mind. It uses a 19-bar pump that helps extract coffee of its full flavors. You get a welcome kit with 14 original Nespresso capsules to set you off. The folding cup tray is ideal for serving in different cup sizes. It brews into single-serve espresso cups or lungo. It is the perfect choice for pour over ice coffees to make your favorite choice of iced drink.
The beauty of Nespresso is that it can capture the nuances of each capsule and seal in the freshness of each blend. With a Nespresso capsule, you are guaranteed quality as only the optimum pressure and amount of water can flow into the capsule.
There’s not much going for Nespresso CitiZ. You just need to put in your capsule and place your desired cup size under the spout and press the button for the single or double shot to have a fresh cup of crema espresso.
Nespresso CitiZ also has a milk frother. It is a jug style frother that needs filling with the desired amount of milk and place it at its base and press the furthers button for automatic frothing.
The only drawback is that the machine uses Nespresso capsules only for it to work. You have to order the capsules from their website so it’s something you need to consider if it works for you or you’d instead opt for ground coffee machines.
Nespresso CitiZ is a nice shot at creating espresso very close to the real thing made by semi and super-automatic machines. The advantage is that it does not involve any messing with portafilters and milk wands. With a little space and Nespresso capsules, you are on your way to having great shots of espresso.
Flair Espresso Maker is a manual espresso machine that brings us back to the art of espresso preparation. They say good espresso is good chemistry; that’s why this model gives you the leeway to finding exemplary balance between temperature, pressure, and grind.
Being a manual machine, there’s a lot of elbow grease involved, but the good thing is that it does not have electrical parts so no repairs for you in the future. The classic black is a favorite choice as it is easy to leave on the countertop without being out of place. Flair is also portable, and there’s a custom travel case for the job.
Flair is for those who enjoy and appreciate the effort of making espresso. The machine is hand-powered such that you can create the right amount of power that mimics that of actual espresso machines. It has a detachable brewing head. It generates 16 bars of pressure that allow for perfect coffee extraction.
This manual espresso machine can preheat the group head and can make 1-2 shots of crema espresso. Compared to manual models that pull 1-3 bars of pressure, you can rest assured this is a quality choice.
It can be scary not having all those programs that we have on coffee machines that make life easier. But as we said, Flair is for those who can take their time. To use this machine, you need to preheat the detachable brew head with hot water, fill the portafilter with freshly ground coffee and make sure to tamp, and then reattach the head.
The next step involves reattaching the head, adding hot water to the reservoir, and pressing the handle down. After about 50 seconds, you will have a fresh crema espresso shot.
The brew head detaches in four different parts for easy cleaning. You won’t be wrestling with parts which makes it an incredible device to invest in.
The grouphead and piston are a bit hard to install. Even harder is to keep removing the piston and the disperser after every use. They describe it as simple it won’t humor you when making multiple cups.
If you have been making coffee out of a cheap machine but needs to upgrade to a better model while minding your budget, Flair Espresso Maker is a viable choice. It is for those who don’t mind going manual but not for large families or entertaining.
Essenza Mini Espresso machine is just that, small and efficient. It will dominate your mornings as you prepare the best capsule espressos without waiting minutes for it to warm up.
The minimalist style of this machine is what draws you to it. It does not require freeing up space for it, and yet it looks magnificent. You get to choose from three housing colors that will blend in with your other kitchen appliances and décor.
With this machine, you’ll have two cup sizes with the touch of a button. It operates with a 19-bar pump that provides for fast extraction without compromising on the quality of the espresso. We like that water heats up in about 30 seconds so you can serve coffee as soon as you get out of bed.
What’s more, you’ll get your first batch of Nespresso Original capsules that come in a variety of flavors. You can sample and find your favorite taste so that the next time you are making an order, it’s going to be easy.
Finally, this Nespresso machine will enter into the energy saving mode in three minutes and switch off in nine minutes. If you are a millennial, you can count on this machine to get right in with the plan to save energy
Essenza Mini Nespresso is super easy to use. Pop in your favorite capsule put a cup under the nozzle and hit the cup size. Set up is just as comfortable. You only need to clean and fill the water reservoir and be on your way to a flavorful shot. You’ll like that it pulls consistent shots every time, so no surprises during on rushed mornings.
Essenza Mini Nespresso can’t make a shot using half the amount of water of a single shot or what is commonly known as a ristretto. For those nights that you want to stay awake longer, you have to take two single shots. Also, it does not have a very durable design because its housing is mostly plastic.
Nespresso Essenza Mini Nespresso is a pretty machine that gets you mean espressos. It may be a capsule machine, but its consistency and taste are impeccable if not fantastic. It’s easy to buy it just to see it next to a grand machine for when you want a fast, single shot.
Breville BEC120REDIAUC1 Inissia is another practical option in a compact espresso machine. It takes only 25 seconds to reach espresso making temperatures which is why it is great for busy mornings.
This machine gives you café-quality espressos. It has a 19-bar pressure pump and a perforated drip tray that allow you to serve into a large cup. The drip tray will drop automatically when you remove the mug. The machine has a 0.7L reservoir capacity which is enough to make up to three espressos without refilling.
Like its other Nespresso counterparts, this one also makes single shots and lungo espressos. It uses icons to indicate the cup size; that is the espresso icon and another for lungo. You will get the first kit of 16 Nespresso Original capsules that range in different flavors. Nespresso capsules are loved because they deliver unique aromas and exceptional taste. The capsules are in recyclable aluminum, hermetically sealed capsules that lock in the character of every flavor.
Something good about this machine is that you can pair it with the Aerrucino frother that will allow you to make milk-based drinks. As for now, you have to stick to deep espressos.
Breville BEC120REDIAUC1 Inissia is a straightforward machine to operate. It has only two buttons for the cup size. With the help of thermoblock technology, it can deliver a hot shot in as little as 40 seconds and lungo in a minute. It lacks an on and off switch. It will automatically turn off after nine minutes of not being used.
Breville Inissia will store up to 11 spent capsules. No worries about removing spent capsules after every use, though it is recommended.
Breville BEC120REDIAUC1 Inissia has a small capacity. You’ll want to enjoy the espressos as a couple because entertaining means refilling the reservoir too many times.
From busy individuals to those with small kitchens, Breville BEC120REDIAUC1 Inissia proves to be an easy pick. It is simple to maintain, make espressos, and quick to heat up. It will make your life easier if all you need is an effortless way to make good espresso.
If you are a barista or espresso aficionado, don’t bother. But if you are a homeowner who wants to enjoy cappuccinos and lattes, De’Longhi EC155 is a wise investment. It is affordable, compact, and can make mean espressos.
De’Longhi EC155 will launch you into the world of espressos because you won’t be swimming with features. All you do is get in, get your espresso and have an easy time cleaning and maintaining this machine. Delonghi has invested in Rapid Cappuccino technology which means the water in the tank remains hot so you won’t be waiting between cappuccinos.
The 35-ounce tank is no place for being swarmed by a big family; that’s why it is recommended for small families. Its 15-bar pump delivers professional pressure which in turn offers quality espressos consistently. With its manual frother, it can create a creamy froth that’s rich enough to make lattes and cappuccinos.
This machine comes with a 3-in-1 filter holder. It can hold one and two espresso shots. Unlike most espresso machines, De’Longhi EC155 can brew from pods. However, because it uses a vibratory pump, it does not have the power to push the hot water through fine grounds.
De’Longhi EC155 is yet another user-friendly machine that is not too noisy. The machine will self-prime, something most espresso machines do not do. It saves you time as you can start preparing your coffee immediately. The machine uses the portafilter to contain the grounds and brew them. It can withstand high pressure and temperature to improve its life span.
Because this is not an expensive machine, you’ll want to descale it from time to time.
The issues of longevity usually come up with De’Longhi EC155. This is because it has trouble maintaining correct temperatures with its dual thermostat controller and single boiler. It is no match for high-end semi-automatic machines.
De’Longhi EC155 is a budget machine with lots of functional features. It is versatile as it can make espressos from ground coffee and pods as well as cappuccinos and lattes that are distinctly flavored. It may be cheap but what it produces isn’t representative of the price.
Every consumer fears being overwhelmed with choices. The problem with espresso machines is that there are thousands of different models. Each of them might not do what you want it to. And, plenty of them might not cater to your standards.
If you are new in the espresso world, then consider learning the following terms.
There are four types of espresso machines on the market. All of them have their pros and cons, so choosing the right one depends on your needs.
Manual espresso machines were a revolution when they appeared. They provided the pressure necessary to brew excellent espresso, by utilizing a lever.
Nowadays, lever (manual) espresso machines are being replaced with all-in-one solutions. But, if you want to take your time to handcraft a perfect brew, then a manual machine could be what you need.
Semi-automatic espresso machines come with many quality of life improvements: pre-grinding, temperature control, digital display, programmable buttons, and more.
These machines allow you a certain amount of control, but they make it harder to make a mistake. If you want to act like a barista, but you want to avoid any problems, then a semi-automatic espresso machine could be for you.
Automatic espresso machines are a perfect choice for people who want to avoid errors almost entirely. The only thing that you need to do is to make sure that the machine has water and coffee. After you have made sure that the machine is not empty, you simply press a button and wait for your coffee.
Capsule machines make an easy job even easier. You don’t need to worry about coffee. Simply put the capsule into the machine, and press a button. The only problem with capsule espresso machines is that you are limited to using the capsules that fit your machine.
Automatic & capsule espresso machines can be a perfect choice for anyone interested in brewing espresso with little to no effort.
Prosumer espresso machines are professional-grade machines that you might notice in a local café. These machines are complex, but they give you the freedom to control all of the espresso parameters.
Prosumer espresso machines allow you to release your inner barista. They let you control the tamper pressure, regulate the grinder, specify the amount of ground coffee, and more.
While it takes a lot of time to become good at using them, we think that it is worth it. On the other hand, if you only want a quick drink without any hassle, then a prosumer espresso machine is not for you.
You can easily figure out which espresso machine is the best for you by answering a couple of questions.
Do you want to keep things simple? Do you want to drink espresso without spending more than a few seconds making it? If your answers are “yes,” then an automatic or a capsule espresso machine could be what you need.
Do you enjoy working to make your espresso perfect? Would you like to pretend that you are a barista without all the tedious work? Are you interested in brewing good espresso without a lot of hassle? If your answers are “yes,” then a semi-automatic espresso machine might be good for you.
Do you enjoy the coffee-making craft? Do you yearn for the days of old? Do you enjoy taking the less-traveled road if it means that the rewards are greater? Would you like to learn more about brewing espresso? If you have answered “yes,” then a manual espresso machine could be the right product for you.
Do you enjoy having as much control over the brewing process as possible? Are you a barista, or would you like to learn what it takes to become one? Are you in a serious relationship with espresso? If your answers have been “yes,” then a prosumer espresso machine could satisfy your needs.
Now you know why many people consider espresso brewing as an art. It isn’t easy, but it is a craft worth pursuing. While a barista is an important part of the equation, a machine is the mind behind the operation.
Fortunately, now you know more on the topic of espresso machines than an average person. We hope that we have given you all the necessary information to make a satisfying purchase. Have a brewtiful day!