Tired of waiting in line just to fuel up for the day or listening to strangers chit-chatting when you haven’t even gotten your first sip of coffee? Well, you’re certainly the perfect candidate for a home espresso machine. Of course, there are other options to will provide you with this life-giving juice such as drip filters and French presses. But if you’re a true coffee lover, only an espresso machine will do.
Otherwise, you just might find yourself gravitating again towards that crowded coffee shop that you and half the city seem to all love. But how does one go about finding the best espresso machines that will give you that same cup of joe that your favorite barista makes? Well, don’t you worry. We’ve put in some time to make things a lot easier for you. You don’t have to wade through all the products and reviews because we’ve done them for you. Check out our list of the 10 best espresso machines you’ll ever find.
Top 10 Espresso Machines of 2018 Reviewed
- Top 10 Espresso Machines of 2018 Reviewed
- 1. Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
- 2. Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker
- 3. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
- 4. WACACO MiniPresso GR Espresso Maker
- 5. Flair Espresso Maker – Manual Press
- 6. Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System
- 7. DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine
- 8. Gaggia Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker
- 9. Breville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso Machine
- 10. Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
- Espresso Machine Buying Guide
1. Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
Espresso Machine For Baristas
No matter what source you go to, you’ll see the Breville BES870SXL at the top of all best espresso machines list. This is because this machine produces truly rich, flavorful espresso each and every time you use it. First of all, this machine comes with everything you need to make an espresso (except the coffee, of course!). It features a coffee grinder, a 54mm tamper, a steaming wand, a frothing pitcher, a 1/2 lb. sealed bean hopper, and a cleaning kit.
Aside from all these built-in accessories, there are a whole lot of bells and whistles incorporated in the machine. The PID digital temperature control ensures that the water temperature is always accurate to produce the best flavor. There are various controls to help you program how many shots you want to make. The commercial grade features ensure that you get barista-approved coffee in the convenience of your home.
- consistent brewing results
- a “clean me” light to remind you
- lots of built-in accessories
- there’s a learning curve to truly master
- Some durability issues after a year of use; no technical repair service except in HQ (California)
2. Nespresso Inissia Espresso MakerEspresso Machine With Capsules
The Nespresso is a fully automatic pod machine where the only things you need to do to make coffee is to insert a capsule and press a button. What we love about this machine is that it is super fast (around a minute to brew a cup), perfect if you’re always running late in the morning. Plus, since you use capsules to make coffee, you can easily have a variety of flavors on hand. You can choose between getting an Espresso or a Lungo. There’s also a folding drip tray that can accommodate bigger cups.
If you’re worried about counterspace, don’t be. The Nespresso Inissia is very compact. It even comes in a variety of colors so you can make sure it matches your kitchen’s design. While we love this little machine, there are drawbacks. For one, you can only use Nespresso compatible capsules which will cost you quite a bit if you don’t buy in bulk. Also, the small water tank means you are limited to how many espressos or lungos you can make before it requires refilling. In addition, if you like frothed or steamed milk in your coffee, this machine cannot do that for you. You’ll have to buy a separate one for that.
- Easy to use
- Fast heating time (25 seconds)
- Small footprint
- Can only use Nespresso compatible capsules
- No wand for frothing or steaming milk
- Small water tank
3. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino MakerEspresso Machines For Latte Art
This is a semi-automatic 3-in-1 coffee maker that can make espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes. The 15-bar pump system ensures deliciously rich espresso pours into every cup. There’s an automatic milk frother so you don’t need to worry about learning that particular skill. You can choose what type of drink you feel like each morning with a touch of a button. The reservoirs for water and milk are easy to refill.
The cup tray is adjustable so you can let place a small or large cup on it. The machine also comes with a drip catcher so nothing spills on your counter. You also get a measuring scoop, tamper, a double shot filter, and a single shot filter. The design is sturdy and compact. As for maintenance, you’ll be glad to know that it’s relatively easy to clean.
- automatically shuts off
- adjustable drip tray
- easy to use milk frother
- some users have run into product quality issues (water reservoir leaks)
- big footprint
- Not easy to clean
4. WACACO MiniPresso GR Espresso Maker
Who would have thought that you could get your shot of espresso anywhere you go, even in the great outdoors? The MiniPresso GR Espresso Maker is a compact, featherweight manual pump espresso machine. It is simple and easy to operate – just use the integrated scoop to add ground coffee into the filter, level the grind (not tamp), add hot water to the tank, and pump to put out the espresso.
Keep in mind that this only produces a shot of espresso, not a full cup of coffee. Now as to the flavor, it really is impressive especially since this is an inexpensive device that you can travel with anywhere. Also, the results are really consistent. Plus, it’s very easy to clean.
- easy to use and clean
- 1-1.5 shots at a time
- you can blow out the seal in the pump if you tamp too hard or use too fine a grind
- the espresso comes out cool, not hot
5. Flair Espresso Maker – Manual Press
If you want to handcraft espresso, then you’ll want a manual lever pump espresso machine. And if you want one that’s travel-friendly, then you definitely have to check out the Flair Espresso Maker. The stainless steel brewing head is detachable so you can easily heat it before brewing and clean it after the espresso is done. The stand, on the other hand, is made out of aluminum. The entire machine is lightweight and durable so you can easily take it with you wherever you go.
To make it even more travel-friendly, the machine comes with a carrying case. Aside from the case, the Flair Espresso Maker comes with a measuring cup/tamper and a funnel as well as a bolt, wrench, and washer that will allow you to fasten the pieces together permanently if you wish it. The machine also comes with a 5-year warranty. However, there is a drawback to using this machine – it takes a considerable amount of skill to do so.
- 5-year warranty
- Requires skill to use
- Can only get 1 shot of espresso per use
- Can get messy
6. Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino SystemEconomy Espresso Machine
Need two shots at once? This espresso machine lets you choose between a single shot or double shot portafilter. With a 15-bar pump system and a thermoblock heating system, you can get your double shot of rich, flavorful fuel in a snap. Feels like a cappuccino or latte day? The frothing arm allows you to create creamy froth whenever you want. You’ll need to buy a milk pitcher though because it’s not included. Make it a small one too since the frothing wand is a bit short.
The water reservoir can hold 40 ounces and is removable so filling it won’t be such a hassle. For the kind of espresso this machine makes, the price is a steal. One drawback to this machine is that you can’t make an espresso and steam milk at the same time which adds to your total brewing time. Another is that it doesn’t last that long – around a year or more. Then again, the machine may have already saved you hundreds of dollars from coffee shops within that time frame.
- Easy to use
- Delicious, consistent results
- Double shot portafilter
- durability issues; doesn’t last longer than a couple of years.
- Some users found it to be noisy
- Some users did not receive the plastic tamper that comes with the machine
7. DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee MachineEspresso Machine Super Automatic
This is a dream of a machine. It does everything for you and yet allows you to also customize your coffee just the way you like it. This espresso machine comes with a bean hopper and grinder so you can have freshly ground coffee whenever you need it. There are 7 different grind settings from coarse to super fine so you can control the taste that is produced. If you’re in a hurry, the ESAM3300 has a pre-ground slot for, you guessed it, pre-ground coffee. It’s not the best but some days, you just gotta live with it, right?
The machine also has a patented Cappuccini system frother for making professional quality lattes and cappuccinos. The best thing about this machine is the ability to save your preferences. Once you figure out what’s your idea of a perfect cup of joe, you can save it – body, size, and strength – and you will never have to worry about drinking anything less than perfect ever again.
- Hassle-free espresso
- Quality build and design
- 60 oz front removable water reservoir
- Steam uses up water quickly
- Can’t steam and brew at the same time
- Slightly loud
8. Gaggia Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso MakerEspresso Machine For Newbies
While there are other more recent products in the market, there’s just something to be said about choosing a classic. The Gaggia Classic is a crowd favorite for a number of reasons, not the least of which is because of its quality build. This is an espresso machine that has been known to last for years, even as long as a decade. It is easy to use even for beginners.
This machine actually produces one of the best espresso shots you’ll ever taste from any of the ones you’ll find offered at this price range. It includes a Pannarello Wand for steaming/frothing milk. Accessories included with this machine are the measuring scoop, single and double portafilters, and a tamper. The easy access 72 oz water reservoir makes refilling and cleaning it hassle-free.
- easy to use
- very durable and long lasting
- consistently rich espresso shots
- cannot brew and steam milk at the same time
- cannot change the temperature so baristas may not like this machine
- no custom volume for the espresso
9. Breville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso Machine
The Breville BES840XL is one of the best espresso machines for beginners but it also produces consistently rich espressos that will satisfy any pro. The Infuser is quite possibly one of the easiest machines you could ever find. It has a user-friendly design – the buttons and lights are clearly labeled – and an easy-to-follow instruction manual. The machine has a pre-infusion function which means you can get an even extraction.
The auto purge function, 1600w thermocoil heating system, and 15-bar Italian pump all work together to produce one of the best espressos we’ve ever tasted. The machine also comes with all the accessories you’ll need to make that perfect cup of joe – single and dual wall filter baskets, stainless steel jug, coffee scoop, cleaning tools, and a water filter with holder. The 360-degree swivel action steam wand allows you to adjust the position of the wand while you steam/froth your milk. There are even alerts that would let you know when to empty the drip tray or clean the entire machine.
- Easy to use
- Comes with a complete set of accessories
- Excellent customer service
- Sensitive to the grind of your coffee (can’t be too coarse or too fine)
- Takes up quite a bit of counter space
10. Rancilio Silvia Espresso MachineEspresso Machine To Make Americanos
Known as Ms. Silvia, this espresso machine is a top quality machine that will bring lasting value to any espresso lover. It has a commercial grade group head for stable heat levels and optimal extraction quality. The machine also features a chrome-plated commercial grade steamer wand which you can use to steam milk for your cappuccino or boil water for your Americano.
In case you’re interested, this wand also swivels into any position you want it to. The “Ms. Silvia” also has a removable 67 oz water tank that can be refilled not only before or after brewing, but even during as well. The all-metal casing and frame is solidly built. Everything seems to be perfect with this machine except for two things: the price (which is very expensive for the features it includes) and the consistency of the shots produced.
- very durable, high quality materials
- easy to clean
- barista-style espresso
- more expensive than some quality super automatic espresso machines
- no PID temperature control
- can’t brew and steam milk at the same time
Espresso Machine Buying Guide
Coffee lovers are always in search of that perfect cup of coffee. It would be great if your coffee addiction can easily be satisfied by the coffee shop just around the corner, but that’s not always the case. There’s nothing worse than having to traipse about town just to get your much needed fix. This is probably why you’re now reading this article.
You’ve finally reached that part of addiction where you need the perfect cup of coffee right at your fingertips, ready to be drank as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. Yes, there are drip filters, French presses, and all sorts of other coffee machines that you can buy. However, if you truly want gourmet coffee, the kind your favorite barista makes, then you’re going to need an espresso machine. Now, how does one find the right espresso machine to suit one’s coffee preferences? Well, this right here is the guide to help you.
There are two types of espresso machines: steam-driven and pump-driven.
Steam-driven machines use steam pressure to force a small amount of almost boiling water through finely ground coffee to produce espresso. According to the experts, a machine must generate at least 9 bar of pressure to produce true espresso. Steam-driven machines often lack this capability which is why they aren’t capable of creating true espresso (even if they have “espresso” in their product description). These machines are simply capable of producing a very strong cup of coffee. For a true espresso lover, these are not the machines you’d want in your kitchen. But for limited budgets, they can certainly suffice.
Now, a true espresso machine is one that is pump-driven. Under this category are several other varieties to consider: manual lever pump, electronic pump, semi-automatic pump, fully automatic pump, and super automatic pump.
Manual Lever Pump: This type of espresso machine does not use electricity to pump the espresso out. Instead, as the name already implies, it makes you manually pump the lever produce espresso. This type of espresso machine naturally requires a certain amount of skill to use. It is also recommended only for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to experiment on how to pull the perfect espresso shot each and every time. While this machine is quite complicated to use, it is also the most simple in design and only requires a bit of counter space. Also, these are typically very expensive but can last a lifetime as long as they are properly maintained.
Electronic Pump: Obviously, this machine uses electricity to force the water through the coffee grounds to create espresso. You just have to set the right temperature.
Semi-automatic Pump: With this espresso machine, the steps to making espresso are a combination of manual (done by you) and automatic (done by the machine). Semi-automatic pumps, while relatively easy to use, can be a bit messy and require some practice to produce true espresso with a thick crema. The best benefit to such a machine is that it offers the most brewing flexibility.
For example, you may be able to adjust the water flow and steam to suit your particular taste or automate pressure and water temperature so you get the same perfect cup of coffee every single morning. You can turn the pump on and off according to you desired times to allow you to control the taste as well. This type of espresso machine is what the espresso connoisseur needs because it allows him to control and fine-tune the subtle nuances of the taste, texture, and aroma of the espresso.
Fully Automatic Pump: A fully automatic espresso machine allows you to let the machine take control. It usually features a lot of buttons allowing you to choose what type of coffee you’d like it to make that day. The only thing required of you is to load the machine with ground coffee and choose the drink you want. Take note that you may be required to froth or steam your own milk with this machine.
Super Automatic Pump: This kind of espresso machine is similar to a fully automatic machine because it has all the same features of one. What makes it different is the addition of a built-in coffee grinder. We all know that the best coffee comes from freshly ground beans and this is what the super automatic pump can do. It’ll grind the coffee for you, tamp the grounds into the filter, heat up the water, force it through the grounds, and produce the perfect cup of espresso. It’ll even get rid of the waste for you. If you’re always on the go or convenience is more your style, then this is the kind of espresso machine you’re looking for.
Features / Accessories
In order to make a cup of espresso at home, you will need several things other than the machine. Now, some machines in the market today will have all the bells and whistles you’ll need to make an espresso. Some, on the other hand, will require you to stock up on certain accessories.
Grinder: fresh, evenly ground coffee is best if you want to get the most flavor and crema out of your coffee beans and produce delicious espresso shots. You can opt to buy a separate grinder or buy an espresso machine that has one already built in.
Frother: most machines will have a milk frother. Some will even include a milk frothing pitcher. But if you choose a machine that does not have either, you’ll need to make sure you have one in your kitchen before you start your machine.
Tamper: to get the best flavor out of your coffee, you’ll need to evenly press your grounds into the filter and you can do this with this tool.
Performance and Maintenance
When it comes to choosing an espresso machine, you’ll naturally have to look at performance. Some machines will produce more than one serving of espresso at a time while others will only make one cup at a time. Do you need a machine that produces different-sized coffees? How fast do you want your coffee made? How easy is the machine to use? Are you going to be the only one using the machine or will someone else with less skill be preparing coffee once in a while? More importantly, how easy is the machine to clean? You’ll need to disassemble parts of your machine and give them a good scrub at least once a month.
Remember, when choosing your espresso machine, you’ll need to look at the features (i.e. water tank size, heating time, bean requirements) very closely more than you do the design. Also, you’ll need to be sure it’s something that suits your lifestyle. While there are a lot of fancy options out there, don’t be fooled by the bells and whistles. The most important thing to consider is that the machine is capable of giving you that perfect cup o’ joe every single day as long as you both shall live.