Modern technology has made espresso more available to all of us. There are now a significant number of espresso machines with which you can brew up your own espresso at home.
The only problem is that there are so many machines out there, that it can be hard to know where to start.
Fear not, we have compiled everything you need to know about espresso machines so that you can make an informed choice on a machine.
We have also compiled ten of the best espresso makers for you.
As always, we recommend you to read our buyer’s guide to have a more in-depth understanding of what you should be looking for before you dive into our list of the best espresso machine in 2018.
Best Espresso Machine in 2018
|Espresso Machine||Best For||Price|
|De’Longhi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Maker (Editor’s Choice)||Easiest to Use Espresso Machine||Price|
|Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine (Editor’s Choice)||Best for Style||Price|
|Bestek Espresso Machine (Editor’s Choice)||Best for Cuppuccinos||Price|
|Saeco Picobarista Espresso Machine||Best Automatic Espresso Machine||Price|
|Gaggia Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine||Best for Portability||Price|
|Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine||Best for Variety||Price|
|Breville Infuser Espresso Machine||Best for Rich Espresso||Price|
|Cuisinart Stainless Steel Espresso Machine||Best for Perfect Espresso Brewing||Price|
|DeLonghi Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso Machine||Best All-in-One Espresso Machine||Price|
|Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine||Best for Espresso Options||Price|
1. De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker — Easiest to Use Espresso Machine
The De’Longhi 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is a countertop espresso machine that can brew espresso and cappuccino, and froth milk just like in your favorite coffee shop.
It has a convenient self-priming function to minimize startup time, and two separate thermostats to control water and steam temperatures separately, for great customization.
The three-in-one filter holder brews either one or two cups of fresh ground espresso or can also brew espresso pods if you prefer.
The De’Longhi EC155 is designed to balance your desire for authentic, Italian-style espresso and cappuccino with an American-style desire for speed and convenience.
The ability to brew espresso pods as well as fresh-ground beans, the rapid self-priming to bring the stainless-steel boiler quickly up to temperature and a Rapid Cappuccino System that maintains operating temperature to minimize waiting between brew cycles are all intended to make the machine faster to operate and get you going faster.
The manual milk frother lets you create milk foam precisely the way you like it.
It’s nice and easy to clean, and the 35-ounce water tank is the right size, with multiple brewings between refills. It also has an indicator light to let you know when to refill the tank. The stainless-steel boiler is high quality and built to last.
It can be a little bit fussy to find coffee cups that are the right size to fit this machine, and some people have a similar issue with finding a pitcher to fit the milk foamer.
There isn’t a lot of clearance between the device and the counter, so you have to hunt a little to find cups the right size.
This is the perfect machine for anyone who wants simplicity. If you want your espresso at the touch of a button and in super-quick time, then you have found your espresso maker.
- Lots of automated features to speed up brewing time and time between brews
- Three-in-one filter is versatile and useful
- Professional-quality boiler and swivel jet frother
- Two thermostats allow good customization for brewing and frothing
- Easy to clean
- De’Longhi doesn’t have a great track record of customer service and support
2. Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine — Best for Style
The Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine is a newer model of their popular BES860XL Barista Express espresso machine.
It’s an all-in-one machine that grinds beans, brews espresso, and foams milk, and it’s for perfect coffee drinks at home in less than a minute.
The canonical burr grinder is made of stainless steel and holds a half pound of espresso beans. The onboard water tank holds an impressive 67 ounces of water, giving you plenty of brews between refills.
The purge function automatically adjusts the water temperature after steaming to prepare for brewing, for the perfect brewing temperature every time.
It uses a low-pressure pre-infusion to increase pressure during espresso making gradually, and digital temperature controls minimize temperature fluctuations during brews, so every shot has a perfect pressure and perfect temperature for consistent coffee drinks every single time.
With the Breville BES870XL, you can choose between several different automatic and manual functions, to have as much control over your brews as you prefer. You can pre-set your single or double shot settings for customized shot volume.
It also doses a generous 19-22 grams of coffee, almost twice that of other automatic home-grade espresso machines, for richer coffee shop taste in your own kitchen.
Or, if you prefer, adjust the grinder size and customize the dose to your precise preferences. The built-in automatic steam wand easily creates a silky-smooth foam for perfect cappuccino.
This handsome, compact espresso machine also has a hidden storage compartment for the included cleaning tools, keeping everything organized and beautiful on your countertop.
This is a great coffee maker for someone who wants a few cups of espresso in the morning or afternoon. The standby power mode makes it great for brewing multiple cups without wasting energy.
- Versatile enough that both experts and amateurs can brew a perfect espresso every time
- Ultra-fine foam is ideal for latte art
- Easy to clean
- Comes with a cleaning kit, multiple filters, and an expert tamper
- Grinds and brews in less than a minute
- Generous water reservoir
- Not very durable, with many machines breaking after only a year or two
- Breville has a cumbersome and expensive warranty repair system
3. Bestek Espresso Machine — Best for Cappuccinos
This espresso maker doubles as a coffee maker too.
There is a water carafe which can be used to measure the water for the reservoir. The carafe can also be used to brew coffee.
There is a 240ml water reservoir, which is large enough to brew 4 cups of coffee and multiple cups of espresso. The included steam wand allows you to steam up milk to be added to your espresso to create delicious lattes and cappuccinos.
This is an easy espresso machine to use. The single switch knob allows you to go between brewing coffee and steaming milk.
The fact that you only have two options means that even the least tech-savvy person can operate this machine with ease, and still create cappuccinos which large-scale coffee shops would be proud of.
The water level gauge gives you all the information you need about your water levels at a glance. The drip tray also efficiently catches any dripped coffee, and it is completely removable for easy cleaning.
The espresso maker comes with a carafe, metal funnel, stainless steel filter, and a plastic measuring spoon. All you need to do is add some coffee and cups, and you have everything you need to craft delicious coffee.
Add a steaming pitcher, and you will be able to add some hot, delicious milk to your coffee too. The 1-year warranty also protects you from anything going wrong.
This is a great espresso maker for anyone who wants to make cheap cappuccinos. This coffee maker will cost roughly the same amount as 10 coffee shop cappuccinos. Buying this machine will actually save you money.
- Large capacity
- Steam Wand
- Water level gauge
- Easy to use
- Not as good espresso as other machines
- No included tamper
4. Saeco Picobarista Espresso Machine — Best Automatic Espresso Machine
This is the ultimate coffee machine!
Saeco has been perfecting the art of coffee brewing for over 30 years, and this is a machine for coffee lovers.
This machine will allow you to brew many varieties of coffee, all at the touch of a button. The best thing about this machine (apart from how many different types of coffee you can brew) is the lack of maintenance needed.
Most automatic espresso machines need to be maintained. This machine requires minimal maintenance. In fact, you can brew up to 5000 coffees before this machine even needs to be descaled.
When it comes time to get your cup of coffee, the only tricky part of the process is choosing which coffee to have.
Once you have selected, it is as simple as pressing a button. The ceramic grinders will grind your coffee precisely, time and time again, without being worn down like other grinders.
With this machine, there are built-in milk options too. You can have a delicious latte macchiato or a cappuccino at the touch of a button. Simply press the button and let the machine do the rest.
The brewing boiler is one of the fastest on the market. As soon as you turn on the machine, the brewer is easy to heat the water to the ideal temperature. You do not have to do any waiting before you get your cup of coffee.
You can also customize the strength of your coffee, deciding on the strength, pour time, and temperature. Even better, you can save your settings so that they are ready to go the next time you are using the machine.
The grinder also has 10 grind settings so that you can get the perfect cup of coffee, every time you use the machine.
This is the ultimate machine in coffee brewing. The espresso maker will give you large-scale coffee with a reasonable price tag.
If you have a large kitchen and drink a lot of coffee, then your coffee brewing will never be easier. This is also the perfect machine for an office.
- Fully automatic
- Many varieties of drink
- Ceramic grinders
- 10 grinder settings
- Easy to use
- Parts could be higher quality
5. Gaggia 14101 Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker — Best for Portability
The Gaggia 14101 Classic is a beautiful home espresso machine with many of the features and functions found in the timeless espresso shops of Milan.
It has been manufactured to commercial-quality standards, including a powerful 17 ½ bar pump, a commercial three-way solenoid valve for dry coffee pucks, and a commercial-style chrome-plated brass portafilter.
It comes with two different filter baskets: a commercial filter basket, and a pressurized filter basket, to suit experts and beginners alike The Pannarello steam wand is easy to use and siphons air directly into the milk for rich foam.
The Gaggia 14101 Classic is designed for experts but has a lot of friendly features for beginners. The pressurized filter helps automate your brews for the perfect taste and crema every time or upgrade to the non-pressurized filter to experiment with grinds and tamping.
The steam wand is simple and makes perfect foam. It also works with coffee pods and can brew two cups at the same time.
It has a substantial 72-ounce water reservoir, is easy to clean, and comes with two filter baskets, a coffee tamper, and a 7-gram measuring scoop.
The durable, professional materials, classic Italian style, and high-quality features make this machine a great way to make coffee-shop-quality coffee drinks at home.
This machine is a favorite of coffee connoisseurs around the world, who appreciate its simplicity, durability, and functional style.
If you like working with advanced technology and a classic design, this espresso is ideal for making hot drinks, and it includes all the features of a commercial system.
- Classic stainless-steel housing is stylish and rugged
- The portafilters and group head are made of heavy-duty marine grade brass with chrome plating for professional temperature stability.
- Heavy-duty switches and controls for extra durability
- The 3-way solenoid valve is drip-free and leaves a dry puck while resetting to speed time between brews.
- 17 ½ bar is commercial-grade pumping power, perhaps even more than necessary.
- Despite some beginner-friendly features, this really is a professional-grade, classic, manual espresso maker. It may not be the best espresso machine for a newcomer to learn with and may be better suited for those who have experience making espresso
6. Breville Barista Touch BES880BSS Espresso Machine — Best for Variety
The Breville Barista Touch BES880BSS Espresso Machine delivers incredible coffee drinks with just the touch of a button.
This coffee machine grinds beans, brews espresso, and even foams milk with fully automated touchscreen controls for perfectly consistent, coffee-shop quality drinks time after time.
The stainless-steel housing contains a 54 mm RazorTM precision dose trimming tool, and all the parts that contact your coffee or water are free of BPA.
The color touchscreen comes with five pre-programmed coffee drinks, including espresso, Americano, latte, flat white, or cappuccino.
It also has eight coffee drinks that you can program and customize for yourself, adjusting grind settings, temperature, and get your favorite cup of coffee every time.
The Breville Barista Touch BES880BSS uses Breville’s PID temperature control for perfectly consistent brewing temperatures. It also has a pre-infusion function to increase pressure for even, consistent flavor during brew slowly.
This espresso machine comes with a 16-ounce stainless steel milk jug, a magnetic storable tamper cleaning tool, and a cleaning brush, and water filters and water filter holders. It also comes with cleaning discs and tablets to make descaling a breeze.
It’s super-fast, easy to use, convenient, and stylish enough to look great anywhere. It’s not just suitable for a home kitchen but is also a perfect option for small offices and workplaces where delicious coffee is in high demand, but brewing can be inconsistent, cumbersome, and messy.
The automatic touchscreen functions of the Breville Barista Touch take the guesswork out of making coffee-shop-style coffee drinks yourself.
This is a great espresso maker for those who want to have options when it comes to brewing coffee. You have double the amount of capsules open to you when you have this machine, and you will find that it is extremely easy to use.
- Fully automated touchscreen controls
- Five preset beverages and eight customizable coffee drinks
- Temperature and pressure controls create consistent espresso drinks every time
- Grinds coffee, brews espresso, and steams and foams milk inside a single machine
- One-year limited warranty
It is expensive and, due to the combination of computerized and mechanical parts, can be difficult to repair
Breville has a cumbersome and costly warranty repair system
7. Breville BES840XL/A The Infuser Espresso Machine — Best for Rich Espresso
The Breville BES840XL/A The Infuser Espresso Machine is a home espresso machine with incredible features that help you make the perfect cup of coffee every single time.
It has both automatic features like temperature control and programmable features like volumetric control. It also comes with an espresso pressure gauge so you can monitor the brew pressure and pre-infusion technology that ramps up pressure during each brew.
Increasing pressure over time expands the coffee grind, to fill in any gaps or cracks before full pressure is applied, for perfectly even pressure and extraction throughout the puck.
This machine also has sophisticated temperature controls, including a thermocoil system that heats water quickly on demand, and a PID thermostat for perfect temperature monitoring.
The auto-purge function automatically begins to cool the boiler to the optimal temperature for espresso extraction after using the steam wand.
The Breville BES840XL/A also comes with a lot of nice features for a coffee shop experience at home, including a cup warmer on top of the machine, indicators to let you know when to empty the drip tray or when to clean the machine, and an extra-tall cup clearance so you can brew directly into travel and commuter mugs.
The water tank is a good sized 61 ounces and includes a built-in, replaceable water filter to reduce minerals and impurities in your coffee and help keep the machine running optimally.
It also has an instant hot-water tap for Americanos, cup warming, or even tea and cocoa. It fully extracts water from coffee, leaving hard pucks that are easy to clean.
It comes with single and dual wall filter baskets, a coffee scoop, a stainless-steel milk jug, cleaning disc and tablets, a cleaning tool, and a water filter with holder.
This is the ideal espresso maker for anyone who wants the flavor drawn evenly from their coffee grinds. It provides an even extraction from start to finish.
- Great combination of automatic and manual features for the perfect balance of speed and control
- Nice extras like the water filter, hot water tap, warming top, and the ability to brew into travel mugs
- Automated notifications when it needs cleaning or emptying
- All the necessary accessories are included
- Low-pressure pre-infusion creates great flavor
- BPA free
- Sophisticated temperature controls
- Breville has a cumbersome and expensive warranty repair system
8. Cuisinart EM-100 1.66 Quart Stainless Steel Espresso Maker — Best for Perfect Espresso
The Cuisinart EM-100 1.66 Quart Stainless Steel Espresso Maker has 15 bars of pump pressure for excellent flavor extraction.
It’s an attractive, compact machine with a professional-grade stainless steel housing that brews one or two cups of espresso at a time and can also brew espresso pods. There is a 53-ounce water reservoir, a stainless-steel steam nozzle, and a warming tray on top of the machine to keep cups warm.
The portafilter holder has a locking mechanism to make it easy to dispose of used espresso grounds and is BPA-free. The removable drip tray and cover make it easy to clean, and it comes with a tamping tool, measuring spoon, and stainless-steel frothing cup.
With the Cuisinart EM-100 1.66 Quart Stainless Steel Espresso Maker, you can quickly make high-quality espresso drinks and cappuccinos.
The machine comes with a very compact footprint for the amount of power in the machine. However, it may not fit in all kitchens; the height of the espresso maker and the fact that the top heats up to warm cups may make it difficult to place under cabinets.
When placed under cabinets, you also need to move the machine to access and refill the reservoir. And there isn’t a lot of room for clearance between the milk pitcher and the steam nozzle, so many people have to pull it to the front edge of their counters to create the necessary room to properly foam milk.
Despite these small drawbacks, it’s a handsome, compact espresso maker that makes high-quality coffee drinks, and also has a 3-year warranty.
This would be a great coffee maker for an office, but if you are a big fan of espresso, then it would be a welcome addition to a home kitchen too. Impress all of your friends with instant cups of espresso.
- Compact and attractive, with a high-quality stainless-steel housing
- Excellent pump strength
- Easy to clean
- Good size reservoir
- Easy to use
- Brews ground espresso or espresso pods
- Has a built-in warming tray
- Has a 3-year limited warranty
- Comes with all the necessary tools and accessories to make coffee drinks
- May be too tall for convenient placement and use in some kitchens
- May not be very durable
9. DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine — Best All-in-one Espresso Machine
The DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine is an all-in-one espresso machine that grinds coffee, brews coffee or espresso, and foams milk all in one.
It has easy-to-use controls and programmable settings so you can get your coffee exactly the way you like it, every single time. The patented Cappuccino System milk frother mixes steam and milk for rich, creamy, long-lasting foam.
You can use the built-in burr grinder, or pre-ground coffee instead if you prefer.
The rapid cappuccino system maintains the optimal internal temperature to allow you to brew cup after cup without waiting between brews.
And it’s easy to clean, requiring de-scaling less often than other automatic espresso machines. The manual milk steamer rotates 180 degrees to hold any size milk pitcher, making it easy to use in any size kitchen.
You can select cup size, choose between 5 levels of drink strength, choose between 4 levels of espresso length, choose your temperature, and more with the customizable settings, and the DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine will remember your preferences.
The espresso machine takes just 60-second heat-up time, making your mornings more efficient, and it also pre-heats cups for you.
It’s a space-efficient espresso maker because you can refill the 60-ounce water reservoir and empty the coffee grounds without having to physically move the machine since these panels are accessible from the front.
It’s an excellent choice for your favorite coffee drinks, customized to your exact preference, ground and brewed on the spot, even in a small space.
- Many automated, simple-to-use functions for customizing your coffee and getting it the way you like it every time
- Easy to set up and use
- Easy to clean
- Reservoir accessible from the front, without moving the coffeemaker
- Beautiful design
- Good quality brews and good foam
- Freshly ground beans make espresso drinks taste better and smell good
- Can brew into tall, travel-sized cups
- Can brew weak or strong, short or tall espresso drinks
- Grinding of beans can be loud
- It is not always a very reliable coffeemaker, with some inconsistencies in manufacture
10. Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine — Best Espresso Machine Options
The Silvia by Rancilio is a quality, entry-level, semi-automatic espresso maker to use at home which is generally considered to be a long-lasting, capable and sturdy machine.
Rancilio constructed this machine to be top-quality right from the start by only using internal parts made from steel, copper, and components which they use in their commercial machines.
This espresso maker also includes a three-way solenoid valve which takes the additional pressures off after you pull your shot.
It makes it easier to get the dry coffee puck out of the porta-filter, which is convenient, and it also decreases strain on other mechanical parts of the unit.
Beneath the drip tray, you can feel the solenoid valve positioned there. Not only is it sturdy and can last for several years, but many would also say it makes the best espresso.
This is a durable espresso machine that is made to last. If you’re looking for a well-built machine, this is the ideal one for you.
- Easy to use
- Ground coffee or pods
- Dishwasher safe
- 15-bar pressure
- Compact and portable
- Needs boiling water
- Not good for lattes or cappuccinos
Espresso Machine Buyer’s Guide
We all love a good cup of coffee in the morning, but a rich cup of espresso is the ultimate way to kick-start your day.
A dark-bodied espresso with a delicate crema is like heaven to some of us, but the price tag is not. Coffee is a billion dollar industry, and your daily cup of coffee is adding to that industry.
Buying an espresso machine is no easy feat. There are so many to choose from that it can be hard to know where to start.
Combine that with all of the modern features, and it can be hard to know what features an espresso machine has, let alone what features you need.
Our buying guide takes you through exactly what can be found in an espresso machine, and everything you need to know to make an informed choice when it comes to purchasing one.
Types Of Espresso Machines
When you are looking for the perfect cup of espresso, there are a few ways in which you can make up your delicious cup of rich, dark coffee.
You can go all out with a fully automatic espresso, use your own muscle power to add the necessary pressure or have simplicity with a stovetop espresso maker.
Here are your most common options when it comes to an espresso maker.
Super-Automatic Espresso Machines
This is your one-stop shop for espresso.
Load up the machine, turn it on, press a button, and the espresso is made for you. This type of machine has everything you need to go from whole bean coffee to a cup of espresso.
When you load in the beans, there is a built-in grinder to grind the beans into espresso powder.
The machine will fill the coffee basket and tamp it down for you. The machine will also heat the water for you while this is happening and then force the water through the espresso powder.
The remaining grinds are then dumped in a container for you to dispose of when the container is filled.
These machines usually come with milk steamers and frothers so that you can heat and aerate milk to create a latte or cappuccino.
All you need to do is make sure that there are enough water and coffee beans in the machine, and, of course, place a cup under the spout.
These machines are easy to use, and there is minimal input from the user.
They give good results, and it is hard to go wrong with this machine. If the espresso is not exactly how you like it, then you are able to adjust the grind and water volume to get the cup of coffee you need.
The downsides are that they take up a lot of space, and they are more expensive (both to buy and to fix).
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
These machines control the water for you and will force the hot water through the espresso for you, but you will need to deal with the beans.
When you turn this machine on, the water will heat to the correct temperature (you need to make sure that there is enough water in the machine).
For your part, you need to ensure that you have espresso powder.
This means buying ground espresso or using a grinder to grind your beans. You then need to measure the correct amount into the portafilter and tamp (press) it down.
You can then place the portafilter back in the machine and press a button to start the water running through the coffee.
Using a semi-automatic machine is more involved than using a fully-automatic machine, but there is something nice about grinding your own coffee and tamping it down into the portafilter.
You have complete control over the grind of the coffee.
These machines are smaller in size than the full-automatic, and they cost less too. When it comes to making a great cup of coffee, this was the best in our espresso tests.
Manual-Lever Espresso Machines
These espresso machines are for espresso purists.
They allow you to craft your espresso without any outside help. They do require some trial and error to get the perfect cup of espresso, but when you do master the process, you will be delighted that you did.
First, you add water to the water reservoir and turn on the machine.
It will take a while for the machine to heat up the water, but this is about doing things right, not the convenience of a quick cup of coffee. Once the water is heated, you grind your own beans and add the ground coffee to the portafilter.
You then replace the portafilter and place a cup underneath. To force the water through the coffee, you slowly press down on the brew handle. This will pour you the perfect cup of coffee (provided you have found the sweet spot between grind, heat, pressure, and freshness.
This is the perfect espresso machine for those who want to be involved in the coffee making process, and if you can perfect the art, then you will be able to brew a cup of coffee that any Italian would be proud of.
Capsule Espresso Machines
Capsule espresso machines are all about convenience.
They offer the same functionality as a semi- or fully automatic machine without any of the mess of clean up. Instead of having to use fish beans or grind your own coffee, you use capsules which contain the correct amount of ground coffee.
Simply turn on the machine, and wait for it to heat up, insert the capsule or pod, press the button, and wait for your cup of coffee.
This type of machine is excellent for producing many different cups of coffee, such as americanos, lattes, and espresso, but the quality will not be as good as a machine which uses freshly ground coffee.
Stovetop Espresso Machines
Stovetop Espresso Machine (or Moka pot) brews coffee by passing pressured steam through your ground coffee.
A stovetop espresso maker comes in three parts. The bottom is the water reservoir. You can fill this to any level depending on how much coffee you are brewing, and all of the water will be used in the brewing process. The middle part is where the coffee will be held.
You will have to buy pre-ground coffee or grind your own beans. The middle part sits on the bottom portion. The top section will then screw into the bottom part and seal the three pieces together.
When you put the espresso maker on a stove, the heat will turn the water to steam. The pressurized steam has nowhere to go other than through the ground coffee and into the top part.
When it gets there, it cools and condenses back into hot coffee and is collected in the top section. The result is a dark espresso brew, which tastes like espresso but is often lacking the sweet crema on the top.
What are the Benefits of an Espresso Machine?
Most things in life are created to make your life easier, and an espresso machine is no exception. Not only will you be able to brew great tasting coffee, but an espresso machine will also save you time and money.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of a great espresso machine.
If you buy a cup of coffee every day (or multiple cups), then you may be amazed at how quickly it can add up. Even $2 every morning soon adds up to over $700 a year.
If you buy multiple cups a day, then the money begins to multiply. Even the most expensive espresso machines cannot compare to the amount of money some people spend on coffee.
Once you have an espresso machine, you can start saving money every day.
If you replace your $2 cup of coffee (and we are being conservative with the price) with a cup from an espresso maker, then you will have already saved money.
Over time, the espresso maker will pay for itself, and you will begin to make some real savings.
Many modern espresso makers come with the capacity to make multiple different types of coffee. If you can make espresso, then you can make an Americano.
All you have to do is add some hot water. By adjusting the water in your espresso, you can make single and double espressos, as well as being able to make short and long espressos.
If you have a steam wand on your espresso maker, then you open yourself up to a variety of coffees. You can simply add some hot milk to your espresso, make a latte, even make a cappuccino.
If you buy some sauces and syrups, then you can flavor your coffee and make mochas.
The great thing about an espresso maker is that you do not have to leave your home to get a great cup of coffee.
As soon as you get up, you can go to your kitchen and brew up a cup of delicious espresso. There is no need even to get dressed or brush your teeth.
No longer will you have to go to Starbucks to get your morning fix. Now, it does not matter when you want a cup of coffee, you can go make it.
An espresso machine is also great for creating coffee on the go.
Take a travel mug, add some espresso, and drink it on therein or bus when you are on your way to work.
Having your coffee with you when you leave the house is also going to save you time, especially when there are long lineups in the morning.
Ease of Use and Clean Up
A good espresso machine should be easy to use, but that does not mean that you should not be heavily involved in the brewing process.
If you are buying a push-button machine, then you want the display to be clear and concise. The buttons should be easy to read and use.
All machines should be easy to fill with coffee beans/powder and water. In fact, you should be able to intuitively know how to fill these two resources without looking at the instruction manual.
If you have a manual machine, then it should be easy to pull down on the lever to apply the pressure to the water (this does not mean that it should not be firm, but it should be accessible to everyone).
With a capsule machine, you should be able to know at a glance where the pods go. If the espresso machine makes multiple drinks, then it should be easy to make those drinks. If the machine comes with a steam wand, then that steam wand should be easy to use and clean.
After you have made your coffee, there will be one main area of clean up (plus the steam wand). Once you have a fresh cup of espresso, you will have to get rid of the ground coffee.
For fully-automatic and capsule espresso makers, you will have a compartment which will need to be emptied after brewing a few cups of coffee. The pods will need to be emptied into the garbage, but the ground coffee can be emptied into your compost.
With other machines, there will be a portafilter to empty. Make sure to remove as much of the ground coffee as you can, and then rinse the portafilter to remove the last of the grounds.
If the filter is dirty, then you can wash it in some soapy water, rinse, dry, and replace. You will also have to clean any drip trays.
What to Look for In an Espresso Machine
Price is always a factor when it comes to buying any appliance or kitchen utensil. When you are choosing your espresso machine, the price is very important.
For example, a good stovetop espresso maker can cost you as little as $20, but the most luxurious fully-automatic machine can set you back up to $1,000.
That is a big difference, but you need to also look at what you are getting from your machine.
If you are not a coffee drinker, you are not going to want the most expensive machine. There are going to be a lot of functions which will be useless to you.
If you do not have a lot of experience with making coffee, then you may want to spend more to get an easy and functional machine. If you drink coffee every day and want something to replace the trips to Starbucks, then it may make sense to buy an expensive machine.
You can get a taste similar to what you are used to, and you may actually save money by reducing the amount you spend each day on coffee.
With every kitchen appliance, it is advisable to spend a little more to save yourself money in the long run. Better materials often cost more money.
There is no point in buying the cheapest option only to have it break down in a few months. Starting with a high-quality machine may cost you more, but in the long run, you will also save money.
You should also think about how you are going to use your machine.
A pod machine is convenient, but it will cost you more money to run. The very best coffee machine can make great coffee, but coffee is only as good as the beans. If you are not going to buy high-quality beans, then there is no point in buying a high-quality machine.
Take into account the day-to-day cost of the machine before you commit.
Start with a budget and then look for options within that. Make sure that your budget is realistic, and only spend what you can afford to.
You are going to have your coffee machine on display in your kitchen.
Espresso machines come in a variety of shapes and forms. You can find espresso machines which match any color palette. You can find a machine in every style of finish.
The other thing to think about is matching your espresso machine with other machines. Many companies have a range of items which all match, such as toasters, kettles, and such.
You may want to buy multiple appliances at the same time to ensure that they all match.
The speed of your machine is also a consideration.
Espressos are small and quick coffees, but your experience will differ from what you get in your local coffee shop. In your local coffee shop, the espresso machine is always on.
They also have powerful machines which keep the water hot all of the time. This means that espresso can be brewed instantly. With a home machine, you need to let your machine warm up first.
If you want an espresso quickly at the touch of a button, then you should look for a more powerful machine to get a faster experience. You should also look for machines which heat the water on demand as opposed to the ones which heat all of the water first.
No matter what you go for, you should be prepared to wait a small amount of time for your espresso, but most of the time will be waiting for the machine to heat up. When you turn the machine on, you can go do something else while the machine warms up, and then have your espresso within a few seconds of pressing the brew button.
For many people, coffee is not an occasional occurrence. If you are buying a coffee machine, it is likely that you are going to be drinking a cup of coffee at least once a day.
With many smaller kitchen appliances, they are used and then stored until next use. An espresso maker, however, is likely to be a permanent addition to your countertop.
Automatic espresso machines are more convenient as they do more of the work for you, but they are also larger. A smaller machine will be more compact, but you will need to be more involved.
Try to think about what you want from an espresso machine, and then plan for the type of machine you need. You need to make sure that you have enough counter space to have the machine on display permanently (you can store it too, of course).
With a rise in popularity of coffee around the world, there are many companies which have joined the espresso machine market.
When you are looking at espresso machines, you will notice that those companies which specialize in espresso machines have better machines, as that is what they have been dedicated too.
With better machines, comes a higher price tag, and you will find that also.
Larger companies, who specialize in kitchen equipment, will also make good machines, as they have a lot of experience in the food industry, and they will be able to keep prices down through diversification.
A trusted coffee brand will generally make a trusted espresso machine, but you should open your options to other companies.
The primary two needs of an espresso machine are water and coffee. Which both are much useful to come with a larger size. With a fully automatic machine, there will also be a place for the beans.
The larger the capacity, the longer you can go without refilling, but the larger the machine will be.
Almost all espresso machines will have a water reservoir. The larger the reservoir, the more water you can store. This is essential if you want to brew multiple cups of coffee at the same time.
If you have a large family, then you do not want to have to fill the reservoir multiple times in one morning. But a larger reservoir also means the bigger the machine will be.
We find that filling the water reservoir is not that big of a deal, and it is always better to use fresh water for every cup. With a large reservoir, it can be tempting to leave the water in it, but stale water can be detrimental to a good cup of coffee.
Having a small reservoir can work in your favor as it is quicker to heat, and it ensures that you have fresh water for your coffee.
You should also be looking at capacity for fully-automatic and capsule machines.
Both of these machines have compartments for waste coffee. If the compartment is small and you forget to empty it for a long time, then the machine can get backed up, and it can break down.
You should think about the quality of everything before you buy it.
When you are purchasing an espresso machine, you can be spending a lot of money, and you do not want it to break down. The materials used on the outside of the machine will usually give you an indication of the materials inside.
Take a look at how the espresso machine is made and think about how long it is going to last. Do the materials look cheap? Does the machine look well made? Is it an espresso machine which you would be happy to have on display?
Modes and Features
When you are looking at an espresso machine, you want a machine which can brew a great cup of coffee, but, of course, that is not all that a lot of modern machines can do.
A manual device will not have a lot of variety, but many automatic machines will have options for brewing many different types of espresso as well as drinks which contain espresso.
Modern espresso machines have a lot of internal working parts, but if you take care of it, the machine will last you for a long time.
Of course, with any appliance, there can always be something which can go wrong.
We always recommend purchasing a machine which has higher-quality parts and manufacture. This generally means a more expensive machine.
When you are buying a high-quality machine, you want to have a warranty which goes with it. Look for a warranty which covers your machine if anything goes wrong.
You cannot buy anything nowadays without looking at the extras which come with it.
Some are essential while others add a touch of luxury or convenience. Once you have set your budget, you can begin to look at some extras.
Some espresso machines may come shipped with extras, while others can be upgraded. Let’s take a look at some of the most common extras.
Steam Wand A steam wand will only be available on some types of espresso machine, mainly on the automatic machines.
With most machines, the water is put under pressure and heated to create hot water which is forced through the espresso. That same hot water can be pressurized and turned to steam.
The steam is used to heat and aerate milk. This allows you to make drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.
When you are looking at steam wands, look for those which are easy to clean and are easy to remove. As you steam a lot of milk, the residue will build up on the inside and outside.
It is handy to be able to soak the steam wand in hot water from time to time.
You should also look for machines which generate a lot of pressure to produce steam which will put tiny bubbles of air into your milk and leave it tasting silky smooth.
A temperature gauge will tell you how hot the water in the tank is.
Some machines heat the water first, while others heat the water as you go. With water tanks which heat the water first, there may be a temperature gauge which tells you how hot the water is as it is heating up.
Water Level Indicator
A lot of espresso machines will have a water reservoir.
Some of these reservoirs will be clear so you can see how much water is inside. Some will not be clear, but they will have a small window that you can see how much water is left inside.
It is essential to keep your water reservoir filled before brewing some coffee, or you may not have enough to brew a full cup and may be left with a bitter tasting espresso.
Some machines, with internal water tanks, have a digital water display or a warning light when the water gets low.
Sometimes you want to delay brewing your coffee.
We do not recommend leaving water in your water reservoir, but it can be nice to set your espresso maker to brew a fresh cup of coffee in the morning for you.
Some espresso machines will come with timers. This allows you to delay the brewing of your coffee.
A fully automatic espresso machine will come with an inbuilt grinder. This grinder will grind your coffee as you go.
With an automatic espresso machine, you should look for a grinder which can be adjusted. This will give you control over your espresso as you often have to make subtle changes to the grind of your espresso to get the best cup of coffee.
For other machines, look for an included grinder. You get a better cup of espresso from beans which are freshly ground.
Using coffee which is as fresh as possible will give you the best results, and a coffee grinder is the best way to do that.
When looking at any grinder, look for one which has a variety of grind settings. There are two main types of grinders. More affordable models have you grind your beans for a certain amount of time to get the correct fineness of coffee.
This type of grinder can be unpredictable, and we recommend a grinder which has fine and coarse grind settings. This grinder will grind your coffee to an exact fineness.
Re-usable Pod Filter
When you use a pod machine, there is one main downside; it can be extremely convenient to use a pod machine, but there is significant waste.
With most machines, you have some leftover coffee grounds which can be composted. With a pod machine, you have a pod full of coffee grounds which cannot be composted or recycled. Many companies are now manufacturing reusable pods.
Reusable pods look like regular pods, but they can be opened and closed to allow you to add and remove your own coffee. This is handy for many reasons.
Firstly, you get to choose the coffee which you want to use, and you have more variety than only the choice of pods. Secondly, you reduce the amount of waste which is going to a landfill.
Milk Jug and Tamper
If you have an automatic machine and a steam wand, then you are going to want to have a milk jug for steaming your milk.
Steaming pitchers are shaped to allow the milk to circulate as it is aerating. They also look good beside your machine.
If you are grinding your own coffee and adding it to the portafilter, then you will need a tamper.
When you tamp your coffee down into the portafilter, you get the correct density of coffee so that the water comes into contact with the coffee for the proper amount of time.
This will mean that the coffee is not over or under extracted.
Bonus: Espresso Tips
Use Fresh Coffee Grounds and Fresh Water
As soon as coffee is ground, it begins to lose its flavor.
You can lock flavor in longer by sealing the ground coffee in an airtight container, but we recommend grinding coffee as it is needed.
You should also refill your water reservoir each time you use your espresso machine.
Have the Correct Grind
If your coffee ground is too fine, then the water will be in contact with the coffee for too long, and your coffee will be over extracted.
If your coffee is too coarse, then the coffee will be under-extracted. Your ground beans should have the consistency of sand when you rub it between your fingers.
You should let your espresso machine warm up to the correct temperature before you use it.
A good tip is to also warm your portafilter by adding hot water for a while before the ground coffee is added. This will help to keep the hot water at the optimum temperature as it is running through your espresso.
You should also warm your cups before the espresso goes in to stop the espresso from cooling too quickly.
You should have around 25ml of coffee in 25 seconds. This will give you the perfect combination of sweetness and bitterness.
If your water is running through too quickly, then your grind may be too coarse. If it runs through too slowly, then the grind may be too fine.
Clean As You Go
After making a cup of espresso, you should clean your machine immediately.
Not only will this help to maintain your machine, but it stops any organic matter from decomposing and contaminating your espresso machine.
Making your own espresso at home need not be complicated or expensive.
The very best espresso makers make it easy for you to enjoy an espresso at any point during your busy day.
You can find automatic espresso makers which take all of the hard work out of espresso, and you can find espresso makers which can be taken camping with you.
No matter which machine you choose, one thing is sure; if you brew your own espresso at home, you are going to save yourself money.
The only tricky part of the entire espresso brewing process is choosing the perfect espresso machine.