What can be better than a small cup of rich, flavorful, strong espresso in the morning?
If you’ve answered “Nothing”, then my efforts of finding the best espresso machine for home use weren’t in vain.
I’ve tested a lot of them and picked top 7 ones. Each of these devices can help you start your day in a perfect way. Want to find out more? Let’s dive right into it!
A Quick Preview
|Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine||Semi-automatic||Stainless steel conical burr grinder||9|
|Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker||Automatic capsule machine||—||9|
|Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker (ECMP1000)||Semi-automatic||—||8|
|DeLonghi Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine (ESAM3300)||Super-automatic||Integrated burr grinder||9|
|Saeco Picobaristo Super Automatic Espresso Machine||Super-automatic||Ceramic grinder||9|
|Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso Machine||Automatic capsule machine||—||7.5|
|DeLonghi America Dedica 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine (EC680B)||Semi-automatic||—||7.5|
Best Value for Money
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
Semi-automatic brewer with a stainless steel grinder
15-bar Italian pump
Removable water tank (capacity: 67 oz)
Thermo coil heating system
Pre-set volume (single and double shot)
Dimensions: 15.8 x 12.5 x 13.2 inches
This model is among the best espresso machines for many reasons. It is very nicely built and brews great espresso. But what really makes it stand out from the competitors is its value. In the world of semi-automatic espresso machines, it can be considered a mid-range model. However, it packs a great set of features, which move the Barista Express to a whole new level.
”This espresso maker was built to guarantee you a perfect beverage. It allows users to set the grind type and the amount of coffee dosed into the filter. This way, you can experiment with different ratios and grind types to find that perfect combo for your desired beverage.”
This model combines everything you need for a great cup of coffee. As this is a top-notch espresso machine with a grinder, The Barista Express uses steel burrs to achieve the best coarseness for espressos (which you can adjust, by the way). It comes with two differently sized filters and automatically dispenses the needed amount of ground coffee for each filter type. This is a semi-automatic model, which means it does almost all of the job for you while you are remaining in control.
|Very well-made||Might require a bit of a learning curve|
|Offers great value for money||Not the best warranty (just 1 year)|
|Programmable shots, coffee doses, and temperature|
|Makes great espresso (and allows for other beverages thanks to the milk steam wand)|
This is an ideal option for people who are looking for the best value. This semi-automatic espresso machine has everything you need for home usage and a bit more. It might require some learning curve but can work well for both beginner and experienced coffee enthusiasts.
Best Capsule Espresso Machine
Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker
Supports Nespresso capsules only
25-second preheating time
Programmable for espresso and lungo beverages
Integrated container for used capsules
Dimensions: 12.6 x 9 x 4.7 inches
If you are looking for the best home espresso machine, which requires almost no effort from you, then this Nespresso coffee maker would be a perfect solution. It works with coffee capsules, which means this machine is extremely easy to use. Additionally, this model belongs to the top-rated espresso machines under $200, which makes it suited for budget shoppers who want to enjoy good-quality beverages.
“If you think that a capsule machine cannot brew good espresso, think again. This particular model implements a high-pressure 19-bar pump. This results in each beverage being rich, full-bodied, and flavorful.”
Being compact and having a small footprint, this model takes the top place in many espresso machine reviews. It is super easy to use and is good even for complete beginners. The way it works is rather simple. It uses Nespresso coffee capsules, boils water, and runs it through them under high pressure. The result is a flavorful cup of espresso in almost no time.
|Extremely easy to use||Works with Nespresso capsules only (which are rather pricey)|
|Compact||Small water reservoir|
|Makes good coffee thanks to the high-pressure system|
|Brews both espresso and lungo|
|Makes coffee fast|
This machine offers the most convenient way to make espresso. It is ideal for people who want their beverage fast and without much effort.
Curious to test it yourself?
Best Budget-Friendly Espresso Machine
Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker (ECMP1000)
Makes espresso, latte, and cappuccino
One-touch control panel
15-bar pump system
Removable water reservoir
Dimensions: 12.6 x 11.22 x 8.86 inches
This is probably the best cheap espresso machine that can satisfy both beginner coffee makers and experienced users. For a very reasonable price, the Café Barista combines a great set of features. It makes delicious espresso and offers a rather flexible use.
“Interestingly enough, this machine is able to clean itself. This means you don’t have to worry about pretty much anything. Just run the automatic cleaning cycle once in a while, and your espresso maker will serve you for a long time.”
This machine was designed to deliver coffee shop quality beverages while making coffee at home. It brews espresso, cappuccino, and latte and offers the optional volume setting (single or double shot). Being one of the best latte machines, the Cafe Barista froths milk automatically, which is ideal for beginners. And with a simple one-touch control system, the brewing process is really fuss-free.
|Very affordable||Might seem too loud to some users|
|Easy to use||Fails to brew at a consistent temperature|
|Makes different types of beverages|
|Comes with many accessories|
This is probably the best cheap espresso machine for home use. It packs many great features and offers fuss-free operation. The Café Barista is perfect for people who want something budget-friendly and easy to use at home.
Ready to make a purchase?
When you make espresso at home, you have the freedom to experiment with different flavors. For instance, to get the most unique taste, you can mix different beans. You can combine some Ethiopian beans with Brazilian ones, for example, to get that rich chocolatey flavor with a hint of fruits (courtesy of the Ethiopian coffee).
Best Super-Automatic All-in-One Espresso Machine
DeLonghi Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine (ESAM3300)
2-in-1: steel burr grinder and a pre-ground coffee container
Single and two-cup option
Simple button controls
Dimensions: 15.3 x 14.4 x 11 inches
Being among the best home espresso machines, this model by DeLonghi combines convenience and versatility in use. It does all the job and offers different brewing options, which gives users the freedom to experiment with their favorite beverage.
This super-automatic espresso machine features a rather interesting reheat option. Because the boiler is very compact, it reaches the optimal water temperature rather fast.
And it gets better:
The instant reheat function keeps the machine ready to brew hot espresso no matter how long the interval between the shots is.”
The Magnifica is one of the best Italian espresso machines that can take home coffee brewing to the next level. This machine works with whole and ground beans, keeps the water at an optimal temperature, and offers consistent brewing every time. It also has a manual frother, which means you can make more than just espresso. Besides, it allows users to set the strength of their espresso and pick the beverage size. Basically, this machine has an all-in-one design, which is suitable even for more demanding users.
|Super automatic with a 2-in-1 design (whole beans or ground coffee)||Rather noisy|
|Easy to use||The water reservoir might be too small for some users|
|Instant reheat function|
|Made to last|
|Includes a milk frother|
|Allows for customization|
If you want convenience, customization, and great value for money, the Magnifica by DeLonghi is definitely a great option for you.
Want to see for yourself?
Best Luxury Espresso Machine
Saeco Picobaristo Super Automatic Espresso Machine
Brews 11 kinds of coffee
Ceramic grinder for the maximum flavor
10 grinder settings
5 aroma strength settings
Dimensions: 16.9 x 13.4 x 8.7 inches
Being a truly luxurious model, the Picobaristo takes the top place in numerous espresso machine reviews. This brewer can boast of exceptional versatility in use, reliable build, and amazingly delicious coffee every time.
“What makes this machine special is its grinder. Implementing a durable ceramic material, it does not overheat the beans while grinding them, thus saving the users form that unpleasant burnt or overly bitter taste.”
While being rather compact, the Picobaristo is packed with different features. This machine can do many things, including different grinds and espresso strengths. It features a built-in milk carafe and an automatic milk frother. Additionally, the Picobaristo has a powerful boiler that heats the water up in mere seconds.
|Allows for superb customization||Very expensive, might not be suitable for some users|
|Durable and well-made||Doesn’t have a cup warmer|
|Ceramic grinder for improved flavor quality|
|Makes different kinds of coffee|
It’s hard to find fault in this machine, which means it can satisfy almost any user. It is an ideal option for those who want a truly automatic, luxurious espresso maker that will do all the work and brew exceptionally good coffee.
Feel like this machine would be perfect for you?
To get the most out of your coffee, pre-heat the portafilter before putting the ground coffee in. You can do that by running an empty shot through the machine. Or, as an alternative, you can simply run some hot water over the portafilter over the sink.
Best Compact Espresso Machine
Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso Machine
19-bar pump system
25-second heating time
Brews espresso and lungo
Single-serve pod-style machine
Dimensions: 12.8 x 8.07 x 4.33 inches
Don’t let this machine’s small size fool you:
It is capable of many things.
Being a capsule coffee maker, it is very easy to use. However, being one of the best Nespresso machines, this model uses a powerful 19-bar pump system to brew a great cup of coffee every time. Additionally, it heats up fast, so you won’t have to wait long for your flavorful beverages.
“Besides being a compact, space-saving machine, the Nespresso Essenza Mini is also rather quiet. Of course, it’s not completely silent. However, it is much quieter than the majority of modern espresso makers. It will not annoy you or wake your family up in the morning when you want a fresh cup of coffee.”
Because this is a capsule espresso maker, it doesn’t require much effort from you as a user. You just need to insert a capsule of your choice and press a button. It works with a wide range of Nespresso capsules and makes both espresso and lungo. Conveniently, the machine features a power saving mode, which turns it off automatically after 9 minutes of not being used.
|Very compact||Works only with the Nespresso pods, which are rather expensive|
|Super easy to use||Small water reservoir, might not be enough for some users|
|Rather quiet compared to competitors||Plastic construction, which might not be very durable|
|Adjustable beverage volume|
|Fast heating up|
If you have a limited space in your kitchen and want an espresso machine that is extremely easy to use, then the Nespresso Essenza Mini would be ideal for you. Just make sure that such a small water capacity is enough for your coffee drinking needs.
Best User-Friendly Espresso Machine
DeLonghi America Dedica 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine (EC680B)
40-second heat-up time
Automatic flow stop
35-oz water tank
15-bar pump system
Dimensions: 16.54 x 12.99 x 5.9 inches
The last item on our list is this semi-automatic espresso machine by DeLonghi, which makes a really good cup of coffee while being super easy to use. Additionally, it is stylish and sleek-looking. This particular model works like a coffee shop machine but doesn’t require a long learning curve, which makes it a great user-friendly model.
“What makes this model perfect for home use is its simple yet effective operation. It automatically stops the dispersion when you get the right amount of espresso. Additionally, it comes with a 3-in-1 filter holder, which allows for single and double espresso shots and can even hold an espresso pod.”
This stylish and compact espresso machine comes with a manual frother. This means you have the freedom to make more beverages. Because of its Rapid Cappuccino system, you can make a cup after cup without the need to wait for the water to reach the optimal temperature.
And it gets better:
With the 15-bar pump system, each beverage is rich and flavorful.
|Stylish and sleek||The cup heater is passive, which means it works well only when the machine is well-heated too|
|User-friendly while feeling like professional equipment||Some reviews note that the boiler tends to overheat occasionally|
|No waiting period between the multiple brews|
|Works with both ground coffee and espresso pods|
|Makes different beverages|
|Allows for customization|
This espresso maker is ideal for people who need a professional-like brewing machine but don’t want to go through the learning curve. It makes a great cup of coffee and doesn’t require too much effort from the users.
Types of Espresso Machines
Now, if you are thinking “Wait, is it so hard to make an espresso that there have to be different types of machines?”, I understand your confusion. And yes, there are quite a few kinds of espresso makers. So, let me explain them a bit.
Basically, all espresso makers can be divided into two large groups: steam-driven and pump-driven. As you have probably guessed from the name, steam-driven brewers involve the work of the steam, which forces the water towards the ground coffee. Such brewers include stovetop espresso coffee makers (like a moka pot, for example) and pumpless electric brewers.
However, pump-driven espresso machines are much more common and popular. They can also be divided into sub-groups and include such types:
Manual. These machines require you to manually pump the coffee using your hands.
Electronic. With this type, you just need to set the correct temperature, and the electricity will pump the espresso. Many of them belong to the top-rated espresso machines under $100 and make an excellent choice for shoppers on a budget.
Semi-automatic. Here you need to press a button (or a switch) for the machine to start and stop the extraction of the espresso.
A quick note: some semi-automatic and automatic machines feature a built-in grinder, while other models require you to grind the beans using a separate grinder to get your flavorful espresso.
Fully automatic. In this case, the coffee maker will automatically brew espresso. It will turn off on its own too once the beverage is extracted. Basically, these espresso coffee makers are programmed to extract specific volumes of beverages.
Super automatic. These machines are rather expensive and can be oftentimes found in the best coffee shops. They do everything for you: grind the coffee beans, tamp them into the filter, boil the water, and brew espresso. Basically, they are independent coffee makers, which don’t require much help from your side.
No matter how cool, expensive, or high-tech your espresso machine is, if your coffee beans are trash, your coffee will taste accordingly. Therefore, picking the right beans is extremely important.
Now, when it comes to coffee beans, the main characteristics you’ll see include:
The country of origin. The most popular locations, from which we get our coffee beans are Middle East (Arabia), South America, and Africa. Italian and Central American coffee is also quite popular around the world.
The roast type. It will determine the flavor of your espresso. To be honest, there isn’t a “correct” roast type for espresso. Each roast will simply result in a different flavor. You can get a light, medium, or even a dark roast, whichever you prefer.
The grind type. Again, to make espresso, you don’t necessarily have to grind your beans in one specific way. You just need to remember that the finer your beans are ground, the stronger and richer your beverage will be.
You may be wondering now, “So, if there’s no perfect bean type for espresso, what’s the point in choosing so thoroughly?” The thing is, you have to understand one simple rule here:
Good-quality coffee beans make great espresso.
Additionally, knowing the roast and the grind types, you can find that perfect combo for your desired cup of coffee. Whether you like it stronger, weaker, richer, or watery, now you know how to achieve all of that with the right beans.
Enjoy the Freedom: Drinks You Can Make with Your New Espresso Machine
Here’s the kicker:
Once you get your home espresso maker, you are not limited to only one beverage.
I mean, espresso is delicious, but you might want to mix things up a little and try some new drinks once in a while.
Here’s what you can make with your espresso machine:
Straight espresso (duh!). A strong, flavorful espresso shot is the perfect way to jump-start your day.
Americano, which is simply a shot (or two) of espresso mixed with the equal amount of water. Some people enjoy their Americano with a splash of milk.
Cappuccino. If your machine has a milk steamer, you can add some foamed milk to your espresso and make this delicious but not so strong beverage.
If your new coffee maker doesn’t have an integrated grinder, you will have to grind the beans yourself. Here’s a little hack for you: for a more even grind (and a faster one, which will not burn the coffee beans), lift your grinder and shake it gently while grinding the beans. This will move them around and create a more even (and, again, faster) grind.
Latte. Another milky coffee beverage, latte is made with espresso and, again, foamed milk (you should add more milk than in cappuccino).
Macchiato. Ideal for a quick boost, this beverage is espresso that is lower in volume but noticeably higher in strength and flavor.
Lungo. Similarly to Americano, Lungo involves an espresso shot, which is being diluted with water. However, instead of just adding the water afterward (like you would do with Americano), Lungo is mixed with the water, which is derived directly from the brewing process.
Breve. This is an espresso shot mixed with half cream and half milk. It is creamy but flavorful at the same time.
Ristretto. This is a real find for all the flavor maniacs out there. It is made the same way you would make an espresso but with one little twist: you should use half as much water.
Irish coffee. The most fun one, in my opinion. It combines espresso, whiskey, and cream (oftentimes whipped). This is a great beverage for a cold winter day or when you are feeling a bit frisky.
Cleaning Done Right
So, you have found your perfect, best espresso machine. Do you want it to serve you for as long as possible? I bet you do.
To keep it in good condition, you need to take proper care of it. Don’t worry, it’s not hard to do. Just take the following pieces of advice into consideration:
Run a shot of water (without tamping the coffee) through the machine after each session.
Once a week (or every 25-30 shots) thoroughly clean the machine. And don’t forget to read the manufacturer’s recommendations first.
Invest in a special espresso machine cleaner and run it through the system once in a while (again, once a week would be perfect). Simply fill the portafilter with it and run a full cycle on your machine.
Rinse all the removable parts. Do not use any harsh detergents on them to avoid damaging the exterior. Warm soapy water would suffice.
To clean the steam wand (if your machine has one), use a small brush and some hot water to scrape the inside of the wand. Using a damp cloth, wipe its exterior section. You can also purge the wand by placing it into an empty container or cup and keeping the steam valve opened for around a minute.
Rinse the portafilter with some hot water regularly. You can soak it in a water + mild detergent mixture for a more thorough clean.
Don’t forget to rinse everything with clean water to get rid of the detergent residue.
ConclusionWe all know that espresso must be rich, strong, and even bold, if you will. And to achieve that, you need a really good espresso machine. Luckily, now you have seven different options to pick from. But I would like to recommend one particular model. This machine simply blew my mind when I was testing it. I am talking about the DeLonghi Magnifica. This semi-automatic model was created to please almost any coffee lover. It is very versatile in use and allows for customization, which means you have the freedom to experiment with your favorite beverage. But most importantly, it brews an incredibly good espresso. Do you think this particular machine is worthy of your attention? Or have you picked another personal favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments!
My name is Yurii Brown. I am a passionate coffee geek and, concurrently, a certified coffee specialist.
I’ve been learning about coffee for a long time, testing various devices and practicing in home coffee brewing. I like to share my experience and insights with fellow coffee lovers so that my readers could enjoy the real taste of quality-brewed beverages.