I’ve researched espresso machines extensively. There are a handful that I think are really good and are worth considering.
But there are a few things you need to consider and several features that are good to have in an espresso machine. So let’s see what these are and which machines survive the customer reviews.
- How Much Room Do you Have? It’s important to know how big the machine is especially if it has to fit underneath the cabinets on your kitchen bench. I had this problem and it was one of the reasons I chose the DeLonghi EC702 but there are many others that are also reasonably short.The only ones you really have to be careful of are the super-automatics which tend to be much taller due to the built in grinder. Either way, most online retailers will have the dimensions of the machine in the details so make sure to check.
- Hand Lever, Semi-Automatic or Super-Automatic? Semi-automatics are probably the best sellers due to the relatively affordable price and relative ease of use. The Delonghi EC702 and the Breville Cafe Roma are two of the most popular. A hand lever machine on the other hand will tend to be much more expensive and will require manual labor! However, these are beautiful machines so if you really want to impress your friends a lever machine will look fantastic in your kitchen.Super-automatic machines like the Jura Capresso range will cost you a pretty penny but will produce an espresso with the touch of a button. From bean to cup, the freshest coffee you can get. There are cheaper DeLonghi super-automatics though.
- To Pod or Not to Pod? Probably the best pod machines on the market are the Nespresso espresso makers. They use a system that is easy to operate and easy to clean. The coffee is roasted & ground and comes in capsules that are sealed hermetically.They claim to stay fresh for up to 9 months. In my experience the espresso is just as good as the one I get from my Delonghi but the downside is that you are locked in to using the pods that they supply and you can only get them online. Pod systems are less flexible but easier to maintain and use.
- Steam or Pump? My advice is never go for a steam driven machine. Although some of the cheap machines like Mr. Coffee are popular this is probably something to do with the price rather than espresso quality.You should go for a pump machine with at least 15 bars of pressure.
- Will a Travel Mug Fit Under the Filter? If you’re like me you are interested in a home machine because you don’t want to pay high street prices for your coffee every morning. A lot of machines don’t have enough room to fit in a full size travel mug so you should consider this if you want to use one. However, most machines these days have removable drip trays and I know that at least one of them, the Saeco Giro can fit a travel mug underneath it if you remove the drip tray.
5 Top Rated Espresso Machine Reviews
1. Nespresso CitiZ Espresso Maker
|[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”B002NGNHBS” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Euu8v%2BcoL._SL75_.jpg” width=”62″]||Nespresso make the best selling espresso machines around at the moment. The CitiZ range is their most popular and it’s obvious why. People rave about the quality of the espresso and it does it all in less than 30 seconds. They reckon a cup of coffee costs about 55 cents form this machine. you have to buy the pods online but they deliver it quickly. i have no idea how the milk frother (the tower thing on the side) works. It’s like black magic but it does the job really quickly.|
2. Breville Barista Express
|[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B002S51RQG” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41UZ5hlmJPL._SL75_.jpg” width=”70″]||This Breville Barista Express BES860XL machine with grinder has the extra ‘super automatic’ feature of grinding a specified amount of beans. This is the perfect machine for keeping control over the grind, beans and brew. A super automatic would mask this from you. It has a built in grinder which is easy to clean and is a beautifully designed machine. WIll look great in any kitchen.|
3. Krups Espresseria Full Automatic Espresso Machine
|[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B005FQ24G2″ locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41QvdGqq9mL._SL75_.jpg” width=”57″]||Larger mugs will fit under the filter of this fully automatic espresso machine. It has an adjustable spout that goes up and down to accomodate bigger mugs and the drip tray is removable. You can only use whole beans with this machine (rather than ground coffee too). This machine is a self contained unit. It stores, grinds, brews and disposes of your coffee grinds. It’s well designed and very compact compared to some other fully automatic machines. Comes in black or red.|
4. Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
|[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B00076SCVG” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AV1p%2Bg02L._SL75_.jpg” width=”54″]||The Rancilio Silvia is a classically good looking, heavy but quiet machine. It allows you to control most of the espresso making process so it will suit you if you are really into your coffee. If all of that is to finicky for you then go for a Nespresso pod machine. This is more of a connoisseurs’ model but very popular indeed. I like it’s heaviness and build quality. People say you should buy the Rancilio grinder too to get the best results.|
5. DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300
|[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B000N2YKQ0″ locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41xPo8Cz8CL._SL75_.jpg” width=”75″]||Probably the best value super automatic around at the moment is the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300. Will function for many years to come. It warms up quickly and people report it producing great espresso. One common criticism is that it is a bit noisy.|
2 Poorly Rated Espresso Machines To Avoid
|[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B000U6BSI2″ locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41X3-Jo8mCL._SL75_.jpg” width=”75″]||The Mr. Coffee ECM160 4-Cup Steam Espresso Machine has almost 300 reviews on Amazon and many are favorable. However, there are also a lot of 1 and 2 star reviews. What’s going on? Like I mentioned before if you want real espresso you should buy a pump driven machine. This machine is super cheap but it won’t make proper espresso because it just won’t create enough pressure.|
|[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B000F2HGVE” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”http://www.thecoffeemeister.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Delonghi-BC0120T.jpg” width=”75″]||DeLonghi usually make excellent machines but this one seems to be an exception. The DeLonghi BCO120T Combination Coffee/Espresso Machine gets LOTS of 1 star reviews on Amazon. It looks like it’s a compromise machine combining a coffee maker and espresso maker. Much better to get a proper dedicated espresso machine. Customers report leaking water form the bottom, lukewarm espresso and difficult to use. Oh, and it’s a steam machine. Enough said|
Espresso Machine Reviews: Our Recommendation for the Best Espresso Machine
Obviously it depends on your budget and what you really want to get out of espresso making. If you want convenience, ease of use and easy to clean/maintain check out the Nespresso CitiZ D120 Automatic. If you want more control and want to experiment with different grinds, beans, strengths and milk frothing, try the Breville Barista Express BES860XL machine with grinder for great looks, build quality and good espresso.