Today’s espresso lovers have a wide selection of professional-quality espresso makers to choose from for their home coffee stations. Three of the top-rated espresso machines are the Nespresso CitiZ D120, the DeLonghi EC702 and the Breville Barista Express. When choosing the top espresso machine, there are some important factors to consider.
Five Features to Look for in a Top Espresso Machine
• How many bars of pressure does it have? For an espresso shot, pressure is everything. The number of bars represents the pressure of the machine, so that a 19-bar machine has more pressure than a 15-bar machine.
• Does it have a milk frother and steamer? The steamer is absolutely pivotal for producing that thick, caramel-colored layer, known as crema, on the top of your espresso shot. The steamer also combines with the milk frother to produce foamy, silky milk toppings on your lattes and cappuccinos.
• Does it maintain a consistent temperature? This is pivotal; consistent temperature means that every shot will be the right temperature, no matter how low the water is getting. Only espresso makers with a durable and efficient boiler system can guarantee consistent temperatures.
• Does it have a removable water tank? A removable water tank is a great plus because it allows for easy refilling. In addition, it helps if the water tank is of an adequate size so you can make a number of shots or latte drinks at a time.
• Is it user-friendly? If a machine is too complicated to operate or takes too long to produce a single cup of latte, then chances are you’ll end up giving it away and getting your coffee once again at the corner bistro.
Three Top Espresso Machine Brands to ConsiderAmong the top-rated espresso machines on today’s market, three in particular stand out because of the quality of the features they offer, as well as their overall high user ratings and market reputation.
The Nespresso CitiZ D120 is a powerhouse machine that could really be considered commercial grade, thanks to its 19 full bars of pressure and its well-engineered boiler mechanism that ensures a consistently-brewed cup of optimum-temperature espresso. The powerful patented Aeroccino milk frother is another plus; it delivers the foamiest topping in mere seconds.
The Nespresso CitiZ D120 may be the easiest-to-operate quality machine on the market. Whether you’re preparing shots of pure espresso or elaborately-frothed milk-based lattes and cappuccinos, it literally operates at the press of a button; in seconds, your coffee is ready.
The Nespresso uses its own quality gourmet coffee capsules instead of pods; however, these are easy to order and arrive within days, so they end up being a convenience as well.
Another top espresso machine is the DeLonghi EC702, which is comparable in some ways to the Nespresso. The DeLonghi EC702 has 15 bars of pressure, as well as a built-in priming system to ensure a fast start-up; it takes only seconds to brew a perfect cup of espresso.
In addition, the DeLonghi has two thermostats which enable brewing and steaming at perfect, consistent temperatures. The steam function is particularly effective in blending steam with milk for frothy latte drinks.
Another advantage to the DeLonghi is that many of its component parts are removable, so clean-up is quick and easy.
Finally, there’s the Breville Barista Express BES860XL. Like the Nespresso, this is a commercial-grade machine for home use; however, this machine also comes with a coffee grinder. The Breville has a 15-bar pressure pump, and can be programmed either automatically or manually.
The high-tech coffee grinder is of the conical burr type, and includes its own dosing control feature as well as adjustable filters so you can experiment with the grind. It only takes two minutes for the espresso to get from bean to brew, and the state-of-the-art engineering produces consistent coffee and steam temperatures.
Find a Top Espresso Machine, but Avoid These Models
Some companies are able to produce a decent coffee maker, but don’t seem to be able to design a great espresso machine. A case in point is Krups; while it’s a reputable company, its espresso machines are not among the most popular with Amazon.com reviewers.
In particular, the Krups XP5280 Espresso Machine gets some truly bad reviews. Users say that it is too slow; you have to wait sometimes as long as 15 minutes between each cup of espresso.
In addition, reviewers say that the steam wand is faulty and can even blow off during steaming; one user said that his wife got burned twice.
When most of the Amazon.com reviewers use words like “junk” and “do not buy” to express their feelings about a product, it’s worth investigating what the problem is. Such is the case with the Saeco 658 Odea Giro 15-Bar-Pump Automatic Espresso Machine. Users say that this machine breaks down in just a few months. When it does work, it leaks water and floods the counter. In addition, the design isn’t ergonomic; it’s hard to see the controls and the water tank is too small.
Our Pick for the Top Espresso Machine
Our recommendation for the top espresso machine is the Nespresso CitiZ D120.
We’d be hard pressed to find a machine that is more user-friendly, from its one-touch-of-a-button technology to its 19-bar, high-tech engineering that delivers professional quality espressos and lattes in seconds. After you first use the Nespresso, you’ll get the feeling that it really belongs in an expensive bistro or café, because it gives you results just as good as the big commercial models.
While it’s true that the Nespresso CitiZ D120 is more expensive than the other machines discussed here, it’s worth noting that a good espresso machine is a real investment that should last for years to come. It’s also worth remembering that by saving what you spend on take-away coffee on a monthly basis, you’ll pay for your Nespresso in a relatively short time.
For those who worry about having to special order the Nespresso coffee capsules, user reviews say that ordering is not only easy but also fast; the capsules will arrive at your door within just a few days. In addition, the capsules are affordable, yet contain highest-quality espresso and coffee blends.
Users on Amazon.com give the Nespresso high marks, saying that it delivers genuine espresso as good as you’ll get anywhere in the world. They also note its ease of use and quick clean up features. User reviews agree that the Nespresso is an espresso machine that’s well worth the investment.
Top Espresso Machine
In the end, it really depends upon which features are most important to you. If you can spend a bit extra, however, it’s well worth investing in the model we consider to be the top espresso machine, the Nespresso CitiZ D120.