Having the best espresso machines and coffee makers in the kitchen will help you start the day off with a fresh brew of java without a trip to the cafe. It will also ensure that you are using the ideal ground coffee to ensure that cafe quality. But you can’t just buy a cafe machine costing several thousand dollars. For many, a strong kick from that first sip is what tells them how great the day will go. Unfortunately, outside of Starbucks, there are very few home espresso machines that can get you off on the right foot every morning from the comfort of your kitchen.
The good news is that we’ve taken the time to check, research and speak to experts in the field to shortlist hundreds of coffee machines literally down to the best espresso machines (listed below). The reviews below are of espresso machines that have made the cut for various reasons including that cafe like taste to our top 10 list.
- Breville BES870XL Barista Express
- Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler
- Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch
- Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
- Lelit Anna PL41LEM
- Nespresso Prodigio
- Mr. Coffee® One-Touch
- EspressoWorks All-in-One
- Mr. Coffee® Café Barista
- ELEHOT Coffee Makers
Hands Down the Best Home Espresso Machine in Our Opinion
* The prices are not shown because of the frequent pricing update on Amazon.com.
#1 entry level
In the espresso or latte world, you’ll run into two types of drinkers. The first want it fast and don’t care less how its made. Then you have the second group, i.e. people like us who are passionate about our Americano, espresso, and latte, usually trusting a brand like Breville in their kitchen. The dream for us like many others is to replicate that same creamy, elixir in our kitchen that a few coffee cafes are famous for just around the block. If you belong to the latter group of people then the Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine is amongst the best home espresso machines out there. It is better than several machines costing twice as much.
As a semi-automatic, it offers programmable features yet manual granular control over the machine which we experimented with for these reviews. So, you control how your latte or espresso tastes right down to the level of bitterness, hot water temperature, and milk preferences.
One of the top features of the Barista Express is the amount of control that espresso connoisseurs have over their brew. The adjustable controls and various manual settings make you feel like a real barista with the Barista Express while keeping it simple. Its simple operation rivals automatic coffee machines costing hundreds of dollars more, and it does a great job of grinding the beans down to the portafilter.
During the reviews we found the Barista Express to be amongst the best if not better than most semi-automatic espresso machines out there, but operating a gadget like this isn’t for everyone. It requires a certain degree of patience. That’s why if you belong to the group of coffee grounds consumers who just want it fast and will use any ground coffee beans, then this isn’t for you. Perhaps a fully automatic espresso machine costing upwards of $2000 may be worth considering as opposed to the Barista Express. But when talking about the Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine our assumption is that you want control over the final product and are willing to spend some time familiarizing yourself with its controls.
It may be tricky to pull a decent brew the first few times with the Barista Express unless you’re an expert who has used similar machines in the past. However, once your technique is honed there is no doubt that the result will be better tasting espresso. Even something like the grinder setting plays a major role in how your coffee grounds taste with the Barista Express. A level 55 coarseness of the coffee grinders for the coffee beans, for instance, tastes decent in our experience, but it is lifeless if you use Costco Colombian best ground coffee in the Barista Express.Like with any top semi-automatic espresso machine altering one of the brewing variables like ground coffee beans type and coarseness will change everything else with the Barista Express. However, the best way to approach getting the best brew is to start with a higher coarseness and slowly reduce it to a level 4 or level 3 to what tastes perfect. Then tweak other variables like the temperature ever so slightly until you end up with espresso that’s perfect in every way. Remember the settings, and you’ll be treated to the same taste, texture, and aroma every morning by this Breville machine!
Why the Barista Express is the Most Recommended Espresso Machine?
The New and Improved Small Espresso Machine
Our reviews will not be complete without the Breville BES920XL. It is a new and improved automatic espresso machine for your kitchen which many believe is a better machine than its previous coffee and latte makers. If you have sent the company a suggestion perhaps a few months back about one of their machines, there is a good chance it was heard, and that feature was incorporated into this model.
The newly updated and better Breville Dual Boiler offers brewing and descaling right from the comfort of your kitchen ensuring that the machine received rave reviews. The big bonus here is now you don’t need to take your coffee machine to a pro just clean it saving you effort, money and most of all time.
The Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso boasts of the following features:
- Pulse Pre-Infusion – A 15-bar pump in the Breville machine will start by first pulsing which expands the grinds prior to extraction to ensure that perfect shot of espresso.
- Programmable – The Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso is programmable which means you can customize each cup of latte to perfection down to the milk. So, you can have the best shot of java and milk at every interval of your day. Variables like temperature shot volume, clock, and the clean cycle can easily be programmed within a few minutes.
- Advanced Options – Now if you want to customization options then head on over to the advanced options where you can customize things like power, pre-infusion length, steam temperature, temperature units used, machine audio, maintenance alerts and even the hardness of the water for perfect brewing conditions.
- Further Upgrades – You can adjust the steam and hot water temperature which ranges from between 265ºF – 285ºF, adjust the short length, milk and you also get a free dose trimming tool as part of the accessories in the box.
Apart from all the features listed above Breville has opted to keep everything right about the previous model of the espresso machine. Features like the dual stainless steel boilers and the high quality durable Italian pumps for quick extraction, optimal pressure, and milk frothing are all included. Though it continues to be a semi-automatic which gives users granular control over their coffee grounds down to the milk that’s used.
During our reviews, we discovered that features such as the heated group head and stainless steel body help to maintain the machine’s thermal stability and the electronic PID to control the temperature make this a feature-rich upgrade for anyone who owns the previous model. Finally, the features are rounded off by a backlit LCD, a pressure gauge, an espresso shot clock, 360-degree swivel of the steam arm, and a hot water spout.
The Breville BES920XL Dual stainless steel Boiler Espresso Machine gives you all the tools and features required to brew that perfect cup of java in your kitchen each time. You’re only limited by your patience and ability to familiarize yourself with all the bells and whistles of the device.
Automatic Espresso Machine Reviews
We read many positive espresso machine reviews, and the one machine that kept on popping up was the automatic espresso Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch Espresso Maker. We read so much about it that we just had to test out this industrially chiseled stainless steel machine touted for producing great tasting high-quality espresso and latte.
The automatic espresso Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch Espresso Maker comes with an array of upgraded features including an integrated color touch screen display, automated milk texturing; espresso shot and short heat up times. The machine is so amazingly fast at brewing java that we timed it. Our stopwatch showed that the machine goes from standby to ready for brewing in just three seconds flat.
The speed is all down to the new heating system which means that you’ll no longer have to wait around a few minutes for the coffee machine to warm up and start pulling in the coffee grounds.
The Breville machine uses three quick steps, each step is programmable, but you can also use the default settings which for us yielded pretty decent results though you can’t control things like the milk. The coffee grinders, brewing, and steam can easily be adjusted as per your personal preference. Plus, it has integrated coffee beans grinders, eight completely customizable drink options and tamper has your back.
The coffee grinders in the Breville machine can easily be dialed in across its 15 settings depending on the coffee beans with programmed extraction times for both a double and single shot directly via the touchpad. The magnetic port helps to keep the tamper ready until you want to tamp, the coffee is kept at a predefined temperature for stable brewing by the PID with the steam wand ready for with all the steam or froth you want.
A sensor on the machine will recognize when a mug is placed on the dip tray to start dispensing the espresso shot while regulating the temperature ensuring perfect brewing. The sensor also stops the machine from dispensing more than the mug can handle. If you’re into hot cocoa, tea and americanos then the dedicated hot water sprout is the ideal tool for the job, and thankfully the Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch Espresso Maker comes with it! So, you can enjoy more than just espresso.
The Breville coffee machine also comes equipped with various accessories like a 54mm stainless steel portafilter, a 54mm magnetized tamper, a ClaroSwiss filter for the water, a trimming tool, a test strip to test for water hardness, a cleaning kit, and a sizeable 480ml steel jug.
It is amongst the most well-built semi-automatic home espresso machine with its stainless steel casing, and the use of brass components throughout. The commercial-grade steam wand coupled with its ease of use puts the Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine amongst the most popular ones available in 2019.
The coffee machine’s simple, powerful and yet reliable features produced some of the best-tasting espressos we’ve tasted from a domestic machine. The silky microfoam milk is the true definition of perfection coupled with the cappuccinos that this espresso maker delivers. Plus the PID controller ensures that your brew is always available at a constant temperature along with the hot water. However, the temperature variance is easy to control and fine tune to a single degree.
Many people who buy coffee, latte or espresso machines complain that their hot water steam wand becomes rusty or stops working before the machine does which is a major turn off. The Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine solves this problem with their chrome plated steam wand. The wand quickly delivers a lot of steam to froth your milk or if required boiling hot water for tea, or Americano. Plus, the use of the chrome-plated brass group delivers water and heat at a constant temperature which ensures consistent extraction.
Another feature of this small semi-automatic espresso machine which has been ported from its commercial counterpart is the pressure release system. Using a three-way solenoid valve makes cleaning up easier. It does this by either reducing the amount of splatter or by reducing the post-brew drip from the espresso maker. Speaking of porting this time around the 670z water tank is removable. The water tank can also be filled while operating it or it can be filled directly from your kitchen’s faucet.
No cappuccino or espresso machine semi-automatic or otherwise is complete without a heavy-duty pump capable of delivering water at high pressure through the coffee grounds and coffee grinders. The Rancilio Silvia does this via the built-in 15-bar heavy-duty pump drip.
The high-quality brass boiler is accompanied by the three thermostats which help to distribute heat evenly. So, it gets up to the desired temperature within a couple of seconds and then maintains it through many uses. The onboard thermostats monitor the steam, boiler, and espresso to ensure that they don’t overheat or underheat and drip for that matter.
We particularly like the fact that the machine comes with its own set of high-quality filter baskets and a portafilter. The portafilter isn’t added as an afterthought as we’ve seen with many other competing machines, but rather it is made from brass and coated with chrome to avoid rusting. The two filter baskets are also made from stainless steel; one is for a single shot while the other is for a double shot.
Keeping the Rancilio Silvia espresso machine clean in your kitchen is super easy as both the steel drip pan and the cup tray can be removed within a few seconds. After all, keeping your machine clean is one of the keys to enjoying a hot brew of espresso every day!
No Frills Home Espresso Machine
Reading many reviews of the Lelit PL41TEM Espresso Machine, we found that it was no ordinary kitchen variety semi-automatic espresso coffee machine which is why it has made it to our top 10 list. Lelit PL41TEM stands out from all the rest by keeping things simple, and it does so by going back to the basics. It is in many ways better than most in this category.
It is by far amongst the best and most durable stainless steel espresso makers that focus on the core of the process instead of bells and whistles that are more gimmicky than useful. Many reviews like ours have said that it was the machine’s standout feature. However, the unique and by far the most useful feature is the brew pressure gauge. The gauge indicates the amount of pressure which is created by the coffee grounds. It also indicates how much ground coffee beans is remaining in the basket. Knowing how much ground coffee beans there is can be remarkably useful.
The heating is made possible with a better and higher powered 1000-watt heater. The heater is so powerful that it near instantly heats cold water. So, if you need your cup of cappuccino in a hurry, this is amongst the best espresso machines for any kitchen capable of churning it out faster than most others out there.
Another feature we found particularly exciting and unique in our experience is the polymer tubing which isn’t found with other semi-automatic machines. The use of polymers makes it possible for the device to withstand high temperatures and a lot of pressure making it better than most others. That said it is a feature that’s not instantly evident and we wouldn’t know about it if it wasn’t mentioned on their website.
In addition to these features, the brewer also includes a steam wand. It is a cafe quality steam wand and so can move in many different directions to ensure that your milk is frothed to perfection, and that’s the way we like our milk! Plus, the wand can also be used to make lattes and cappuccinos. We also used to wand to make a few other experimental beverages, and it worked perfectly.
Kitchen coffee and latte enthusiasts who want a machine that focuses on the basics will find the Lelit PL41TEM a great semi-automatic a better choice. However, it does take some getting used to and if you are new to brewing java drip by drip so to speak ensuring a bit of a learning curve. But it is certainly worth the time and effort spent on learning how to brew the best espresso that motivates you out of bed each morning.
Capsule Espresso Coffee Machine
Reviews of the latest kitchen capsule machines all state that they have generally become smaller, lighter and better by taking most of the fuss out of brewing a fresh cup of great tasting coffee, latte or the best espresso for that matter. However, this latest home espresso machine is an evolutionary step forward in the way of convenience and ease of use. It is the first ever connected coffee machine, that’s well designed, compact and can be operated via an app on your smartphone. The app connects to the machine via Bluetooth for some extra functionality.
Now imagine you’re 40 steps away from the best espresso machine in your kitchen and are running out of coffee. If you had any other coffee or espresso machine, you’d have to walk on over to it, power it up and stand around watching the grounds move and brewing coffee at least for up to five minutes. However, because you have the connected Nespresso D75-US-SI-NE Prodigio coffee machine you unlock your phone, fire up the app and prepare coffee! You’re also notified when the machine needs descaling or when the water tank level is low or even when it is full.
While at first glance the Prodigio looks a lot like similar Nespresso machines but upon closer, inspection, you’ll see subtle differences. Starting with the water tank’s generous capacity. The base of the machine accommodates the power cable and rotates 180 degrees. Which means that the tank can comfortably be seated on either side or even the back, though most people will find that tucking it on the side is perhaps best for their shallow space.
You can manually choose from three cup sizes from ristretto (25ml), lungo (110ml), and espresso (40ml). It is also possible to change the cup size from dispensing one size to the next. There is also an easy slider which allows you to open and close the insertion cover, and the maintenance light turns on when the water tank level is low, or if descaling is required.
The amount of water in the water tank has to be set manually by pressing the buttons on the machine, but the brewing can be done remotely via the app. Everything from switching on the device to preparing your first cup is done via the app. The machine takes around 25 seconds to turn on.
The app worked flawlessly during our reviews for the most part, and everything on the screen is explained. Once the machine is done the capsule is released into the internal bin, and you get a message via the app saying “enjoy your coffee,” and wow does that feel better?
The app is also useful when it comes to troubleshooting the espresso machine. You don’t have to flip through the manual since the espresso machine app provides links to videos, and texts which explain most functions of the coffee machine. However, the manual is still there in the box when you need it.
Best Espresso Coffee Machine on A Budget
The top original Mr. Coffee Café Barista continues to be a favorite amongst coffee and espresso lovers who don’t mind a semi-automatic yet less expensive machine with rave reviews. The budget-friendly semi-automatic coffee grounds machine is easy to use and allows the user to tweak every drip of their recipe. However, the Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker and Cappuccino Machine is the latest upgraded version that brings all the bells & whistles that people had been demanding for with the less expensive original machine. Though it continues to be semi-automatic for the most part.
The Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker and Cappuccino Machine have all the parts of the original machine, but with slight differences and many improvements. One significant improvement at least for many budget buyers is the addition of automatic milk foam. However, like the original machine, the espressos are still prepared manually or semi-automatic to be more precise.
Unlike the older model the new top quality One-Touch CoffeeHouse comes with a 19-bar pump. While espresso requires a pressure of up to 8 bar in the filter drip, having a more powerful pump ensures that the machine can be used to try other drink recipes.
Mr. Coffee has also upgraded the milk tank capacity from 480ml to 650ml which puts it in line with the competition. The addition of a larger tank will be welcomed by many who complained of having to refill the tank multiple times a day. However, the milk frother remains the same, and you still need to clean the milk jug after your cappuccino. Speaking of cleaning if you’ve had a problem keeping the original machine clean the company has added new filter baskets. The new baskets allow for the use of ESE coffee pods. These filters can be separated making them easier to clean.
Finally, a massive improvement at least in our opinion and in some reviews is the new control panel. This time around it is more user-friendly, yet it is manual. Unlike the previous model you now have seven buttons for seven different types of manual drink operations. Having a button for each function certainly makes the machine easier to use even if it is a semi-automatic espresso machine.
Many people who enjoy espresso beverages often dream of being able to make their own cafe grade beverage with a machine that helps them with getting that exquisite cafe taste. While there are literally dozens of coffee grounds and espresso machines out there the Espresso Works 7 Pc All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker offers the most features at a less expensive price that many people won’t find too expensive.
Unlike coffee machines intended for cafe baristas, the Espresso Works 7 Pc All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker is fairly easy to use. However, there is a bit of a slight learning curve if this is your first time using a coffee machine. That said the bundled manual walks you through the initial setup as well as every feature that it has to offer. Once powered on the machine is ready to brew your morning or evening coffee grounds in just 45 seconds complete with milk. You then add coffee beans, run the coffee grinders to get the right ground coffee beans, and brew! The resulting brew tastes just as good as the one served at your favorite cafe.
One of the most common complaints from coffee machine users is that it's hard to know how full the water tank is before brewing coffee grounds. The Espresso Works 7 Pc All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker addresses this problem with a remarkably simple manual solution, i.e. a transparent tank. So you can eyeball the water level like in a cafe from the front of the machine. However, since it can hold up to 42 ounces of water, you won’t have to fill it up multiple times a day. Plus, it is easily removed for cleaning and refilling.
Another feature worth mentioning is the powerful pump which ensures that your espresso has the same texture as the one served at your local cafe. The 15-bar pump has more than enough pressure to ensure that you can enjoy everything from smooth Italian Espresso to crisp tasting lattes, Cappuccinos, Americanos within a matter of minutes.
The Espresso Works 7 Pc All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker also allows you to pull both a double and a single shot espresso through its dual stainless steel portafilter baskets. Also, when you’re done with all that coffee, it is very easy to manual remove most parts and clean them. In our experience the Espresso Works 7 Pc All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker eliminates the frustration associated with cleaning other machines by simplifying the removal process.
Best Espresso Maker – The Best of The Least Expensive
The first thing to grab our attention was Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker’s incredibly high-quality design while it being comparatively less expensive. It does not in any way appear that this coffee machine was built with the budget buyer in mind. Though the semi-automatic machine is for the most part made of high-quality plastic as opposed to steel like other higher priced competitors, it still manages to deliver three color options. While we particularly like the traditional white color, it is also available in red and silver. The fact that it is available in a few different colors means that regardless of your kitchen’s décor it should fit right in.
What set’s the Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker apart from the competition its ability to quickly whip in steamed milk and brew coffee grounds at once. It is a feature you mostly see in more expensive machines. Essentially that means it can prepare your favorite beverage in just a couple of minutes in all its frothy glory. However, because it is a semi-automatic espresso machine, you’ll be part of the brewing process.
The other major selling point and the reason why it has made it to our top 10 listings is its one-touch coffee making ability despite it being a semi-automatic machine. The machine is good at brewing hot and frothy coffee in a matter of minutes without you having to tweak anything. That can be a bit of a turnoff for people who want to have control over their ground coffee beans for instance. After all the quality of your ground coffee does matter a great deal.
While that does mean you won’t be able to dial in your secret Americano brewing method or work on a personal version of bulletproof coffee, the fact is that most people don’t need all those features. It is a machine best suited for those who want great tasting coffee and don’t care how its made.
Finally, being easy to clean makes it perfect for most households or a small café where cleaning a coffee machine is at the bottom of the to-do list. It is possible to quickly remove all the parts that need to be cleaned, wash, rinse and hook them back up in under 10 minutes flat.
The industrial design inspired ELEHOT Coffee Makers Espresso Machine looks like something you’ll see at a top-shelf local café but costs a fraction of its price. However, while it does sport many of the features, you’d find in a commercial espresso machine like dual water filter baskets, its remarkable brewing ability which can serve two cups at the same time, double & sing shot espresso, a cup warmer, and a stainless steel body yet it is still easy to operate.
The ELEHOT Coffee Makers Espresso Machine has just five buttons, a steam knob for the milk and it comes with a highly detailed instruction manual. So, learning how to use and perhaps become a professional cafe barista in the process is straightforward like many reviews state.
During our testing, we found that the steam is hot making it great for milk, and flows well through the coffee makers. The amount of steam you need can be regulated via the knob which is fantastic for those who like their milk perfectly foamed to perfection. The coffee grounds machine saves you from having to buy another cream maker for latte too. Plus, there is an overheating protection mechanism which protects the machine and its user allowing anyone to use it safely.
Finding a manual cup warmer built into home espresso machines in this price range is a rarity, but the ELEHOT Coffee Makers Espresso Machine is an exception because its stainless steel body makes this feature possible. Put the cup on top of the coffee makers, and it will warm up. Then put the mug under the tap, and it will pour perfectly hot and creamy coffee.
Operating the coffee makers feels comfortable thanks to the touch screen built into the stainless steel metal body. Touching it feels very nice and almost like a premium cafe machine, something that costs several hundred dollars perhaps.
The dual colored LED indicator flashes in different colors to remind the user to either fill the water tank or if it requires cleaning. You’ll find a complete rundown of what each color means in the user manual. Speaking of cleaning, we always lean in favor of coffee machines that are easy to clean and the ELEHOT Coffee Makers Espresso Machine is the star of the show. Everything from the drip grid, to the water tank, measuring scoop, steam baffle, etc. can be removed and cleaned so you can be assured of great tasting, hygienic coffee each time.
When you are in the market for the best espresso machines or coffee makers one of the biggest challenges is finding one that ticks all the boxes that matter to you. However, finding one becomes easier if you have a budget in mind. Obviously, if you have a $3K and above budget buying the best machine is easier compared to if you had just $200 to spend.
More expensive automatic espresso machines for a café will have premium features like a durable stainless steel body and built-in coffee grinders, while cheaper ones rely more on plastic and may not have a coffee grinder built-in. Your best bet if you want café style coffee is to close your eyes and choose the Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine, a midrange coffee machine that we recommend. Breville is known for making some of the best coffee machines. That’s why it also comes highly recommended by many espresso connoisseurs!
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