Espresso machines are the modern way to make a good tasting, quality coffee. Instead of waiting in cafe queues, you can create your own barista-quality coffee all by yourself! With the booming trend of these innovative machines, there is simply too much choice when it finally comes to purchasing one. Whether you’re looking to buy your first coffee machine or you have previously owned one, doing background research is crucial before buying one.
Before you invest in an espresso machine, it’s a smart decision to consider the pros and cons of each product. Prices vary enormously depending on the features and type of coffee that is used, which can either make or break your decision to purchase one. Whether you prefer an espresso, latte or anything in between, finding a suitable coffee machine to suit your taste can be slightly confusing, especially with all of the competition on today market! This buying guide is honest and non-bias, which will help you navigate your way to purchasing the best espresso machine for you!
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My Recommendations for Best Espresso Machine
1. Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
This machine comes with a 15-bar Italian pump and 1600-watt thermo coil heating technology. It has a purge function, which automatically adjusts the temperature of the water after steaming for an optimal espresso brewing temperature. The Breville Bes870xl also has a built-in grinder with bean hopper.
- The machine has a two-liter removable water tank
- You can choose between different grind settings, including fine and coarse
- You can also choose how much ground coffee you want to put in your filter basket
- The machine comes with volumetric control, which offers one- and two-cup volumes
- There's a light to indicate when the machine needs cleaning
- It can be hard to operate and you might have to do trial and error before you get the correct settings
- The pressure gauge might also pose some problems to a new user
2. Cuisinart DCC-3200 Perfect Temp 14-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker
The Cuisinart Dcc-3200 comes with a state-of-the-art technology that ensures hotter coffee, and it doesn’t sacrifice on the quality or flavor. It also comes with brew strength control that allows one to choose regular or strong coffee flavor. It is a self-cleaning machine that has one- to four-cup setting. The machine also has automatic shut off and adjustable temperature control to keep your coffee warm.
- The machine is fully automatic with 24-hour programmability
- It is a self-cleaning machine that has one- to four-cup setting
- It also has automatic shut off and adjustable temperature control to keep your coffee warm.
- You cannot remove the water tank, and the carafe is designed with a lip, which doesn't allow you to pour out all the coffee
- The machine might also be a bit overpriced for the features you get
3. De'Longhi 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker (model EC155)
The De’longhi EC155 15 Bar Pump allows you to prepare latte or cappuccino using a swivel jet frother, creating a rich and creamy froth that makes a perfect drink every time. The filter holder has dual function, and you can either use ground coffee of coffee pods if you’re in a hurry. The self-priming operation eliminates irritating start-up preparation. The water tank is removable, which makes it easier to clean.
- The water tank is large enough, and you can make 8 to 10 shots before it needs refilling
- Only needs a minute to heat up
- It is also a compact machine that does not take a lot of room on your counter
- The built-in tamper sucks and so you may need to buy a nice metal one
- The distance between the coffee grounds basket and tray is just 2.5 inches, which means you can't use a large espresso cup
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4. Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker
This Nespresso Inissia offers easy insertion and removal of capsules, and a fast preheating time of only 25 seconds. There are two programmable buttons for preparing espresso and lungo. It is energy efficient and automatically powers off after being inactive for 9 minutes.
- This product has a removable 24-ounce water tank, and the folding cup tray can accommodate taller recipe glasses
- The used capsule container can hold up to ten used capsules
- You don't need to wait until the machine is heated in order to make your selection of coffee
- You can make espresso, lungo, Americano, and lattes
- It is also the most affordable Nespresso ever
- Can be a bit noisy when it is brewing the coffee
- The all-black version of the machine doesn't look as good as the ones having two colors
- You can only use Nespresso capsules
5. Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker, Electric Titan
The Nespresso Pixie comes with programmable buttons for espresso and lungo, and a folding drip tray for larger cups and recipes. It also has water level indication, auto power-off, backlight indicators and convenient storage for the power cord.
- The machine doesn't take up a lot of space on the kitchen counter
- Heat up really fast and you can have your coffee within no time
- Cute design, and the coffee brewed is really good, piping hot and has excellent crema
- Using the machine is easy and you can also clean it easily after use
- It has a small water tank that needs frequent refilling
- Even though the machine has a removable water tank, the process of removing it is a bit tedious
- The foldable cup tray doesn't stay folded by itself and you have to use a hand to hold it down while placing your cup down
6. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker with Automatic Milk Frother (model BVMC-ECMP1000)
The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista comes with a one-touch control panel for single or double shot options of espresso, cappuccino or latte. The automatic milk frother works effortlessly and the removable milk reservoir will fill, clean and store easily. It includes a single shot filter, double shot filter, measuring scoop, tamper and coffee recipes.
- This machine has a removable water tank that holds enough water for brewing more shots
- You can set the adjustable cup tray at the correct height for a dainty cup or large travel mug
- You will be provided with instructions on how to operate the machine, and a few recipes for espressos, cappuccinos and lattes
- Cleaning up after using the machine is easy
- If you don't like noisy appliances, you should avoid this machine
- Tamping your espresso can also be a messy affair if you're new to the machine
7. Nespresso A+C40-US-TI-NE Inissia with Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother, Titan
This Nespresso A+C40-US-TI-NE Inissia has two programmable buttons for espresso and lungo preparation. It is also energy efficient and it automatically powers off after nine minutes of being inactive. It has compact brewing unit technology, which offers a fast pre-heating time of 25 seconds, and 19 bar high pressure pump.
- The quality of coffee brewed is excellent, and it's a compact machine that will not take up a lot of space on your kitchen counter
- It works great, whether you're making a cold or hot drink
- You can easily operate the machine
- The coffee pods are a bit expensive and you cannot buy them in stores and so you have to order online
- The machine is also noisy and some users have complained that sometimes it produces so much froth that the milk comes out of the frother and ends up on the counter
8. Nespresso A+GCA1-US-CH-NE VertuoLine with Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother, Chrome
The Nespresso A+GCA1-US-CH-NE Vertuoline comes with a new revolutionary technology to gently brew coffee or espresso at the touch of a button. It also has code reading and capsule recognition technology for brewing specific blends of coffee. It also has a container for used capsules.
- The machines automatically powers off after being idle for nine minutes
- Heat up in just 15 seconds, and it produces excellent espresso every time
- You can easily operate the machine at the touch of a button
- You can also clean it easily
- The milk frother performs well and overall, it offers an affordable way of making espresso at home
- The most common complaint from users is that even though the coffee tastes great, it isn't hot enough, and some even reheat their coffee in the microwave
9. Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso/Cappuccino Maker, Black
The Mr. Coffee Ecmp50 comes with dual-shot brewing for making two single shots simultaneously. The thermal block heating system provides barista-speed brewing and even heating. The removable water tank can hold 40 ounces of water, allowing you to make more coffee without refilling the machine. It also has a removable and washable drip catcher.
- It is very easy to operate and comes with directions and a troubleshooting manual
- It has a compact size and it will look great sitting on your counter
- Cleaning up is easy, and it has detachable parts to ease the process
- A standard size coffee cup fits under its spout
- It has a simple steam feature that is powerful and performs well
- You need to get the correct size of coffee grounds, otherwise you might have problems brewing your coffee
- The machine tends to leak while brewing, and it might not be as durable
10. Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine
The Gaggia 14101 Classic comes with a 2-liter removable water tank. It has stainless steel housing and forged brass components for temperature stability. The high voltage boiler offers quicker warm-up times. You need to use coffee pods and the machine can brew two cups simultaneously.
- The machine has a better portafilter, which is easier to clean, larger in surface area and the used coffee pucks come out easier and much drier
- It also brews an excellent cup of espresso by providing the perfect water temperature and pressure
- Being a manual espresso machine, you need to press a button to start and stop the brew, which can pose a challenge for a newbie
Other Things You Need to Know About Espresso Machine
Steps for Using It
- First, you need to grind the roast beans. Roast beans vary from place to place: some prefer it light brown while others prefer it dark mahogany. You put your beans in the grinder until it is entirely full. Grind the roast espresso beans absolutely until they are fine. Note that some espresso machines come with a grinder, but you can do it separately.
- Next, pour purified water into the machine's water chamber to its fill. Moreover, note that this water does not mean tap water because tap water takes away the flavor of the espresso shot. Fill the machine's portafilter with the grounds until it's full. To have an even surface, remove excess coffee. Take the portafilter and place it under the tamping tool. Press it firmly to crush the grounds. Get rid of excess coffee and gently press against the tamping instrument to ensure that the coffee is firmly packed in the portafilter.
- Then, make sure the espresso is ready to pour. Take and put a bare espresso mug below the jet of the machine. Ensure the portafilter is sealed into its position. Press start on your machine and wait for approximately 20 to 30 seconds for the brewing process to happen.
- After this is done, remove the mug away from the machine and check the coffee value.
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Using an this machine is not as easy as it looks. If not handled properly, it has some dangers. That is why you should always follow all precautions when making an espresso. Here are the dangers that ma happen when using.
- Sometimes, there can be water leaks within the system due to a worn out and cracked machine. Bacteria and mold growth can happen where there are internal leaks since the espresso machine mostly works with warm temperatures. This can pose a danger to health.
- If not properly handled, the machine can cause burns. The machine boils water to a temperature of 90 to 96 degrees. It is made of stainless steel, which quickly heats up and even after boiling, it still remains hot.
- The espresso itself like a food substance can be spoilt. If the machine is not properly cleaned after use, the accumulated espresso remains can still go bad after a period of time. This can cause illness due to food poisoning. This is why the machines should always be cleaned after use.
As said earlier, making an espresso is an art. Therefore, an artist needs to maintain his tools. Similarly, you need to maintain if you want great coffee. Here are some maintenance tips:
- Daily, make sure that after every use, you clean the portafilter and the group by wiping and keep them free of any debris.
- After removing all debris and dumping them, run water thoroughly through the machine group to ensure that it is clean.
- Using a little brush, sweep leftovers left out your grinder.
- Always backflush your machine. This is done by removing the perforated carrier in the portafilter and running water through it with the solid carrier inside. This removes all debris and any oils in the machine leaving it clean.
- Soak the steam wand in bubbling water every day for 15 minutes and wipe the wand off.
- Backflush the machine with an espresso based detergent.
- Soak portafilters in the detergent for approximately 25 minutes or even more minutes if they are very dirty and then rinse them after properly scrubbing them. This can be done weekly.
- You should always remember to descale your machine diurnally. This gets rid of all calcium giving your machine a long life span to serve you.
There are the espresso machine safety issues. Like any other machine, they can be prone to mechanical technicalities that can cause harm to people around. After buying, make sure you read the manually properly to understand how to use and maintain it.
Before using the machine for the first time, make sure to clean the capsules via a humid cloth only. Do not use a wet cloth to avoid electric shock. Remember to pull out the power plug before cleaning the machine. The situation of the machine should be on a dry surface and 50 cm further away from hot surfaces and open flames. It should also be more than 60 cm far from the sink. You should as well flush out the machine before using it for the first time. To elude burning, do not touch hot parts. At no time, should you run electrically operated cables over sharp cables to avoid wire cable exposure and hence electrification. You should not at any time function the machine without water. You should always power off the machine before unplugging it from the socket. In case the power cable is damaged, avoid using it and repair the cable at the customer service center. Never use replacement parts not recommended by the manufacturer to avoid damage. Moreover, when filling water in the tank, use water that has been commercially filtered. Never use regular cleaning agents when cleaning the machine. Use espresso based detergents. If you do not want to use your machine for some time, clean it and store it in a very dry and dust-free place far and out of reach of children. Store the machine in temperatures over 5 degrees to evade frost damage. Children should always be supervised to make sure that they do not play with the machine. When using the machine, never conceal it. People without knowledge of how the machine works, should not be left to use the machine without supervision.
With all of the information provided above, have you chosen the most suitable one for yourself yet? Well, is it a single cup coffee maker, or a 4-cup, 10-cup, 12-cup coffee brewer? Or simply just a very small but convenient espresso machine? Remember, no matter which one you choose, the most important thing is to find the one which really meets your demand, not “the more expensive, the better”. So make your decision! It’s time you treated your family with barista-quality coffee and impressed your friends, who might even work at Starbucks!