The way we make a delicious espresso has been changing throughout history from that simple handy-made recipe to the most traditional barista machines that are largely used in Italy since the early last century.
Lovers of a true and faithful espresso knows that not only the human behind the table must be skilled for the job as well as the tools have to be more than adequate and sometimes this is a bit hard to obtain when you are just a simple person wishing a barista machine right there in your kitchen for an amazing cup of coffee whenever you feel on the mood. Today you’ll see a sharp list of some of the best espresso machines available in the market that you can bring home and start your own private dream of professional espressos served any time at your own home.
Best Espresso Machine: Our Top 5 Choices
While the professional for real barista machines are quite large, expensive and require professional training – including safety measures – the compact models you will see here are easy to understand and handle with safety in your own house, they will provide great espressos, won’t cost a fortune, won’t steal half of the space on your kitchen and mostly, will be more than enough to prepare the most precious and refined grains of coffee you can purchase. If you are a coffee lover but doesn’t know anything about how to prepare a good espresso with some of these, take a look on our quick guides after our list of best espresso machines.
DeLonghi Compact is first on our list for best espresso machine.It has several different models of espresso machines as they manufacture machines for commercial use. This Compact Espresso machine is a great option either for small business that can’t yet afford one of their big boys or for people who want to enjoy a professional espresso at home. You have several different adjustment options here, from grinding intensity to aroma intensity. The machine also filters tap water autonomously, has a reheat system and patented automatic programs to prepare cappuccinos, lattes and, of course, the espresso.
- Compact size espresso machine
- Built-in water filter system
- Includes aroma button
- Patented system Cappuccino frother
- Includes energy-saving switch
- Model of Reference: ECAM22110SB
- Instant reheats with the Magnifica S’s function
- Saves up to 77% energy on the economic mode
- Intuitive control panel, you can adjust the strength of the coffee, aroma, grind level and much more
- The coffee spouts have its height adjustable
And here comes the second DeLonghi of our best espresso makers list, which is a more modest version of the Compact Espresso and a bit more affordable. This DeLonghi is more automatized so its functions are less varied than the first model but still offer a huge amount of customization for your coffee. The difference mostly relies on the number of patented coffee recipes available, though you can make espressos and cappuccinos quite particular for your taste. This machine has also patented systems of grinding and frothing, as well as heating cup trays.
- Patented frother system of cappuccino, mix of steam and milk
- Patented grind system “Direct to Brew”
- Includes complex digital keyboard with several settings options
- Duo preparation system
- Includes heating system and cup tray
- Model of reference: ESAM3300
- The new patented boiler is very compact, has an excellent distribution of heat what ensures you a espresso quite perfect at the ideal temperature.
- With the duo system you don’t need to wait between the preparation of an espresso and a cappuccino. They both can be prepared simultaneously.
- Although the machine is compact, it has professional quality
- Easy cleaning due to the stainless-steel double boiler
This Breville Barista is a pump espresso machine, so it requires some manual work when you are about to dispense the water for the preparation of the beverage. This kind of machine is preferred by traditional baristas since you can control this way how much steam will go in the preparation. Apart from that, this Breville Barista has everything quite standardized to make its use easy and intuitive. Grinding is automatic, including the release of coffee depending on the filter you are using.
- Filter adjustments button
- Removable 67 fl. oz. water tank
- Includes control of volume, pressure gauge, thermocoil heating system,
- Includes a removable 54mm tamper with magnetized storage
- Automatic grinding-cradle
- Indicator of cleaning cycle when it is necessary
- Model of reference: BES870XL
- The filter system can automatically detect how much coffee must be grinded depending on the filter you are using
- The grinding cradle does everything automatically, doesn’t require you to do anything after pushing the start button, including dispensing the ground coffee into the filter and stopping when the indicated amount has been achieved in the basket.
- You can set many different volumes
The Gaggia Classic is an electronic pump espresso machine made in Italy, and while it is much more simple than our previous models, it offers all you need to brew a great espresso. The design of this barista machine provides two shots at the same time, works with coffee pods, has a frothing wand and a hot water dispenser, so you can even prepare tea and use the machine for preparation of different recipes of coffee.
- Removable water reservoir with capacity for 72-ounces
- Stainless-steel housing
- 17 1/2-bar pump
- Includes high-voltage boiler
- Includes hot-water dispenser, frothing wand and a measuring scoop
- Model of reference: 14101
- Ideal for commercial use, heavy duty construction for longevity
- Affordable compact barista for the most traditional espresso made on pump
- Temperature is kept stabilized by forged brass components with a solenoid valve
The last machine of our list has a quite compact and efficient design. While it is the most simple machine of our list, its compacting design is a winner because of the way it offers as much customization as possible. The espresso preparation steam pump for example can be adjusted from a sensible dial from pure steam to hot water, so you can make many different espressos when it comes to strength and aroma with only one simple feature.
- Espresso machine a 15-bar Triple Prime pump
- Selector dial to prepare espresso
- Clearance of 4-1/2-inch cup clearance
- Swivel steam wand
- Water tank removable with capacity for up to 75-ounces
- Includes tamper, filters, frothing pitcher made on stainless-steel and a cleaning tool
- Model of Reference: 800ESXL
- The machine has an auto adjustment function to control the temperature after steam. This ensures an optimal extraction for the espresso temperature
- This 15-bar pump machine has a dual wall crema system for tastier preparations
- Made on stainless steel, easy to clean.
Espresso machines are not extremely expensive but they aren’t either that simple coffee maker appliance you buy for 200 bucks. A great compact model can cost up to $1000 so you are on your right to be restrict and ruthless when choosing the best deal for your pocket and taste. Some features and skills in a great espresso machine must be matched to make it really worth.
- Customizable Brew: Doesn’t matter the kind of espresso machine you are using, is important that you have as much options as possible of customization for the brewing of the beverage, that means, the more options you have between steam and hot water, the better. When a machine has this wide array, you can prepare many different kinds of espresso to suit many different recipes and tastes according not only to the people that will enjoy the coffee, but to suit the needs of a specific grain. Not all coffee grounds need water or steam in X or Y temperature, you must have many options so your machine can prepare many different variants of top quality grounds.
- Stainless steel: Avoid machines that are half plastic and steel, with too much fluffy details and decor. You don’t want your barista machine to be an exotic post-modern piece of art on your kitchen, they must be as functional as possible and paint covers and materials that are not resilient are not welcome here. Most barista espresso machines are made on stainless steel with strategic handles and parts on plastic for obvious reasons, protections against heat, burning accidents. Otherwise, it must be as shiny as possible on steel. These machines operate with high temperatures and steam most of the time, after some years any kind of decorative, cute cover starts to get ruined. Follow the traditions here and don’t loose track of the stainless steel. This makes the machine also quite easy to clean.
- Automatized Work: if you don’t have a degree on barista tasks, don’t try to work like one even on your house. There are many traditional barista machines made with manual pump levers. They are quite vintage and classic, most Italian coffee house still use them because they provide some special, traditional espresso that is more than just the machine but the operator. Manual levers are hard to deal with, so opt for the most automatized as possible you can get. These machines will not provide you the freedom of a pupil or alchemist, but they have all you need when it comes to the right recipe for a decent, outstanding espresso. You have to worry just about the grounds selection and the operation of the machine, and that’s what you get with a great compact espresso. Anything else, you better get your degree before you adventure yourself with manual baristas.
- Stainless steel tanks and baskets: While it is included in our previous tip, don’t forget about the tanks and grounds baskets. They better be made on a material like this. You will not once again want plastics involved in such high temperature or to store the grounds. The taste can be ruined depending on the ground.
Types Of Espresso Machines
To clear up your mind a bit more about espresso machines when you are purchasing your own, bear in mind the following basic types of machines:
- Stovetop: This is the most basic, is that classic Moka coffee pot that is still available in the market these days. A espresso machine like this works only by the forces of basic physics: heat expansion, steam and condensation. You can’t make espressos out of grounds with these, only with the powder of grains already grinded, so it is a limiting but compact, reliable source of espressos for the good coffee powders.
- Lever Pumps: These models are the ones responsible for the modern classic espresso and they must be operated by professionals quite skilled. They are not easy, require lots of experience and skills, as well as strength. You will be handling the steam flow and is not easy to do that when you are a novice.
- Simple Pump or Electronic Pump: Technology made possible to mimic the human workforce and save the barista some struggle and let the machine do the pressure itself. Electronic pumps are quite simple to operate as well as they have lots of adjustments that are made by an electronic system. The barista must understand the machine system mostly, and that’s all.
- Automatic Pump: These are the do it all of the espresso machines. Very few models of the previous types of machines do grind the grounds of coffee, so if you are not lucky you need an extra machine just for that task. The automatic pumps do it for you, they can be adjusted to grind with specific strength, amount and later they will also know all they have to do to brew the coffee. Once again, you just have to know how to operate the electronic system of settings.
Our best espresso machine list focus much more on espresso machines that you can handle on your own home to prepare your own espresso, and while it is for sure a great aid to know well how the espresso preparation works, these machines are “educated” to do it for you with patented recipes, highly automated systems and intuitive controls. As a matter of priority, you must be quite sure what you need of your espresso machine. Pick the most complicated ones if you intend to adventure yourself on achieving some day a professional skill on preparation, otherwise you can save money and get a robust but most straight-forward espresso maker and you will be just as fine.