Best Espresso Machine Reviews, do you have the right one?

How espresso is made has been changing through the years ranging from simple home-spun extraction methods to the more modern barista machines found in your local coffee shop.

Whether you are a weekend Barista at home, an “on the go” coffee drinker that wants ‘’one-touch” coffee drinks or somewhere in between; there is an espresso machine for you.

This list is made up of our personal favorites that have been tested through the years. It’s not exhaustive but we have collected the models we feel are worth a look by the home barista.

Espresso Machine – Quick Links
With Milk Carafe
With Bean Grinder
Without Bean Grinder
Summary
Buying Guide & Tips

Each espresso machine comes with it’s own advantages and special features. There isn’t “one” machine that suits everyone, but we wanted to share this list as a starting point to narrow the field for those looking to invest in a home brewing system.

Best Espresso Machine With Milk Carafe

While all of these machines are considered super-automatic or fully automatic espresso machines, for our purposes we are limiting this list to machines that have or support a milk carafe.

For those who don’t have a need for milk, We’ve listed in the brief description if there is a sister model that has a steam wand rather than a milk carafe.


1. Gaggia Anima Prestige Automatic Coffee Machine

Gaggia Anima Prestige Automatic Coffee Machine, Super Automatic Frothing for Latte, Macchiato,...
  • ONE TOUCH BREWING AND FROTHING: Bean-to-cup feature with automatic milk frothing for cappuccinos, macchiatos and...
  • PROGRAMMABLE: Programmable brewing options for lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos and espresso
  • TEMPERATURE CONTROL: 3 different temperature settings. Min/177.5 °F, Med/182.9 °F, Max/184.5 °F
  • EASY ACCESS TO WATER RESERVOIR AND BEAN HOPPER: Features a removable 60 oz water reservoir that can be accessed on...

First on our list is the Gaggia Anima Prestige Super Automatic, this is a great starting point to look for a fully automated machine that also has a ceramic grinder and milk carafe. The Gaggia Anima does this at a lower price point than its competitors.

One of the stand out features of this machine is the ability to set the descaling schedule based on the hardness of the water to ensure your machine is always functioning properly.

The milk carafe is convenient and allows you to run an automated clean cycle to flush out the nozzles, then simple put the unused milk in the refrigerator until your ready to use it again.

The most important feature of this machine is we think it makes a really good espresso.


2. Miele CM 5310 Silence Automatic Coffee Maker & Espresso Machine Combo

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NEW Miele CM 5310 Silence Automatic Coffee Maker & Espresso Machine Combo, Obsidian Black - Grinder,...
  • AromaticSystem: The CM 5310 automatic coffee machine wows with its dynamic brewing system and quiet grinder made of...
  • From coffee, espresso, latte macchiato to hot milk: Conjure up creamy milk froth for a diverse range of specialty...
  • OneTouch for Two: With just a touch of a button you can make two of any specialty drink; in addition to the bean...
  • ComfortClean: Many components of the coffee machine, including the water tank and waste container, are...

Second on our list is a relatively new kid on the block. Miele has always made great espresso and coffee, but it tended to be a little more expensive. With this new model its seems to compare well with its competitors.

One of the things we really liked about this machine had nothing to do with how it made coffee, it is currently available in several colors. Unfortunately not all the colors are available in all the models but it is an option that allows you to coordinate it with your current décor.

Like all of the models on our fully automated list this machine has a carafe and tube that feeds milk to the machine to make that perfect latte, cappuccino, or other milk beverage.

The other feature that is new on this model is quieter operation. While no espresso machine is completely silent, Miele has managed to reduce the decibels by up to 50%.

Espresso produced by the Meile machines we tested consistently rate in the top tier of espresso’s we’ve produced when it comes to flavor and texture.


3. Gaggia Cadorna Prestige Super-Automatic Espresso Machine

Gaggia Cadorna Prestige Super-Automatic Espresso Machine, Medium
  • 14 Pre-Programmed Beverages|Build your home barista menu with 14 pre-programmed beverages including a ristretto,...
  • Integrated Milk Carafe|An integrated milk carafe creates the perfect temperature and texture of milk foam to make a...
  • 4 User Profiles|Create up to 4 user profiles on the Cadorna Plus and save your favorite drinks for everyday...
  • Intuitive User Interface|A full color TFT display allows you to scroll through 14 specialty beverages with backlit...

This Cadorna Prestige is a little more expensive than the first two listed but our general impression of the machine it should be on the final cut list for most people before deciding.

In addition to the sleek styling we like how easy the programming was to follow on this machine. Some machines can get a little tricky in figuring out what your options are and how to program them.

The Prestige also changes the order of the milk and espresso based on what drinks you have selected just like a barista would do. It should be noted that if you are on that likes to froth your own milk there is another version of Cadorna, the named Cadorna Barista Plus . You’ll find this option with the Barista quality wand will allow you to customize the foam to just the right texture.

 Tip:  if you want to save some money, and ABS material goes with your café ambience. Then, check out the under $1000 Gaggia Cardona Milk. It has the same dimension and weight as the Prestige. The Milk has 10 instead of 14 pre-programmed drinks. And, it uses a “Capp to Cup” milk solution instead of a milk carafe.


4. Jura 15070 E6 Automatic Coffee Center

Jura 15070 E6 Automatic Coffee Center, Platinum Includes Milk Container, Smart Filter, Coffee,...
  • BUNDLE INCLUDES: Jura E6 Automatic Coffee Center, Glass Milk Container, Frothing Pitcher, two Cups and Saucers, 1lb...
  • INTUITIVE USE: Buttons on the front of the machine and a modern TFT display make operation truly intuitive and...
  • FAST AND EASY: Dual coffee and milk spouts make it possible to prepare a cappuccino without moving the cup. The E6...
  • PULSE EXTRACTION PROCESS: The secret of exceptional coffee lies in the preparation. Jura has 100% perfected the...

With Jura brand it’s really all about the coffee. With this Jura E6 automatic coffee center you get the milk carafe support to accompany great tasting coffee.

Key features with Jura are the pulse extraction technology which enhances the extraction process giving you an espresso with great taste and texture.

The smart design of this machine incorporates dual coffee and milk spouts that allow you to make a cappuccino without having to move your cup. The intuitive color TFT display also supports the ease of use design.


5. De’Longhi ECAM35075SI Dinamica with LatteCrema Fully Automatic Espresso

De'Longhi ECAM35075SI Dinamica with LatteCrema Fully Automatic Espresso Machine, Silver
  • From beans to latte, in a single touch. Espresso Made Right
  • 18 espresso and specialty coffee recipes, with a simple touch of a button, including latte, cappuccino, macchiato,...
  • Built-in conical burr grinder with 13 settings for always freshly ground coffee, for any beans of your choice
  • Automatic and adjustable milk frothing from the proprietary LatteCrema System for perfectly textured lattes and...

The Dinamica espresso machines offer a comfortable footprint that fits most counter tops. Dimension: 16.9 x 9.3 x 13.7 inches

Comes with a built in conical burr grinder to give you a consistent grind. If you prefer your own grind or have some pre-ground coffee there is a by pass feature to accommodate pre-ground coffee.

This machine comes with 18 drink recipes including Delonghi’s TrueBrew over ice drink which brews with a higher dose at a lower temperature.

DeLonghi Dinamica Fully Automatic Coffee and Espresso Machine, with Adjustable Frother

The Dinamica Fully Automatic Coffee and Espresso Machine, with Adjustable Frothier . is Delonghi’s model with all of the Dinamica features, but has an adjustable wand rather than a milk carafe to create the occasional milk drink.


Automatic Espresso Machine With Coffee Bean Grinder

We’ve created this list for those that want to be a little more vested in the process, but still want the convenience of an integrated grinder.


1. Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine

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Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine in Silver. Pannarello Wand Frothing for Latte and...
  • FROTHING FOR MILK BEVERAGES: Pannarello wand frothing for cappuccinos & lattes. Wand doubles as a hot water...
  • EASY ACCESS: The dregs drawer, drip tray, and water tank are all within reach and accessible from the front of the...
  • USER-FRIENDLY DISPLAY: Push-button controls and an LED display with illuminated icons make for an easy and...
  • RAPID STEAM TECHNOLOGY: Quick heat up times and robust brewing and steaming operations. Coffee bean capacity : 250...

This beautiful Brera has a compact footprint of 12.4″ H x 10″ W x 17.5″ D. It supports a cup height of 3.25″ to 4.5″ – you can fit a variety of cup sizes under the spout.

It has a 100% ceramic adjustable grinder with 5 grind options. You get a fine grind for robust flavor, a coarse grind for tea-like coffees, or something in between. The bean hopper capacity is 250 grams.

This model has a bypass dosing feature – when you want to try a specialty ground coffee.

We love its “Smart Memo” function. It can memorize your customizations such as coffee length and strength. You can make your café-style beverages exactly the way you like it.

Easy clean-up and maintenance – it offers easy access to the discarded coffee pucks, water reservoir, and drip tray.

Gaggia-Brera-customize-your-coffee-length-and-strength

Read our full review on Gaggia Brera – a compact super automatic espresso machine to customize your café-style beverages.


2. De’Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine with Sensor Grinder

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De'Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine with Sensor Grinder, Dual Heating System, Advanced Latte...
  • Sensor grinding technology: Exclusive segsing technology delivers precise, consistent grinding and the optimal dose...
  • The smart tamping station: Simply pull the lever to tamp the ground coffee with the right pressure for perfect...
  • Active temperature control with dual heating system: The best temperature stability for optimal coffee extraction...
  • Advanced latte system: Micro-foam frothing for Latte Art or rich froth for cappuccino. Just place your cup under...

The La Specialista is a semi-automatic machine but offers some convenience features to make it a little easier to use than other semi-automatics.

The tamper allows you to tamp the grind without making a mess. We really liked the way you just pull the handle down to tamp and your done with no mess. The other convenient feature we liked was how the water spout was right next to the espresso dispenser so that you can make americano’s or other drinks that require water without having to move your cup.

Find out all the details on this machine in our full review of the La Specialista with advanced latte system.


3. Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine

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Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of...
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of...
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all...
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature,...

The Barista Express has a clean look with its brushed stainless steel finish and is consistently one of the top selling machines.

Equipped with a conical burr grinder you get get the specific grind you are looking for to get a perfect pull of expresso.

The steam wand on this machine allows you to customize the texture of your milk. This is an advantage over some of the other wands on the market that are designed to froth for you.

You can the all the specifics on this model by reading our Barista Express Espresso Machine Review.


Espresso Machine Without Coffee Bean Grinder

These machines are ideal for campers, small kitchens, and even college dorms. They have a small footprint for the counter and can fit most budgets.


1. Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine

Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • The Breville Bambino Plus delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the...
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Achieve a consistent and balanced espresso using the right amount of ground coffee; The 54mm...
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all...
  • FASTER HEAT UP TIME: Innovative ThermoJet heating system achieves the optimum extraction temperature in 3 seconds

For baseball fans the name Bambino conjures up images of the great bambino, however here we are referring to an espresso machine.

Don’t let the small size fool you, the Bambino performs big with its ThermoJet heating system that can achieve the optimum extraction temperature in 3 seconds

With pre-infusion the Bambino is able to allow the coffee to soak as the pressure builds improving extraction.

Find out all of the details on the Breville Bambino Plus in our full review.


2. De Longhi EC680M Espresso, Stainless Steel

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De'Longhi EC680M Espresso, Stainless Steel, Metallic
  • EVERY CUP TO YOUR LIKING: 15-bar professional pressure assures quality results every time, and adjustable controls...
  • EASY TO CLEAN: Removable water tank and drip tray make for easy cleanup, and the parts are dishwasher safe.
  • BREW LIKE A PRO: Whatever your preference – single or double espresso, cappuccino or latte – the machine brews...
  • YOUR FOAM, YOUR WAY: A manual frother mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for evenly textured...

The Dedica is a great little manual machine with a narrow footprint.

One of the nice advantages of this machine is its ability to support taller cups by adjusting the bottom tray removing it to fit taller cups

The steam wand of this machine also makes it easy for the novice to create foam all you need to so is insert the wand and let it do the work.


Espresso Machine Buying Guide – Pre-check list

What kind of space will your espresso machine live in?

It’s important to think about where in your home or business you plan to setup your espresso machine.  This will help you know what machines just won’t work for your space based on its footprint or height.  In addition to footprint and height, it may impact what side your frothier should be on to accommodate frothing.

What type of coffee drinks do you, your family, and guests make most often?

Thinking about this helps you dial in what is most important for you.  For example if you and your crew almost exclusively drink espresso shots and Americanos while rarely drinking lattes or cappuccino’s  you probably don’t want to look at machines that come with an integrated milk frothier.

What type of grinder do you plan to use?

You’ll have the choice of using and integrated grinder or using a separate grinder.   Most integrated grinders are good enough for making espresso, however if you really want to dial things in you may prefer getting an independent grinder that you can control exactly how you want it.   This will play into would espresso machines you look at.

What is your budget?

If you only have $200 to spend that will limit your choices as to what you can get but you will still be able to find something in that price range.   If you look under $500 for an espresso machine you choices are a lot broader and you can find some excellent semi-automatic at-home units.  Espresso machines under $1000 will get you some really good one button machines and you’ll easily find an espresso machine that will work well.  For machines over $1000 you’re getting some of the best espresso machines on the market many with all the bells and whistles.

If you are shopping by price point, check out our review by budget:

Types of Espresso machines for Home Use

Manual

With these type of machines you will be doing your own grinding, measuring, tamping, manually deciding how much water to push through.  You’ll need to steam the milk as well with the frothier.

Semi-Automatic

Semi-Automatic expresso machines many times will still have you do your own grind and tamping but have presets so that the water levels used is consistent from brew to brew.

Fully Automatic or Super Automatic

This option offers one button creation of your favorite drinks.   The grinder is integrated,  the milk frothier (if you want the milk option) is integrated, and you can program custom drinks for multiple user profiles.  This is ideal for those that don’t really want to be involved in the process they just want their drink with no hassle.

Steam

A good example of a steam espresso is a Moka pot.  These type of machines use steam to extract the coffee rather than pressure.

Capsules

For some, even the Super Automatic espresso machines are a little more involved than they would like.  This is where capsules come in.  With this type of machine you simply put the capsule or pod in an push a button and out comes your favorite beverage.  There are several types of pods and several manufacturers have their own version (think Nespresso and Keurig).   Some semi-automatic espresso machines also support something called an ESE pod which is pre-measured espresso in a filter that you put in the filter basket and easily make espresso without having to grind or tamp.

Espresso Machine Components

Now that you’ve thought about where your espresso machine will be in your home or office, considered what drinks your household enjoys, and reviewed they types of machines you think meet your needs; you are ready to think about some of the components that fit your personality.

Frothier Wand

Why do I care about the frothier?  Are they all the same?  Well, not exactly.   They do all steam your milk but some have designs that you just submerge it in milk and turn it on an it create foam while others you have pay attention to and adjust as necessary to create the foam texture you like.   You will like the Panarello style steam wand if you really are that picky about your foam and don’t want to mess with it much.  It should be noted that most barista’s approve the old fashion barista style wands.  They prefer compete control for doing latte art and creating perfect micro foam to their specification.

Filter Baskets

You’ll see that many companies offer both the pressure baskets (double walled) and the single wall baskets.  The pressure baskets are a lot more forgiving than the single wall, but you don’t have as much of an opportunity to dial in your grind.

Boilers

You will come across single, double, and multi boiler options with the different manufacturers.  The key point here is whether you want to be able to brew and froth at the same time.  With more than one boiler you can save time by doing things simultaneously.   There are also Thermoblock options that are faster to heat up.  Sometimes these will be combined with the use of a boiler.

Portafilters

Most of these machines come with the closed portafilter with spouts.   There is an option out there for a bottomless portafilter which are easier to clean and you can see what is happening as the coffee comes through.  This can help you in correcting any tamping issues you have.

Buying Guide Summary

Now you are equipped to go dive in to the most popular espresso brands and subtle differences between each model. Good luck on your search!