You need to finish that assignment by midnight. You have a very important meeting. You ought to be highly attentive at work. But, You don’t feel up to it. There is a lack of energy, stamina or perhaps a bad mood. The best way to put yourself together is by grabbing an espresso.
This aromatic drink enters your nostrils, is welcomed by the tongue and kick starts your brain, right away. No doubt, it’s popular. No doubt, life without it seems quite boring and lazy. Espresso made up of high content of caffeine, offers a high dose of energy. The very name espresso means something like- a quick drink for you. The express element in the name, surely tells you what to expect out of it.
The technique of making an espresso is to force hot water down a finely grounded sum of beans. The amount of pressure applied in the process gives a rich froth on the top, called crema (resembling cream). This is made when the air bubbles get mixed up with the oil found in the coffee beans.
The act of making an espresso is often called “pulling a shot”. Creating a perfect shot isn’t that difficult. All you need is some good quality beans and an espresso machine. To make that a cakewalk for you, we have created a list of best home espresso machines, for you to sit and select.
How Was This List Made?
While making a shot is easy, selecting the best home espresso machine is difficult. More so, if you are not willing to spend much time contemplating or you don’t really feel like doing so. So, here is what we did for you.
We filtered through the best home espresso machines for you. To do that we read several espresso machine reviews on the internet. We read discussions on quora and sniffed through every detail on Reddit. To be aware of the pros and cons of a specific machine, we even went through Amazon reviews, in detail.
So, have faith and go through the list below, to make an informed decision.
How Was This List Made?
Don’t just glide through the list. Since we made sure, to provide you with details, try and grab each and every detail. You need to make sure, the machine you chose should be according to your usage requirement. It should be a good fit, according to your kitchen space. Whether you want automatic machines, semi or manual is a decision you must take. Also, which machine would fit in your pocket.
Let’s tap into the details of the best home espresso machines.
Best Home Espresso machines
1. Breville BES870BSXL The Barista Express
Do you want an espresso that tastes like cafe-made, in the comfort of your couch? Then you can go for Breville’s Barista Express. The name itself tells you, it will make you a barista in no time! It gives you the liberty of easy-to-use manual and automatic settings. As a beginner, you can start with automatic settings and move on to adjusting those, manually.
Grounded beans often lose aroma and taste with time. There is nothing like an espresso made with freshly ground beans. If you feel the same, we have a solution for you. This machine comes with a built-in burr grinder made of stainless steel. You just need to add beans to get freshly ground coffee. This precision is enhanced further by the PID system of the machine. To avoid getting the coffee sour, it ensures optimum temperature control every time. It also minimises any amount of temperature fluctuation.
With a fifteen bar Italian pump and a nine bar extraction system, it is sturdy, within and out. Having a tank capacity of 2 litres, it can readily make several cups at one go. With a double boiler, you can get two cups of espresso at a single time. If you need a cappuccino or latte you can have that too. The manual frother requires some assistance. You need to froth the milk manually. Even if you are a beginner you need not worry. The 1700 watt steam pressure ensures a creamy smooth texture of the milk. After you are done frothing, the machine adopts a purge function. The water temperature is adjusted to extract the espresso shot.
All this in no time because of the Thermo coil heating system inside. So your machine will not only have a quick start but a clean taste too.
Verdict: Breville BES870BSXL The Barista Express has earned a high position in espresso machine reviews by consumers. It is a great choice if you value taste over money. It is no doubt, a sturdy machine which offers a great taste. As compared to other machines, it requires a bit more work. For those of you who are expert coffee makers or are keen on being one, then you must go for this one. In terms of quality and longevity, the Breville Barista Express is one of the best home espresso machines.
2. Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine
Gaggia boasts of being the first maker of modern steam-less machines. The legacy of the brand still carries in its product. It began as a commercial espresso maker. The main vendors were the cafes. Now the company has made an entry into our homes. Because of its expertise, the company still has an edge over others in the market. Their product does resemble commercial-style machines.
The Gaggia classic pro is a solid machine made up of stainless steel. The portafilter is about 58mm. It is made up of brass, thus making it durable. The size and quality resemble that of a cafe machine. It is an updated version of the previous two editions. The Gaggia Carezza deLuxe and Gaggia classic had several shortcomings like low reservoir capacity, lower wattage, etc.
The classic pro comes with a capacity of big 72oz. This means you can easily make up to 7 cups of espresso without the need to refill the reservoir. If you share your coffee with a companion, you are in good hands. With a dual boiler, you can have 2 cups of espresso at a single time. And if you need a milk-based drink, you can have that too. It has a commercial wand to be used for frothing milk. The 3 3 way solenoid valve is another interesting feature. This ensures a dry, easily discarded puck.
The machine comes with easily controllable buttons. Switches are divided into steam, power and brewing. So with the indication of lights, you can easily make out what the machine is up to. The brewer stands apart from the commercial feel of the machine. It is quieter, keeping in mind its use at home.
Verdict: The Gaggia classic pro lives up to its legacy. It is a durable machine and can serve as one of the best home espresso machines. It is a great fit for you if you are into semi-automatic commercial-style machines. It has a huge 72oz capacity and is a good buy if you require up to 7 cups in a single-use. Though on the expensive side, the quality of the machine has enabled it to have the most rated espresso machine reviews.
3. STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine
Remember a time when you were planning a vacation in the hills? Although full of excitement, you were anxious about one thing. Where on earth will you get a nice cup of coffee (That you can’t live without) amongst the woods? Well, Staresso portable espresso machine is made keeping in mind your anxieties. You just need to pack this lightweight espresso maker in your bag and you are good to go.
An elegant cylindrical shape with different parts performing different functions. With a water reservoir on the top, pump in the middle, coffee basket pouring into the serving cup. The pressure pump and coffee chamber are made up of stainless steel making it serve a long life.
Adding to it is the overall BPA-free quality that makes the product premium.
This ergonomic engineering has received the Reddit design award, 2016. With a design so compatible, you wouldn’t expect a water capacity of 80ml and a space for 0.53-ounce coffee. The extraction pump bears a pressure of 15-20 bars. You can use regular ground coffee or a coffee pod (with holes in it). You just need to add hot water in the reservoir and pump, manually for extraction.
The pump can also be used to froth milk and make lattes, even icy ones.
The minimal nature of the machine might raise doubt about the quality of espresso delivered. However, the thick golden crema on top will surprise you. It is like a small bomb. Have a delicious cup and take 2 mins to rinse it, and it is done.
Verdict: Staresso Portable Coffee Maker is the best home espresso machine if you can’t live without one, even for a second. You can carry it on your holidays, in your office and everywhere else. The compact size isn’t a compromise on the taste and quality of the espresso. According to some espresso maker reviews, the coffee maker is a good alternative to wasting time in queues, at Starbucks. So if the manual functionality doesn’t bother you and you need your coffee as a constant companion, you must go for this one.
4. Nespresso by Breville BNV250BLK1BUC1 Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine
If you need an elegant looking, sleek machine to fill up your countertop, this is the best home espresso machine for you. The makers left no stone unturned in being attentive to its looks. If black isn’t your favorite color, you have more options. You can choose between red, chrome and titan.
Nespresso by Breville ensures a one-touch coffee experience. You need to add coffee pods in the machine and switch on the button. These pods are for one-time use only. The makers give you a complimentary 12 set of capsules as a starter. With only 15-20 seconds of heating time. You will start noticing a frothy espresso pouring out of the machine. A smooth taste is assured by the centrifugation ™ technology. It spins the capsule up to 7000 times per minute while blending water through the ground coffee. This results in a frothy layer of crema which enhances the taste of a regular espresso shot.
You may be a lungo, alto or double espresso drinker. You can have it all in one single machine. Just add a small pod for espresso and a large one for alto. There is also a provision for lattes and cappuccinos. You can buy the combo style. With this, you get an aeroccino 3 milk frother. Not only for hot but cold drinks too. Just add ice and your cold coffee is ready.
To further avoid any effort on your part, the machine disposes off the used capsule automatically. It also turns off after 9 mins of inactivity to save energy. Thus making it a smart machine on the inside and the outside.
Verdict: Nespresso by Breville BNV250BLK1BUC1 Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine is perceived as an elegant addition to your kitchen. Turns on in no time and delivers espresso in a single touch. According to some espresso machine reviews, the machine delivers a lukewarm coffee. Some other reviewers suggest turning on the machine a bit longer before extracting the first cup. If you need a quick and elegant machine you can go for this one. The issue of expensive pods can be over-looked if you prefer taste over money.
5. Nespresso Inissia by De'Longhi
Another great option for a portable espresso machine. Nespresso Inissia comes with a handle for you to carry it wherever you want to. The shape resembles that of a CPU, with the water tank behind it. The capacity of the reservoir is around 24oz. The sleek and elegant look makes it a perfect fit for a tiny kitchen space. To further enhance its elegance the machine comes in different vibrant colors. You can choose between red, white, silver or black. Whatever color suits the interiors of your kitchen.
This machine is for those who have a consistent taste. You have two options here. Either an espresso which is about 1.35oz. Or you can have a lungo which is around 5oz. It has two pre-set buttons for espresso or lungo. That is the only choice the machine offers to you. But the good news is that it is customizable. If you need more than 1.35 ounce of espresso, you just need to press the button till you get the desired amount. You might as well say that it specializes in these 2 drinks. You can get a single-serve at 1 time, be it espresso or lungo.
With 19 bars of pressure, the Nespresso Inissia ensures a perfect brew. As low as 25seconds are needed for the machine to start brewing. It is a quick one cup coffee machine. The machine is smart enough to know when you are done. It automatically switches off after 9 mins of inactivity, thus saving energy consumption.
Verdict: Nespresso Inissia by De’Longhi is the best home espresso machine if you are an espresso or lungo drinker. This is a no-fuss machine. Just add water and the coffee pod. The preset buttons make life easy. So does the instant heating element. Amongst the espresso machine reviews, the Inissia is a popular choice.
Buying Guide: What to look for in an espresso maker
The capacity of the water reservoir
Espresso machine makers cater to different variety of consumers. Some that live in a family, some that live alone. Those who consume one-two cups of espresso a day. Or those who drink around five to six cups. To fulfill different requirements, espresso machines come with different capacities of reservoirs.
A small reservoir means somewhere around 24-ounce capacity. A bigger one is around 70 ounces. You need to make sure, that you choose a machine that fits your consumption criteria. A small reservoir means a compact sized machine, fit for single or maximum double use. A big reservoir means a big machine, fit for multiple uses.
Pod vs beans vs ground coffee
Are you someone who prefers fresh grounded beans with every cup? Then you need to make sure that you chose a machine that comes with a grinder. Be it a built-in type or a separate machine. Though you must be aware that these types are the most expensive ones. A burr grinder needs adequate pressure to extract good quality ground. For that, the makers will charge you more than a usual espresso machine without a grinder.
If you are someone that prefers a coffee pod, then your life is a bit easy. Most espresso machines come with pod usage. You just need to put in the coffee pod in the basket and geta fresh cup instantly. But you must note that most of the pods are non-reusable. Often, these are expensive and incur a lot of wastage. The Nespresso coffee pods are compatible with only Nespresso espresso machines. While the Keuring coffee pods are compatible with K-cup espresso machines. So you need to be careful about which espresso pod machine fits your budget.
The easiest way is to prefer grounded coffee for your espresso machine. You need to justify your choice of grounds to the portafilter. As easy as it sounds, not many espresso machines use grounded beans. Very few of them, mostly manual ones use grounded coffee beans. This feature can be found in the cheapest espresso machines.
Espresso machines come in three different forms. Let us look at the automatic version first. This version allows you to be a boss. Turn on the machine and press the required buttons. Now you can sit and wait for your brew. The pre-programmed espresso machines are the i-know-it-all types. You might be a novice. Somebody who doesn’t like to get involved in technicalities. Or someone who values his/her time. These types are usually high in technology and thus higher priced. So if you can shell out more, opt for this one.
The second version would be the semi-automatic machines. These also come with pre-programmed buttons. However, the good news is these can be customizable. Also, not everything is controlled by the makers. You have the option of doing things your way. These are the most popular types. If you have a medium budget and a sense of doing things your way, you can choose semi-automatic types.
If you are low on budget but still want an espresso maker, you still have an option. The manual espresso machines are usually the cheapest. They come with compatible shapes and sizes. You might not expect the perfect cup but is sure to put your taste buds at ease. Plus, it gives you the liberty to control your brew, your way.
Espresso machines often break due to various reasons. Some of these might not be made with the best of material. A good quality machine would require low maintenance. Usually, the stainless steel ones set an example. While other plastic machines are more prone to damage.
Good quality also means a good price. Those with stainless steel bodies have hefty prices. These do last long but burn a hole in your pocket. While the less-sturdy ones are made up of plastic and are cheaper. If you are someone who can take good care of your espresso giver than you can opt for plastic machines.
Like all machines, espresso machines also require a great amount of cleaning. Often people complain of a sour taste after repeated use of the machine. With repeated use, the machine develops deposits such as calcium and magnesium. Every time the coffee is made, these residues act as a taste-distorter. For this, espresso machines need descaling regularly.
Some high-end machines come with reminders. Some of them might have a blinking button to remind you that your machine needs descaling. While some also have an intuitive descaling system. So you need not make efforts, the machine cleans own its own.
If you opt for a machine with the steamer, then you are up to more work. Milk residues in the steamer often clog the pores. This not only gives a sour taste but wouldn’t allow adequate steam to flow from the steamer/frother. You need to make sure that the steamer is cleaned after use, every time.
How fast do you want your device to get started? Do you expect in less than a minute or are you fine to wait for longer? Some high tech espresso machines have a thermo-coil heating system in them. This makes the machine start-up early and ensures a quick brew.
Another important feature is temperature control. A good brew requires a certain amount of temperature. Exceeding the desired temperature could burn the coffee and give it a sour taste. While a lower temperature wouldn’t extract the optimum flavor of the grounded beans. To avoid this error, a technology called PID is being used. This ensures that the machine remains at a constant/desired temperature and prevents any fluctuations. If you are keen on a perfect velvety smooth brew, you must keep in mind the temperature.
A minimum of 9 bar pressure is required for the perfect extraction of an espresso shot. The bars measure the amount of pressure with which water flows through the grounds. Less than 9 bar pressure would mean a not-so-optimum extraction. It will also mean that the machine will take a long time to create a brew. Mostly the manual machines belong to this category.
Higher pressure would mean quick extraction. The higher the pressure, the less time it takes to get that perfect cup.
Looks or design
Not everybody has the same idea of a perfect look. Some would go for bulky looking, commercial type machines. While some others want sleek, modest ones. An espresso machine must not only work well but look good too. It must compliment your kitchen interiors.
A sleek looking machine would not only look great but fit perfectly on the countertop. Gone are the days for heavy looking machinery. The new era craves for modest-looking, minimal machines.
With or without a milk frother
Do you think black when you think of coffee? Then you can have a simple espresso machine. One that comes without a milk frother. These types will make you an espresso or lungo at most. If you think you need an occasional latte or cappuccino, you must have a steamer.
A steamer or milk frother doesn’t require great expertise. Some of these are manual, will some frothed milk automatically. The most common one is the former category. With regular use, you learn how to make the perfect consistency of the milk for latte art. An espresso machine with a steamer is always better than having one without it.
You want to buy an espresso machine for two, particularly important reasons. The first one is to escape the need of visiting a cafe for your favorite drink. To avoid standing in queues. Often facing disappointment when you don’t get the desired taste. So you want to be a barista yourself. Become independently responsible for your coffee. But another pressing issue is to save money.
Visiting a cafe now and then takes a lot out of your pocket. You spend more money than required. So you must be looking for budget-friendly coffee machines that can help you save money. Keeping in mind these two needs, you must choose a machine that satiates your desires. But shouldn’t make a hole in your pocket.
After spending so much time on the internet and going through specifications we are finally closer to our winner. Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine is the best home espresso machine for lots of reasons. The elegance and string built to make an impact on the viewer. You can choose different colors according to your choice, thus making it more than a machine. With a heating time of 15-20 seconds, it saves your time and doesn’t test your patience. Not only restricted to espresso drinks, but it can also even make lattes and cappuccinos. Technologically advanced, it gives the gift of saving time, energy with a great taste. Every penny spent on the machine is worth it.