For coffee lovers, espresso may be the ultimate drink. Brewed by forcing hot water under pressure through a small amount of compacted and finely ground beans, espresso is coffee in its purest form and is the base for many other popular drinks, such as cappuccinos and Americanos. And while any coffeehouse worth its salt will offer a decent cup of espresso for a few dollars, it’s hard to top the convenience of brewing your own espresso at home.
However, with a dizzying number of options in size, configuration, and cost, finding the right espresso maker for your home can feel like a daunting endeavor. In order to make your decision a little easier, we have highlighted a few quality espresso makers that we have had personal experience with, or that have garnered high marks from reviewers on Amazon. From the premium to the economical, here are seven espresso makers that will let you become your own barista.
1. SAECO HD8753/87 Philips Intellia Cappuccino Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
When it comes to the upper range of espresso makers, it’s hard to top the Philips Intellia Cappuccino Fully Automatic Espresso Machine. Featuring a digital display with a one-touch interface, the Saeco Intelia espresso machine is perfect for the coffee lover who wants an easy-to-operate machine and isn’t afraid to pay a little extra for the convenience.
As the name suggests, this espresso maker makes more than just your standard espresso. An integrated milk jug and frother allows it to make several different varieties of coffee drinks, including café crème, cappuccino, and latte macchiato.
Do you love professional-quality coffee drinks but hate doing the maintenance and messy cleanups that many other machines require? The Philips Intellia Cappuccino Fully Automatic Espresso Machine regularly runs an auto-clean and descaling cycle that prolongs the life of the machine. The machine also features several easily removable parts that can be rinsed under a faucet or washed in a dishwasher. Other notable features on this model include a ceramic grinder that is capable of handling both pre-ground and whole coffee beans, a quick-heat boiler that ensures you never have to wait around to get your next cup of joe, and a “memo” function that allows you to save your personal coffee strength and temperature settings.
As noted by several reviewers on Amazon, one of the few downsides to the Philips Intellia Cappuccino Fully Automatic Espresso Machine is that the plastic shaker in the bean hopper will sometimes interfere with the flow of the beans. This can result in inconsistent coffee strengths, since not enough beans are getting into the grinder. Fortunately, this minor problem can be resolved by simply removing the plastic shaker from the hopper, which ensures the grinder gets a steady delivery of beans. You can buy the Philips Intellia Cappuccino Fully Automatic Espresso Machine here.
2. La Pavoni EPC-8 Europiccola 8-Cup Lever Style Espresso Machine
With over 100 years of experience in the espresso maker business, the Italy-based La Pavoni company is one of the premier manufacturers of the classic manual espresso machine. With its beautiful all-steel, chrome-plated industrial design aesthetic, the La Pavoni EPC-8 Europiccola 8-Cup Lever Style Espresso Machine is as much a piece of art as it is an espresso maker. This machine is capable of making one or two cups of espresso at a time and includes a traditional steam wand for frothing milk for cappuccinos.
Unlike automatic machines that take a lot of the guesswork out of brewing a perfect cup of espresso, manual espresso machines like this one require some level of expertise to operate. For this reason, La Pavoni EPC-8 Europiccola 8-Cup Lever Style Espresso Machine is recommended only for experienced baristas or for coffee lovers who are willing to spend some time learning how to use it.
That being said, there are many coffee aficionados who believe that manual machines such as this produce the best-tasting espresso. The La Pavoni EPC-8 Europiccola 8-Cup Lever Style Espresso Machine comes with an instructional video for getting started and is available to purchase here.
3. Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
With both pre-programmed and manually controlled brewing options, the Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine will please both novices and experienced baristas who want to experiment with different settings. The integrated conical burr grinder ensures that every shot of espresso is made from only the freshest grounds, while the front-facing gauge lets users know when the machine has reached the optimal espresso extraction pressure. Features include a 360-degree swivel action steam wand and a unique built-in tamper that makes certain each coffee puck is perfectly packed.
This attractive machine also has a handy feature that we haven’t seen on any other machines: A hidden compartment under the drip tray where extra filters and cleaning accessories can be stored. And speaking of cleaning, the Breville BES870XL also features a warning light that alerts users when the machine needs to be sanitized. The Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine can be bought here.
4. Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker
If you’re an espresso drinker who doesn’t want to deal with the mess and hassle of grinding and tamping your own coffee, then the Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker may be the perfect machine for you. With its proprietary coffee capsule system, the Nespresso Inissia may have the easiest operation of any espresso machine currently on the market. Simply fill up the removable 24-ounce water tank, insert the Nespresso capsule, hit the start button, and within minutes you will have a perfectly brewed cup of espresso. After you remove your cup, lift the machine’s lever and the used coffee capsule will be ejected into a container.
While espresso traditionalists may turn up their nose at the Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker’s prepackaged coffee capsule system, this machine has received high marks from Amazon reviewers, who praise the consistency and quality of the espresso it produces. Of course, the downside to this convenience is that you can only use the specially made coffee capsules designed for this machine. However, for cost and convenience, the Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker cannot be beat. The Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker is available in several colors and can be purchased here.
5. De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
The De’Longhi EC155 is a great espresso maker for novices who want a relatively low-cost machine that still manages to pack in features like a swivel jet frother for making cappuccinos. Capable of making up to two espresso shots at a time, the De’Longhi EC155 features a unique dual function filter holder that can handle regular ground coffee as well as pods, which makes it perfect for people who may not always have the time to go through the traditional grinding and tamping ritual. It also features a removable water tank and a drip tray that makes it easy to clean.
As far as cons go, although the De’Longhi EC155 features metal accents, it still has many plastic components that are likely to wear out much sooner than those in more expensive models with an all-steel design. All in all, the De’Longhi EC155 offers great value for the espresso lover on a budget. The De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker can be purchased here.
6. KRUPS XP1000 Steam Espresso Machine with Frothing Nozzle for Cappuccino
If you’re looking for an affordable electric espresso maker that doesn’t require proprietary coffee pods, the KRUPS XP1000 Steam Espresso Machine is one of the best options available. This no-frills espresso maker features a four-cup carafe and a simple knob that easily switches from brewing to steam. This low-cost, compact machine is perfect for college students or anybody who wants to save space and money. And what it lacks in style, it more than makes up for in cost. You can find the KRUPS XP1000 Steam Espresso Machine here.
7. Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker
Who needs an electric espresso maker when you can use the stove? The Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker is the best option for coffee drinkers who want to enjoy espresso, but don’t want to clutter their kitchen counter with yet another electric appliance. Made in Italy by the venerable Bialetti company, this is espresso-making technology stripped down to its barest elements. Affordable and simple to operate, perhaps the only drawback to this device is that it requires a stove and some modicum of patience. You can get yours here.
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