Are you an aspiring home based barista looking for the best espresso machine?
We all know that a cup of coffee is among the first things many of us do each morning. And morning wouldn’t be the same any other way.
The smell, the dark color, the feeling you get with that first sip, are just a few of the things we’ve come to love about mornings. And sometimes nothing will do but a delicious brewed espresso.
That special blend of finely ground, dark roasted coffee beans, topped with frothy cream can greet you every morning at your home, and it will welcome you any time of the day as well.
A cup of coffee will help wake you up, get you moving and open your sleepy eyes and so will espresso. Did you know that espresso also offers you other health benefits? Well, keep reading friends!
It has been reported that drinking espresso can improve long-term memory with just two shots a day. It may also increase your attention by boosting dopamine in the brain. Also, because it impacts your central nervous system it gives you increased adrenaline and better muscle contraction. It may also improve digestion and reduce your risk of stroke due to the antioxidants it contains.
So as you can see, you really need an espresso machine and not only because espresso is a warm, delicious treat but, because espresso will improve your health!
In this article I will review the best espresso machines on the market to date. The review is divided into three sections.
First I will give you an overview with a comparison table that contains all of the machines I will discuss. The next section will review the five top rated semi-automatic expresso makers. The last section will review the five best automatic espresso machines.
Espresso Machines Comparison Table
Espresso Maker Reviews – Semi-Automatic
We wanted to share the results of our assessment on the espresso machines we considered. While we do report cons on each item, you really can’t go wrong with any of our selections.
The Gaggia 14101 is very close to perfection. It has superior quality yet it is affordable. You get all of the basics for a perfect espresso with every use. This machine is good for both new and long-term drinkers.
There are just a few cons such as the boiler is aluminum and can corrode if you are not careful. Using bottled water rather than tap water will help with this issue. It also may take some time to master this machine as it is designed to mimic the more professional grade machines.
The Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine has several pros. It is popular for its’ excellent value, long life and quality construction and materials. It also has a removable heating element that makes for very easy cleaning.
It is fully manual and so good that you will feel like you have opened an espresso shop in your kitchen. It also has one con: no temperature controls. You can run water through and watch for the orange light to come on.
That will allow you to be able to tell when the water is heated to max temperature. Then, you are all set to brew.
It maintains a constant temperature through extraction and you also get some ability to customize the temperature of your shots with the programmable temperature feature. It also comes in three beautiful colors.
The cons of this machine were very hard to find. If you don’t have the machine professionally decalcified and descaled, you will have to use filters. If you purchase the latest model then the issue has been resolved.
The La Pavoni PPG-16 is a gorgeous espresso machine. It has a solid brass tank, lever operation and it makes up to 16 cups! Its’ frothing system is superior and the craftsmanship is this machine is simply excellent.
With this machine, you are guaranteed to make a mouth watering shot of espresso every single time. The only con I could uncover is that it is not the best choice for espresso newbies.
This machine is more for the experts who are accustomed to owning and operating espresso machines. The look of it will make you feel very fancy and your guests will surely be impressed.
Compared to comparable espresso machines this unit provides the same excellent espresso for a couple hundred dollars less. Users rave about its’ high quality craftsmanship and expect it to last for years.
This machine is also available in two different makes; one with a water tank and the other is a plumbed model. This machine is perfect for the office, home if you live with a lot of coffee drinkers or it would even be great to start your own small café.
Overall, this machine is easy to use, easy to clean and it makes professional tasting espresso.
Espresso Machine Reviews – Super Automatic
Before we jump into our reviews, let’s examine the super-automatic features. As we mentioned earlier, these makers are very convenient and almost entirely automatic. Put in the beans and flip the switch!
With super automatic machines the grinder is built in so you just add water, then simply push a button. Some makers offer the capability of adding froth with an automatic milk dispenser. Without further ado, here are the best espresso machines for busy people who value convenience.
This machines is easy to use and it provides excellent foam. Espresso drinkers who like their espresso with milk should opt for this machine. This machine is not just all about foam though.
The best feature of this machine is probably the software that allows you to program it to your specific likes. The software allows you to pre-program a number of drinks. You have a lot of control over things like the volume of your shot, shot strength and even the temperature.
This machine even has a self-cleaning feature. The Jura Impressa is ideal if you like a variety of different drinks or if you have a lot of espresso drinkers in your household as they can simply program their order.
One possible con with this machine is you don’t have access to the brew unit for cleaning but, again the self-cleaning feature compensates for this.
This machine has a double boiler which allows brewing and steaming to happen at the same time. It is reliable, durable, and has commercial grade elements. The steam and water are regulated independently.
As for cons the grinder is slightly noisy and you must use medium roast beans as the automatic grinder is not oily bean friendly.
The Jura Giga 5 is a top rated espresso machine. It comes in two different colors and can brew not one but two drinks at the same time. It also has 18 programmable drink settings and is self-cleaning and self-descaling.
This machine is very low maintenance and has awesome froth. As for cons, I could not find one. If you are looking for a lower priced machine then perhaps that could be a con because the Jura Giga is one of the pricier machines in this review.
If you are looking to purchase for an office or a home with lots of users then the monetary investment will be well worth it.
This machine is small and stylish so it take up less counter space and blends right in with any décor. The brewing is fully automated so all you do is place a coffee capsule in and push the size button. It has one touch froth ability and comes stocked with 16 Nespresso Capsules.
There are 30 high quality blends available for this machine and three available shot sizes. With the Nespresso Pixie you could have a great shot ready for drinking in less than 30 seconds. It has a 19 bar pressure pump for incredible flavor.
It also has technology that ensures exact temperatures on your brew and your froth. The machine holds ten used capsules that automatically eject. It has a removable water tank and an automatic shut off feature.
The potential cons of this machine are you must use the Nestle capsules and it might be difficult to clean as it has a lot of elements on the bottom of the machine. Also, you can only brew one shot at a time.
With the SAECO Xelsis you are able to store up to six unique profiles. Allowing every family member to program a drink. Each profile can be programmed for you choice of delicious espresso, cappuccino, latte and other recipes at the touch of one button. I
t also has a ceramic bean grinder and dual chamber milk carafe allowing it to make the ideal froth. It automatically cleans and descales itself. This machine is on the pricier side but it could be the most full featured super automatic machines that you can buy.
Espresso Machine Buying Guide
Steam machines were the original espresso makers; however, they only make a cup of coffee on steroids, not the real espresso taste that we have come to know and love.
Consider this type of maker if you’re just starting to develop your espresso taste and don’t want to spend too much money. Pump machines make straight espresso and come in either super automatic or semi-automatic. What’s the difference? We’re glad you asked!
Don’t be fooled by the word “super” because, while super-automatic will deliver a delicious cup of espresso, with fewer controls for you to address. In other words, you can’t customize the cup to your unique taste buds. The semi-automatic is ideal if you’ve become a connoisseur of the drink. It takes a little more time and effort, but you can produce exactly what you want.
For example: You can tweak the water flow and steam to your taste (water pressure and temperature are automated). You control the pump. You have to fill the filter with ground coffee; there is no built-in grinder (you can buy beans already ground, but if you’re the espresso expert we think you are, consider getting a grinder for you own fresh beans.
Some other things you should take into consideration when selecting a semi-automatic machine is usability. Look for features such as bright indicator lights, how buttons and switches are positioned and if they are intuitive. Check to see if it will be easy or hard to clean.
Look at the configuration of the machine. I hope this review helps you with your decision to add an espresso maker to your home. A lot of the selection process really depends on your personal habits; like, how much you usually drink each day, how much customization you like to your cup, and if you have the need to make two cups concurrently.
There are many other models available at a broad range of prices, and you now know all the features to watch for when reviewing each product. Surely you will find the best rated espresso machine available here.
Please excuse me now, I’m off to the kitchen to make everyone an espresso, made to order! Happy drinking!
Product images sourced by Amazon.com