Types of Espresso Machines
While you might think that one espresso machine is as good as the next, it’s important that you take a look at some of the different types. In addition to basic espresso machines, we want you to learn more about semi automatic and other types.
An espresso machine is a basic machine that lets you make all your favorite espresso drinks in the comfort of your own home. Designed for residential use, these machines are easy enough for beginners to use. You usually add hot water to the tank or reservoir, add your ground beans or powdered coffee to the machine and let the water steam. Some machines come with other features that let you steam milk and make specialty drinks.
Home Espresso Machines
A commercial machine comes fully loaded will all the bells and whistles that you would expect to find in the machine that your favorite coffee shop uses. Home machines streamline the process of making a cup of espresso to make it easier for those with less experience. Though some machines will let you make just one cup at a time, others will let you brew up a larger batch for a bigger group. Home machines are generally smaller and easier to use than other types.
Semi Automatic Espresso Machines
With a semi automatic espresso machine, you have a little more control over each cup that you make. These machines come with both an automated pump and an automated boiler. The boiler is what controls the temperature of the water inside the reservoir. Small buttons or switches on the front let you decide when to turn on the boiler and the pump, and those switches also let you adjust the temperature in seconds. Semi automatic espresso machines are quite similar to those used in smaller coffee houses and restaurants.
Super Automatic Espresso Machines
If you love the taste of a fresh cup of espresso but worry that you won’t know what to do with a semi automatic machine, try a super automatic espresso machine. Though similar in design, these machines let you do everything you need to brew a fresh cup with the touch of just one button. When you push a button on the front or side of the machine and have water and espresso inside, it will grind the beans, portion out the exact amount needed, tamper the espresso, brew the coffee and the eject any waste left behind.
Commercial Espresso Machines
While other machines can brew up a great cup of espresso, only a commercial machine will deliver the same results you would get in your favorite coffee house. Commercial machines are much larger in size and designed for brewing dozens of cups of espresso at the same time. Most come with a large instructional manual too, which may take you some time to get through. Commercial espresso machines are generally best for those who own or operate businesses like hotels or restaurants than those making espresso at home.
How to Choose the Best Espresso Machine
Though you probably already know whether you want an espresso machine designed for home or commercial use, there are some other things you should consider before buying one of these machines online.
Pump vs. Steam
Steam machines generate enough heat to turn water into steam, which then moves slowly through the coffee grounds to make a simple cup. Pump machines use an electric pump to deliver a deeper and more roasted flavor in a shorter period of time.
Home models often have a smaller footprint that lets you place the machine on your counter without sacrificing valuable space. Other models are larger in size and may take up more space than you would like. Keep in mind that size can also dictate the number of cups you can make at one time.
If you rent, or you frequently move houses, you’ll want an espresso machine with a built-in tank or reservoir. This lets you pour in water from the tap for making espresso. Other machines actually let you hook the machine up to your home’s water system. Those with a built-in tank may purify the water before brewing.
Making a cappuccino or a macchiato like you might get in your favorite restaurant is easy to do at home, but you’ll want an espresso machine that comes with its own built-in steamer. The steamer heats the milk to the perfect temperature for mixing with or adding to your coffee.
Ease of Use
Always look at how easily you can use the machine, especially if you have limited experience. A commercial or professional machine may take months or even years to master.
You’ll also want to consider how easily you can clean the machine. If it requires that you take the machine apart and wash each component by hand, you may use it less often than you would like.
Look for machines that come with programmed settings too. These machines let you press a button on the front to make an instant cappuccino, espresso or a specialty drink.
Top Espresso Machines on the Market
5 Best Espresso Machines
1. DeLonghi ECAM28465M Prima Donna Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
This DeLonghi model is easily the best espresso maker we came across. It comes with a housing made from stainless steel and a digital display on the front surrounded by simple buttons. Those buttons let you pick the number of cups you want to make, the strength of those cups and even the type of drink. Switching from an espresso to a latte, cappuccino or another drink is as easy as pressing a new button, and you can then use the arrow buttons to increase or decrease the strength of the drink. The tank in the back can hold up to two liters, but it also has a separate tank for storing milk. You can froth, steam or just gently heat up that milk with one touch of a button. This machine will even instantly add the milk to your cup to make a specialty drink in just a few seconds.
2. CM6310 Countertop Coffee System
The sleek look of this model is what made it our number two choice. It’s the type of espresso machine that you might expect to see in a hip coffee shop, but it’s so easy to use that you’ll wonder why you wasted time on regular coffee machines in the past. It actually lets you create your own profile and save that profile under your own name. When you press the right button, it uses your settings to automatically make you the perfect cup. You can also add up to three other user profiles too. An included cup warmer slowly heats up your cup to keep your coffee warmer for longer, and it also cups with a light that helps you keep an eye on your cup in lower light settings. Users will also appreciate its bright LCD display that shows them what the machine does as it brews.
3. Jura E8 Automatic Coffee Machine
Jura makes some of the best espresso machines in the world. The E8 is no exception. This machine comes with a patented Pulse Extraction Process that determines the exact amount of time needed to press and pulse your beans to provide you with the richest aroma and the most delicious flavor possible. It also comes with an Intelligent Water System that alerts you when you need to replace the filter inside. That filter does a phenomenal job of removing any impurities from your water that might change the flavor of your coffee and lets you use water right from the tap instead of distilled water. You can use a number of different drink settings to make a flat white coffee, espresso, cappuccino or even macchiato. Though it has two coffee spouts on the front, you can brew a single cup at a time. The included milk reservoir and steaming wand make it easy to experiment with different drink types.
4. DeLonghi Magnifica S Black Smart Automatic Cappuccino Machine
When you pull out this espresso maker, your dinner guests might feel like they’re in Italy. It comes with a set of six shot glasses that let you make traditional Italian espresso for everyone in your home. Thanks to the adjustable cup panel though, you can also make a larger cup of espresso in the morning to start your day off on the right foot. One of the more unique aspects of its design is that it has both push buttons and a rotary knob. You can turn the knob to jump between settings or press the buttons. Like some of the other espresso machines from DeLonghi, this one also comes with a separate tank for holding your milk with an attached nozzle. When you make a cappuccino or a macchiato, it will automatically heat and steam the milk before adding it to your cup.
5. Breville 800ESXL 15-Bar Triple-Priming Die-Cast Espresso Machine
If you love espresso but are on a budget, this Breville model will help you enjoy delicious coffee at home. Its water tank holds more than two liters of water, and while you can fill the tank while it’s inside the machine, you can also remove it for fast and easy cleaning. A purge function adjusts the temperature of the water you place inside to extract more flavor from your beans and to ensure that your drink has the flavor you want. The selector dial on the front lets you easily choose between brewing espresso or producing steam for your cappuccino. You can also use one of the two buttons on the front to get hot water out of the machine for making hot chocolate or tea. We also like that this machine has a separate area on the side that can accommodate a small pitcher for steaming milk.
Best Espresso Machine
After looking at hundreds of different espresso machines, we just kept coming back to the DeLonghi ECAM28465M Prima Donna Fully Automatic Espresso Machine. We love that its automated design turns all coffee lovers into professional coffee makers and that it’s easy enough for those with limited knowledge to use. It comes with a reservoir that will both hold and steam your milk while frothing it, and with one button, the machine with instantly add that frothed milk to your espresso to make it a cappuccino. It also comes with an impressive two liter-tank for making all the drinks your crowd wants and needs.
5 Best Home Espresso Machines
1. Jura IMPRESSA F8 Automatic Coffee Machine
Almost everything about this home espresso machine practically screams class and elegance, but unlike some of its more expensive competitors, this one is also easy to use. A built-in aroma grinder grinds your beans to the perfect consistency and lets the scent of those beans waft over you as the machine works. A small silver tray on the front holds two cups for whipping up espresso for yourself and a guest, but that tray also has slots that allows any spilled coffee to move into a special container for easy cleaning later. You’ll also love the unique display on the front that shows you what stage the machine is currently in to help you keep track of each cup. Programmed settings let you make more than just espresso though. One touch of a button lets you create the perfect cappuccino and other drinks you thought you could only get from a professional shop.
2. Breville BES980XL Oracle Espresso Machine
Though this Breville espresso machine might look a little futuristic and hard to use, it comes loaded with great programmed features and settings that make using it a snap. A built-in grinder grinds your beans to make brewing espresso at home easier, and it also comes with a built-in tamper that turns you into a barista. Made from stainless steel, the espresso machine also comes with a milking feature that lets you add perfectly steamed milk to your next cup without even pressing a button first. You can actually let the machine know that you want milk and how much milk you want when you turn it on in the morning. The display on the front shows you the current temperature setting and lets you change that setting from 190 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can also program the machine to use a Celsius temperature range when making espresso.
3. Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine
While this Breville model is similar to the last one on our list, it’s a little different. This one comes with a pressure valve that keeps the machine from overheating and ensures that the extraction pressure remains at a safe level. A thermometer placed on the very front shows you the current temperature of the machine, but you can use the buttons to adjust that temperature. The digital display will show you the setting you selected. Small buttons underneath the display let you adjust the temperature up and down and access the menu to change your settings. You’ll also like that the LCD display can act like a countdown clock to show you just how much time is left before your cup is ready. Breville included a testing strip for checking for hard water before using the machine and an alert that lets you know when you need to descale it.
4. Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels
Make any day the perfect day for espresso with this machine that has a professional look but an easier to use design. The filter features an ergonomically designed handle that fits perfectly in your hand and reduces both pressure and strain in your wrist and hand to help you brew multiple cups without missing a beat. Designed to help you save space around your kitchen, this machine has a linear design that takes up less space on your counter and a chrome finish that will match almost any type of kitchen. It even has a small shelf on the very top that is just the right size for holding several coffee cups. You’ll also like its commercial design and how it comes packed with features found on pro models like a group head that better regulates the temperature and a steam wand that rotates at an angle in multiple directions.
5. De’Longhi ECP3630 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
Capable of making both cappuccino and espresso, this machine will make you spend more time at home and less time at your favorite cafe. A removable water tank pops out of the bank easily and can hold up to 37 ounces, which is enough for nearly five full cups of coffee or even more cups of espresso. As the tank slides right out, you’ll find that you can easily clean it too. It comes with a drip tray on the front that collects and retains any spills or leaks for easy cleaning later, and that drip tray is larger than those found on other machines to accommodate bigger cups. You can turn the machine on and get it ready for use with just one flip of the switch, but the manufacturer also has its own handy phone line that you can call for help the first time that you use it.
5 Best Semi Automatic Espresso Machines
1. Luigi Lavazza One Cup Espresso Beverage System
Designed for use with special coffee pods from the manufacturer, this easy to use espresso machine lets you make three different types of coffee via the buttons on the front. The machine can turn one of those pods into the perfect cup of coffee, a cappuccino with foam on top or even a rich and smooth latte. It also works with other pods from the manufacturer for making a traditional cup of coffee or tea. Made from stainless steel, this machine also features gold and chrome accents on the top that make it look like a machine you might find in a coffee house. Gold bars across the front also transform the top into a storage area for your extra cups. We also like the hot water button for rinsing out cups before or after drinking and the external wand that froths milk to the perfect consistency for specialty drinks.
2. Breville BES840BSXL The Infuser Espresso Machine
Available in multiple colors, this Infuser model from Breville might make you feel like a barista in the comfort of your own kitchen. A special feature added to this model slowly pours water over your coffee grounds to expand those grounds and extract more flavor from each one. A water coil component on the inside made from stainless steel better regulates the internal temperature to cut down on the risk of burning the grounds or creating a cup of lukewarm espresso. Push buttons on the front let you brew one or two cups at a time and let you turn the machine on and off, but those buttons also let you make simple changes during the brewing process. The manufacturer also added a number of great tools that come right in the box, including a scoop for measuring coffee, two baskets, a water filter and tools for cleaning all internal parts.
3. KitchenAid KES0504OB Nespresso Bundle
Nespresso took the world by storm after introducing small coffee capsules that let you make pro drinks at home. This KitchenAid Nespresso bundle comes with everything you need to make espresso and coffee house drinks in your own home kitchen. The simple design requires that you just lift the lid, insert your capsule in the top, add a little water, drop the lid down and press a button to make a single cup of espresso. A knob at the top lets you decide on how much to brew based on the size of your cup. You can also use that knob to change the strength of the coffee. The removable water reservoir holds 1.3 liters, which is enough to make several cups in a row for sharing espresso and other drinks with friends. KitchenAid also added a milk frother that helps you turn an ordinary cup of espresso into a rich cappuccino.
4. Capresso Ultima Pro Espresso Maker
With this Capresso espresso maker, you can now make espresso like you always dreamed of making. Its unique and patented design creates espresso that has a thin layer of cream on the very top, which many consider a hallmark of espresso. This machine is extremely easy to use because of the simple buttons on the very front. The first two buttons let you make one or two cups of espresso, and the buttons on the opposite side let you froth or steam your drinks. It also features a simple power button for turning the machine on and brewing your coffee. You’ll also like the knob located on one side of the machine that lets you use the adjustable knob for steaming milk and other liquids. We also like that the buttons on this one light up to help you brew and make espresso in lower light conditions.
5. De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
Though this model gets good reviews from users, we had to put it at the bottom of our list because it’s so small and compact. While some will love its smaller footprint, others will dislike that its size limits what it can do. Instead of push button controls, this one uses a simple knob on the front. You’ll need to turn that knob to the right or left to adjust the settings or decide on the type of coffee you want to brew. That smaller size also means it only works with smaller and more traditional espresso cups. Despite some flaws, it’s one of the easiest models we came across. You simply fill the tank with water, add your coffee grounds, adjust the knob and start brewing. Its water tank holds up to 35 ounces and slides out easily from the machine for fast and convenient cleaning as do other parts.
5 Best Super Automatic Espresso Machines
1. Gaggia RI8762 Anima Prestige Super Automatic Espresso Machine
It only takes one cup of espresso from this machine to change the way you think about your beloved coffee house. This Gaggia machine delivers the same results that you would get from a barista but lets you control the flavor and even size of your cup. Use the buttons on the front to make a smaller cup of traditional espresso or a larger cup like those found in American shops. Those buttons also let you cappuccino or a latte and access the menu. You’ll also find a button that lets you adjust the aroma strength. The adjustable dispenser moves up and down to accommodate both smaller and larger cups, and with a 60-ounce reservoir, you’ll never again worry about running out of coffee while making drinks for a crowd. It also comes with an automatic shut off feature to help you save on electric bills and an automatic milk frothing carafe.
2. DeLonghi ESAM3500.N Magnifica Digital Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine
DeLonghi designed this super automatic espresso machine with convenience in mind. It does everything you need to do to make the perfect cup of coffee, even if you’re running on limited sleep first thing in the morning. Controls on the front let you move between settings and change both the size of your cup and the strength of the brew. These is even a button that lets you make the perfect cup of cappuccino with just one push of a button. Its unique Direct-to-Brew system lets you add beans to the machine, press a button and enjoy a fresh cup in minutes. The machine will instantly grind those beans for you, tamper the beans, push the water through and pour the finished coffee in your cup. Cappuccino lovers will also like that it comes with a pitcher for holding milk and a frother for steaming and frothing that milk.
3. Delonghi ECAM23210SB Super Automatic Coffee Machine
The buttons found across the front of this super automatic espresso machine will make anyone feel like a real barista. Instead of wasting a lot of time trying to figure out what buttons to press and how to grind your beans, this machine does everything for you. Not only does it grind and tamp your beans, but it will also add the perfect amount of water based on the settings you selected to give you a cup that tastes just the way you like. The coffee spout actually adjusts to better fit your cup, letting you make the largest cup of espresso or cappuccino you ever saw before. It also comes with a hot water spout on the side. This spout lets you pour hot water from the 60-ounce tank inside into your cup for making tea, hot chocolate or other drinks when you’re not in the mood for coffee.
4. Jura Ena Micro 1
While other machines let you make multiple cups of espresso and other drinks, Jura designed this machine for those who want to make the perfect single cup of espresso in minutes. The manufacturer added a special cover that sits on the top of your beans and protects those beans from odors in the surrounding environment and other hazards to ensure that they stay fresh and ready for brewing. You simply add the beans to the reservoir inside, place the cover in place and use those beans anytime you want a fresh cup. A preheating system cuts down on the time you spend waiting for the machine to heat up before using it, but it also comes with a protective feature that shuts down the machine when you don’t use it for a long period of time or if it reaches a temperature the machine views as too high.
5. Gaggia Brera Superautomatic Espresso Machine
If you live in an area with hard water, you’ll love having this Gaggia super automatic espresso maker in your kitchen. Hard water features mineral deposits that subtly change the flavor of coffee, but this machine features a patented filter technology that sends the water through four separate filters. Each of those filters removes impurities and mineral deposits to help you enjoy the full flavor of your beans. Available in two colors to better match the decor of your kitchen, this espresso machine also also has a standby mode. If you do not use it for 60 minutes, it will instantly enter standby mode to cut down on the amount of power it needs. We also like that the digital display on the front will send out an alert if it encounters any problems like a lack of water or not enough beans to help you stay on top of potential issues.
5 Best Commercial Espresso Machines
1. Jura Impressa XS90 One Touch Automatic Coffee Center
Making coffee for a crowd is a cinch with this Jura machine by your side. Designed for commercial applications, this machine will work well in a restaurant, hotel or even bar. Its 15-bar pump system can accommodate all the drinks you need to make without slowing down. With push-button controls, it’s so easy to use that you can train your workers in minutes and cut down on training. The burr grinder comes with six settings that let you decide how you want the machine to grind your beans, and it comes with an automatic feature that lets you know when you need to add more beans. Internal containers can hold up to 10 ounces of whole beans and more than one gallon of water, which lets you make up to 40 cups. It’s perfect for businesses that make and sell 50 or more cups of coffee in a single day.
2. Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pour Over Espresso Coffee Machine
If you want an espresso maker that your guests will drool over, you can’t go wrong with this model. With its sleek chrome accents and stylish design, it looks like something from another era. As much as your guests will love the design, you and your workers will love how easily you can operate it. This machine functions as a pour over coffee maker, which means that you simply add your coffee grounds to the machine and add the right amount of water. The machine will pour the water over the beans to extract all the delicious flavor, and you can then press a single button to brew a cup. It also comes with a dual heat exchanger that heats and steams your milk at the same time that it brews coffee. With the attached steam wand, you can heat up milk for making cappuccinos and other drinks for your guests.
3. Espresso Maker Rancilio Silvia Doser Grinder & Base
When guests enter you restaurant or shop and see this machine, they’ll know that you’re serious about coffee. Unlike other machines that have a built-in grinder or require that you use ground coffee, this machine comes with its own attached grinder. That grinder has a removable tank that you can use with your favorite beans. You can even mix and match different beans to make your own unique and custom blends. The grinder also lets you adjust the settings for coarser or smaller grounds. The machine itself has an ergonomically-designed handle that you’ll love when making dozens of drinks over the course of the day and convenient buttons for brewing different drinks. There is even a steaming wand for quickly bringing milk or water up to temperature. You’ll also like the two drawers that slide out from the bottom of the machine for cleaning spilled liquids and coffee grounds with ease.
4. Gaggia 90500 Titanium Super Automatic Espresso Machine
When you spend a lot of time on your feet and running across your business, you want an espresso machine that it easier to use like this Gaggia model. As an automatic machine, it does everything you need with just one touch of a button on the front. Those buttons let you choose from five different temperature settings and three different volume settings. It also comes with programmable features that let you quickly grind beans before making espresso or infuse ground beans with water to get more flavor from those grounds. Though it may look complicated, you can quickly get a handle on it in just a few minutes. We like that it has a smaller footprint, which is perfect for professional kitchens and businesses, but we also like that it has storage space on top for holding the cups that you need to fill orders from guests.
5. KRUPS EA8250 Espresseria Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
Though KRUPS might not be the first name you think of when you think of commercial appliances, this espresso machine works just as well in a professional kitchen as it does in a home kitchen. The conveniently smaller size is great for restaurants and bars that get less business, but it has a larger tank that can hold up to 60 ounces. Patented KRUPS heating technology ensures that the water remains at the perfect temperature as it runs through the machine and ensures that each cup you serve comes out piping hot. The front LCD screen shows you the current settings and works with the adjustable knob beneath to let you scroll through and change those settings. You can decide on the temperature of the drink, the overall strength of the coffee and even the size of the cup you want filled. This machine can grind your beans for you and keep those beans fresh.
Best Commercial Espresso Machine
Though Jura found its way onto some of our other lists, we found that its Jura Impressa XS90 One Touch Automatic Coffee Center far outweighed its competition as the top commercial espresso machine. This model lets you make an espresso, cappuccino, latte even a macchiato for your guests almost instantly. As it features buttons for each one on the front, you can just add the beans, press a button and let the machine do all the hard work. Its sleek design will look nice in any food or restaurant business, and it can make all the coffee drinks you need in a busy day.
Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine
The best super automatic espresso machine that we found is the Gaggia RI8762 Anima Prestige Super Automatic Espresso Machine. Designed with quality performance in mind, it features a pre-infusion process that opens up the beans that you use to deliver stronger aromas and bolder flavors. With a 60-ounce water tank, programmed settings and adjustable controls on the front, it’s the best of the best. Using those buttons lets you make espresso of different strengths, cappuccinos and even lattes. It also uses less energy and comes with a feature that turns itself off after 60 minutes of inactivity to help you save on power bills.
Best Semi Automatic Espresso Machine
The best semi automatic espresso machine is the Luigi Lavazza One Cup Espresso Beverage System, which has a water tank that can hold up to half of a gallon of water. Though it only brews one cup at a time, that larger tank lets you make cup after cup without running to the faucet. A hot water button lets you rinse out your cup to keep your espresso at the perfect temperature, and it also comes with a steaming wand for steaming your milk before adding it to your cup. It does almost everything you need via the buttons on the front.
Best Home Espresso Machine
Though a lot of companies fought it out for the top spot, our nod went to the Jura IMPRESSA F8 Automatic Coffee Machine. This machine delivers professional results in a simple machine that anyone can use, and unlike other machines that only brew one cup at a time, this one brews up two cups at once. The bright display on the front lets you decide how many cups you want to brew and even the strength of your espresso. That display also shows you which step of the process it is in to help you see when your cup is ready.