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We have reviewed our top 10 choices below and also done in-depth reviews by brands, but if you are in a rush:
Here’s Our Top Choice: DeLonghi ECAM22110SB Compact (View on Amazon.com)
Do you wake up in the morning, rush to get ready for the day and then stop on your way to work for coffee? Even if you buy the most basic cup of coffee possible, you still spend more than you should every month. With a home espresso machine, you can make espressos that come out piping hot and full of rich Italian flavor from either the beans that you grind yourself or the ground powder available from different companies.
Before you assume that you need to drop thousands on a commercial model, learn more about the DeLonghi ECAM22110SB Compact (Check Price on Amazon.com). This DeLonghi model has a filtration system that makes the flavor of tap water taste more mild, but this system also removes the chemicals, toxins and impurities from the water that can subtly change the flavor of the brewed coffee and form scale build up inside the machine.
A cappuccino frother system mixes milk with a small amount of steam to create a layer of froth that truly stands up on the top of your cup. DeLonghi added an energy saving mode that functions like a switch and stops the machine from using too much of your energy. Though the DeLonghi ECAM22110SB Compact Automatic Cappuccino is just one of the top 10 home models, you can easily see how it compares to some of the other top models created for use at home.
The Ideal Home Model
One main feature that sets a home espresso maker apart from a commercial espresso machine is ease of use. When you want to make espresso at home, you don’t want to spend weeks learning what type of beans to grind, how to grind the beans, when to add the water and how to complete all the other steps. That is why those searching for a home models routinely rank the DeLonghi ECAM22110SB Compact (Check Price on Amazon.com) among their favorites.
The ECAM22110SB is easy to use because it features an automatic design. You no longer need to keep an eye on water temperature and other features when brewing. This model lets you make coffee so quickly that you’ll never need to make a stop on your way to work ever again.
DeLonghi took all the features that made its bigger machines so successful and found a way to put those features in a small machine that fits in any office kitchen or home kitchen. A filtration system gives your coffee purer flavor, and its frothing system pumps out a thick froth that transforms an espresso into a cappuccino. DeLonghi offers full support for the ECAM22110SB through its customer service hot line too.
Top Rated Home Models on the Market
The DeLonghi ECAM22110SB Compact is the perfect choice for many enthusiasts who want to make espresso at home because it gives users complete access to its main menu via simple buttons. With those buttons, you can now make two cups, adjust water temperature, change the amount of froth on a cappuccino or switch between coarser and finer settings as you grind your beans.
As the ECAM22110SB comes with its own bean grinder, you’ll find that your coffee has a richer flavor and that you get the full flavor of the beans. Before grinding beans though, you’ll use a bean hopper, which sits flush with the top of the machine to keep the height down and make this espresso machine fit under or inside your kitchen cabinets.
The durable seal around the top of the hopper serves two purposes: it provides storage for the beans that you use every day and helps preserve the flavor of those beans. This seal also keeps air and other odors from cooking and cleaning away from the beans.
An energy saving mode might look like a basic switch, but this mode cuts down on the energy used by more than 70% and keeps the machine from pulling energy while in standby mode without requiring that you keep the machine plugged in all the time. Other amazing features available on the ECAM22110SB include:
• custom features let each user select his or her preferences when brewing one or more cups
• filtration system removes heavy metals from hard water and other impurities to deliver purer and richer flavors
• two levels that allow users to change the strength of the espresso brewed
• cappuccino frothing system uses milk and steam to create froth that lasts longer
• removable drip tray for convenient catching and cleaning of spills
When you pour hot coffee in a cup or mug that is already warm, the heat will last longer, which is why Rancilio added a built-in cup warmer on its Silvia Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels. That cup warmer runs the full length and width of the machine and can hold up to six regular mugs, a dozen espresso shot glasses or several oversize or novelty cups.
Any cups stored on top absorb the heat from the machine and keep coffee warm for much longer. Full of the same features found on restaurant espresso makers, the Silvia has an ergonomic handle that fits the exact contours of your own hands and keep you from using too much pressure when filtering the grounds from the water to help you make dozens of cups with ease.
The group head uses the same type of metal as commercial machines do, which extracts more flavor from each group of beans and regulates the temperature inside to keep the beans from burning and overheating. It features clean lines, a compact design and a square shape to match most decors and kitchens.
With switch buttons that you simply press down on to turn on, the Silvia is a product that you can more easily learn how to use. The steam knob turns to the right and left to adjust the amount of steam produced, and the steam wand has an articulating design that twists to reach all areas of your cup.
The drip tray on the top is large enough to accommodate most spills and has a removable tray on top. If you aren’t fond of grinding your own beans, you can purchase a separate adapter that installs easily in this model. This adapter lets you use espresso capsules and pods with the machine.
Two coffee spouts on the DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic can work together or separately for more quickly filling of a single cup or for pouring two cups simultaneously when enjoying coffee with a guest or a loved one.
The Magnifica is a super-automatic espresso machine that does most of the brewing for you, though it does give you lots of options in regards to cup size, coffee strength, number of cups brewed and water temperature.
After going through the menu to access all its settings, you can even program the machine to remember your preferences and settings in the future. A conical burr grinder inside the ESAM3300 mimics the sleek shape and overall design of professional and commercial models and has a low pitch that keeps it from skipping over some of the beans to ensure that all the beans ground come out the same size and consistency.
Though this burr grinder is large in size and grinds quickly, it operates smoothly to keep the grinder from interfering with any of your daily activities. The Direct to Brew system is one feature that makes the Magnifica a good choice for home espresso brewing.
This system requires that you press fewer buttons to grind the beans and brew espresso with the water already inside. You’ll notice that the beans do not release as much oil, which gives your coffee a restaurant flavor, and that the beans have a medium dark roast in the end.
A steam nozzle transforms ordinary milk from your refrigerator into a rich cream that serves as the perfect topping for any cappuccino, and you can make enough cream for multiple cups with this nozzle. It also has a Rapid Cappuccino System that regulates the temperature of the machine to keep you in cappuccino without waiting for the machine to cool down between uses.
Whether you have a lot of experience brewing coffee at home, or you are a complete beginner, you’ll still feel like an expert when you step in front of the Breville BES870XL Barista Express. This machine comes in multiple finishes that can match with the style of your decor, including a sleek and contemporary stainless steel option and a brighter and funkier cranberry red finish.
A bean hopper uses a lid to lock in and save the flavor of your beans and can hold up to eight full ounces of beans. Dual wall filters come with this machine and make it a good choice for beginners because those filters let you experiment with the amount of pressure used to extract more or less flavor from the beans.
Once you have more experience, you may feel comfortable using the included single wall filters. A conical burr grinder has a wide surface area that breaks the beans down into a finer powder that is great for an espresso, though you can opt for a coarser grind when making Turkish and similar drinks.
Its thermocoil heating system uses a coil made from stainless steel that regulates the water temperature and keeps cold and hot spots from forming in that water. Other impressive features on this Barista espresso machine include:
• a design that lets you add the coffee grounds to the water in seconds
• a front light that comes on when the machine needs cleaning
• a water tank that holds up to 67 ounces and features a built-in filter to remove toxins and impurities from the water
• a 54 mm tamper that gives you better control when tamping it
• an action steam wand that swivels a full 360-degrees
As scale build up can damage the internal parts and give your coffee a strange taste, Gaggia added a built-in filtration system to its Brera Superautomatic Machine that uses four different stages of filtering.
Whether you use bottled water, filtered water or tap water, the liquid will move through each of those phases to allow the machine to filter out calcium, heavy metals and mineral deposits that may cause scale to form inside. Those filtering stages extend the machine’s life and also let you spend more time making coffee with less time cleaning.
To ensure that the Brera doesn’t drain power when not in use, it has a standby mode that automatically activates after one hour goes by without anyone using it, which significantly cuts back on the amount of power it needs. The digital display on the front shows you any preferences or selections you made as well as when the machine encounters an error.
You’ll even see a message come on when the machine requires any type of cleaning or maintenance. Made in Italy, this machine comes with a pre-infusion setting that is common in that country.
This setting infuses your beans with a minor amount of hot water, which increases the temperature of those beans and mimics the effect of slow roasting the beans. In just a few minutes, the machine can extract more flavor and produce ground beans that taste better than you ever imagined.
The built-in grinder has several settings that produce either a thicker and coarse ground or a thinner and finer coffee. With a larger distance between the removable drip tray and the spout, you can use taller cups like Irish mugs with this machine. The steam wand swivels to fit all the cups that you use too.
The BES840XL the Infuser from Breville gets its name from the fact that it infuses more of a coffee flavor into every cup that it brews and pours. It uses a pre-infusion process that uses water at a lower pressure before it brews, which causes it to bloom slightly and absorb some of that water to ensure that it extracts the maximum amount of flavor.
A standard Italian pump uses 15-bars of pressure that moves slowly across the grounds to keep those grounds from going to waste. With a 1600W thermocoil heating element inside, the Infuser will never produce a dull or flavorless cup of coffee.
This heating element uses stainless steel and looks like a large coil that wraps around the inside to keep water on the top at the exact same temperature as the water on the bottom. It also has an automatic purge function that you can turn on after making steam for a cappuccino, which causes the machine to automatically bring the internal temperature down for making another cup immediately.
An insert inside looks like a standard piece of plastic but fits inside the filter to keep the hot water from touching the cold metal of the filter and immediately dropping in temperature. You’ll also get a cleaning tool that can help you wipe down and clean off the machine and cleaning tabs that can completely clean the inside of the machine during a rinse or cleaning cycle when used with a little water.
Breville supplies you with a scoop for measuring and pouring those grounds in the machine and filter baskets in both single and dual wall designs. A jug made from stainless steel comes with the machine and can store several ounces of warm/hot milk or cream that you make with the Infuser.
Though you might think that the Espressione-DeLonghi of Italy 1324 Cafe Minuetto Professional Die-Cast has a simpler design than some of the other home models, it is one of the best ways to make authentic Italian espessos like you would find in little cafes in Rome.
A thermoblock pump comes up to temperature in several minutes or less and uses 15-bars of pressure to extract more flavor from any of the espresso grounds that you use. Heat releases through vents on the top, and as that top is so flat, you can use it for storing and warming your mugs.
A built-in cappuccino feature increases the water temperature, which helps the machine get more flavor from your coffee and to produce a cappuccino that looks like a restaurant cappuccino. Its thermos cream system produces more froth faster and automatically tops your cup with some of that froth when making a cappuccino.
A basic rotary knob on the front sits in the center when the machine is off but turns to the left for making coffee and to the right for making froth. No cappuccino is complete without a rich layer of cream, which experts call crema, on the top, and the Cafe Minuetto creates rich cream. Other reasons to invest in it might include:
• error control settings that shut it down when it encounters common errors
• built-in protection to keep it from overheating
• capable of working with convenient ESE coffee pods
• comes and works with three different filters
• level indicator on the water tank
Making espressos and cappuccinos that have the perfect balance of flavor combinations is easy with the Duo Temp Pro from Breville. Specifically created to blend sweet, savory and acidic flavors in each cup, this affordable unit for home use might make you feel like you have a barista working in your kitchen.
With elements made from stainless steel and matching side panels, this model will complement most decors. The Duo Temp Pro regulates two different temperatures inside.
It uses a high temperature to produce rich foam that you can use on top of your coffee and a lower temperature when heating up the ground coffee.
Its PID temperature control is a little unique because it uses warm water that almost roasts those grounds first and then a cooler water that extracts all the flavor possible before using a hotter water to brew it, and it also extracts more flavor through a pre-infusion process that uses a 15-bar Italian pump to increase the water pressure.
A 1.8-ounce water reservoir fits inside the machine and won’t bump or rub against any other working parts, and a steel coil moves through that tank to keep all the water at the same temperature. To use the steam wand, you turn the rotary knob to the front, hold the wand in one hand and aim it at the exact spot where you want steam. The Duo Temp Pro comes with a separate hot water function for taking hot water directly out of the machine.
Those who like the taste of espresso often look for machines that deliver the same quality drinks as restaurants in a more convenient package, which is why the DeLonghi EC680M DEDICA 15-Bar Pump is such a popular choice. Though it lacks some of the fancy bells and whistles that you might expect to see on these machines, it’s more than capable of producing strong espressos and making delicious cappuccinos from ground beans.
Measuring just six-inches wide, the DEDICA takes up less space than other kitchen appliances and tucks away easily when you need more room. Three buttons on the top tell the machine to make one cup, two cups or to turn on its steam attachment. With that attachment, you can steam milk to make crema or foam for a cappuccino and also add some air bubbles and warm water to tone down the rich flavor of an espresso.
Other features that shoppers love about the DEDICA include:
• thermoblock technology that allows the DEDICA to come up to temperature in 40 seconds or less
• automatic stop feature keeps excess coffee from overfilling your cup
• has a dedicated container for holding ground coffee but also works with popular and espresso pods
• a built-in cup warmer can accommodate up to two espresso glasses
• illuminates the buttons on the front for viewing in all lighting conditions
DeLonghi includes a tamper that also acts like a coffee scoop, descaling fluid and a guide in the box with the DEDICA.
For an espresso maker that fits your budget and is easy to use, the best model around is the 1 Touch Automatic from Gourmia, which also goes by its GCM5500 model number.
As this machine comes with separate areas that hold your milk and ground coffee, it’s one of the only models that will let you make an espresso or a cappuccino with just one button. The machine automatically gets to work and does everything necessary to make perfect drinks.
Small images of each drink act like buttons and allow you to simply press the type that you want after turning on the machine. It uses your ground beans to make the coffee and pours the brewed coffee in a waiting cup, but it you pick a latte or a cappuccino, it will also heat up the milk, create froth from that milk and add the milk to your cup without the need to move the cup or use a steam attachment yourself. The convenient design so the GCM5500 also lets you use it with coffee pods from Nespresso.
The water reservoir, which holds the hot water needed for making your drinks, comes out of the machine, and it also has a removable drip tray that you can slid off and clean at the same time. With the taller height of its spout, this model can accommodate nontraditional cups and mugs too.
The Excellent Home Espresso Maker goes to…
One solid reason why the DeLonghi ECAM22110SB Compact ranks as the best home espresso machine is because it uses a built-in filtration system that pulls all the impurities and chemicals from your tap water to change the flavor of your beans and make each cup brewed taste purer and richer. That system also prevents lime scale and other build up from forming inside, which makes the machine easier to clean.
The compact espresso machine also makes fresher coffee because it comes with a hopper that holds the beans before you break those beans down in the grinder. The ECAM22110SB from DeLonghi makes espresso quickly and lets you spend less time.