The Best Espresso Machines for a Delicious Shot of Coffee

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Brew Organic » The Best Espresso Machines for a Delicious Shot of Coffee

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An espresso shot with breakfast on a drowsy morning can make a world of difference.

The best espresso machines are available in a variety of sizes and have different capacities and features.

The following is the most comprehensive buying guide and product reviews of some of the best espresso machines in the market

Things to Consider before Buying

Before you set out to buy anything, the natural impulse is to see if the product checks off all the boxes, ask around to see what people in the market or your friends are saying and finally check if the shortlisted coffee maker is within your budget. While the price and reviews are definitely important factors to consider, there are a few other specific factors you may want to look into before buying an espresso coffee machine. The following are a few of these factors:

Types of Espresso Makers

The types of espresso makers can be broken down into two main types, though there are other options within these two categories too:

Manual vs Automatic

A manual espresso machine is an old school device that has a lever for exerting the right amount of pressure. You have complete control over a manual espresso machine and can regulate things as you go along. The learning curve with a manual espresso machine is quite steep, however. These machines are best used by experienced baristas. Manual espresso machines also tend to be more expensive. 

Automatic espresso machines can be fully automatic or semi-automatic. These are easier machines to use to make a shot of espresso but the flavor may not be as rich as with a manual coffee maker. Automatic espresso machines also take care of most of the work and you have little control over the process. But if you are running late for work or have less time to spare for coffee in the day, the automation of the process makes your life that little bit easier. Automatic machines tend to be less expensive than manual ones.

Ease of Use

Whether you invest in a manual espresso machine or an automatic one, ease of use is of massive concern.

An automatic espresso machine is bound to be easier to use, but a manual espresso maker offers other advantages, especially if you are home roasting your coffee for a truly personalised cup.

The ease of use also has to do with how many shots of espresso you can make at once, how easy it is to clean the machine once you are done, how long does the device take to heat up, whether it has an auto shutoff feature or not, etc.

The automated espresso makers often have a control panel that allows you to program settings and order the beverage of your choice with one touch of a button. These machines typically are able to recall previous choices you made so you do not need to keep instructing the machine over and over again. The more automated ones certainly have greater ease of use.

Accessories You Might Need

The following are some common accessories you will require with an espresso maker, whether manual or automatic:

Coffee Grinder

While some espresso coffee makers have an integrated mechanism, others require you to buy a stand-alone coffee grinder. Of course, you can always use pre-ground coffee, but the flavor will be starkly different.

Freshly ground coffee beans will lend a richness to the espresso shot which pre-ground beans simply cannot recreate, so investing in the best coffee grinder you can afford is a smart move if your chosen espresso machine doesn’t have one already built in.

Steam Wand

While most automatic or even semi-automatic espresso machines have a steam wand, sometimes it is not integrated with the machine. The steam wand is the nozzle that lets out steam at a certain intensity that mixes with the milk to make it frothy.

This is essential if you are looking to make a latte or cappuccino or even want to practice some foam art to complete your perfect cup of organic coffee. It’s also better if the wand can be controlled manually so you know what angles to hit the milk from to get the perfect, even texture of foam. 

Espresso Tamper

An espresso tamper is a device with which you can properly compress the coffee grinds into the basket so the coffee can infuse well and produce a richer quality of espresso shot from your fair trade beans. While some machines come with a tamper, others require that you buy the tool separately.

Some Important Terms to Know

The following are the key terms you need to know when you are researching the best espresso machines. You will be hearing these words often, so lets jump straight in…

Portafilter

The portafilter is the part of the machine that holds the basket in which the coffee grinds go. The portafilter is meant to be locked into place when you start the machine to make an espresso shot. They come in a variety of different sizes.

Filter Basket

The filter basket is the container inside the portafilter which is meant to hold the coffee grinds. Some filter baskets can even hold an ESE (Easy Serving Espresso) pod. Filter baskets also come in a variety of different sizes and make it easy to dispose of the grounds at the end of the brew

One Touch

One touch refers to the single touch of a button in automatic espresso machines which creates the drink of your choice. You can program all your specific needs and ratios into the machine and then once the machine has processed your requirements, the next time you want to make the same drink, you only need to press a single button. The machine will register this as your default choice of drink unless you change the parameters again.

Single/Double Boiler

The boiler is the heating system that provides hot water for the espresso and steam for frothing the milk – whether using dairy or a vegan nut-milk as an alternative .

In a single-boiler system, there is only one boiler which is the source for both the water and the steam.

A double-boiler system is one in which one boiler can be used to create steam while a shot can be pulled from the other simultaneously.

Drip Tray

Drip trays are the removable components where you place the cup or carafe so the coffee can be filled into them. They are called drip trays because any drips of coffee that fall into the tray after you have removed the container can be cleaned easily by removing the tray. You simply need to give the tray a rinse without needing to take the whole machine to the sink.

Single/Double Shot

This, to put it very simply, is the volume of the espresso shot. In lay terms, a double shot of espresso has double the amount of coffee grinds. Several espresso coffee machines offer different types of filter baskets so you can make single as well as double shots of espresso.

Water Reservoir

The water reservoir is the container which stores the water that is heated to make the espresso and is also present for creating steam. The larger the water reservoir, the more shots of espresso you can pull at once without needing to refill the reservoir or reheating the water, which is an incremental step to reducing your carbon footprint at point of consumption.

Best Espresso Coffee Machines

The following are some of the best espresso coffee machines in the market that are sure to provide a delicious shot of coffee. They are primarily automatic or semi-automatic machines as these provide the maximum convenience and are ideal for whatever level of skill you have — beginner or advanced:

Breville BES810BSS Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine, Stainless Steel, Medium

The Breville BES810BSS Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine is an efficient device that gradually builds pressure over the coffee grounds so they can bloom fully. The machine offers the perfect shots of espresso and also gives you manual control over the volume of the shot. One shot of espresso from this machine and you are ready to start the day on the right foot. The following are some of the features this machine has to offer to coffee aficionados:

Features

  • The machine uses a 15-bar Italian-made pump which increases pressure gradually to allow the coffee grounds to bloom properly.
  • You can extract up to two shots of espresso in a single go.
  • The machine also gives you manual control over the volume of the espresso shot.
  • The machine comes along with one and two-cup single and dual wall filter baskets that can be used with both freshly ground, as well as pre-ground coffee beans.
  • The water tank has a capacity of 61 ounces.
  • The steam wand gives you the perfect consistency of froth.
  • The machine comes with a razor dose trimming tool, a stainless steel container for the milk, a water filter and a holder for the water filter.

Pros

  • The machine automatically purges the heating system after every steam so your next shot of espresso is at the ideal temperature.
  • There are accurate maintenance indicators on the machine which let you know if something is going wrong.
  • The low-pressure infusion at the beginning of the brewing cycle allows all the flavors to seep in and give you a shot of espresso with precise features.
  • The steaming wand allows you to get a micro-foam texturing for the milk.

Cons

  • The machine is not very easy to clean and a few coffee grinds always stay behind after every shot of espresso you make.
  • Some consumers complained that the steam boiled the milk instead of frothing it.

This product is available on Amazon.com.

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch

An espresso with a classic and efficient design, the Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine has an iron frame and stainless steel side panels. This is a traditional semi-automatic machine that will last you a long time. You can get the perfect froth, a perfect flavor and the perfect shot of espresso within no time. It is easy to use and offers you a lot of flexibility with how you want to go about preparing your espresso shot. The following are some of the features this classic espresso machine has to offer:

Features

  • The machine comes with a patented 58 mm portafilter with an ergonomic design.
  • The chrome-plated brass boiler has a capacity of 12 oz, making it the largest volume capacity among its peers.
  • The water reservoir (2 qt) can be removed (or you can even fill it from the top), at any time during the brewing process.
  • The stainless steel steam wand allows the perfect motion to whip up a perfect frothy consistency for the milk. There is also a steaming knob which can control the intensity of the steam with complete precision.
  • There is also an optional pod and capsule adaptor kit you can avail with the machine.
  • The machine is built with Rancilio’s commercial-grade group head that provides heat stability and precise extraction.

Pros

  • The machine has a classic linear design which fits into a niche in a kitchen corner just as well as it does on a desk in your office.
  • The professional steaming knob gives you immense control over the steaming wand so you can get milk that is perfect even for a latte.
  • The portafilters are the same ones that are used on commercial-grade machines and give you precise extraction for the perfect flavor.
  • The chrome-plated boiler can get to work again, within a few minutes after you prepare an espresso shot.

Cons

  • The learning curve with this machine can be difficult for some consumers.
  • Some consumers complained that the pump broke only after a few months of use.

The product is available on Amazon.com.

DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine

With a control panel that makes the machine extremely accessible and easy to use, the DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso and Coffee Machine gives you the best of all the coffee worlds. Not only can you get a consistent brew for every fresh cup of espresso, but you can also get delicious cups of cappuccinos and lattes. The machine comes with a burr grinder so you can grind fresh beans every time. The following are some of the best features the espresso machine has to offer:

Features

  • The machine has a control panel that allows you to program the menu settings and navigate the device with greater ease.
  • The Direct-to-Brew system is an attached burr grinder which allows you to use freshly ground beans every time. 
  • You can make customized espresso and other coffee drinks by punching in the settings in the control panel. The machine can recall the settings you have programmed even for the next time.
  • There is a manual frother that mixes steam and milk for the most even-textured froth.
  • The water tank has a capacity of 60 oz, while the bean container has a capacity of 8.8 oz.
  • The manufacturer also provides a specialized call center for any problems with the machine.

Pros

  • The brew unit is extractable and is extremely easy to clean.
  • With the control panel, you can adjust the coffee strength, temperature and cup size.
  • Other than espressos, you can also brew cappuccinos, lattes and flat whites.
  • With an average heat up time of 75 seconds, you can enjoy a cup of coffee almost as soon as you crave one.

Cons

  • The integrated burr grinder does not work as well with oily beans.
  • The coffee is not hot enough for several consumers and the beverage had to be reheated after it had already been brewed.

The product is available on Amazon.com.

Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine Bundle with Aeroccino Milk Frother by Breville, Chrome

Make professional-level coffee with the Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville. By pressing a single button, you can get espresso shots of your dreams. But other than an espresso, there are several different styles of coffee you can make with this machine. This is a smart espresso maker which remembers how you like your coffee and can repeat your orders over and over unless you want to change settings and try something different. The following are some of the features the smart espresso maker has to offer:

Features

  • The espresso maker has a single touch-button mechanism which automatically starts working to make your favorite cup of coffee.
  • You can brew up to five different single serve coffee cups at the touch of a button. The measurements are 1.35 oz (Espresso), 2.7 oz (Double Espresso), 5 oz (Gran Lungo), 7.7 oz (Coffee) and 14 oz (Alto). 
  • Nespresso’s Centrifusion technology uses barcodes that allow you to brew the perfect single cup repeatedly, without needing to punch in the settings each time.
  • The water tank has a capacity of 40 oz and is removable.
  • There is an automatic shutoff feature that turns the machine off if there have been more than nine minutes of inactivity.
  • The machine comes with Nespresso Vertuo capsule welcome kit, which includes 12 single-serve coffee capsules, each having a distinct and unique aroma profile.
  • An Aeroccino 3 milk frother comes included with the machine, which allows you to make the perfect creamy and light cappuccino or latte.

Pros

  • On an especially hot day, you can also pour the beverages directly on ice for a cold brew version.
  • The machine has a short heat up of time of a mere 15 seconds so you can enjoy another cup of coffee almost immediately after you make the first one.
  • A single machine has five different cup sizes to offer, thanks to the individual capsules.
  • The barcode on each capsule allows the machine to recognize the blend automatically, without requiring you to punch in the settings every time. 

Cons

  • The machine can only be used with Nespresso capsules.
  • The coffee can often be lukewarm, as some consumers report.

The product is available on Amazon.com.

Klarstein Passionata Rossa 20 Espresso Machine

The Klarstein Passionata Rossa 20 is an espresso machine that is not only practical, it also elevates any surroundings it is placed in. You get a great, rich cup of coffee every time and can snazz up any coffee beverage with milky froth the way you like it. You can use the machine with ground coffee as well as espresso pods, whichever is convenient. The powerful coffee maker will brew a fantastic cup either way. The following are some of the features the espresso machine has to offer:

Features

  • The espresso machine has a brushed stainless steel surface and a splash of red on the body breaks the monotony of the silver — this is a very good looking espresso machine.
  • The drip tray has a stainless steel mesh and is removable, allowing you to clean up after every cup of coffee with great ease.
  • The machine comes with a steam handle which can froth up milk in a matter of a few seconds so you can enjoy an even, foamy texture on the coffee beverage of your choice.
  • The water tank has a volume capacity of 1.3 qt, allowing you to make up to six cups. You can also make two cups of coffee simultaneously.
  • There is an attached hot plate to keep the beverages that come out first hot while you prepare the other ones.

Pros

  • At 1350W and with a pump pressure of 20 bars, this machine is extremely powerful and provides a rich flavor with each cup. 
  • The steam nozzle attachment is removable in case you want to make more storage space.
  • The removable drip tray makes it extremely easy to clean the machine almost immediately after.
  • This is a complete unit with a housing cup tray and stainless steel parts.

Cons

  • The rubber and plastic make of the portafilter is a deal breaker for some consumers.
  • The machine needs to be shut off manually or it will keep pumping once the brewing process has begun. 

The product is available on Amazon.com.

Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine by De’Longhi, Red

The Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine by De’Longhi is an efficient system that exerts up to 19 bars of pressure to give you the perfect, rich consistency of flavorful coffee. You can consume your beverages hot or cold, depending on your mood, but there will always be the guarantee of a refreshing drink. This is also a compact, portable machine that offers unbelievable efficiency and practical use. The following are some of the features the espresso coffee machine has to offer:

Features

  • The machine has a single-touch operation that allows you to have a hassle-free cup of coffee without needing to punch too many buttons.
  • The machine has a 19-bar pump which delivers the right amount of pressure for a perfect cuppa.
  • The machine is extremely compact and portable, saving you a lot of counter space in the kitchen.
  • The machine has a heat up time of 30 seconds.
  • There is an automatic switch off feature that turns the machine off if there has been inactivity for more than nine minutes.
  • An Espresso Original capsule starter kit, with a range of capsules of different aroma profiles, comes complimentary with each espresso unit.
  • There are two cup sizes — 1.35 oz (Espresso) and 5 oz (Lungo).

Pros

  • The capsules are made of aluminum and are recyclable.
  • The starter kit offers as many as 16 Nespresso capsules, which offer you a whole range of variety in terms of aroma.
  • The machine is energy saving and switches to an eco-mode for low energy consumption after three minutes of use.
  • The device is only 5.1 lbs, making it perfectly portable.

Cons

  • If the cup is not sturdy enough, the flow of the outlet shakes it out of place. Several consumers have complained about having to hold the cup in place while the coffee pours.
  • Other machines in the market are more powerful than this one.

The product is available on Amazon.com.

Mueller Espresso Machine for Nespresso Compatible Capsule

The Mueller Espresso Machine allows you to make coffee as professional as a barista’s. The machine operates on a single-touch button system and does not require you to do much other than select what size of cup you want. You get a warranty for two years and are sure to enjoy many cups of delicious, rich coffee with this machine, for many years to come. The following are some of the features the espresso coffee machine has to offer:

Features

  • The premium Italian high-pressure pump can deliver up to 20 bars of pressure which allows the machine to unlock the perfect richness and flavor of the coffee.
  • The machine has a preheat time of 25 seconds before you can start making your coffee.
  • The energy-saving mode activates automatically after 10 minutes and the machine automatically shuts off.
  • There are two cup capacities — short (Espresso) and long (Lungo) — and you only need to press a single button to get the size you want. Both sizes can be reprogrammed so you get options to customize.
  • The water tank is removable and holds 27 fl oz of water. It is detachable and dishwasher safe.

Pros

  • The machine has a small footprint and is ecologically responsible.
  • It is fairly compact and saves a lot of counter space in the kitchen or even in the workplace.
  • The water container has a capacity of 27 fl oz so you do not need to keep refilling it.
  • You can enjoy a steaming cup of coffee within 10 minutes.

Cons

  • The machine is only compatible with Nespresso capsules.
  • Sometimes loading the capsule is tricky and takes some effort.

The product is available on Amazon.com.

Mr Coffee One-Touch Coffeehouse Espresso Maker and Cappuccino Machine

The Mr Coffee One-Touch Coffeehouse Espresso Maker is an easy, efficient and elegant machine that simplifies your work by many degrees. It works on a simple single-button press technology and heats the water evenly so the temperature of your drink is perfect. The cup tray is adjustable and you can easily fit both tall and short mugs in the machine. The automatic milk frother also does its job splendidly. The following are some of the features the coffee maker has to offer:

Features

  • The machine has a 19-bar Italian pump which delivers the accurate amount of pressure that allows the coffee grinds to bloom fully and offer a rich flavor.
  • After only a single press of a button, you can enjoy a single or a double shot of espresso.
  • The machine uses a thermocouple heating system that heats the water evenly and allows the beverage to come out hot.
  • There is an automatic milk frother which helps to whip the milk into the right foamy consistency.
  • The milk reservoir is removable and extremely easy to clean.
  • The cup tray is versatile and can accommodate both, tall and short mugs.

Pros

  • The integrated automatic milk frother allows you to get the even, foam consistency you want.
  • The milk container is removable and you can even refrigerate leftover milk in it.
  • The cup tray is adjustable and easily suits both short and tall mugs.
  • With one press of a button, you can make espressos, cappuccinos and lattes.

Cons

  • The machine makes only small lattes and the size cannot be changed.
  • The portafilter sometimes has a leakage issue.

The product is available on Amazon.com.

Final Thoughts

A great shot of espresso can really turn a bad day around. If you are craving a good cup of coffee, you’d rather have it sooner rather than later. So the more convenient and easy to use the espresso machine is, the better. The products detailed above offer a range of different features, come in different sizes and are also in different price brackets. Pick any from the products listed above and you are sure to find a winner! Enjoy a delicious shot of coffee right in the comfort of your home!

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