The Ultimate Guide to the Best Espresso Machines
On the hunt for the perfect espresso machine? If so this post is for you! In it we take a look at what to look for in a machine, as well as a list of some top espresso machine picks.
Are you on a mission to find the ultimate espresso machine? Is so, you are where you need to be. We are going to check out what features make for a great espresso machine. We have also compiled a list of some of the best espresso machines available on Amazon. From value for money finds, to top of the range barista style models.
It is also important to define what kind of machine, with which features will be ideal for your personal preferences. Once you have isolated what is most important to you in an espresso maker, and what kind of features indicate a good machine it will be easy to pick out the perfect coffee machine for yourself. And with our top picks list to get you started, you really can’t go wrong.
You are probably eager to get closer to having that sexy espresso machine sitting on your countertop. So let’s dive in shall we!
A Quick Look at the Different Kinds of Espresso Machines
If you are in the market for an espresso machine you are probably already aware that espresso machines come in all shapes and sizes. Differentiating factors include price, extraction ability, quality of materials, and level of automation.
The last factor, level of automation, is what clearly divides different espresso machines into their general types.
Manual Espresso Machines
First up, we have the traditional manual espresso machines. These machines have the least automation. They allow you to take control of everything, from steam pressure to water temperature.
Coveted by baristas, these machines come with a learning curve. But once you have mastered the science of espresso making, they have the capability of producing world class espresso.
A downside to manual espresso machines is that they often require more cleanup than more automated machines. They can be expensive, and are also usually quite large in size. Not ideal if counter space is at a premium.
However, if a coffee shop level espresso machine is what you want, and you are passionate about your espresso, then these elements might not be a consideration.
More Automated Espresso Machines
Many espresso machines nowadays come with some level of automation. Right up to the fully automated models which can extract near perfect espresso at the press of a button. These machines are great if you have no barista aspirations, and want top notch espresso and coffee drinks with the highest level of convenience.
They come in a variety of different levels of automation and functionality. Some froth milk automatically internally. Others do not have any milk frothing capacity. And others allow you to manually control the milk frothing process to get the exact density of foam that you want.
Automated machines usually offer a selection of preprogrammed drink options. Depending on the machine, you can sometimes customize these to tweak them to your personal preference. For example you may able able to adjust the water quantity or brewing temperature.
Capsules espresso machines are the most automated designs of all. These machines do everything. All you need to do is insert a prepackaged capsule or pod of coffee and press go. Capsule coffee machines take all the work out of making espresso. They also eliminate mess and cleaning.
The downside to capsule machines is that the coffee pods can be expensive. And, you are often tied to the brand of coffee capsules that fit your machine. This can cause problems if they increase in price, and difficulty to find/buy where you live, or if you do not like the flavors they offer. Take note however, this is not true for all machines. Some models can take more than one brand of capsule. Others are compatible with certain stainless steel re-usable capsules which you can refill with your own grounds.
On the upside, they are usually small in size. Easy cleaning, and great for many situations such as offices. Everyone can select the flavor of coffee they like, and Bob is your uncle.
Bean to Cup Machines
Bean to cup machines are actually a type of espresso machine which spans all levels of automation, except capsule machines. These machines have a fitted grinder component which will grind your coffee fresh for each cup. Providing you keep it filled up with beans.
These machines are great for those of you who love the freshly ground cup. The grinding usually happens automatically. And there is no separate grinder flying around on your countertop.
When going for a bean to cup machine, you will of course always have to take into account the quality of the grinder on it. Grinders comes in varying levels of quality. You want to make sure that you are not being overcharged for a machine which may have a low quality grinder on it.
Which brings us to our next section. What features make for a great machine.
What Features Make for a Great Espresso Machine
As mentioned previously, espresso machines come in a wide variety. Being able to spot a quality machine, whether it is a manual espresso machine or an ultra automated capsule model, is key. So let’s go through what areas in the different types of machines you should pay close attention to.
Manual Espresso Machines
Manual espresso machines are usually made to high standards. They are designed for espresso die-hards, and their background is in the commercial space. However there are some overpriced machines out there that do not have great specs. So, in order to make sure that you do not end up with one of these inferior models, let’s take a look at what specs to double check before buying a machine.
The Pressure System
Not all Pressures are Equal
Espresso machines make espresso by essentially forcing hot steam through a little compacted puck of coffee. The ideal pressure during the shot is 9 bars. Espresso machines have capabilities of up to 19 bars. This extra pressure is not always necessary, but can help to ensure that pressure can be maintained at the ideal level, consistently throughout extraction.
If an espresso machine can reach pressures of up to 19 bar, but the system is not of a good enough quality to create even pressure during extraction, then this is no reason to fork out.
So bottom line is that while high pressure capabilities can contribute to the quality of espresso pulled, they are not the be all and end all of a good espresso machine.
Steam vs Pump Driven
Steam functioning espresso machine use the pressure generated from heated water for the extraction process. Pump driven espresso machines on the other hand have high powered pump systems which force the steam through the grounds. They are more powerful and result in a better espresso than steam driven models. Pump driven machines are also capable of creating lots of crema, the mecca of espresso making.
There is another area that pump driven machines optimize which is just as important as the crema. Because the hot steam/water does not have much time in contact with the grounds – thanks to the high pressure – the resulting espresso cannot become bitter. Steam driven machines on the other hand are the opposite. The steam has a longer time in contact with the grounds. Because there is not enough pressure to force them through quickly. This can result in bitter espresso.
On the downside, pump espresso machines are generally quite a bit more expensive than steam driven machines. Which option is best for you is a personal choice. If you do however have the cash to spare, and are serious about great espresso, then for long term satisfaction you may want to think about going with a pump driven model.
Single vs Double Boilers
Another spec to take into consideration is whether a machine has a double or single boiler. The boilers on espresso machines are responsible for heating up water to create steam for the extraction process as well as for the milk frothing. If you have a single boiler, then this means that you will only be able to use it for one thing at a time. Either pulling a shot for espresso, or steaming milk.
Also, if you have an espresso machine with a single boiler, you cannot pull a shot of espresso directly after steaming milk. Why? Because the boiler has to up the heat for steaming the milk. Once this has happened, the boiler will be too hot for espresso extraction. If you do pull a shot, it will most likely taste burnt and bitter.
Double boilers on the other hand do not have these problems. As the boilers act independently of each other, you can pull shots and steam milk simultaneously. Additionally you can steam milk prior to pulling a shot and it won’t affect the temperature of the extraction one bit.
Once again, double boiler machines are more costly than single boiler models. And once again, the decision as to which is best for you is an entirely personal one. If you tend to make lots of espresso at one go, then you may need to go with a double boiler. Because then you can steam milk simultaneously. However if you generally just make one or two espressos at a time, and are happy to steam the milk afterwards, then it may not be neccesary for you to make the outlay for a double boiler espresso machine.
Heating: Thermoblocks vs Boilers
Not all espresso machines use boilers for water heating. A newer technology, the thermoblock heating system, is often found in home espresso machines. Thermoblocks are essentially metal blocks, through which water is passed. The thermoblock heats the water as it comes into contact with the metal surface.
The upside to thermoblock heating systems is that they heat water very quickly. This results in very quick warm up times in machines. The downside is that if they can yield unstable pressure levels for extractions if no pump is present. Thermoblocks are considered to be inferior to boilers. However it must be said that machines which are fitted with dual thermoblocks, and pressure pumps, are capable of yielding great extraction results.
Single Vs Double Shot
Another thing to consider when looking at an espresso machine is how many shots it is capable of making at one time. Some models can only extract one portafilter of coffee at a time. Others come with space for two portafilters, which means you can extract two shots at the same time.
A good indication of quality in an espresso machine is what kind of material is it made from. Models made mainly out of stainless steel will be more durable and long lasting than ones made predominantly out of plastic.
To keep an espresso machine putting out top notch espreso, you need to keep your machine clean. An espresso machine which has been designed with easy cleaning in mind will save you tons of time and hassle in the future to come.
Features of easy cleaning machine are usually things like:
- Easily removable drip trays
- Detachable milk wand nozzle for washing
- Steam cleaning functions
More Automated Espresso Machines
Semi automatic espresso machines comes with varying levels of features. To decide whether or not a machine is of good quality and worth the money, you will need to examine each component separately.
As with any espresso machine a large consideration is the pressure system. Is it pump or steam driven? A pump driven machine will be capable of producing lots of crema, and lower the chances of your espresso tasting bitter. These models are more pricey than steam driven ones, but will definitely produce a better espresso. However, if crema is not something you want in your espresso and coffee drinks, then a pump machine may not be worth the extra cash.
Also if you drink your coffee with milk and sugar, bitterness may also not be an issue for you.
If you are a fan of frothed milk drinks such as cappuccinos, then the capability of the milk frother will be an important feature for you. Most milk frothers will do the job, but some have extra features such as the ability to froth milk to varying levels of ‘frothiness’, or allow you to select the exact temperature you want your frothed milk to be.
In very automated models of espresso machines, milk frothers are usually inbuilt, and the only interaction you need have with them is the press of a button. More manual models may come with steam wands similar to those on fully manual espresso machines. Others may come with a free standing milk frothing component. Others may not include a milk frother at all.
Quality of Froth
Anybody who is a fan of milk based coffee drinks such as the flat white and cappuccino will appreciate the silky creaminess that a good milk frother can give to regular milk. This silkyness is achieved by creating multitudes of tiny air bubbles in the milk. The smaller the bubbles the better the consistency of the frothed milk. A quality milk frother will be able to produce this. Low quality and cheaper milk frothers may only be capable of foam which has large bubbles in it. These bubbles will quickly pop, and leave you with flat milk. So when it comes to milk frothers, cheaper is usually not better!
Ease of Cleaning
If you are planning to be drinking a lot of milk based coffee drinks, then plan on cleaning the milk reservoir and steamer head often. Features which will contribute to easy cleaning will go a long way to making this ongoing task less time consuming. In a year’s time, a detachable steam nozzle which can easily be washed under the faucet will probably be ringing your bells more than you think now!
Usually machines which have easy cleaning components incorporated into their design will state this in their product description. Things to keep an eye out for are:
- A detachable steamer nozzle which can be washing in the sink or dishwasher
- A milk reservoir which can be easily removed, and is shaped in such a way so that you can easily scrub it out.
Removable Milk Reservoir?
Another great feature to look out for in a milk frother component is whether or not the reservoir can be detached between coffees and kept in the refrigerator. This is a really great feature because it keeps your milk nice and fresh, with very little hassle.
Detached vs Inbuilt
Another aspect to consider when examining an espresso machine’s milk frothing component is whether it is inbuilt or freestanding. Inbuilt components are nice if you tend to make milk based coffee drinks on a daily or regular basis. Freestanding milk frothers are perhaps better suited to coffee lovers who only make milk based coffees occasionally. A freestanding milk frother can be packed into the cupboard when you are not using it. And thereby take up less counter space. However if you are using it daily, then it will likely take up a little more counter space than an inbuilt one.
Ease of Cleaning
As with more manual models of espresso machines, ease of cleaning is always something to consider when selecting a model. More automated espresso machines are sometimes less time consuming to clean as they often come with automated cleaning programs. You will still need to clean certain components such as the drip tray, but a lot of the work can be done for you by the machine.
Besides checking to what level the machine can clean itself, you can also check to see if the parts that you will have to clean are easily removable.
Bean to Cup Machines
Bean to cup espresso machines can fall into either of the previous categories. They can either be manual, or automated to varying levels.
When checking out a potential bean to cup machine, you should look at the features and specs mentioned under the two previous headings.
In addition, one of course also needs to take a good look at the bean grinder that the machine is equipped with.
Not all grinders are created equal, and in case you are yet to know of the intricacies of the coffee grinder hierarchy, let’s dip into it quickly.
Coffee grinders come in two main types. Blade grinders and burr grinders. Blade grinders are inferior to burr grinders because they do not grind coffee completely evenly. Evenly ground coffee is a very important component to good espresso extraction.
Burr grinders are considered to be a much better choice of coffee grinder, because they can grind up coffee very evenly. They achieve this by a rubbing action of two plates together. But it doesn’t stop here.
Burr grinders can be broken up into four categories.
High vs Low Speed Grinders
High speed –
At first glance this may seem like something to be desired, but high speed grinders are considered to be bottom of the range when it comes to burr grinders. High speed grinders can cause heat to build up during the grinding. To the degree that the coffee grounds are ‘burnt’. These high speed burr grinders are also very loud.
Low speed –
Low speed burr grinders are superior to their high speed counterparts. They are much quieter when operated, and their reduced rate of speed means your coffee grounds are never burnt. Much coveted in the coffee world, slow speed grinders can further be differentiated into two categories, gear reduction and direct drive.
- Gear reduction grinders – These grinders have a higher speed motor, but the actual grinder moves slowly via the conversion action of a set of gears. Similar to how bicycle gears work.
- Direct drives – These grinders are the elite when it comes to coffee grinders. They have slow, low rev motors. These grinders grind beans to absolute perfection, with very little noise.
It is always good to analyse the grinder on a potential bean to cup machine you may be looking at. Some companies include a grinder as a cherry on the top extra. In this case it will often be of low quality. A machine on the other hand which has been designed to be a true dream come true for a beans to cup fanatic, will likely have a top notch, or at least mid range grinder attachment.
Capsule machines are the most automated of espresso machines. Therefore what you will be considering in these machines is mostly related to personal preference of functions. However there are also key areas of quality that one should take into account.
The Pressure System
Like with the manual and semi-automated espresso machines the pressure system of a capsule machine is worth examining. Good quality models will usually have pump driven pressure systems which are capable of extracting a layer of crema, the mark of a good espresso.
Cheap models will not have this capacity and will not be able to deliver as flavorful a shot.
A very important spec on a capsule machine to consider is whether or not it is compatible with capsule brands which you like. Once the machine is bought, you will be tied to the specific brand of pods that it takes.
Unless, you choose a capsule machine which is compatible with multiple brands of pods, or take one with refillable pods. Refillable pods are usually made out of stainless steel, and can be filled up with your own ground coffee.
Another consideration when it comes to capsule machines is whether or not it has a milk frother. Some models have inbuilt milk frothers which you do not even see. Others have the milk frothing components more visible, others have no milk frother, and others come with free standing frothers. Which kind is best will depend on your personal needs.
If you want a capsule machine which comes with a milk frother, then keep these points in mind.
- Is the frother easy to clean?
- Is the milk reservoir easily detachable
- Can the milk reservoir be kept in the refrigerator in between coffees for longer lasting milk?
- Is the frother of a high enough level of quality to deliver silky foamed milk?
What are the Functions
Capsule espresso machines come with a range of functions. Some make only a couple of drinks, and others can whip you up a number of espresso based drinks, or even store your own ‘designer’ choices. Some machines allow you to adjust things like water amount and temperature, and others are ‘one button’ varieties where those variables are locked.
Espresso capsule machines are probably one of those most easy cleaning types out there. They automatically drop the used pods into the extractable waste bin. So there are no grounds to clean up. But like with anything there is a little cleaning involved.
Capsule machines which have an auto cleaning function and easily removable drip trays will go a long way to making your life easier when it comes to the cleaning of your machine.
Material of the Machine
Is the capsule machine you are looking at made out of long lasting material? Many capsule espresso machines are constructed out of plastic, however some high quality models are made out of durable materials such as stainless steel.
How to Isolate What You Need in a Machine
So now you know what features to look at when analyzing the quality of a machine. Let’s also quickly go through some factors to consider which will help you to isolate what you personally require out of a machine.
Type (or level of automation)
This is obviously the biggest and weightiest question when it comes to picking out an espresso machine that will suit your needs.
Espresso machines are generally broken down into type by the level of automation which they have. This makes it relatively easy to decide which espresso machine type is for you.
If you are already a shot pulling barista level espresso maker, then a manual machine might be for you. Manual machines allow you to be in control of all aspects of the process.
If you enjoy experimenting a little and being able to tweak things, but also want a bit of convenience thrown in, a semi-automated machine may be the ideal choice. There are different levels of semi-automation, so the exact mix of control vs convenience will be up to you.
If you just want really good espresso at the press of a button, then fully automated will be your baby. Be sure to get a quality machine, and you will be able to enjoy top notch espresso with no work on your part.
On the specs side of things, you will need to select out which are important to you and which are not. If you have an unlimited budget, then this part may not be so crucial. You can simply purchase the best that money can buy and be done with it. If however, you are like the majority of us, you will be wanting to balance cost and capability. The best way to do this is to isolate which features in an espresso machine you are not prepared to go without, and which others are simply optional or not necessary for your requirements.
The main specs you will need to consider are:
- Do you need a single or double boiler? This will impact whether or not you can pull shots and steam milk conveniently together. So for example, if you rarely froth milk, then a single boiler should be fine. If on the other hand you love making lots of milk based coffees, then you may want to consider a double boiler.
- Steam or pump driven? This spec has everything to do with what level of crema and flavor you require in your espresso. Won’t settle for an espresso that does not have an unctuous layer of crema? Well, then you want to consider a pump driven pressure system. However if crema is not that important to you, and you also don’t mind espresso that is a little on the bitter side, then steam driven should be adequate.
- Do you want a milk frother? If you are not planning on making many milk based drinks, then you can consider going for an espresso machine which does not have a milk frothing component. This may be hard to find on a manual machine, but on more automated models you should easily find one to suit your needs which does not have a milk frother.
Size is always a good thing to think about when in the market for almost any appliance. Espresso machines come in a wide variety of sizes. Manual machines tend to be much larger and heavier than more automated models. However some automated models are pretty hefty as well. Do you want your espresso machine to be a centerpiece in your kitchen? Of do you want it to discreetly fit into a small space?
These are all good areas to pay some thought to before getting ready to look at models. You are now equipped to not only spot a good machine when you see one, but also to know exactly what is important for you in a machine.
So let’s dive into our top picks shall we!
Our Top Espresso Machine Picks
Welcome to our list of top espresso machine picks. There are many great machines out there. These models that we have picked out have been chosen for their quality and functionality as well as for the amount of happy customers they have racked up. There is something for every espresso drinker and every budget, so let’s get started.
Manual & Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
To make things easier for you, the person in need of an espresso machine, this list is divided by machine type. Manual, semi-automated, bean-to-cup, and lastly the fully automated capsule machines.
First up let’s take a look at the manual espresso machines.
This ROK Presso manual espresso maker is about as manual as you can go. It does not even require power, you the human create the pressure manually. The machine also does not have a water heating function, as is completely mechanical, with no electricity needed for operation.
At first glance this machine may not look like something which will give you a top notch espresso with lots of crema and great flavor. However, customers who have bought this espresso make claim that it can produce as high a quality of espresso as 1 000 dollar automated machine.
This is pretty impressive for a mechanical and simple design. The fact that the machine does not require electricity, just the additional of hot water and your own muscle power, makes it a decidedly green option.
The price of this machine also makes it a very attractive choice of espresso maker. The low cost is not due to a lack of quality, but rather to the simplicity of the machine. The simple manual nature of the espresso maker also makes it extremely durable and long lasting. So long lasting in fact that it comes with a 10 year manufacturer’s warranty certificate.
The one possible drawback to this type of espresso maker is that it requires skill to use. If you are an accomplished barista, then this may not be an issue. Or, if you are a beginner keen to learn the tricks to pulling a completely manual shot, then this machine might be just what you need to hone your skills with. Just do not expect your first shots to be perfect.
This machine is well suited to an experienced or aspiring barista on a budget. It is also ideal for someone who wants to save energy, and does not want to purchase another electricity guzzling appliance. The ROK would also be the perfect fit for an off-the grid home. It is also best suited to someone who has a medium amount of upper body strength. Not ideal for say an elderly person or someone with a shoulder injury/problem. If you are not interested in the finer points and techniques of espresso making, then this machine is also probably not suited to you.
This simple and affordable espresso maker has gotten a high percentage of 5 star reviews on Amazon and seems to have made many customers happy. Buyers repeatedly report that once you perfect that manual shot pulling technique it is possible to get great espresso out of this machine.
If you are attracted to the idea of personally pulling your shots, and not extracted them via the press of a button, then this is another machine which functions with a manual pull. Unlike the ROK however, it does function with electricity, and heats up its own water for steam.
Once the machine and its water are up to temperature, you manually pulling the lever delivers a similar pressure to what a pressure pump would in a pump driven model. The quality of the espresso pulled relies on how steady and skilled you can be at delivering this pressure. While this is a learned skill, being able to physically control the extraction can yield some of the most lovely and satisfying espressos.
Unlike the previous pick, the ROK, this machine is not at all cheap. However it is truly one of the top of the range of its kind. And has been described by some of its owners as a ‘for life espresso maker’. If you want to examine a cheaper model, take a look at the La Pavoni’s less expensive sister model the EPC-8 Europiccola. This model is intrinsically the same, but is not equipped with a pressure gauge.
If you wish to knock off a further couple hundred dollars, you can also take a look at the EPBB-8 Europiccola. This is essentially the same as the EPC8, however it has a plastic base.
This machine is ideal for somebody who wants a top of the range manual espresso machine. Being able to control the shot pulling process means that the espressos you make will be truly, uniquely your own. The pressure gauge will assist you to pull shots at the ideal pressure. The high price range that this machine falls into makes it suitable for those who are serious about quality espressos and want a machine which will last.
Customers who have bought this espresso machine report it to be able to deliver a high quality of espresso provided you know how to operate it and are familiar with the technique of manual espresso pulling. It appears that the quality and durability of this machine is a match to its cost, and that it has the potential to last for years.
Another literally shining example of a manual espresso machine is the Elektra Microcasa Lever Espresso Machine. Quite similar to our previous pick, the La Pavoni, the Elektra also features a single boiler, a manual lever, and a pressure gauge.
It is also equipped with a steam wand. However take note. Due to the single boiler, you will not be able to steam milk and pull a shot at the same time.
The all metal construction of the Elektra makes it a truly sturdy machine with the potential to last for decades. Elektra is also no newcomer on the scene like some other more automated espresso machine companies. Having been in the business for 71 years, these machines are a product of long term fine tweaking and improvement.
These factors coupled with its Italien construction, are the reason why the Elektra has a higher price tag than the La Pavoni. Its elegant and up market design, complete with a chrome eagle to top things off, also play a role in its price.
This machine is perfect for a coffee and espresso connoisseur. Preferably someone who does not mind paying for quality and beauty. But do not be misled, this machine is not just looks. It will brew a skilled espresso maker top of the range espressos. Due to the manual nature of this machine, it is best suited to those already schooled in the science of espressos. Or, for someone who is excited to learn the details which go into making a good espresso manually.
Thanks to the high end price of this machine, reviews on Amazon are not as proliferant as for cheaper espresso machine models. However, if you do your due diligence, you will find like we did, that this machine has a resounding applause of happy reviews in various places around the web. Buyers have reported that the Elektra can put out absolutely top grade espresso, topped with crema and filled with flavor. Negative reviews seem to be predominantly due to users not being familiar with the process of manual espresso making.
If you were interested in the very first manual espresso maker we looked at, this simple handheld espresso maker might also take your fancy.
Designed to not only be portable but also handheld, this espresso maker costs less than 30 dollars. And what is more, requires no electricity. The downside to this is of course that you will need to boil water separately. Then pour it into the machine.
However taking into account the amazingly compact and simple design of this espresso maker, as well as its ease of use, this may not prove as much of a hassle as it may appear. The charm of this little espresso maker is that you can literally take it everywhere. It will function anywhere that you are able to make or get hot water!
Of course the ultimate question is, does it make reasonable espresso? As a matter of fact, despite its simple design, it does! People who have bought this little device on Amazon report that it can produce fine tasting espresso. And not only that, it is even capable of creating a decent head of crema. Not bad at all for such a small and simple design.
These little espresso makers have been gaining popularity recently. They are being used as camping espresso makers, as well as home espresso makers, and also as a great solution for the office going espresso lover.
This espresso maker is a great portable option for those who want to never be without an espresso. And a good one at that. It is a perfect solution for electricity bereft situations such as camping. It also makes a good enough espresso for it to be used at home, at the office, or while travelling or staying at a hotel which does not serve good enough espresso to satisfy the connoisseur. What is more, these espresso makers are also a great budget option.
Buyers on Amazon have revealed that this machine is easy to use and truly does make surprisingly great espresso. It also does not appear to be too complicated to use by most people’s standards. There is one common problem, and that appears to be the seal. Some buyers have reported that their models leak hot water, making them difficult to use properly. The company however does offer a 1 year warranty. So if you do get a dud model, or the seal becomes faulty within the first year of use, you can get the machine replaced.
A truly high end and quality machine, the Quick Mill Dual Boiler Espresso Machine takes the cake of semi manual espresso machinery. The price of the machine puts it out of many people’s budget, however that is no reason to exclude it from our list of top picks.
Equipped with a dual boiler and no expense spared design and craftsmanship, manual espresso extraction does not get much sturdier and more professional than this in the home setting. This machine, like the other manual picks, allows you to control every aspect of the extraction process. The Quickmill comes with all the bells and whistles attached to make your espresso making process as high end as the machine itself.
Features include the aforementioned dual boiler, an E61 group head, PID and a built-in shot timer. The dual boilers are coated with T.E.A, which is a patented protection process designed to decrease the likelihood of any metal being delivered in your drinks by reducing leaching.
The machine is constructed almost entirely out of stainless steel which not only looks fantastic, but also ensures durability and strength.
This machine does not have a manual lever for shot pulling, hence the fact that it is categorized as a ‘semi-automatic’ machine. The extraction process is controlled via a button rather than a level. However you still retain full control over the pressure settings.
If the price is a little high for you and you want to investigate a slightly cheaper model, check out the Quickmill Andreja Premium Espresso Machine. It is a very similar machine. However the Andreja is a single boiler.
This machine is best suited to the serious espresso maker who simply wants the best in the semi-manual category. This machine is truly top of the range, and is the kind of espresso maker that can last many years. The machine allows full control of the extraction process, while the pump takes away the need to manually pull the shots. This is great for those who do not feel that they have a steady hand. Or for those who do not like any uncertainty entering into the extraction process.
Thanks to its hefty price tag, this espresso machine does not have any reviews on Amazon. However if you follow the link to the seller’s site, you will find some very descriptive and well balanced reviews. Buyers have reported that this home machine has capabilities that some commercial espresso machines do not have. The phrase “the best machine I have ever owned” is a recurring theme in the reviews of this machine.
This machine is perfect for those of you who are torn between a fully manual espresso machine, and a more automated model. Combining the best of both worlds this espresso machine has a list of programmed settings you can choose from. However these settings can also be overridden if you desire to operate the machine manually, or want to tweak one of the settings. Pretty neat!
The Infuser Espresso Machine gets its name from a unique feature.The ability to infuse grounds and swell them slightly before extraction. This pre-extraction infusion acts to enhance the level of flavor extracted from the grounds.
Besides this special feature, it has a 15 bar Italian pressure pump, which guarantees you superb extractions with lots of crema.
Although not fitted with a double boiler, this machine does have a function which makes up for this. It has an auto purge function which automatically adjusts water temperature after steam creation, so that the machine maintains an optimal espresso extraction temperature. So, you will not be able to froth milk while pulling a shot. But you should be able to pull a shot directly after milk frothing. A problematic area with most single boiler machines.
This machine is almost perfectly suited to anybody who is undecided as to whether or not to go manual or automated. With this machine you do not have to choose, you can have both. With its infusion feature and 15 bar pump and single boiler this machine is a good choice for those of you who want star quality espresso with generous crema and flavor, but do not need to froth milk during extractions.
As far as buyer reviews it seems as if there is nothing but praise for this Breville beauty. It has accumulated many happy customers, with reports of genuine design faults few and far between. All in all a robust and very well functioning espresso machine. One buyer did say it was loud however, so be warned.
More Automated Espresso Machines
Are you in the market for a more automated machine? Not so keen on the idea of being responsible for every aspect of the extraction? Or maybe you do not like the idea of having to pull levers in an age where a button will do the job. If any of these points of view apply to you, but you still want some room for experimentation and customization within your espresso making, then a semi-automated model might be just perfect for you. Let’s jump in and take a look at some top picks of espresso machines in the semi-automated ranks.
The Rancilio may not be the prettiest of all espresso machines, however it leads the list thanks to its commercial grade level of quality and functionality.
To begin with, the housing is constructed of an iron frame and stainless steel side panels. This makes the machine more sturdy and durable than a plastic housed counterpart.
The group head is designed to commercial grade standards which guarantees excellent heat stability and premium extraction quality. The portafilters on these home machines are the same as the ones on Rancilio’s commercial machines. They are ergonomically designed, with the idea in mind of comfort and ease of use.
One aspect of this machine which is not commercial grade is that it comes with a single boiler. However it boasts the largest volume capacity of any home machine in its class. “Holding 0.3 liters (12oz) this chrome plated brass boiler produces outstanding steaming power and remarkable recovery time between shots.” This is a good situation for home use. The lowered expense that comes with a single boiler, combined with a short recovery time between shots. Meaning you cannot steam milk and pull a shot at the same time, but you can do both separately within a reasonably short time frame.
Other features include the ability of the water reservoir to be topped up or removed at any point during extraction or steaming. And the milk wand is specially designed by Rancilio to be able to handle a complete range of motion for steaming milk to perfection.
The machine also comes with a 7 gram coffee scoop, a plastic tamper and two filter baskets (single and double).
This machine is suited to the no nonsense espresso expert. Someone who wants quality results and long lasting durability. It is a great option for someone who is used to operating a commercial grade machine. And wants to experience the same results at home and not be dissapointed by inferior home grade machines.
The customer reviews for the Rancilio paint a picture of durability and superb functionality. With headings such as ‘Best sub-$1000 espresso machine for the home, period.‘ and ‘Stands the test of time‘. This last comment was from a couple who had had their model for over 10 years.
And for a budget option we have the BVMC-ECMP1102 Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker from Mr. Coffee.
This machine is almost fully automated, offering press button drink selections and automated milk frothing. This machine is fitted with a 15 bar pump, which generates enough pressure for true espressos and espresso based drinks.
As far as crema and flavor of espresso goes, don’t let the price of this machine fool you. According to customers who have purchased this machine, it is capable of putting out great crema. The level of crema and flavor of course also depends on the freshness and quality of the coffee/beans which you use. However if you invest in the right coffee, it appears that it is definitely possible to get top notch extractions from this machine.
A great feature that this machine has is that its milk reservoir can be removed and stored in the refrigerator when you are not making espressos and coffees. You can just fill it, and let the machine determine the amount needed.
The one downside to this machine seems to be that it is not the most long lasting of models. But considering the price and capability, it could still be a decent buy.
This machine is ideal for those on a budget, who want quality espresso and coffees, at the press of a button. Not interested in learning the art of espresso making? Don’t want to lay out too much money for a machine? Then this model may be for you. Be aware however that this machine may not last you as long as say a Breville model or similar brand.
Customer reviews are largely positive for this machine. Buyers report that it can make great espresso and coffee and is even capable of a good amount of crema, providing you use good beans/fresh grounds. It has earned comments such as things like ‘the perfect budget espresso machine’ and ‘outstanding value’. The main gripe seems to be lack of durability.
This espresso machine is a great example of commercial grade functionality and quality in a home espresso machine.
Gaggia is one of the most respected names in the espresso machine industry, known for their well functioning commercial grade machines. In this home model, they have incorporated this reliability and robustness.
Cased in a stainless steel housing, the machine is very sturdy and definitely built to last. It comes with a 17 bar pressure pump, a high-voltage boiler for quick warm-up times, and an independent expansion valve. Its portafilters and grouphead are constructed out of heavy-duty marine-grade brass with chrome plating, for the ultimate in temperature stability. The head features a three way solenoid valve for drip free operation and a dry puck which can be removed instantly. This is great for making multiple shots.
The Gaggia can be used with either ground coffee or coffee pods. It can deliver two cups at once, and comes with a hot-water dispenser for tea, a frothing wand for frothed milk, and a cup warmer. Included with the machine are single and double shot stainless-steel filter baskets, a coffee tamper, and a 7-gram measuring scoop.
This is a great machine for an at home barista or espresso expert. It is able to produce the same quality of espresso as a commercial machine, and is designed to last just as long. It is also a great choice for you if you generally make two cups of espresso at one go. Price wise, this machine is an absolute steal if one considers its capability and durability. Although not quite a cheap as the Mr Coffee model, the Gaggia will likely last you for years to come.
Customers who have bought this machine report it to be solidly constructed and sturdy in design. They also report it to be able to perform high quality extractions, full of flavor and crema. One downside to this machine appears to be that if you do happen to get a dud model, customer care from Italy to the US seems to take some time.
The Delonghi is another manual espresso machine which has some preset functions as well. Like the Smeg it also has a thermoblock heating system with up to 15 bars worth of pressure.
Thanks to the 15 bar pump, even though it is only equipped with a thermoblock system, customers who have bought the Delonghi report that it produces an amazing amount of crema and wonderful espresso flavor. So if you are someone to whom crema and optimum extraction is important – but do not want to fork out for boiler driven system – this machine might be ideal for you.
Also slim and sleek in design, the delonghi is made almost entirely out of stainless steel. This is great from a durability standpoint and is a good indication of quality.
With full manual functions, the Delonghi also has stored settings for extraction, and the ability to store your customized settings. This means that you can replicate your personalized cup every time.
This model also features a three-in-one filter holder which has a holder for single espresso shot, or for a double shot amount worth of coffee. The machine also has an adjustable drip tray which you can remove for brewing into taller cups.
This machine is ideal somebody who doesn’t want to lay out the big cash required for an espresso machine which is fitted with a boiler. But who still wants that thick layer of crema and reduced bitterness in their espressos. This machine is also great for the impatient, as it is so fast to heat up. It is also a perfect match for those wishing to be able to go manual, but want to be able to fall back on stored settings if need be. This can be ideal for situations such as a couple, where one person wants to customize their shots like a barista, and the other merely wants good espresso by pushing a button.
Buyer reviews for this machine are generally positive, and it seems that if you know what you are doing and using the machine correctly, it can put out truly top class espresso. While coming at a cheaper price than models boasting more pricier components.
And for a middle of the range choice, the Smeg Espresso machine.
The Smeg has a 15 bar pressure thermoblock system. Water is pumped through a metal block (the thermoblock) where it is heated for either extraction or steaming of milk. The thermoblock system provides better pressure than a steam pressure system, where the pressure is derived from the heated steam. However, it does not provide as consistent a pressure as the pump driven system. This means that you will be hard pressed to get the kind of crema and flavor that a true pump system will provide.
If you are not too fussed about these elements in your espresso or coffees, then this machine could tick the box for you. An advantage of the thermoblock heating system is that it heats up water extremely fast. So no long waits between turning the machine on, extraction and milk frothing. You will not be able to pull a shot and froth milk at the same time however.
Besides these elements, the Smeg features a stainless steel filter holder for ground coffee or paper pods, a user-friendly control panel, removable drip-tray for mugs accommodation, and anti-slip feet. It has a 1 liter removable water tank with optional water filters.
This machine is designed alto take both ground coffee or pods. Compatible brands reported by buyers are Illy ESE pods and Caffe Borbone pods.
Function wise you can choose between 1 and 2 cup functions, a flow stop function to customize your coffee length, adjustable coffee temperature and water hardness, a descaling light indicator. And it can be used as a hot water dispenser.
This machine is best suited for those who are not searching for loads of crema and perfect extraction. If you are simply wanting good coffee espresso style, quickly and easily, from an elegant machine, then this machine could be a good choice. Value for money, this model may be slightly overpriced from the point of view that it may not provide top notch espresso. However if you love the look of the model, it is a high quality machine which will satisfy those looking to make lungo, cappuccinos and espresso minus a very thick head of crema.
This machine has not had many reviews yet on Amazon. So if you only purchase appliances and machines and models which are well reviewed, consider a more well reviewed pick.
Bean to Cup Machines
And now we come to bean to cup machines. Bean to cup espresso machines are truly lovely creatures. Why? Because they deliver the aromatic, crema topped, flavorful espresso that freshly ground beans give rise to. And, you don’t have to do anything extra. Simply make your espresso the way you usually would, and enjoy the extra quality of cup that the freshly ground beans provide. Can you tell I am excited? Let’s take a look at the beans to cup top picks without wasting any more time.
Of course, we have to start the beans to cup section with a Breville. Coveted amongst espresso lovers, Brevilles rarely disappoint.
And this particular model is no exception. Standard in Breville machines comes the 17 bar pressure pump for premium extraction. Their beans to cup model is equipped with only a single boiler. Which of course means that you cannot steam milk while an extraction is happening. However this model has what they term the Purge Function which automatically adjusts water temperature after steam for optimal espresso extraction temperature. The advantages to this type of setup is that you do not need to pay the associated higher cost of a machine with a double boiler. And thanks to the automatic purge function, you can still pull shots and froth milk consecutively within a reasonable time frame.
And, very importantly in a beans to cup machine, what of the grinder? The grinder on this machine is a good quality conical burr grinder fully adjustable in grind size and dose. This grinder is not considered to be a rolls royce of grinders, but it is certainly not a cheapie model either. Definitely well functioning and a value adding component to this machine. It is also integrated well into this model. All you need to do is select whether you are using a single or double wall filter basket and the grinder will dispense the required amount right into the inserted portafilter.
Other features of the machine include preset 1 and 2 cup volumes, manual override, programmable shot volumes, adjustable pressure gauge, a ‘clean me’ light, and a 360-degree swivel action steam wand. Oh, and replaceable water filters, a 54mm stainless steel portafilter with commercial style spouts, and an included 54mm tamper.
A last thing to note is that the Breville is made almost entirely out of stainless steel, and therefore should be very durable.
Somebody who doesn’t want to take any chances, and wants a bean to cup machine from a reputable espresso machine company. This machine is great for home use where you will not be making series of espresso drinks and needing to froth foam at the same time (because of the single boiler). The single boiler reduces the cost, while still ensuring that you are purchasing a top quality machine.
This machine has accumulate a boatload of happy customers who report it be worth every dollar in price. There have been some reviews reporting defective parts. However Breville does offer a 1 year limited warranty. So if any issues crop up in your first year of use you should be covered.
Next up in the beans to cup picks is the DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine. This machine has both great specs, and great reviews, making it a beans to cup winner.
This machine as suggested by its name falls into the super-automatic category. Everything is automatic, except for the milk frothing. The milk frother component can be wielded by you, which gives a level of control over the frothed milk. Seeing as some people like highly frothed milk and others prefer a less dense and frothy foam, this is a nice feature. What’s more, you can do milk frothing on this machine while an extraction is underway, because….
The Magnifica comes with a double boiler! An amazingly top notch feature in an Espresso maker which falls under 500 dollars in price. Double boilers are usually found on pricier espresso machines, and the fact that the Magnifica has one gives it great value for money.
The burr grinder component on this machine adds additional value. It is quiet and adjustable, and of good quality. Customers who have bought this machine reported that it is capable of producing fine grounds which are what you need for great espresso.
Besides its top of the range components, the Magnifica is also an attractive option thanks to it being very easy cleaning. First of all, the machine deposits the grounds in a waste compartment. Which you only need to empty out 1-2 x a week. Unlike regular espresso machines where you need to empty and clean the portafilters after each shot. This greatly reduces the hassle involved in making a cup of coffee, and means that each extraction is truly ‘at the press of a button’. With no clean up involved after pressing the button!
Delonghi machines boast that their machines ‘require half the cleaning time of other brands, unlike competitor machines, which require chemical cleaning tablets monthly.’ With the brew unit being easy to remove, you can quickly and easily clean the internal chamber without the need for chemical tablets.
Program wise the Magnifica offers pre-programmed espresso and coffee selections. It is also capable of remembering your input preferences and so you can create customized drinks as well. It also has both a single and double shot capability.
This machine is a great buy for somebody who wants amazingly fresh and well made espresso and coffee. Without the fuss of grinding, tamping, or any clean up. It is also suitable for those who like to have some control over the milk frothing.
Customers who have bought this machine seem to largely be very happy with the ease of use and quality of espresso and coffee that it puts out. The machine appears to be relatively long lasting. One issue that buyers seem to have picked up is that on some machines there is a tendency for beans to get stuck in the grinder. However this is not reported across the board, and may only have been a problem with a certain batch.
And now we have the Jura Satin Silver Z6. This is a ferrari of a super-automatic espresso machine, and the price reflects this. However what you are paying for is supreme quality and design, and an extremely high level of convenience and espresso and coffees.
The Jura Satin Silver Z6 is even more automated than the previous machine we looked at, the Magnifica. The Jura takes care of everything, even the milk frothing. And what is more, you still maintain control (if you want it) over everything.
This is thanks to the Jura’s unparalleled customizability of settings. For example, you can program in up to 10 variations of milk temperature and foam density! Which may be even more exact and ‘controllable’ than if you frothed the milk yourself manually.
As far as coffee selections and customization goes, this is another area where the price of the Jura becomes justified. You can program up to 10 espresso strengths and three espresso temperatures. What’s more from these, you can go onto create your own customized drinks. Which can then be replicated by the machine, time and time again.
The Jura is also able to make two coffees at once. This is an usual feature in an automated machine, and makes it stand out from the crowd in terms of convenience and time economy.
As for the internal workings of the Jura, it sports a dual thermoblock system. The dual thermoblock means that the machine can heat up water for both the extraction and milk steaming simultaneously, and in record breaking time. So speedy is this process that the number of seconds it takes from you turning on the machine, to having your coffee, is 90.
We also must not forget about the grinder component, a very important part of a beans-to-cup machine. The grinder on this machine is a conical burr grinder. Reviews have stated that it is definitely up to the task of grinding beans to a level of quality that matches the machine.
To further enhance the flavor to be gotten by freshly ground beans, the Jura also utilizes what is called the pulse extraction process which according to Jura “allows the whole bouquet of aromas to blossom. Result: possibly the best espresso of all time – at the touch of a button”.
The machine is perfect for someone who does not mind making a serious investment in a state of the art machine. One which will give amazing espresso and coffee drinks at the press of a button. Doing all of the work for you, while still allowing one to program in a large number of preferences and customized drinks.
Interested in a Jura but not willing to fork over the dough required for the previous model? If so, this simpler Jura model may be worth looking at.
This Jura model contrasts quite strongly with the previous one. Firstly, it is alot smaller, and secondly it is a lot simpler. This machine is designed to put out top quality espresso extractions, fast. You can choose between typical espressos, lungos or ristrettos. There is no milk frothing function or programmable milk based drinks. This machine is made for the espresso lover who wants their crema topped cup in the minimum amount of time and with the minimum amount of fuss.
This unit is also amazingly compact for its functionality – which continues to endear it to the minimalistic mind. It measures in at 12.71 by 9 inches. Perfect for sitting sleekly in a kitchen and putting out espresso extraction excellence while not dominating the entire room.
The burr grinder component means of course that your espressos will have all the amazing aroma and crema that fresh grounds give. The grinder is a multilevel model, which means that you can adjust grind size according to preference. In this model you can choose between five different grind sizes.
Other adjustable factors include extraction strength and cup size options.
An attractive feature of this machine is it comes with a filter to minimize descaling. And when descaling is imminent, users have reported it to be a fairly easy operation.
Lastly, this small but powerful espresso machine is solidly built and appears to be designed to last.
This is the absolute perfect machine for the espresso connoisseur who wants perfect espresso fast, and at the press of a button. Compact, durable, and functional, the company accurately describes this model as ‘simply espresso, the ultra-compact 1-cup coffee machine’.
Customer reviews consistently report that the machine does what it is advertised to – make truly great espresso with no fuss. People who have bought this machine also largely testify that it is durable. One gripe is that while the water tank holds enough water for 7 espressos, it uses up a large portion in automatic rinsing cycles. This is great for keeping your machine clean and in good condition. However it means frequent filling of the reservoir.
And now we come to our section on capsule machines. Capsule machines take automation to the next level. In the case of most machines, extracting is simply a matter of slipping in a pod, and selecting your drink. Capsule machines varying somewhat in quality of extraction, durability and milk frothing function. Let’s take a look at the top picks in this category.
First up we have the Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville in red.
This clever capsule machine is cheaper than your average bean to cup, automated or manual espresso machine. And it is capable of delivering authentic espresso and quality coffee.
This is in part thanks to the Centrifusion tech within. Once a capsule is placed inside the machine, it spins up to 700 rotations, combining the coffee grounds with water to optimize the infusion process. This helps to create the signature crema that is the mark of a properly extracted espresso.
In addition, each capsule type of Nespresso coffee comes marked with a unique barcode. This barcode instructs the machine to adjust its extraction parameters to the specific coffee type in the capsule. This results in optimum ‘in-cup results’, including the perfect crema for larger coffee cup sizes.
The Nespresso Vertuo does not have a steam wand attachment. Instead it comes with a free standing Aeroccino 3 milk frother. If you do not want milk frothing capability you can also purchases the machine without the Aeroccino.
Selection wise this model comes with three coffee selections. Espresso (of course), double espresso, gran lungo, and alto.
This machine is a great fit for a Nespresso lover who wants good levels of crema and flavor. It is also ideal for those of you who may not need to do milk frothing for every extraction. Between uses, the Aeroccino milk frother can be stored in a nearby cupboard. Or the unit can be purchased without this combo deal.
This machine has racked up many positive reviews and happy customers on Amazon. People who have bought this unit report that it makes very good espresso and coffee drinks and is truly effortless to use. The Nespresso capsules are said to be extremely flavorful and fresh tasting.
And now we have the Nespresso Inissia Espresso Machine by De’Longhi. This compact little baby is similar in many ways to the previous Nespresso machine, by Breville.
Like the Breville it comes with a separate milk frother in the form of the Aerocinno 3. They both have a pressure pump capable of up to 19 bars of pressure. They both heat up within less than 30 seconds.
The main difference between these two machines, the previous Breville and this one by Delonghi, is the price and ‘smartness’. The Breville is more expensive, and it appears that this is due to two things. Firstly its unique Virtuo process where the capsules are spun to extract the maximum level of flavor. The other feature which justifies the higher price of the Breville is the fact that it can read the barcodes of the different coffee type capsules, and so customize its brew in order maximise that particular coffee type.
If however you are not interested in these extras, then this model by Delonghi may be a better choice. Being cheaper, and containing the same main specs as the Breville.
On a construction note, the sidings of this model are plastic. But are however reportedly durable. If you want a metal housing, you can take a look at the next model up in this range, the Pixie.
This machine is a good choice for someone looking to be cost effective. While still buying a capsule espresso machine which has the capability of making outstanding espresso. The free standing Aeroccino is also a good match if you are not going to be making frothed milk for every drink. As you can store it in the cupboard in between uses.
People who have bought this machine overall deem it to make truly great espresso, to overall be very well functioning, with the ability to make lots of crema. One buyer also reported an unadvertised feature, the fact that by doing a double press on the brewing button of the machine, you can set it to warm up and brew in one go. Unlike many other capsule machines where you need to activate the warm up, and then come back when that has completed to start the extraction.
Back to another Breville, we just couldn’t leave out the Essenza Mini. Marketed as the smallest and most compact of the Breville pod machine models, this one sure packs a punch.
Taking up a minimum of countertop space, the Essenza Mini still has a pressure pump that can deliver up to 19 bars of pressure. This tiny little capsule machine has two programmable cup selections, espresso and lungo. You can also adjust the cup size, and there are two programmable espresso and lungo buttons.
The Essenza Mini does not have a milk frothing function, and so is essentially purely an espresso/coffee machine. If you do want to experiment with milk based drinks, you can of course always purchase a free standing milk frother such as the Aerocinnia included with the previous two models.
These machines only takes Nespresso capsules, so make sure that you like the Nespresso range of coffees before making a purchase.
This machine would be a great fit for somebody who wants as small a machine as possible. But still wants it to be able to do superb extractions. As mentioned above this is so small, you can even take it travelling! This machine is suited of course to those of you who enjoy the Nespresso range of coffees. As well as to the coffee drinker who does not wish to have to pay for a milk frothing function along with the espresso machine.
This machine is one of the most highly rated models we have reviewed in this article. With a 4-5 star rating from over 90% of its reviews. There seems to be a unanimous agreement from buyers that this machine puts out absolutely great espresso and coffee. And that it is well functioning and long lasting.
This is another well designed capsule machine from Delonghi. Unlike the previous one we took at look at by Delonghi, this machine has an incorporated milk frothing system. The previous Delonghi capsule model had the free standing Aeroccino 3 as a combo package.
Specs wise, this machine is very similar to the other Delonghi capsule model the Silver Lattissima Plus. It also has a 19 bar pressure system and a thermoblock heating system. This ensures that it is capable of great extractions, complete with lots of crema. The thermoblock heating system enables the machine to heat up within seconds.
The main difference in specs, is the built in milk frothing component. This has its own thermoblock heating system. This means that the machine can do an extraction, while at the same time making frothed milk.
Another great feature of the milk frothing component is that the milk reservoir is detachable. You can take it out of the machine, and place it in the refrigerator. This way you can keep your milk fresh in between coffee sessions. Delonghi has also designed this portion of the milk frothing system, the reservoir and attachments, so as to ensure that no milk comes into contact with the rest of the machine. This makes clean up a lot easier.
On the features and programmability sides of things, the Silver Lattissima Plus is simplistic. With a one-touch button you can select your drink of choice from espresso, cappuccino, lattes lungo or macchiato. You can also recalibrate the different drink selections. (If you feel that that you wish to change the water amount settings. )
This machine is a great choice for somebody who wants to be able to make frothed milk and milk based coffee drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos with their capsule machine. This machine is designed to make barista style espresso and coffees, so will be suitable for connersiurs. As this machine is only compatible with Nespresso capsule, it is also best suited to coffee drinkers who like the Nespresso range of coffees.
This little machine has made a lot of buyers very happy, even those used to espresso making on industrial large sized machines. Coffee lovers who have bought this largely report it to be well functioning, and able to produce really great espresso and coffees. There is one issue which crops up, and this is that it appears that Nespresso does not have very organised customer service. So if you buy this machine and have a problem, it seems best to resolve it through Amazon.
Is that really an espresso machine? Why yes it is! This espresso capsule machine is portable, and can be operated on battery power. It is designed to be taken traveling, camping and hiking, into basically any situation where you would not generally be able to make your own espresso.
But the question is, can such as small and simplistic espresso machine even make espresso. The answer is, yes! This little machine, which looks like an innocuous flask – is capable of extracting a true espresso, with a decent amount of crema.
But before we get too excited, we must first take a look at how this machine works, to get an idea of its functionality and limitations.
First off, you have two brewing options when it comes to water heating. You can either boil water and pour it into the machine for the extraction. Or you can let the machine heat the water. This however takes longer, and reduces the amount of extractions you can do on one battery life. If the machine boils the water, it can only make 3 cups per charing. If you boil the water, then it can make over 80 cups on one charge.
Moving on from water heating to extraction, this machine sports a 15 bar pressure pump to do its extractions for it. This pressure pump is the reason why it is capable of producing proper espresso, topped with crema.
It appears that the easiest and fastest way to use this machine is if you can boil the water beforehand. However the ability of the machine to boil the water as well – if you need it to – is a great function.
While boiling water separately may be a hassle, the cleaning of this machine is not. Hardly any coffee or grounds come into contact with the interior of the machine. The coffee or espresso is extracted directly into the cup. This makes the need for cleaning minimal. And when you do need to clean the machine, you can simply run some hot water through it.
As far as pods go, this machine is designed to take Nespresso capsules. However you can also purchase a reusable stainless steel pod, which you can fill with your own grounds.
This little machine is a great option for someone who wants a very small and compact espresso machine. One which can be even taken hiking and has a battery which will store enough charge to use the machine where electricity is not available. Many people also use these machines in their cars. However this machine is not only useable as a merely portable option, it also produces a good enough espresso to make it a viable home option. If you do not mind boiling water separately, or alternatively waiting the time it takes for the machine to heat the water.
People who have bought this innovative machine largely claim it to be capable of brewing great espresso and coffee. Some buyers have compared it to their larger stationary espresso machines, and declared the level of quality of espresso produced to be similar. There have been some issues raised about the temperature of the coffee or espresso extracted not being hot enough. This could be due to the limitations of the machine, personal preference, or omitting prewarming steps to ensure sufficient heat.
To keep this article from becoming an ebook – we are going to leave it there. However as you can see, there are many great espresso machines out there to choose from. Ranging widely in terms of size, level of automation, and price. Once you know what you are looking for in a machine, and what the marks of a good one are, finding a suitable model is a lot simpler. Combined with our mega list of some the best espresso machines, and you should be well on your way to having the machine of your dreams sitting on your countertop.
All the best, and for now, Happy Brewing folks!