Do you want the best tasting espresso possible? Of course you do. There’s a reason that people will travel to get an authentic espresso – it’s an art that needs to be perfected by the barista. You can perfect this art, but you need a good espresso machine by your side.
11.25" x 8.19" x 12.5"
• Stainless steel construction
• Stainless steel boiler
• Built-in frother
• Self-priming option to remove excess water and grinds
• 15-bar pump
• Dual-function filter holder
List Price: $279.95 Sale Price: $174.99 You Save: $104.96 (37%)
13.2" x 12.5" x 15.8"
• Purge function for flavor refinement
• Stainless steel conical grinder
• 15-bar Italian pump
• Clean alert button
• Built-in tamper
• Multiple accessories
• 67-ounce water tank
List Price: $521.44 Sale Price: $518.60 You Save: $2.84 (1%)
12.6" x 4.7" x 9"
• 24-ounce water holding capacity
• 19 bar high pressure pump
• A Class energy efficiency
• Pre-heating time of 25 seconds
• Folding cup tray for large cup accommodation
• 9 – 11 user capsule holder
List Price: $149.00 Sale Price: $104.30 You Save: $44.70 (30%)
“Best” doesn’t always mean the highest priced machine either.
We’ve written dozens of reviews, and you know what? Some of the best models are able to be purchased for far less than high-end models. If you want advanced features, such as a cup warmer, you’ll have to pay a higher price for a machine that offers this functionality.
And what you may not know is that there are several types of espresso makers:
- Stovetop: The moka pot you would expect to see in your grandmother’s home. These models use steam and pressure to brew espresso, and they’re less convenient than automatic models.
- Levered: An espresso maker that requires a lot of “hands-on” brewing. You’ll squeeze the lever, pushing water through the grinds. These machines are manual, and you’ll have a major impact on the way the espresso tastes based on the force applied.
- Pump Models: The top choice for automatic machines. Water is forced through the coffee grounds using a pump mechanism. The 15-bar pump pressure is the ideal choice for optimum flavor extraction.
- Steam: An older technology still in use today. Steam-powered espresso machines use steam to force water through the coffee grounds. These models provide a milder tasting espresso that isn’t the bold flavor you’d experience with a pump or levered model.
All of these espresso machine types will produce great tasting espresso, but you need to find the right machine for the job.
This is where I recommend reading espresso machine reviews to find the best model.
You’ll also find that aside from price, there are a few common features found in most espresso machines. These features are very important, although they may seem irrelevant at first, such as:
- Froth Systems: These systems are meant for cappuccino. You can froth milk and put a delicious, sweet topping on top to enhance the flavor of the cappuccino.
- Cup Warmer: Who needs a cup warmer? Everyone. This feature is so important because it allows the espresso to remain the optimal temperature for a bold flavor. If a cup is cold, it will affect the taste of the espresso.
Of course, cleaning alert systems and systems that self-prime or purge the machine are optimal as well.
One thing I want to touch on before our espresso machine reviews is the technique used to brew your espresso.
Remember how I mentioned that espresso making is an art?
This fact comes from the many variations that can alter the taste of your espresso. When you make espresso, there are a few espresso making tips and guidelines that need to be followed:
- Warm up the glass or carafe to ensure that the espresso remains the optimal temperature.
- Tampering is an art in itself. You want to tamper your grounds and re-tamper to find the perfect tamp for you. The better the tamp, the more flavor will be extracted.
- Using fresh coffee grounds is the absolute best way to make a great espresso. If you let the coffee grounds sit for just 5 minutes, the flavor will deteriorate.
There’s a lot that goes into making an espresso, and even having the wrong ground consistency or having an uneven level of grounds in the filter can cause the taste to vary greatly.
The Top 5 Espresso Machines for Every Budget
1. De’Longhi EC702
Beautifully designed with a stainless steel construction, this is everything you could want in an at-home espresso machine. A machine that looks like it would fit in any coffee shop, it uses 15-bar pump pressure to push the water through the coffee grounds to provide exceptional flavor.
|You Save:||$104.96 (37%)|
And, while you’re waiting for your espresso to brew, put your cups on the warming tray to ensure they’re warm for optimal flavor.
This model features:
- Stainless steel construction
- Stainless steel boiler
- Built-in frother
- Self-priming option to remove excess water and grinds
- 15-bar pump
- Dual-function filter holder
This is a high-end model at the price of a mid-range espresso machine. This is the best bang for your buck, and you’ll be able to make espresso that tastes better than what your local barista brews.
A patented frother delivers delicious, even foam for cappuccino, while the 15 bar pump ensures an authentic rich flavor.
Pods can be used as well as freshly ground coffee to brew your espresso for the utmost in taste variation. Warming your cups is easy on top of the unit, and a thick rich crema is left right on top of your shot.
This is the perfect balance between affordability and taste.
2. Breville BES870XL
This is the absolute best model on our list – at a price. This model is expensive, but if you’re a true espresso lover that needs the most authentic taste, it will not disappoint.
Like many of the models on this list, a 15 bar pump is used to extract the flavor of the grounds, and there is a 1600W heating coil system. When you’re going to make espresso, you cathe built-in, stainless steel conical burr grinder.
|You Save:||$2.84 (1%)|
Freshly ground beans are the main factor in the taste of your espresso.
What features are included:
- Purge function for flavor refinement
- Stainless steel conical grinder
- 15-bar Italian pump
- Clean alert button
- Built-in tamper
- Multiple accessories
- 67-ounce water tank
This is a model that is hard to match in the industry. With the right tampering and grinds, you’ll be able to brew top-quality espresso right in your own home.
A 360 degree swivel steam wand is perfect for making lattes and cappuccinos, while the built-in tamper allows you to perfectly tamp your coffee for a bolder or lighter flavor. When it’s time to clean up, the stainless steel wipes clean while the drip tray is removable for easy, fast cleaning.
And this is just the beginning of what this model has to offer.
If I had to choose one machine out of all of our reviews for the perfect shot, this would be the model I’d choose.
Click here to read out full review of the Breville BES870XL.
Check out another Breville in our Breville Cafe Roma review.
3. Nespresso Inissia Review
The Nespresso Inissia is truly impressive. From the outside, you may think that this model isn’t capable of brewing an espresso that tastes like it came from Italy. But, you would be wrong. The power of this machine resides in the 19 bar pressure pump that extracts every last bit of flavor out of your coffee beans.
|You Save:||$44.70 (30%)|
The Inissia offers:
- 24-ounce water holding capacity
- 19 bar high pressure pump
- A Class energy efficiency
- Pre-heating time of 25 seconds
- Folding cup tray for large cup accommodation
- 9 – 11 user capsule holder
One of the only flaws that this machine has is that you’re required to use the Nespresso capsules to brew your espresso. This does hinder the taste a little bit as freshly ground beans are always best to achieve maximum flavor output.
If you’re not a connoisseur that has their beans imported from Italy, this won’t be much of an issue.
And, you’ll also be able to brew espresso in less than 30 seconds. In total, the heat up time is just 25 seconds, so it doesn’t take long before you’re left smelling the great aroma of freshly brewed espresso.
Energy efficient, this model will automatically power down in 9 minutes.
Read more about the Nespresso Inissia.
4. De’Longhi EC155 Review
De’Longhi is a brand that you’ll find dominates the medium-priced espresso machine market. Along with Breville, this brand is a leader in the industry. The EC155 is a welcomed addition to any list because it costs under $100, yet it offers a lot of advanced features and a great tasting shot when brewed.
|You Save:||$13.99 (16%)|
We really liked this model. From the industry standard 15-bar pump pressure to the swivel jet frother, there is a lot to love with this machine. And, you can make cappuccino with the EC155 as well.
This model features:
- Pod / ground coffee options
- 35-ounce water tank
- Swivel jet frother
- Stainless steel boiler
- Removable drip tray
When the water tank is filled accurately, you’ll be able to brew 8 – 10 shots of espresso. I really liked this model because it heats up in under a minute, and you’ll be able to use pods or fresh coffee grounds to make your espresso.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that fresh grounds are the best for flavor.
You’ll also be able to make froth with the swivel jet system. De’Longhi included everything you need to make espresso from a scoop to a portafilter and two filter baskets. When brewed, you’ll enjoy a strong, vibrant flavor with just the right touch of crema.
Click here to read more about the De’Longhi EC155.
5. Mr. Coffee ECM160 Review
Made with affordability in mind, the Mr. Coffee ECM160 is a 4-cup espresso maker that is steam-powered. And, if you’ve had steam-powered espresso, you’ll know that the taste is usually a tad weak or watery.
The ECM160 offers:
- 4-cup brewing precision
- Stainless steel design with black accents
- Glass carafe with easy pour capability
- Frothing arm for cappuccino and lattes
- Drip catcher for easy cleanup
It’s a unique way to make espresso mainly because you’ll be brewing into a carafe. But, this isn’t a bad thing. You’ll find that the carafe keeps your espresso very warm, so if you feel like you need another shot 10 minutes after brewing, they’ll be more left in the carafe for later.
The pouring design is ingenious with the ability to flick your wrist to pour your espresso.
A terrific little espresso maker that delivers a strong, flavorful shot of espresso, the ECM160 provides an affordable way to make espresso in your home. It may not come with all of the advanced features that the other models on our list offer, but for under $50, you won’t find an espresso maker that’s better.
This is the best espresso machine for under $50.
Click here to read out in-depth review of the Mr. Coffee ECM160.
There are espresso machines for every budget. If you’re after the best taste, we recommend a machine that allows you to grind your own coffee beans to extract the freshest flavor possible. When you want an espresso that is quick yet bold, you’ll be able to use pod models that don’t require any grinding and offer a uniform taste time and time again.