Best Espresso Machine 2017 (Top 10 Reviews)

Hi, I'm Thomas. Welcome to my website! If you plan to buy a new espresso machine and looking for some recommendations, you have come to the right place. I own a couple types of espresso machine and I think making espresso shots at home is one of life's small pleasures.

How to Pick the Best Espresso Machine?

best-espresso-machine

Espresso machines are broadly divided as follows:

1. Steam-Driven Espresso Machine - Produces strong coffee instead of real espresso. Very affordable. ($40 – $60)

2. Pump-Driven Espresso Machine - Makes real crema-topped espresso. The more common variations are:

1. Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine - Needs a bit of skill to use. ($100 – $1000)

2. Super Automatic Espresso MachineEasy to use but very expensive. ($500 – $3000)

When purchasing your first serious espresso machine, I would recommend you to pick a semi automatic espresso machine or super automatic espresso machine. 

To make it easy for you, I've listed my recommendations with the best espresso machine reviews to follow…

Read moreTop 5 Best French Press Coffee Makers in 2016

1. Breville BES870XL Barista Express

The Breville Barista Express is your best option if you want great café-quality espresso in the comfort of home. This machine is power-packed with important commercial-grade features giving you the convenience of in-home use without compromising your brew’s quality.

The BES870XL model is the latest upgraded version of the Breville BES860XL Barista Express. It is available in the following colors: stainless steel, cranberry red, and black sesame.

It has a sleek design with easy-to-understand front panel controls. 

It’s a semi-automatic machine and the only manual tasks that you need to learn to operate it are to load up the coffee beans and replace the water reservoir.

The BES870XL has a built-in 15-Bar pressure brewing pump, another built-in heating system, which automatically adjusts the water’s temperature ensuring a good brew, and a conical burr grinder.

This model is perfect for a family of coffee lovers or a small office for it stores up to 2 liters of water.

Things We Liked

  • Consistent brewing results over a long period of time
  • Sleek, compact design and durable
  • Can work as hot water dispenser for tea preparation
  • High water capacity
  • Easy to operate
  • Good customer service

    Things We Didn’t Like

    • Minor pressure or steaming problems may occur but can be readily solved with the assistance of Breville’s customer service representatives

      2. Cuisinart DCC-3200 Perfect Temp 14-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker

      The Cuisinart DCC-3200 is the latest model in the brand’s line of coffeemakers. This new model sports a higher water capacity, allowing you to brew up to 14 cups of coffee. Cuisinart is known for their coffeemakers that produce high quality brews with the best flavors.

      The DCC-3200 model allows you to program the machine to give your coffee either a bold or a regular flavor.

      Other automated features include an option to choose the automatic shut off time (between 0 to 4 hours), self-cleaning capability, and 1-4 cup brew setting.

      The Cuisinart DCC-3200 is available in silver and white colors. It has a gold-tone permanent filter and the machine’s body is made of durable plastic.

      Things We Liked

      • Sleek and durable design
      • Easy to operate
      • High water reservoir capacity
      • Energy-efficient since it has an auto shut off feature
      • Easy to clean
      • Does not need coffee pods

        Things We Didn’t Like

        • Plastic finish may overheat when the machine runs for a long time

          3. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker with Automatic Milk Frother (model BVMC-ECMP1000)

          Mr. Coffee has been in the coffee-brewing business since 1970, making the brand among the most popular espresso machine makers in the industry.

          The Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker is a semi-automatic machine, owing to the fact that the user will still need to place the coffee beans manually, and adjust the filters as necessary. Its automatic features are covered by the milk frothing mechanism and the 15 bar pressure pump brewing system.

          Despite the small manual tasks, the Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker is still easy to use and clean.

          It has a front control panel where you can select the type of brew you wish to have. After using, you can detach the milk tank for storage or the water reservoir for refilling.

          First-time users of the device will need to remember that the machine needs to be cleaned and primed prior to use. All Mr. Coffee espresso makers come with a detailed instruction manual that will show how to prime the device. It also includes free coffee recipes, measuring scoops, two shot filters, and a coffee tamper.

          The Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker comes in three colors - stainless steel black, red and white.

          Things We Liked

          • Sturdy and compact design
          • Adjustable drip tray to fit small to tall cups
          • Relatively easy to clean
          • One-touch brew selection
          • Doesn’t need coffee pods - you can use any preferred coffee bean brand

            Things We Didn’t Like

            • The pressure mechanism may suddenly stop working
            • Automatic frothing does not produce consistent results

              4. Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker

              The Nespresso brand of espresso makers is of European origin and it was not until a few years ago that their machines were made available in the United States. Now, the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker is one of the most highly rated espresso machines on the market due to its durability and its ability to produce high coffee quality.

              Nespresso’s Pixie Espresso Maker is classified as a super-automatic espresso model. With it, you no longer have to grind coffee or adjust the temperature and pressure settings manually.

              Nespresso’s Pixie machine is part of a line of espresso machines that are small in size and compact enough to fit small kitchens or offices.

              The Pixie machine looks like a cute oven toaster, but don’t be fooled by its size. This machine has a 30-second preheating time, and its drip tray is adjustable to fit small or tall glasses. It also comes with a removable water tank, lights up when the water level is low, and has automatic power shut off mechanism.

              Just like other automatic espresso machines, you will need to purchase Nespresso coffee capsules for the machine, or you can also try other Nespresso compatible pods available in the market. For first time Nespresso Pixie purchasers, you will get a welcome pack with 16 free Nespresso Grands Crus capsules. This allows you to experience the different coffee flavors and aromas that Nespresso offers.

              Things We Liked

              • Small and compact design
              • Produces excellent coffee
              • Easy to clean parts
              • Adjustable drip tray

                Things We Didn’t Like

                • Small water reservoir
                • Nespresso custom coffee pods can be difficult to purchase regularly

                  5. Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother (model A+C40-US-TI-NE)

                  If the Nespresso Pixie only allows you to make espressos, then getting both the Nespresso Inissia Expresso Maker and the Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother, will let you obtain the ultimate espresso and coffee-maker combination.

                  A Nespresso Inissia works just like a Nespresso Pixie except that it has an empty water tank detector. The Inissia machine still has the 19 bar pump pressure mechanism, movable drip trays, automatic shut off mechanism, 24-ounce water tank capacity, and single-touch buttons.

                  It is also the lightest Nespresso machine and is available in different colors (titan, red, white, and black).

                  The Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother is a different device, which allows you to make cold or hot milk froths. If you purchase the two machines separately, the total cost is higher in comparison to getting the two as a package.

                  The Nespresso Inissia and Aeroccino Plus machine’s small size makes them perfect for any small homes or office. The two machines are also easy to clean since the espresso mechanism is separate from the milk frothing device.

                  As with any Nespresso unit, you will need to use Nespresso coffee capsules only.

                  Things We Liked

                  • Energy-efficient with Class A rating
                  • Consistent espresso coffees
                  • Small yet sturdy machine
                  • Easy to operate

                    Things We Didn’t Like

                    • Inconvenience in obtaining Nespresso coffee capsules

                      6. Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker

                      If you just want an ergonomic and automatic espresso maker, then Nespresso’s Inissia Espresso Maker is your most logical choice. This is another top-rated Nespresso machine, which fits urbanites and espresso lovers.

                      Inissia is a small, lightweight and consistent espresso-making device. It fits seamlessly in most kitchens and small offices due to its compact design and multiple color options.

                      You can get an Inissia in red, black, white, silver, pacific blue or titan colors to match your kitchen counter.

                      The Inissia’s body is mostly made of plastic, but don’t let this dishearten you. It boasts one of the highest 19-bar high pressure brewing pumps among espresso makers on the market today. It has a movable folding tray to fit anything from small demitasse cups to tall brewing glasses.

                      Just like the Nespresso Pixie, the device’s water tank is removable and is easy to clean and refill. Furthermore, it has a Class A energy rating, which is a plus.

                      Things We Liked

                      • One-touch control panel
                      • Easy to clean and refill
                      • Consistent coffee brews
                      • Has automatic shut off mechanism and Class A energy rating

                        Things We Didn’t Like

                        • Uses only Nespresso coffee pods
                        • You will need an additional device if you want to make cappuccinos or lattes

                          7. De'Longhi America EN750MB Nespresso Lattissima Pro Machine

                          The De’Longhi line of espresso machines proudly relies on the company’s rich Italian roots when it comes to developing their products, and this reflects on their machines’ quality and functionality. Leading the pack is De’Longhi America’s Nespresso Lattissima Pro Machine (model EN750MB).

                          The De’Longhi Lattissima Pro machine incorporates two of the company’s patented technologies. First is the De'Longhi Latte Crema System, which automatically makes cappuccino blends. The second patented technology is in its Nespresso capsule system.

                          With this in mind, it is best to use Nespresso pods or capsules in your Lattissima Pro machine, so you can get the best tasting espresso.

                          The Lattissima Pro machine weighs about 12.6 pounds with stainless steel motor parts and an ergonomic finish. It has a sensor touch display where you can program the time you want the machine to turn on or off in the morning. The touch display allows you to select between various pre-programmed drinks - cappuccino, espresso, latte, lungo, hot milk and ristretto. You can also program it just to make hot water for tea.

                          The machine is an automatic cappuccino-maker, and you can detach the milk container/froth maker mechanism if you don’t want to add milk into your coffee. Cleaning the Lattissima Pro is easier than the previous models and thanks to the electronic display, cleaning instructions will appear once machine maintenance is needed.

                          Things We Liked

                          • Sturdy machine and its stainless steel finish matches most kitchen and home office designs
                          • Easy cleaning and maintenance
                          • Multiple pre-programmed drinks
                          • Bigger capacity, allowing users to make more cups of espresso in a day or when entertaining guests
                          • Milk frother works well

                            Things We Didn’t Like

                            • Nespresso pods need to be purchased separately when your supply runs out. This can be a hassle for some.

                              8. De’Longhi Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine (model ESAM3300)

                              Another great De’Longhi machine is the Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso and Coffee Machine. It is a combination product and works just like the Nespresso Pixie. However, you can use any coffee beans/grounds with this machine. You can also make both espressos and cappuccinos with it.

                              The De’Longhi Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso and Coffee Machine has its own built-in burr grinder where you can adjust the beans’ fineness to your preference.

                              It is classified as a super-automatic machine, but it does not have electronic displays. 

                              You will need to use the push-button controls to turn on/off the machine or change the machine’s settings.

                              Things We Liked

                              • Makes good tasking coffee
                              • Durable and compact design
                              • Cappuccino frother works well
                              • Relatively easy to clean

                                Things We Didn’t Like

                                • Non-adjustable drip tray
                                • Machine can develop leaks

                                  9. De’Longhi 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker (model EC155)

                                  Another De’Longhi creation is the 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker. It is a bestseller in the field of semi-automatic espresso machines.

                                  What sets De’Longhi’s model EC155 apart is its 15 bar pressure pump. This means optimal brewing pressure is used to make your espresso.

                                  It comes with a small built-in tamper and a frothing wand.

                                  You will need to buy your own frothing cup and another tamper if you want a bigger alternate.

                                  This model is suitable for those who want to experiment on getting an espresso machine, but are not serious or knowledgeable enough to get a more expensive automatic machine.

                                  Most user reviews online report that they’ve had their De’Longhi espresso makers for 5 years or more. However, the De’Longhi EC155 model is not free from negative feedback as the product can break down. Still, it is a worthy alternative to other high-end machines for many in the market for an espresso maker.

                                  Things We Liked

                                  • Good-tasting brew when pump works well
                                  • Decent-sized water container
                                  • Machine heats up fast

                                    Things We Didn’t Like

                                    • Can be tedious to clean up
                                    • Built-in tamper is small in size
                                    • Heating mechanism can suddenly breakdown (replacement/repair is covered by a 1 year warranty)

                                      10. Gaggia 14101 Classic

                                      The Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine (model 14101) is a semi-automatic espresso and coffeemaker combination machine. It is notable for its durability and is among the top bestsellers in its category. Gaggia is known for being one of the first coffee-maker manufacturing companies in the country. This is the main reason why you can still find many coffee lovers using the company’s older models after ten or so years.

                                      Even if there are some complaints over cosmetic changes in recent models, old time users of the machine agree that the machines still produce the same great-tasting coffee.

                                      The Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine weighs a hefty 22 pounds and is notably heavier than its counterparts from other brands. The machine’s weight is due to its brushed stainless steel finish and built. It also boasts all the typical features needed for a great espresso machine.

                                      These are: a 72-ounce water container, brass porta filters, measuring scoop, a bar pump with high-voltage boiler, frothing wand, tamper and hot water dispenser.

                                      With the Gaggia’s 14101 model, you can choose between single-shot and double-shot beverages. The front of the machine also sports an electronic display to show temperature and signal lights (i.e. whether machine is on or off).

                                      If this is your first time to purchase an espresso machine, remember that having the semi-automatic model means that you will need to use pre-ground coffee and learn the correct way to tamp it under correct pressure. You will need to experiment a lot before you’ll discover your own preferred blend. With the Gaggia Classic Espresso Machine by your side, this process will be a lot easier.

                                      Things We Liked

                                      • Heavy duty machine that lasts a long time
                                      • Can make multiple cups per day. Perfect for families who are mostly coffee drinkers and for small offices
                                      • You can use your preferred ground coffee brand

                                        Things We Didn’t Like

                                        • A bit difficult to clean due to its multiple detachable parts

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                                          What Determines the Best Espresso Machine

                                          There are a few important elements that determine the quality of an espresso machine...

                                          1. Sturdy and Replaceable Parts

                                          Two points here, actually. Sturdy, because you want it to last longer. Replaceable, because you want it to last longer still! Most above mid-end espresso machines have replaceable parts now, and everything can be found online.

                                          2. Quality Boiler(s)

                                          There are 3 types of boilers in espresso machines out there: aluminum, stainless steel and brass.

                                          • Aluminum - Cheaper but might corrode in the long run. Corrosion happens because of chloride in tap water 
                                          • Stainless Steel - Won't corrode easily but said to be bacteria-friendly
                                          • Brass - Best material for boilers in espresso machines because it won't corrode or breed bacteria, but this contributes to the price.

                                          3. User-Friendly

                                          Do you have family members who are not a good barista like you? You might want to consider getting an espresso machine which is easier to operate for their benefit. Super automatics are much more user friendly than semi automatics.

                                          4. Heats Up Fast

                                          You may or may not need this feature. If you're the kind who is always on the go then it’s better to look out for machines that make your coffee real quick in the mornings.

                                          5. Accessible and Adjustable Spouts

                                          Everyone wants a different size of coffee? No problem if you have adjustable spouts with your machine.

                                          6. Safe Design

                                          Safety is a crucial factor. Check whether the model you intend to buy has any safety issues with other users.

                                          7. Easy to Clean

                                          This actually depends to some extent on how good you are at cleaning. See if the model you have in mind is easy enough for you to clean stress-free.

                                          What Can I Make With My Espresso Machine?

                                          So you've bought your espresso machine, and now you wonder what you can make besides the regular espresso shot and cappuccino. You remember seeing that long list on the Starbucks menu and you can't wait to get creative!

                                          Well, I've listed out some suggestions for you, some of which are rather fun to make!

                                          • Americano – A shot of espresso watered down with about 7 oz of hot water.
                                          • Café Breva – Same as cappuccino, but using half-and-half milk instead of whole milk.
                                          • Café Latté – A shot of espresso with steamed milk at the ratio of 3:1.
                                          • Café Macchiato – A shot of espresso with steamed milk at the ratio of 4:1.
                                          • Cappuccino – Equal parts of espresso, steamed milk and frothed milk. To make it look restaurant-served, you can add whipped cream, chocolate flakes or cinnamon sprinkled on top.
                                          • Dry Cappuccino – A cappuccino with less foam and no steamed milk.
                                          • Espresso Con Panna – Espresso with whipped cream on top.
                                          • Frappé – A cold espresso with ice and milk, just like a coffee milkshake.
                                          • Hammerhead/Shot in the Dark – A mix of drip coffee and one shot of espresso served in a regular size coffee cup.
                                          • Mocha/Mochaccino – A cappuccino or café latté with added chocolate syrup.

                                          How to Use an Espresso Machine?

                                          Before using your espresso machine we recommend that you get an espresso grinder, espresso beans, demitasse cups, and water. Be aware that bottled spring water is not the best choice. The amount of minerals found in spring water may spoil your espresso machine. It's better to use filtered water instead.

                                          Here are the basic steps in using your Espresso Machine:

                                          1. Pour clear, cold, filtered water into the water chamber of your machine. Secure the boiler cap. An ounce of water per shot is needed.
                                          2. Put the coffee basket in the filter holder and lightly pack in the ground coffee. Most filters help you to measure how much espresso you want.
                                          3. Remove any grounds on the sides and top of the filter and then place the filter holder in the espresso machine.
                                          4. Put your cup or glass carafe under the spout. Turn on the machine and when the water is heated to the right temperature it will then be forced through the coffee grounds.
                                          5. When the foam starts to turn white, remove your cup or carafe. (The ideal espresso has brown foam or "crema" on the top of the coffee. When it starts to turn white, it’s an indication that the best tasting liquid has already been extracted.)

                                          How to Clean My Espresso Machine?

                                          Ah, so you've heard that you need to clean your espresso machine. Do you wonder how to start? I've written the steps here to clean your espresso machine if it is not a super automatic with automatic cleaning functions.

                                          You need to clean your espresso machine:

                                          • After every shot
                                          • Daily
                                          • Weekly
                                          • Every 3 to 6 months

                                          If you clean according to the routines, your espresso machine will shine and remain healthy. Perhaps it may even outlast its suggested lifespan. The most important thing is, you’ll have great espresso every time! So here are the steps to do it:

                                          • After Shot Cleaning

                                          This process is perhaps the simplest and easiest cleaning process.

                                          What you need to do is just clean the milk wand thoroughly using a damp towel and release some steam to expel any milk trapped in the nozzle hole and you are ready for another cup of coffee.

                                          If you are not going to prepare another coffee, you should empty the grounds from filter basket and rinse thoroughly from the group head, then wipe it dry and reinstall it back to the machine. After that, run some water through it from the spout to rinse out any remaining stains.

                                          • Daily Routine
                                          1. Wipe off the residue on your shower screen with a damp towel.
                                          2. Install the backflush portafilter basket into the portafilter.
                                          3. Run water though the group head and jiggle the filter handle to rinse water around the shower screen and parts around the group head. Beware as the water splashed out is hot! Use lower boiler temperature to prevent scalding.
                                          4. Tighten the filter handle and run water into the group head as though you are making espresso.
                                          5. Let the water pressure in the machine build up for 15 seconds then release it along with the stains. This step is known as backflushing.
                                          6. Repeat the backflushing for at least 5 times or until the water released from it is clear.
                                          7. Remove the portafilter and drip tray. You may notice there are small coffee particles and brown tint to the water.
                                          8. Rinse the drip tray (and remove any undissolved detergent if used)
                                          9. Reinstall the portafilter and drip tray after cleaning.
                                          • Weekly Routine

                                          I shall make this part brief as the steps are very similar to that of the daily routine with only the addition of detergent.

                                          1. Measure the recommended amount of the detergent as mentioned by the manufacturer then pour it into the backflush portafilter basket.
                                          2. Install the backflush portafilter basket into the portafilter and add the recommended amount of detergent into the portafilter.
                                          3. After that, you just have to follow the steps 3 to steps 9 of the daily routine.

                                          Additionally, you must soak both the backflush portafilter basket and the portafilter in a container with water and detergent and scrub them clean. If your group head is removable, remove it and soak it into detergent water and scrub it clean too.

                                          • Every 3 to 6 months routine

                                          This routine is dependent on the hardness of water of your water supply as it is meant to remove minerals collected in your machine. The higher the mineral content, the harder the water is. Water test reagent or strips can be used to test hardness of water.

                                          1. Empty the water reservoir and fill it with descaler of appropriate amount or amount as suggested by manufacturer.
                                          2. Initiate the machine for the descaler to enter the boiler and pipes.
                                          3. Run some of the descaling solution through the hot water wand and group head too.
                                          4. Leave the machine switched on for at least half an hour with descaling solution in it.
                                          5. Empty the reservoir and refill it with clean water. Rinse the machine as you did with the descaler.
                                          6. Repeat steps 5 for at least 2 times or until you are satisfied.
                                          7. Use a litmus paper to test the pH of the water to ensure all the descaler has been rinsed out. If the blue litmus paper turns red, repeat the rinsing with clean water again.

                                          Conclusion

                                          Last but not least, always remember that no espresso machine is perfect! So the aim is to get the best espresso machine within your budget range.

                                          I have changed espresso machines many times since my college days. Each time is an upgrade, but I still like every one of the machines I owned. This is because I did a lot of research online before buying and each of them is the best within their range!

                                          See Next: 12 Best Tasting Instant Coffees in 2016

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