The 15 Best Espresso Machines to Fit Any Home (2021)

Our guide makes picking the perfect espresso machine for any occasion a breeze!
Odin Odin (8)
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We love good coffee of all kinds, but there’s something extra special about the way a fresh-pulled shot of espresso goes down… that rich ambrosia scent, that nutty roasted goodness filling the morning air. It’s pure bean magic. Recreating that coffee shop magic at home has become a necessity for anyone working from home. Still, there’s a conflicting mess of information out there about which espresso machine is “the best.”

Fifteen unique espresso machines for fifteen unique situations!

We wanted to do something a little different and find just the right espresso machines for various homes and budgets. And so, here is the fruit of our passion for the high-tech world of the best espresso, our gift to all you fellow bean-lovers desperate for the perfect home pull—the fifteen unique espresso machines for fifteen unique situations.

True Espresso Machines vs. Pods

Note that all of the machines listed here are true espresso machines. We don’t like using pods because of the environmental downsides and the hassle, and we generally don’t think the taste is as good as a properly pulled shot (even from a cheaper espresso machine!).

There are many faux espresso machines on the market, too, which fail to provide the 15 bars of pressure needed to pull a true espresso. We include a couple of stovetop espresso makers because of their usefulness and novelty status, but be aware that you’re not getting a “true” espresso with anything that can’t produce a high level of pressure.

What is espresso?

Espresso

True espresso has a rich tiger-striped crema on the top due to the high-pressure method of making the espresso.

Bars of pressure

Espresso is an Italian coffee brewing method that has gained international recognition as a staple for coffee aficionados and average drinkers alike. Espresso is made by forcing a small amount of near-boiling water through coffee grounds at a minimum of 9 bars of pressure (one “bar” is a measurement of pressure which is equal to the atmospheric pressure at sea level, so “9 bars” is nine times the pressure of the atmosphere at sea level).

Bar

Crema top

True espresso also has a rich tiger-striped crema on the top due to the high-pressure method of making the espresso. The heat and pressure strip essential oils from the coffee grounds, and the aeration created by this process helps produce the foam. Many machines are equipped with a portafilter that increases this aeration effect and thereby creating the effect of a fuller crema. However, it must be noted that the use of a portafilter doesn’t create a true crema — one that is filled with the oils from the coffee beans — it only creates the appearance of one through pressure and aeration.

Espresso beans and pressure

The best way to get crema from an espresso machine is to select fresh beans from a region known for its espresso bean (which have a high oil content), ensure that the pressure and temperature are right, grind the beans fresh and finely, and tamp the espresso grounds down with around 30lbs of pressure, so the water is passed through them at the right speed.

Repair, warranties, and machine lifespan

Warranty

Espresso machines work because they generate a lot of heat and pressure. This is great for your morning espresso but plays havoc with all but the most sturdily-built machines. Sometimes, defects in build quality that might not be otherwise apparent will end up emerging after a few uses due to that pressure and heat — plastic parts, especially, are vulnerable to this.

It’s vital to have a warranty in place to protect your investment!

Why do espresso machines break?

One of the many reasons why people become frustrated when buying an espresso machine, only to have it fail around six months in, is because they expect it to continue functioning without any maintenance. because of the high pressure and heat that these devices operate under, certain types of maintenance are absolutely required. A build-up of minerals on the inside of the espresso machine’s pipes will, for instance, increase the pressure of the water passing through those pipes (a smaller diameter within the pipe equals greater pressure), and over time this added pressure can exceed the limits of what certain parts of the machine can handle.

How long do espresso machines last?

Carefully cared for, an espresso machine should last years — even the cheapest espresso machines should last two years before needing a major servicing. Eventually, of course, certain interior elements like rubber hoses or gaskets will also need to be replaced — but this can usually be done by any capable DIYer, or by a local appliance repairman, or even a volunteer from a local Maker Space.

Our recommendation: extended appliance warranty

All of this said, we strongly recommend getting an extended appliance warranty on any expensive piece of machinery — on top of the at least one year of comprehensive warranty for parts and labor that any reputable company will provide. There’s always the chance when dealing with mass-produced machinery that your device has a random defect. In this case, it’s vital to have a warranty in place to protect your investment.

In the end, with proper maintenance and care, however, a good espresso machine will last years and provide you with multiple daily pulls of crema-topped goodness.

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Miele CM5300

As you might imagine, the best entry-level professional espresso machine is not the cheapest item on our list. Still, for the price, you do get an absolutely perfect espresso completely automated from start to finish. Miele is a German brand that’s been around for a long time and maintains a commitment to quality and performance.

Why we love it

This machine handles all your coffee routine elements, providing you with a one-stop-shop for coffee, espresso, and specialty coffee drinks besides. We love that it’s easy to clean, efficient, and sleek — seriously, this thing's design is gorgeous.

What we think could be better

Miele

The more complicated the machinery, the more finicky it gets. Espresso machine systems are cool because they can do everything from a single condensed package, but that also means that more things are capable of getting gummed up over time. With regular cleanings, the Miele should remain a sturdy part of your home for years to come, but we highly recommend purchasing an additional warranty alongside it to ease problems that arise.

We would also like to see a greater level of automation and a few more special features for this price range, like an “iced-coffee” mode where the grinds are infused at a lower temperature to create a rich brew that won’t cause ice-cube meltage.

Gevi 15 Bar Espresso Machine

If the absolute best espresso machines climb beyond $5000, is it even possible to get an espresso machine for under $100 that’s worthwhile? We believe it is. When you go for the higher quality machines, you’re starting to look at precise concepts of what “espresso” means — you become exacting concerning pressure ranges, temperature fluctuations, and more (you might also start to focus on highly advanced features). For a cheaper machine, you’re “compromising” on some of those features, but if the result is an espresso that tastes amazing every day and is easier to make than pie… well, we think that’s a win in anyone’s book.

Why we love it

Gevi went out of their way to create the perfect package here, and it might just be our favorite item on this list. They’re a smaller expanding brand, but that can be an excellent thing — their engineering team is clearly laboring to create quality machinery. Their 1-year parts warranty is pretty standard for the consumer industry.

What we think could be better

Gevi

Obviously, we’d love if this were a true double-boiler so your steam could be ready just as soon as the espresso is. Their dual-temperature system allows you to switch from espresso to steam easily enough, but that adds a little time between having your espresso ready and adding your frothed milk. That said, most devices at this price range will use this feature set, so we can’t really complain.

Gaggia RI9380 Classic Espresso Machine

Gaggia edges out its competitors at this price range by delivering commercial-grade components and a stellar sales support team. Added to that, these beauties are constructed in Italy, home of the perfect coffee, so that you can rely on good Italian build quality. They seem pretty responsive to customer problems as well, which we really like to see. We also like that the parts for Gaggia are readily available, ensuring that self-servicing is possible long into the future, which can’t be said for many other espresso machines (oftentimes especially the more expensive ones). We’re not afraid to do a bit of DIY repair once our warranty expires, so we like to know that doing so is a possibility.

Why we love it

We think this is probably the best entry-level machine out there for someone serious about good espresso and willing to pay the price. It boasts a fast warm-up time and a great range of basic controls for the novice user. It’s easy to pull a consistently good espresso as long as your grind is consistently even.

What we think could be better

Gaggia

We wish there were a pressure gauge to ensure a consistent pull, and we’d like a bit more room between the baseplate and the portafilter and the drip dray, partly because we like making lattes as well as traditional espresso, and that’s easier if you can slide the mug right in.

Breville Dual Broiler Espresso Machine

Beyond $1500 and you’re finally pushing beyond the realm of the consumer espresso machine and into the “prosumer” or even “home professional” markets. Keeping in mind that a really high-quality professional home machine will run around $5000, the $1500 price range should allow for a lot in terms of brew quality, features, and overall build quality.

Breville is one of the standard brands in the espresso machine industry, a real workhorse name with machines ranging from the ultra-affordable to the extremely high-end. They sometimes cut corners when it comes to building quality, but their limited warranty covers the parts and repairs, so we feel that they’re a good company to recommend.

Why we love it

Honestly, what we love most about this model is the sleek aesthetic — especially the cherry red color (though it’s available in black and brushed steel as well). Sitting on the countertop, it may take up some space, but it ultimately looks gorgeous enough to make us feel that it’s worth the space.

From a more practical angle, the double-boiler and the Over Pressure Valve make this a quality machine. Not only will the steam for milk and the hot water for the espresso be heated in separate containers within the machine, but the water used for the espresso will also always run at just the right pressure for optimal extraction. This ensures that there will be no bitterness from too-quick an extraction.

Breville has packed a lot into this package, and it shows. At the $1500 price point, we think this is the winner.

What we think could be better

It's beautiful but big

Inconsistent quality with devices manufactured before 2020 makes us a little concerned, though the warranty gives us back some peace of mind. There’s also the question of size — this is not a device that fits on a small countertop (unless you’re creating an alter to espresso).

Breville Barista Express

If you are looking for the sort of shot that matches the quality of professional-grade espresso but comes to your straight from your own kitchen, look no further than the. Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine.

Why we love it

One of the first things we look at when reviewing products is the build quality. Even if the espresso machine produces the best crema in the world, it’s pointless if the thing breaks down every couple of months or can’t handle a kitchen's busy environment. That’s where the Breville first stood out to us, with a gorgeous steel exterior and heavy-duty metal and food-grade plastic accessories (the tamper comes about as close to professional as one could expect from an in-box item). The display feels high quality as well, with the pressure gauge and streamlined, minimalistic buttons impressing us to no end.

We also love how easy this device is to clean compared to some of the others we have tried

We love an all-in-one device, too, and the Breville manages to meet all our expectations. From milk frother to high-quality grinder, this machine has it all. Being able to grind our beans fresh and have them delivered directly into the basket is a win for those early mornings when you don’t want to bother with measuring everything out yourself.

It comes with all the standard features expected on a higher-grade machine, such as an attuned pressure gauge, which provides the home-barista with an at-a-glance view of the range for a perfect espresso pull. But the convenience factor is really where this machine shines — having a dedicated single device that handles every aspect of your espresso is really the way to go for anyone hoping for an easy and consistent espresso experience.

We also love how easy this device is to clean compared to some of the others we have tried: the Breville comes with its own cleaning kit, and any standard espresso cleaning formula will keep it running for years to come.

What we think could be better

The Breville grinder exposes the beans to some heat

The build quality is superb, but for those seeking a truly high-quality espresso experience, the Breville does have some limitations quite literally built-in. Its grinder does a fair job of producing a fine and even coffee ground, and its bean storage is a nice and handy touch, but there is a risk in this design of a loss in bean quality.

The bean storage location exposes the beans to excessive heat and may, over time, damage the flavor of the beans stored there. Likewise, the grinder is never going to produce quite as even and fine a grind as a good burr grinder can, and there will be a subsequent reduction of consistency in the pulls because of it.

However, these cons aside, the Breville still delights us, and we think that there’s probably no better mixture of price, features, and build quality on the market.

De'Longhi Dual Espresso and Coffee Machine

While we’re mainly focused on creating a great cup of espresso, we’re willing to admit that sometimes you really want an old-fashioned “cuppa Joe” without any of the hassles. This simple, intuitive design provides the most important feature of any coffee maker — the automatic timer function. Being able to set your coffee for the early morning and rise to the smell of fresh-brewed bean juice is one of the best experiences ever. Plus, some of us need a cup of coffee before we’re ready to put in the care needed to pull a good espresso shot.

What we think could be better

Dual coffee maker

The customer service for De'Longhi has been known to be spotty. While their warranty should cover any quality issues, be aware that their warranty does not extend to replacements for defective items. Some build quality issues prompted our concern, but we still think that this is a great bet if you want to save space and have the convenience of both a simple espresso maker and a coffee maker in your home.

Flair Manual Espresso Machine

This is an easy answer because only Flair has managed to produce a manual espresso maker this perfect. Honestly, it’s a work of beauty that will likely be with your family for generations, and that alone makes it the best option on this whole list.

What we love

The Flair espresso press also elevates the experience of espresso to a personal art, a practice in cultivating the right organization, the right grind, the right amount of physical pressure required to turn boiled water and burr-ground beans into a shot so fine you’ll never be able to return to normal coffee shop espresso again.

What we think could be better

Flair

There is also the issue of overall commitment required to pull the right shot from this press. It takes time to lay out all the parts, place the priming cylinder in hot water, load it up, line it up, add the (just-off) boiling water, and press. The cleaning process leaves something to be desired, especially when certain elements expand due to heat, making them harder to remove.

This is probably not the device for someone who wants a normal morning shot, but if you live somewhere with inconsistent electricity or just want a solid piece of machinery that will last a long time, then the Flair is the right piece for you.

Mr.Coffee Espresso and Capuccino Barista

The Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino maker may not look like the highest-quality device on the market, but it’s sturdy and takes all the guesswork out of the equation. To this end, that’s why we love that the Mr. Coffee has its own perfect milk frother, which makes getting perfect foamed milk a breeze. Creating latte art might be a skill reserved for those with time to spare, but for someone who wants the taste and foaminess of a good latte without any of the hassles, this machine is the way to go.

What we love

For a busy and caffeine-reliant student — especially one learning remotely — being able to make a tasty latte with the push of a single button is a worthwhile investment. The Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino machine takes all the guesswork out of the equation by providing a one-press option for a latte, espresso shot, or cappuccino — as well as an easy dial on the milk frothing compartment so the perfect type of froth for latte or cappuccino can be created with ease.

We know what it’s like to be a student under pressure and how easy it is to forget things, so that’s why we also want to point out that the machine has a handy automatic cycle stop, which ensures that there will be no unfortunate messes from forgetting to turn the dial off in time.

What we think could be better

Cleaning is easy

Though this espresso machine is, overall, superb for its price, it’s important to note that the shot quality still depends largely on the barista's skill. Ensure the grind is fine and consistent (we recommend using a burr grinder) and ensuring that the pressure used when tamping hits the golden “30lb” mark. The build quality on these Mr. Coffee machines is surprisingly solid for the price, too. Still, we strongly recommend purchasing a home appliance warranty with all such devices to ensure that random material defects don’t cause problems down the road.

We also recommend following the cleaning instructions in the manual carefully before operating the machine as the correct heat and pressure may not be reached otherwise. Clean it before your first use and then at regular intervals — we recommend once a month. Doing so will also extend the life of your new espresso machine!

Wacaco Nanopresso

We could hardly imagine creating a crema-rich espresso while on a hiking trip before discovering the beauty that is the Wacaco Nanopresso. This marvelous little piece of engineering allows for up to 18 bars of pressure to be applied directly to tightly-tamped espresso grounds… no matter where you are. And all without any electricity or complicated mechanisms. The only thing needed is hot water, which can be easily boiled over an open fire.

What we love

Its sheer portability makes this a winner for anyone looking to travel and still enjoy their morning espresso shot. Still, the little machine's quality and the company’s high level of responsiveness to legitimate customer concerns made us really fall in love with the Nanopresso.

What we think could be better

Wacaco

Most of the qualms we might have about the Wacaco Nanopresso are actually solved by accessories designed by the company itself. Attachments exist for an increased water reservoir, the preparation of double, rather than single, shots, and even a pod adapter that allows for the use of NS pods.

Cleaning the Nanopresso isn’t an easy task, especially because negative pressure buildup during espresso preparation can make the screw lid annoyingly tight, but for the portability and ability to make a fine espresso on the go, anywhere, we think it’s still more than worthwhile.

DeLonghi Magnifica Super Automatic

When you’re in the middle of a busy day, the last thing you want to do is mess around with a complicated espresso project. If you want your home-espresso to be more than a weekend delicacy, however, then you need a machine that can simplify the whole process from start to finish. Making your espresso needs to be easy. Luckily, that’s where a “super automatic” espresso machine comes into play. These beauties handle every aspect of the espresso process, from the grinding to the tamping to the pulling of a crema-topped shot.

What we love

We chose the DeLonghi because it handles two simultaneous shots, has a high-quality built-in burr grinder, and has a powerful self-cleaning function. All for a reasonable price range!

What we think could be better

It's easy to repair and powerful

There are some quality control issues with models made in certain years, and this could be a problem. Luckily, the warranty is reasonable. Once it’s out of its warranty period, too, servicing the machine for the most common issues should be relatively easy, allowing any comfortable DIYer to handle the repairs.

Smeg ECF01RDUS Espresso Coffee Machine

The Smeg espresso machine is one of the sleekest we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing; their clean, retro design makes this feel like something straight from a 1950’s catalog. We think that special occasions deserve an extra-special treatment; if you want to manifest a physical object of your love, you need to go beyond functional and dive straight into pure aesthetic. The Smeg espresso machine manages to bring a unique flair to an otherwise primarily functional appliance, though it also packs a powerful professional punch beneath the gorgeous exterior package.

What we love

A powerful steam system, removable drip tray, fast water heating time, and great pressure delivery all won our attention. It might run up the budget a little, but it’s likely to be the sort of machine that pays for itself as soon as your loved-one tries their first cup of fresh espresso.

What we think could be better

gorgeous and solid smeg

It is a thermoblock system, so it does take a few moments to switch between espresso mode and steam mode, but we think this is pretty acceptable for a machine in this price range. We’ve had some minor concerns about build quality, but the company offers total replacement of the machine during an above-standard 2-year limited warranty. So, if something goes wrong, you know that the company stands behind your machine.

Bialetti New Brikka

Bialetti is a brand of Moka pot known for its consistency and top-notch quality… but is it espresso? Well, not exactly; Moka pots work by forcing boiling water through coffee grounds via steam pressure. An ordinary Moka pot creates a far richer coffee than a drip or filter method but less-infused than true high-pressure espresso machines. The Bialetti Brikka changes things, however.

What we love

Going beyond the normal pressure design, the Brikka incorporates an internal pressure system more similar to a pressure cooker, allowing a much higher internal steam pressure to build. This forces the boiling water through the espresso at a much greater rate, allowing for the creation of a true crema. Given that this device costs so little, is lightweight enough for any long trip, and manages to work on every type of stove (gas, electric, and ceramic), we fell instantly in love.

What we think could be better

Brikka

Mainly we with that the handle was constructed from a more aesthetically pleasing material than black plastic. There are some minor quality issues with the pot, like weak points at the top hinge, too. We recommend inspecting yours carefully when it arrives and always following our advice to purchase an extended warranty alongside.

Delonghi Dedica EC680M

Delonghi is a classic in the espresso world, especially when it comes to machines' more affordable lines. Good build quality, sleek designs, and innovative features that feel carefully considered rather than added on for show. That’s what ultimately swayed us with the EC680M, a machine capable of pulling a perfect shot of espresso every time without a lot of extra bells and whistles. This is a machine for a discerning and aesthetic-conscious owner, someone who wants all the joy of a great espresso without having to surrender half their counter-top for the privilege.

What we love

Features like the automatic flow stop ensure that exactly the right amount of water passes through the grounds for a specific beverage type, the built-in frothing wand, and the consistent pull, making this an obviously good choice. But what ultimately makes this a hit is the top-notch design quality.

What we think could be better

Delonghi

As with many consumer-grade espresso machines, build quality is something to watch for. We’ve had some concerns about the longevity of Delonghi machines, though it appears that this might be due to inconsistencies between different manufacturing batches. Regardless, make sure that you test it heavily during your return period and always purchase that extended warranty before committing!

Ninja CM407

Okay, so this is not technically an espresso machine, but we promise that you won’t know the difference. The Ninja comes with a special infusion mode that creates a hyper-flavorful coffee concentrate (as opposed to espresso created through heat pressure). What we love is how this device eliminates all the guesswork about creating the perfect espresso-like drink; you get to have all of the taste and caffeine of espresso without needing to worry about pressure levels and pull times. This puppy runs its infuser cycle, and out comes a sublime cup — every time.

What we love

The Ninja coffee maker is also brimming with features, from the simple-yet-useful brew delay to the innovative design that allows for different-size vessels to be used. It can brew normal coffee, can froth milk, can produce a coffee concentrate so good you won’t know the difference from an espresso pull (which, by the way, makes it perfect for iced coffee), and it puts all of this into a sleek package with an affordable price tag. If you’re adamant about an all-in-one option but don’t want to spring for the costly coffee systems, the Ninja is the machine for you.

What we think could be better

Ninja espresso maker

Build quality for these can be a little spotty at times, and that’s something we look for carefully. As we note elsewhere, any complicated machine (especially one that deals with high pressure, heat, or lots of liquid) will need repairs from time to time. The same is true for the Ninja, but we note that some buyers have experienced inconstancies with the build quality itself, and that’s something to watch for. Check it out carefully during its return period and make sure to get an extended warranty.

The only other thing we note is that this puppy is big: the Ninja coffee maker takes up a fair part of our kitchen counter. The upside is that it looks really nice and, for the number of functions it provides, feels more than worth it for the footprint.

For some people, making the perfect espresso is as much about making a statement as it is about how well the machine functions. For such people, only a true Italian espresso machine will make the cut. La Pavoni makes a truly high-quality machine that combines aesthetic and functionality into a brilliant rosewood and chrome body.

What we love

Getting the machine to temperature takes several minutes, so this is not the device for someone looking for a quick coffee fix, but we have the feeling you’ll find the wait more than worthwhile. We love that this machine streamlines the process of making espresso by removing the digital experience - no LCD screen here! This machine really looks like something from a different century.

What we think could be better

Pavoni espresso maker

There are some plastic parts in the machine and we’d like to see those vanish for a completely classic experience. We also want to point out that the lack of advanced features makes the experience of pulling an espresso more of an art… but it also adds some difficulty which may not be for all buyers.

From lattes to cà phê trung! We even tell you how to make them!
Tayler Tayler (43)
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Since it was first discovered in Ethiopia, after a herder observed the increase in energy in his goats after eating some berries, coffee has become one of the most important commodities, spreading from the Arabian Peninsula and through the world. As the need and demand for coffee rose over the centuries, different countries began growing their own coffee crops, which allowed for different variations in the natural flavor of the beans. This spread the consumption of coffee, encouraging different cultures to create different ways to consume the tasty bean, many of which are influenced by regional flavors and customs. Many of the beverages you’ll see on this list are made from espresso and other ingredients. Espresso is a type of coffee. We've included the ingredients so you can try to make these yourself. You will need some coffee gear, however. So be sure to check our list of products coffee drinkers need, to make sure you have everything. Did you know that the term “coffee” refers to the liquid that is extracted from the bean? From the classic and creamy latte to the robust and heart-attack-inducing ristretto and everything in between, here are 30 coffee beverages you need to know!