The way we drink coffee today has changed from what it was a few decades ago. You can customize your coffee in so many ways now. When you go to any coffee shop, the number of words it takes to order the coffee you like is sometimes quite a lot. That’s because there’s everything from straight brewed coffee, to espresso-based coffee drinks, cold brew, and even the delicious milk-shake like coffee drinks many of us love. An espresso machine can give you the ability to make all the coffee drinks you love right at home.
When shopping to find the best espresso machine, start by deciding how involved you want to be in the process of making your coffee. You can choose from manual, semi-automatic, super automatic, and fully automatic. Some espresso machines will take time to learn how to use, but if you want one to start using right out of the box, consider that when you’re looking. Look at how long it takes the espresso maker to heat up, the extras it has like a milk frother, and how easy it is to clean.
You’ll also want to set a budget for yourself. Some espresso machines can be pretty pricey so it’s better to know how much you’re willing to spend before getting into your shopping. So now, let’s get into some of the details you might want to know more about when it comes to finding the best espresso machine.
Are Home Espresso Machines Worth It?
If you find yourself stopping in at local coffee shops often to get your favorite espresso-based coffee drink, then a home espresso maker will almost certainly be worth it for you. For some of us, if we add up the cost of getting those coffees from the shop for a month, we may be spending more there than the cost of a good home espresso machine.
Even after purchasing your supplies to make the coffee drinks you get out at home, you will ultimately save a good bit of money. The trick is to also value your time. It may be that you make those stops because it doesn’t take you as much time to just grab your coffee on the go. If that’s the case for you, then you can also save yourself time at home by purchasing a fully automatic espresso machine that uses capsules to brew your espresso. So, not only will you save money, you’ll save time, as well.
All that being said, your budget is still very important. You don’t need to go and drop thousands of dollars on the fanciest espresso machine you can find. Look for one that will allow you to make the coffee drinks you like the most at a price that you’re comfortable with.
How Do I Choose an Espresso Machine For My Home?
Let’s start by looking at the different types of machines you can buy.
- Manual – A manual espresso maker can be a very economical choice, however it’s more labor intensive to make a cup of coffee. Nothing will be done at an automatic level so you’ll have to learn the art of making your espresso just right.
- Semi-automatic – This type of machine helps you with some guides and things you can set like temperature and such, but you are still the coffee maker. You’ll need to develop some skills for making a great cup of coffee.
- Super-automatic – With a super-automatic espresso maker, you’ll have to add the grounds and water, but the machine will take care of the rest. You don’t really have to do anything else.
- Fully-automatic – A fully-automatic espresso machine is a capsule espresso maker. You simply pop a capsule in, push the button, and you’ll have espresso in no time.
Once you decide on a type of machine, you can look at other features. Check into how much water different espresso machines can hold. Look at how long it takes for the machine to heat up and brew the espresso. Can you brew two drinks at the same time? What type of interface does it have? You want to make sure you’ll be comfortable with the level of complexity the machine has.
You can also compare the accessories that the different espresso machines come with. Some of them will come with a coffee tamper and tamping mat. You can also find some with a milk frothing pitcher included. They could have either a handheld frother or a wand frother attached to the machine. Other bonus accessories may be espresso shot glasses, a knock box, a cleaning brush, and other cleaning items.
Want to look at some good options for the best espresso machines, now? Let’s do that.
Best Espresso Machine Options
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Large, Stainless Steel (See Customer Reviews & Pricing)
This machine offers you the best of both worlds. You can choose whether you want to use it as an automatic espresso machine or as a manual machine. Everything can be operated through buttons on the interface. It has a built-in grinder that can give you fresh grounds in less than a minute. These espresso machines give you dose control so you get the exact amount of grounds you want every time. They also come with all of the accessories you’ll need to make all the coffee drinks you want at home. This essentially is your entire coffee shop all wrapped up in one little package to have in your own house.
- Dual functioning machine
- Built-in grinder gives you freshest coffee you can get
- Full flavored, bold, silky, balanced coffee
- Digital temperature control
- Steam wand included
- Small footprint
- A little complicated operation
- No low water indicator on front of machine
Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine with Milk Frother, Black, EP3221/44 ( See Customer Reviews & Pricing)
This fully automatic espresso machine can brew up to 5,000 cups of espresso before you have to descale. It’s fully automatic so you don’t have to do anything, essentially. What’s more is all of the parts are removable and dishwasher safe to make this machine even more convenient. There are three different temperature settings so you can set it to the level of heat you like. You can also set the strength level of the coffee. It has a built-in grinder with a freshness seal for keeping the beans fresh that aren’t being ground. You can also use already ground coffee.
- Fully automatic
- Easy to clean
- Customize your settings
- Milk frother included
- Makes 4 types of coffees
- Intuitive touch display
- Auto shutoff time is only 30 minutes
- Long startup process
This is one of the best espresso machines for anyone wanting the maker to do all the work for them and still be getting a super fresh cup of coffee. It has a built-in grinder that takes the whole beans from fresh to brewed in an instant. The controls are all buttons and a rotary, which are super easy to use. There is a frother attached to the machine so you can make all of the espresso-based coffee drinks you love with ease. The cleaning of this machine is also super easy and should take you half the time of what others do.
- Patented “Direct-to-Brew” grinding system
- Auto shutoff after 3 hours
- Easy and fast to clean
- Easy to operate
- Charcoal water filter included
- Automatic functioning is almost effortless
- Small water tank
- Instructions are confusing
- Espresso temperature may not be hot enough for some coffee drinkers
Breville BES840XL BES840XL/A The Infuser Espresso Machine, 100, Stainless Steel ( See Customer Reviews & Pricing)
This is another of Breville’s espresso machines. It comes at a slightly lower price point to the first one we mentioned above. Much like the first one, you have the option of using it as a semi-automatic espresso maker or one with more manual settings. It comes with a slew of accessories so you have a complete setup at home for making all of your favorite espresso-based coffee drinks. The machine comes with dosage control, optimal water pressure, and precise extraction technology so you get the perfect espresso every time.
- Small footprint
- 4 keys formula for full flavor coffee
- Infuser dries out puck and gets machine ready for next brewing
- Easy to clean
- Frother performs well
- No built-in grinder
- Not for beginners
- Water tank is small
- Waste water tray too small
Owning your own espresso machine can make your mornings or even other parts of your day brighter and tastier. You can choose the level of work you want to have to do by deciding between automatic espresso machines, semi-automatic, and manual. It’s up to you what kind of settings you want to be able to choose, if you want a built-in grinder, and if you want to be able to froth milk with your machine, too, so you can make the lattes and cappuccinos you love. If you’re a heavy coffee drinker, the cost for your espresso machine will pay itself off quickly with the money you’ll be saving making your espresso coffee drinks at home.
Which is the best espresso machine for home use?
The best for those who don’t want to do much is the VertuoPlus by Breville.
What is the best affordable espresso machine?
The best affordable espresso machines include the Ultima Pro by Capresso and the K-Café Coffee Maker by Keurig.
Is Breville or De’Longhi better?
These are both very reputable manufacturers in the world of coffee. De’Longhi is probably better for those who aren’t as experienced with espresso making. Breville is usually more complex and expensive.
What espresso does Starbucks use?
Starbucks uses an espresso machine that was specially designed for them by Thermoplan, a company out of Switzerland.
Why is espresso machines so expensive?
This is because of the way espresso is brewed. There is a lot of heat and pressure used to make espresso, so if you’re using your machine every day, it has to be able to withstand all of that. There is a lot of testing that goes into the end product when it comes to espresso machines.
Is espresso just really strong coffee?
No it is not. The beans are roasted differently so the coffee will taste different. The brewing process is also different so you get more caffeine per fluid ounce than you will with regular coffee.
Are cheap espresso machines worth it?
They can be. Do your research and choose a cheap one that has good reviews and can produce the end result that you want.
What is the best espresso machine under $500?
The best espresso maker under $500 is the Gaggia Classic Pro. It’s one that’s been around for a while and has proven its value.
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