If you take your coffee making seriously, you’ve probably considered getting an espresso machine. There are hundreds of different espresso machines on the market at the minute so we have created espresso machine reviews for you, to help you find the best espresso machine. Espresso machines come in a range of different shapes and sizes with prices ranging anywhere from $50-5000. It's essential that you check out some espresso machine reviews before investing in one, since you're spending so much money, you need it to be perfect.
An espresso machine works by forcing hot water through the coffee beans at a pressure of around 10-15 bars. If the water is not hot enough, your cup of espresso will taste weak, if the water is too hot, you’ll get an extremely bitter tasting drink.
Making good quality coffee at home takes a lot of practice since it can be pretty tricky to do if you're new to the coffee making world, so don't expect to become a professional barista the first time you use your new machine!
The 5 Best Espresso Machines as chosen by Identifyr
Breville BES870XL Review
This barista style, 15 bar, semi-automatic espresso machine deserves the top spot for best espresso machine for so many different reasons. It has an undeniably sleek design, comes with a range of technical features, and most importantly, it produces fantastic tasting espresso coffee. If you’re a coffee connoisseur or enthusiast, this truly is the best espresso machine for you!
Nespresso Inissia Review
This low priced espresso coffee machine from Nespresso is seriously impressive, especially considering the price! It has super quick heating time, so if you’re in a rush for your morning coffee, this machine will cater for your needs. It’s a pretty small machine with the water tank holding around 24oz of water, so if you often brew for a large amount of people, check out some of Nespresso’s larger machines like the Nespresso Lattissima Plus.
Mr Coffee Café Barista Review
This is one of the best espresso machines on the market at the minute, especially if you enjoy milky cappuccinos and lattes. This is a semi-automatic machine so all the work will be done for you! It will look great in any kitchen setting due to the sleek, silver finish it has and you can use either ground coffee or capsules, depending what mood you’re in!
Rancilio Silvia Review
If you’re looking for a coffee machine that produces barista style coffee consistently, the Rancilio Silvia might be the machine for you. It comes with an impressive 15 bar pressure and is chrome plated, so you can rest assured it will be durable. Although it’s not a cheap espresso machine, it has some fantastic features that lower priced machines might not have, such as a cup warming plate.
De’Longhi EC155 Review
This budget espresso machine from De’Longhi may be cheap, but the performance is still outstanding. It comes with 15 bar pressure, a milk frother and rapid cappuccino technology, these are all things you might not expect when you’re paying as little as $90-100 for an espresso machine! If you enjoy both ground coffee and capsule coffee, this machine gives you the option to use both.
Espresso Machine Comparison Chart
Mr Coffee Cafe Barista
Nespresso Latissima Plus
Nespresso Vertuo Evoluo
Nespresso Essenza Mini
De'Longhi EC680M Dedica
Thinking of buying an espresso machine? Here's what you need to know...
What should I look for in an espresso machine?
Since there are so many espresso machines on the market, you’ll be able to find the best one for you. Whether you’re a coffee newbie or a professional barista, everyone wants a coffee machine that is easy to use. So when you’re reading espresso machine reviews, look out for ease of use features. Another aspect you need to consider when buying an espresso machine is the ease of cleaning. You really don’t want to buy an espresso machine which is a pain to clean, otherwise it just becomes an inconvenience and therefore you won't use it very often.
For some people, space is an issue when it comes to buying a new machine. Since some machines can be quite large, they take up a considerable amount of room, so size is something you really need to consider. If you don’t mind having a big, bulky machine on display in your kitchen, size may not be a problem. But, if you’re pressed for space, reading espresso machine reviews which explain the size dimensions should be essential before you buy anything.
Technological features on an espresso machine can be really important to some people, so you need to decide whether you want your machine to be high-tech or simplistic.
Espresso machines come in 2 different categories –
Manual – If you’re a bit of a newbie to coffee machines, a manual espresso machine may not be the best place to start. These machines require the user to create the pressure which can result in inconsistent tasting coffee. Manual espresso machines are much more versatile than automatic since they usually don’t require electricity. They’re pretty tricky to control and produce consistent tasting coffee, so if you want something easier, check out automatic instead.
Automatic – You can buy either super automatic or semi-automatic coffee machines. Super automatic speaks for itself, since they’re automatic they’re really easy to use, but with that, comes a very high price tag, normally over $500! Super automatic espresso machines literally do everything for you, from pulling the shot, to grinding the coffee beans, they’re extremely convenient. Semi-automatic are a bit more difficult to use but if you’re willing to learn, you’ll save yourself some money, since you can buy them at $100+. Semi-automatic machines heat the water and apply the optimum amount of bar pressure, but you’re in control of pulling the shot.
Extra features you may consider –
Frothing wand – If you enjoy espresso drinks that have steamed milk in them, you’ll probably want to invest in a coffee machine that has a frothing wand. A frothing wand is a gadget which froths the milk that you find on top of drinks such as a latte. This allows you to have a coffee shop tasting drink, in the comfort of your own home.
Cup warmer – We’re all guilty of making a drink, going to do something whilst it’s being made and coming back to find it cold. The cup warmer eliminates this issue completely so if you’re guilty of leaving your coffee to go cold, look into a cup warmer.
Built In coffee grinder – If you want to make great tasting coffee, a coffee grinder is essential because it will make the beans freshly ground. This is something which dramatically affects the flavor and makes the espresso taste stronger. If you are limited with kitchen space, a built in coffee grinder will really help you save space, rather than buying a grinder separately.
Espresso machines FAQs
What temperature should my water be at?
The optimum temperature for a perfect cup of espresso coffee is 195F. If you find your coffee tastes weak or bitter, this is probably because the water is at the incorrect temperature, so temperature is something you need to keep an eye on.
What is the difference between a pump-driven or steam-driven espresso machine?
If you want crema-topped espresso then you'll need to check out a pump-driven machine.
Steam driven espresso machines are much cheaper than pump-driven machines and often produce really strong tasting coffee, rather than an authentic espresso. You’ll often find that you have to wait until the device cools down before you can make another cup of coffee which can be a pain when catering for large audiences.
Which coffee beans should I use?
Buying the best coffee beans in the world will ultimately mean you get a better tasting coffee. If you’re specifically buying for an espresso machine, you’ll be best with less oily beans and a medium roast, since these work best. However, any type of coffee bean should work well in a good quality espresso machine.
How much do I need to spend to get a good espresso machine?
If you want to get the best espresso machine that will also last a long time, be prepared to spend a lot of money. You can buy espresso machines anywhere from $50 up to $5000, so set a budget and stick to it. Although there are some fantastic yet cheap espresso machines out there, if you want to find one that will last, you’ll be better off investing in the first place than to buy cheap and cheerful.
Espresso machines over $500 are made of durable, high quality materials and therefore last longer and work better, than a budget machine priced at $50. If you’re not serious with coffee and don’t drink it often, a cheap espresso machine will be fine, but if you drink multiple cups daily, you’ll be better off spending more.
Why are the best espresso machines so expensive?
Unfortunately, if you want a machine that’s easy to use and makes great tasting coffee, you’re going to have to invest some money into your espresso machine. You truly do get what you pay for when it comes to the best espresso machines, so keep this in mind when you’re buying one.
What does tamping mean?
Once you’ve put the coffee into the filler handle, you need to ensure it’s been tamped down. Tamping essentially means compacting the coffee grounds, it can be quite tricky to do if you’ve never done it before so don’t worry if you don’t get it right first time. If you tamp the coffee too hard, you’ll get a bitter coffee and if you don’t apply enough pressure, you won’t get any flavor.
How do I clean my espresso machine?
Cleaning your espresso machine is vital for the upkeep of the machine, so you really need to keep on top of it. Once you’ve made a coffee, you need to clean the milk wand with a wet cloth and empty the coffee grounds from the filter basket. This needs to be done every time you make a coffee, otherwise the grime and dirt will build up and clog the machine which leads to further mechanical issues.