The 5 Best Espresso Machine: Perfect Brew For A Perfect Shot
If you are a coffee drinker just like me, I would assume you also prefer espresso over brewed coffee. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an espresso machine at home so you could enjoy a shot at any time of the day?
Having your own espresso machine could also save you a lot of money and time buying the beverage from a coffee shop. This machine will also give a professional and sophisticated look to your kitchen. But how do you make the choice of which type or kind to buy?
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Espresso is an Italian term that literally means expressly brewed. Espresso is coffee beans that have been ground finely. About 1 tablespoon of ground coffee is brewed under very high pressure. Brewing time is about 30 seconds at the most.
A properly brewed espresso will have a thick layer of cream on top. A shot of espresso is usually small, between 1 to 2 ounces. It is best served with steamed milk. Sugar may be added but it will taste much better without.
Espresso vs Brewed Coffee:
Espresso and brewed coffee (drip coffee) are made from the same coffee beans and roast. The difference lies in the brewing method. Although the same coffee bean can be used for both brewing methods, it is best to use a medium grind for brewed coffee and a fine grind for espresso.
Since Espresso requires a unique brewing technique, an equally unique machine –an espresso machine is needed to churn up this rich coffee.
Types of Espresso Machines:
To better understand espresso making, let us take a closer look at the types of espresso machines available. Espresso machines can either be:
Electric Steam Driven machines. The most affordable type of espresso machine in the market. Steam pressure heats up the water that is then pushed through the coffee grounds and into a cup or carafe.
A Pump Espresso Machine electrically pumps water in the right temperature through the coffee grounds.
Pump Espresso Machines can either be:
Manual (lever/piston). A manual/hand lever attached to a piston pushes hot water through the coffee grounds and to a waiting carafe or cup. Pressure produced makes a perfect espresso.
Electric Pump Espresso machines use a pump (not a level) to push water through the coffee grounds. This type of espresso machine is what is commonly available for home use today.
An Electric Pump Espresso Machine can either be:
Semi-Automatic. Turning on the switch starts the brewing process. The process is ended manually by turning the switch to the opposite direction. This is one of the most commonly used espresso machines today.
Automatic. Turn the switch to start the brewing process and the machine will automatically shut off when brewing process is done.
Super-Automatic. This type of machine will start and end the brewing process on its own. All you need to do is fill the hopper with ground coffee beans and the reservoir with water.
The Best Espresso Machines:
De'Longhi Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker (EC155)
The espresso it produces is at par with what you could get in coffee shops. It is also versatile as it can likewise make latte and cappuccino. This compact and lightweight making it a bit portable. Its flat bottom ensures it will not move or slide while in operation. This machine comes with a 3 filter holders: 1 for a single shot espresso, another one for two shots and a third for use with an espresso pod. Water temperature is maintained by its Rapid Cappucino System. Manual frother comes with the unit.
The stainless steel boiler of this device which comes with 2 temperatures will ensure your espressos and cappuccinos are brewed within the best temperatures. With a Bar pump 15, the machine is able to extract the full flavor of the coffee ground, producing the finest espressos. The Device comes with a detachable drip tray and a water tank capacity of 35 ounces. It also comes with a 1 year limited warranty.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Multi-use: espresso, latte and cappuccino.
- Produces great crema
- Rich espresso drink with steamed milk
- 3 filter holders for single, double and pod espressos.
- Lacks consistency in producing great tasting espressos.
- Narrow clearance between steam wand and drip tray.
- Unstable water temperature control
- Has a difficult time extracting flavors from light to medium roasted coffee beans.
This machine is an affordable option for espresso, latte and cappuccino drinkers on a budget.
Mr. Coffee Steam Espresso System (ECM160)
This is one of the most popular entry level steam espresso machines which costs less than $50. It can make espressos, lattes and cappuccinos. It comes with a 4-cup easy to hold carafe with measuring marks and a mess-free pouring spout. Frothing arm is detachable for easy frothing.
The Machine can froth a decent crema. It can also froth milk for a creamy latte or cappuccino. The Drip tray is removable for easy cleaning. It only takes about 4 minutes to make 20 ounces of espresso which is rich in flavor
At only 1.6 pounds and 8 in x 6.5 in x 10.5 in, this device will not take so much of your counter space. You can also move it to other areas of your home with ease. The Boiler is made of aluminum and the exterior is made of stainless steel with black plastic accents.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Does not require any assembly.
- Excellent-made steaming frother.
- Quiet operation.
- Does not produce the right espresso crema.
- Does not include an espresso tamper and frothing pitcher.
- Inferior porta-filter.
- Does not produce a thick crema.
If you are looking for an entry level machine, this steam espresso machine is a consistent bestseller.
Nespresso Espresso Maker (Inissia)
This machine is for use only with Nespresso capsules. For under $100 you can enjoy a shot of espresso in a flash in your home and at any time you desire. It comes with a 19-Bar high pressure pump to make sure you get only high quality espresso.
With this machine you will enjoy a fully automatic brewing experience. Simply place a capsule and choose your cup size. In about 25 seconds, the machine reaches the right brewing temperature and is ready to give you that great tasting cup of coffee.
You can choose what you feel like having – an espresso or a lungo. The Drip tray is adjustable to accommodate bigger mugs or cups. The 23.8 ounce water tank is removable for easy cleaning. When not in use, the machine automatically shuts off after 9 minutes for energy savings.
Included in the set is an Aeroccino 3 milk frother so you can easily enjoy frothy milk. Also included are 16 Nespresso high quality Grand Cru coffee capsules for instant espresso. Compartment for the capsules in the device can fit 11 at a time.
Used capsules are conveniently ejected into a receptacle inside the machine. This machine does not come with an ON/OFF button. Plug in the unit, wait for the indicator light to stop blinking and it is ready to brew.
- Heats in 25 seconds
- Compact and lightweight
- Can make espresso and lungo
- Built-in receptacle for used capsules
- Comes with a milk frother
- Made of durable ABS plastic
- Convenient 2.6 meter power cord.
- Noisy operation
- Can only be used with pods
- Water tank has no level indicator
- Expensive capsules
This espresso machine is a good buy if you are looking for a budget espresso machine that will give you fast and mess-free and top quality free espresso.
Mr. Coffee Espresso/Cappuccino System (ECMP1106)
Espresso, latte and cappuccino can easily be brewed by this semi-automatic machine. It features a one-touch control panel where you can choose the kind of coffee you want. You can also choose between single or double shots.
This machine comes with an automatic milk frother to make a creamy and light foam out of your favorite milk. Both milk and water reservoir are detachable for easy loading and cleaning. Cup tray is also adjustable to accommodate any cup size. Milk reservoir can be stored in the fridge for leftover milk. Rich in flavor and taste espressos are fast to make with the machine’s 15-bar pump system.
- One touch panel makes it easy to use
- Makes rich and flavorful espresso, latte , cappuccino
- Automatic frother adjusts itself to produce a great foam.
- Quiet operation
- Does not work well with all kinds of milk.
- It takes time to heat during second brewing.
If you want to feel like a Barista in your home, this machine may be your perfect choice.
Breville Espresso Machine (BES870XL)
The sound and smell of a freshly brewing espresso shot in your kitchen is such a delight with this 2-1 machine. This machine can grind fresh beans for that even more flavorful espresso. The entire process of grinding and brewing takes only a few seconds.
Amazing! Machine is equipped with a gauge so extraction pressure is maintained. With this machine you can brew a single or double shot of espresso. It comes with a built-in PID so you can control temperature and volume for consistent shots.
You can do this manually or program the machine to store your preference. Machine also comes with a pre-brew feature to allow minimum amount of water to moisten the grounds.
Machine has a stainless steel construction. Grinder us burred for durability and hopper is sealed (1/2 lb capacity). Temperature of steam can be adjusted through the purge for maximum coffee ground extraction for a perfect espresso.
- Fast and efficient.
- Non-slip stands even while grinding.
- 360° swiveling steam wand.
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Comes with its own cleaning kit.
- Makes a lot of mess while in use.
- Grind sometimes overflows.
- Drip tray easily gets filled up.
If you want to learn the art and science of brewing espresso, this may the machine that will help you.
It may be tricky to choose the right espresso machine. When I went shopping for my unit, I checked every unit I was able to lay my eyes on. I choose the Breville Espresso Machine (BES870XL) because I agree with the idea that an espresso machine should come with a built-in coffee grinder. How about you? Which one is your best choice? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section.