Best Espresso Machine 2017 – Reviews & Top Picks

By : Zlated | Last Updated : March 8, 2017

espresso-maker

For someone who may be buying an espresso machine for the first time, understanding what you need and what you can live without may be a daunting task. After 100 hours of research, we took all of these common espresso machine elements into our review and then selected a list of the 10 best espresso machines. 

Note:

breville-bes870xl-barista-express

Our Top Pick
Breville BES870XL

Of the three drinks, espresso has the highest caffeine content, and is made by forcing a small amount of very hot water through finely ground and tamped coffee. This produces a more highly concentrated and thicker beverage than coffee, and a froth known as crema is formed on top as a result of emulsified oils. A better machine, and better accessories for that machine, can lead to a better espresso experience each and every morning.

When buying a new espresso machine, there are a variety of elements to choose between, including the grinder, the class (from manual to super automatic), and accessories like cleaning equipment and tampers.​

This 2017 review should help you determine which espresso machine would be the best fit for your home.

Editor's Top 3 Home Espresso Machines 2017

Best Espresso Machine for Beginners

Breville BES840BSXL The Infuser Espresso Machine

Breville BES840XL Infuser

Best Espresso Machine 2017 (Overall)

breville-bes870xl-barista-express

Breville BES870XL Barista

Best Affordable Home Espresso Maker

De'Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

De'Longhi EC155


Espresso Machine Reviews:
Top 10 Espresso Machines Comparison

Product

Class

Grinder
Included

Price

Links

Breville BES870XL

(Editor's Choice)

Semi-Automatic

Conical burr grinder

$$$

Mr. Coffee Café Barista

Semi-Automatic

None

$

Phillips Saeco HD8857/47

Super-Automatic

Burr grinder with 8 settings

$$$$$

De’Longhi ESAM3300

Super-Automatic

Conical burr grinder

$$$$

Rancilio HSD-Silvia

Semi-Automatic

None

$$$$

Keurig Rivo R500 Lavazza

Automatic

None

$

Nespresso Inissia

Automatic

None

$

Krups XP1000

Steam Powered

None

$

De’Longhi EC155

Semi-Automatic

None

$

$: under $100 ; $$: under $200 ; $$$: under $300 ;
$$$$: under $400 ; $$$$$: under $500


Now that we’ve seen our 2017 list of Best Espresso Machines, let’s take a closer look at each machine.

Best Semi-Automated Espresso Machine - Our #1 Home Espresso Maker

Breville BES870XL Barista Express

Beginners and experienced baristas alike will find this machine easy to use

If you are just getting into the art of espresso making, the Breville Barista Express is a good place to start. It comes with two dual-wall pressurized filters that regulate pressure and help optimize the extraction from the coffee beans. And if you’re more experienced, the Barista Express isn’t too basic for you. With its two single-wall, non-pressurized filters, you can experiment with grind sizes, grind amounts, and tamping pressure.

The Barista Express also comes with an integrated stainless steel conical burr grinder with a 1/2 pound sealed bean hopper. The grinder includes dials for selecting grind size and grind amount so that you can easily switch between the two filter types. This is great for those just starting out because you can experiment with a high-quality grinder without making a separate purchase.

Another good thing for both beginners and more experienced baristas is that it comes with a 54mm tamper to fit the 54mm stainless steel portafilter. The tamper is housed inside its magnetic storage on the machine. And that’s not its only storage area; it also holds its included cleaning supplies and filters in a hideaway storage compartment in its base.

The Good

  • 2L removable water tank with handle
  • Purge function automatically adjusts water temp after steam for optimal espresso extraction temperature
  • Stainless steel 360 degree swivel-action steam wand for lattes and cappuccinos
  • No-slip feet keep from sliding across the counter when activated
  • Easily removable drip tray partitioned for both wet and dry spills with “Empty me” indicator when it’s full
  • Volumetric control: preset 1 and 2 cup volumes, manual over-ride, reprogrammable shot volumes
  • "Clean me" light indicates when a cleaning cycle is required

The Bad

  • Not NSF certified, so cannot be used in a commercial environment
  • Combined grinder and espresso machine does not allow for a lot of customizability
  • Only has one heating coil, so cannot extract espresso and use steam at the same time

Video: Breville BES870 XL Barista Home Espresso Maker Review

The Bottom Line

breville-bes870xl-barista-express

If you’re just getting started, or if you’re experienced and looking for a new espresso machine, the Breville Barista Express will give you the options you need without putting a huge hole in your wallet.


Best Value Semi-Automatic with
Milk Frother

Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker with Automatic Milk Frother

Make a variety of coffeehouse drinks with this inexpensive espresso machine

With its simple, one-touch control panel, you can make an espresso, cappuccino, or latte easily with the Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker. With its wide variety of options, your morning drink selection will never be boring. Plus, it comes with a recipe guide full of 20 different coffee recipes for you to try.

The Mr. Coffee built-in automatic milk frother makes frothing milk for your cappuccino or latte absolutely effortless, and the removable milk reservoir fills, cleans, and stores easily so you never have to worry about the taste of spoiled milk remaining in the reservoir. You have two options for adding milk to your beverage: a “large” and “small” selection helps you make your choice.

To get the beginner started, the Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker comes with a single shot filter, double shot filter, measuring scoop, and tamper. These tools allow you to experiment with your espresso machine, all while getting your coffee fix without too much effort.

The Good

  • Adjustable cup tray can be set at just the right height for dainty demitasse cups to big travel mugs
  • Will shut off automatically after completing the programmed drink
  • Removable water reservoir fills easily at the sink and holds enough water to brew shot after shot
  • Drip catcher is removable, washable, and keeps brew space neat and clean
  • Great price for the beginner coffee-enthusiast

The Bad

  • Must clean by running it with water a few times before using the first time
  • Can lose pressurization capability
  • Cannot control the exact amount of milk in your beverage

The Bottom Line

Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista Premium Espresso/Cappuccino System

If you’re just starting out and want to experiment before spending a lot more money, the Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso Maker will allow you to test your taste buds while still creating a variety of caffeinated beverages with ease.


Best Super Automated Espresso Machine

Phillips Saeco HD8857/47 Exprellia Evo

Make your favorite drink with the push of a button

The Saeco Exprellia Evo has customizable settings that allow you to save your favorite coffee drink and then remake it whenever you want with the simple touch of a button. And that’s not all that is automated. This espresso machine is set up to automatically clean itself when it is either started up or switched off. It will also prompt you to descale it so that you can prolong its life, and it will provide on-screen instructions on the process.

With the Saeco Exprellia Evo, there is no need to wait to prepare your next drink. The double broiler and separate heating systems allow for fast and professional results every time you make a milk specialty drink. Add to that its dual chamber milk carafe and you’ll get a perfect froth in every cup. Unlike a lot of other super automatic espresso machines, the default setting is plenty hot, and you can set the temperature even higher if you need to.

The adjustable grinders have 8 separate settings that allow you to play with the coffee’s richness. The grinders are made of 100% ceramic burrs, meaning that you’ll never experience a burnt taste. Because of the number of settings with various grind sizes, small piles of grounds can accumulate inside the machine. Saeco includes a grease with their maintenance kit, and that grease will prevent these unbrewed grounds from accumulating and being wasted.

The Good

  • One click removable brewing group makes cleaning a breeze
  • H2 technology milk carafe, hygienic thanks to automated dual cleaning
  • Features the patented crema and body boost dial to smoothly adjust the counter pressure

The Bad

  • No clock display, unlike earlier versions
  • Water level can’t be seen without opening the cover
  • Serviced parts cannot go in dishwasher, so you must wash everything by hand

The Bottom Line

SAECO HD8857/47 Philips Exprellia EVO Fully Automatic Espresso Machine

The Saeco Exprellia Evo is a great espresso machine for those that want a super automatic machine, or for those who drink a lot of espresso or other coffee drinks. Because of how quickly it can move from drink to drink, you’ll never be able to outpace it.


Best Dual Purpose Espresso/Coffee Maker

De’Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica
Super-Automatic

Coffee? Espresso? You don’t have to choose

The De’Longhi Magnifica’s patented cappuccino system frother and adjustable coffee spigot helped make this espresso machine the best dual-purpose machine for 2017. The frother mixes steam and milk, creating a rich, creamy froth. To create this perfect froth, all you have to do is put the container with your milk in it under the nozzle. The nozzle rotates 180 degrees, easily allowing access for any size container. The coffee spigot is also adjustable, allowing you to pour coffee into many different cup sizes.

The compact, easy-to-clean “Direct-to-Brew” grind system uses a professional-quality, conical, low-pitch burr grinder with an adjustable grind fineness. The De’Longhi Magnifica’s integrated grind system can process both whole beans and previously ground beans, meaning that you can easily enjoy your coffee or espresso without having to worry about an attachment or a second machine.

The De’Longhi Magnifica is also programmable, so you can master your favorite brew and save those settings and make it consistently, time and time again. Each cup is brewed to the perfect temperature, richness, and density – just the way you like it.

The Good

  • Easy-to-use rotary and push button control panel with programmable menu settings
  • Machine can process both whole beans and ground beans for coffee and espresso
  • Compact boiler leads to excellent heat distribution and guarantees a perfect espresso at the ideal temperature every time

The Bad

  • Only recommend using beans with less visible oil, like a medium roast, for best grinder performance
  • Automatically switches off after 3 hours of not being in use
  • Thin plastic interior paths can lead to breakdowns

The Bottom Line

DELONGHI ESAM3300 MAGNIFICA SUPER-AUTOMATIC

The De’Longhi Magnifica is the espresso machine for you if you’re the kind of person that wants more than just espresso. If you enjoy a good cup of coffee too, there’s no point to having a second machine. Get the one that will do it all for you, and save your wallet and counter space.


Best Semi-Professional, Semi-Automatic

Rancilio HSD-Silvia Espresso Machine

Looks and acts like the machine of a professional barista

The Rancilio HSD-Silvia is an in-home espresso machine that uses commercial-grade materials. It has a classic linear design not unlike those you might see in a coffee shop, which means that it will easily fit in among your other kitchen appliances and look natural. Its group head offers superb heat stability and extraction quality, so you always get the most out of your portafilter. In addition to these commercial-like features, the HSD-Silvia also incorporates an ergonomic handle on the portafilter, so that you don’t have to worry about twisting your wrist while trying to insert it into the group head.

If you like investing the time and energy into a shot of espresso, this machine will do that for you, but if you want your drink quickly, you can also purchase an optional pod and capsule adaptor kit to attach to your machine. With this kit, you'll be able to enjoy your espresso in moments.

The one thing to note with this espresso machine is that, like coffee shops, you should consider investing in a grinder. Even though the Rancilio HSD-Silvia is a professional machine, it is a little picky when it comes to the quality of the grind that it will accept in the portafilter. If the coffee beans are not evenly ground or distributed, you can end up with a burnt taste or a weak shot of espresso.

The Good

  • Articulating steam wand offers complete range of motion and professional steaming knob precisely controls steaming pressure
  • Comes with a plastic tamper and a single and double filter basket
  • Sleek iron frame design with stainless steel panels

The Bad

  • “Picky” when it comes to grind quality, so if the grind is off the espresso shot may taste burned
  • Temperature can swing leading to a potentially burnt or weak espresso shot
  • Water pressure is not consistent

Video: Rancilio HSD-Silvia Espresso Maker Review

The Bottom Line

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels

The Rancilio HSD-Silvia is more for experienced hands with the patience to brew a quality cup of espresso from an evenly tamped puck. If you've mastered your technique, then you'll be able to enjoy excellent espresso every time you use the machine.


Best Capsule Espresso Maker Overall

Keurig Rivo R500 Lavazza Espresso
Brewing System

Consistently high-quality at the touch of a button

Keurig is not an unfamiliar name when it comes to automatically producing coffee drinks with ease in a short period of time, and now they've expanded that same quality of brew to espresso. Like the coffee capsules they've produced, you can expect the same taste with the espresso capsules every time you brew, and you don't have to worry about doing anything more than popping in a cup.

The Keurig Rivo can also make cappuccinos and lattes. Its convenient design allows you to brew espresso on one side and froth milk on the other side. The milk frothing side has three separate modes: cappuccino, latte, and cold froth. This means that all you have to do to have a quality froth is press a button, giving you time to focus on other parts of your daily routine while still making yourself the quality drink you expect.

Unlike some of Keurig's other products, the Keurig Rivo is limited in the number of pods and brands of capsules that you can use with the machine. The Lavazza espresso is the only brand that will fit in the capsule holder, and there is not currently an option to fill your own pod. Additionally, the pods do not easily fit inside most of the K cup or Vue cup racks or drawers, so you'll either need to find one specifically made for the Lavazzo pods or you'll need to save your box.

The Good

  • Automatic on/off function and energy-saving mode
  • Brews in under 1 minute
  • Two espresso size options: short (1.4 oz) and lungo (2.8 oz)
  • Uses pods to brew coffees for consistent, high-quality experiences

The Bad

  • Aesthetically does not look like an espresso machine
  • Issues making consistently high-quality froth
  • Plastic frothing cup can develop cracks from stress

The Bottom Line

The Keurig Rivo Cappuccino and Latte System

The Keurig Rivo is a great espresso machine if you want high quality espresso consistently. However, if you want to spend the time perfecting your own, or if you have a specific bean or roast that you typically use, your options will be limited with this machine.


Best Budget Capsule Espresso Machine

Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker

An inexpensive Nespresso with every convenience you need

Like the Keurig Rivo, the Nespresso Inissia is a capsule espresso machine, meaning that you can expect consistent espressos each time you use the machine. The Nespresso Inissia preheats in just 25 seconds, so there's no need to wait for a hot machine like there is with non-capsule espresso machines. Also, its 24-ounce water tank can be removed and filled to make up to 9 coffees, so you don't have to worry about refilling the tank each morning.

One of the really unique features of the Nespresso Inissia is the folding cup tray. Most, if not all, capsule coffee machines will drip after the brew has stopped. If you're using a large cup and had to remove the drip tray, this means that you have to hurriedly replace the tray the moment you take you cup away. Not so with the Inissia. It's convenient folding cup tray means that you can fold the tray out of place when using a large cup, and it will flip back down the moment you take your cup out of the way.

The Nespresso Inissia has a few other features that make its design convenient. It has a built-in used capsule container that can hold 9-11 used capsules. So, around the same time that you need to refill your water tank, you should be emptying the container. If you use it once a day, that means you're emptying it less than once a week. The Inissia also has an A class energy rating and will automatically shut off after 9 minutes of activity. Not only is it saving you money on your energy bill, but it is also saving you the anxiety of wondering whether you shut it off as you drive into work.

The Good

  • 2 programmable buttons for espresso and lungo preparation
  • Compact brewing technology with a colorful design
  • Comes with a welcome set of 16 capsules each containing individual aromas
  • Join the Nespresso club to order new capsules, and a recycling service is available within the US

The Bad

  • Can only use Nespresso coffee capsules
  • Can deliver inconsistent water pressure leading to smaller cups of coffee
  • Occasionally leaks as a result of water pressure issues

The Bottom Line

Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker

As one of the least expensive machines in Nespresso's line, the Inissia does not disappoint. Its features are still high-quality and convenient, so if you're on a budget but want the consistent pleasure of espresso in your home, this is the perfect machine for you.


Best Steam Driven Machine
for the Money

Krups XP1000 Steam Espresso Machine

Compact, inexpensive design that is easy to use

The Krups XP1000 is one of the smallest espresso machines on the market, and its compact design weighs in at only 4.4 pounds. Its glass carafe can hold up to 4 cups of water, and it comes with a measuring spoon that measures the exact amount of grounds needed for a single espresso. These features mean that you won't be wasting a ton of time and money filling up a carafe that will just be emptied or using more coffee grounds than you actually need.

The Krups XP1000 can also froth milk for other coffee drinks, and it has a 3-way switch knob to control the amount of froth produced. The steam nozzle does not swivel. While this means that you'll need to use a cup that can easily fit under the nozzle, it also means that you won't need to worry about the swivel function breaking.

While the Krups XP1000 can produce a quality cup, if you want a true espresso, you need to look elsewhere. A steam-powered "espresso" machine" doesn't actually produce espresso at all. What it does make is a strong coffee, similar to what a moka pot might brew. While this might be okay for a lot of people, if you are buying an espresso machine for the sole purpose of producing espresso, you need to look for a machine that will do exactly that.

The Good

  • Very easy to operate both the coffee maker and the milk frother
  • Safety valve in cap
  • Works quietly and produces coffee quickly

The Bad

  • Ready in 3-4 minutes, longer than some other models
  • Dome cap on the water reservoir can be difficult to open because the brewing process suctions the lid closed
  • Frothing tip is too close to the machine which makes it difficult to heat the milk and froth it
  • As a steam-operated machine, it does not produce authentic espresso

The Bottom Line

KRUPS XP1000 Steam Espresso Machine with Frothing Nozzle for Cappuccino

If you are looking for something small and inexpensive, the Krups XP1000 fits that description. If you really want the espresso that you are used to getting from coffee shops, though, this won't be the machine for you.


Best Espresso Machine for Beginners

Breville BES840XL the Infuser
Espresso Machine

Infusing every part of your puck – perfect or not

The Breville BES840XL has a pre-infusion function that applies low water pressure at the start of the extraction. This gently expands the grinds and helps fill in any cracks, gaps, or irregularities in the puck before full water pressure is applied so that you can achieve an even extraction. It also incorporates an auto purge function to automatically adjust the water temperature after steam for the optimal espresso extraction temperature.

There is a black plastic insert inside the stainless steel bowl of the portafilter. It was designed to reduce the heat loss experienced with espresso as it hits cold metal and it also prevents any potential splashing from the dual wall pressurized filter baskets. The portafilter also has a dry puck feature that removes excess water from the puck for easier clean-up.

One nice feature about the Breville BES840XL is that it has a cup warmer on top of the machine. While the best way to warm your espresso cup is to rinse it with warm water before pulling your shot, that sometimes is not easy, or you can run the risk of it cooling down before you are ready. The cup warmer is conveniently located so that you can be ready to pull your shot the moment you need to.

The Good

  • Comes with single and dual wall filter baskets; a coffee scoop; stainless steel jug; cleaning disc, tablets, and a cleaning tool; 54mm tamper; and a water filter with a holder
  • Easily removable drip tray partitioned for both wet and dry spills with “Empty me” indicator when it’s full
  • "Clean me" light indicates when a cleaning cycle is required

The Bad

  • Electrical components known to have bad connections leading to noise or heating issues
  • Metal portafilter is thin so it does not trap heat as well
  • Pressure gauge does not adjust well

The Bottom Line

Breville BES840BSXL The Infuser Espresso Machine

The Breville BES840XL is great for beginners because its pre-infusion function makes sure you extract everything you can from your puck, even if it wasn't tamped perfectly. Its cleaning cycles also make it easy for beginners to start recognizing the way in which an espresso machine should be cared for.


Best Affordable Espresso Machine
for Home

De’Longhi EC155 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

Just what you need for an extremely low price

The De'Longhi EC155 can brew your espresso from coffee grounds or from E.S.E pods with its dual filter holder, so you can enjoy your espresso from scratch or with a little more convenience. Its two separate thermostats allow you to enjoy both espresso and cappuccino at the perfect temperature, and its powerful, swivel jet frother creates a rich, creamy froth for cappuccinos and lattes.

One of the better features that the De'Lognhi EC155 boasts is its self-priming operation. With this feature, it heats itself up in about a minute, meaning that you do not have to wait for the boiler and heating element to heat up to the right temperature, so you can enjoy your espresso more quickly.

The top of the espresso machine can be used as a warming unit for your cups, but be aware that there is no railing so the cups could be knocked off and get broken. If you choose to warm your cups by running water through them first, the top of the machine will be a good place to keep the cup during the brew, but it may not be a good place to store them long-term.

The Good

  • The removable, 35-ounce water tank with indicator light and removable drip tray make it easy to disassemble, clean, and reassemble quickly
  • Compact so it doesn't take up much room on your countertop
  • Consistently produces a thick layer of delicious crema

The Bad

  • Handle locks very firmly and can be hard to rotate
  • Frothing wand is only 3.25" from the countertop
  • No drying feature in the portafilter for the puck

Video: De'Lognhi EC155 Home Espresso Maker Review

The Bottom Line

De'Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

The De'Lognhi EC155 is the perfect on-a-budget espresso maker. It has everything you need, without any fancy bells or whistles to drive up the price and get in the way. If you want to make espresso and froth milk for other coffee beverages, this is a great choice.


How to Choose the Best Espresso Machine : Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

espresso machine

If you’re planning to buy the best espresso machine, then you likely drink a shot or two of espresso each day, so it makes more economical sense to purchase your own machine rather than waiting in line at a coffee shop each morning.

While the price tag on espresso machines may be shocking at first, the important thing to note is that you are making an investment in the quality of each shot of espresso you’ll have for years to come. It may be tempting to buy the cheapest machine out there, but cheaper machines may not grind or clean up as easily, meaning that you may get fewer years out of it. You may also feel the need to upgrade if you get an inexpensive machine, that way you can have more of the features that help make a morning easier and an espresso better.

This buying guide should help you weigh the different elements and accessories of an espresso machine and benefit you when it comes time to choose the ideal machine for your home.

Classes of Espresso Machines

Just like with other art forms, the tools used to create the end product can vary extensively. There are four types of espresso machines, and each of them has reasons for choosing one type over the other.

Manual

Manual, or lever, espresso machines have an internal, calibrated spring that is used to push water through a bed of ground coffee at a specific and declining pressure. Because they are completely hands-on, you get to determine how long you want the pre-infusion to take place, how much water you want to flow through the bed of coffee, and the optimal time to pull the shot.

Semi-Automatic

These include an automated pump, automated temperature controls for the boiler, and activation switches to engage and disengage the pump. These are generally the most popular choice because, while they automate some things, they ultimately allow you to retain control over the progress of your espresso.

Automatic

These include a pump, automated temperature controls for the boiler, and automated and often programmable preset water volumes selected by pressing a button. The volumeter in an automated machine means that you can set the espresso machine to do what you want and leave it alone while it works. These are generally good for commercial environments.

Super Automatic

These grind, dose, tamp, brew, and eject the spent puck all with the press of a button. Like automatic espresso machines, super automatics can be set to specific standards and then left alone while they run. The one thing to keep in mind with automation is that it involves electronics, which do have the possibility of breaking down over time.

The Importance of Grinders

The effectiveness of your espresso maker depends on its grinder. Because of the way espresso is made, quality coffee beans, good water, and a grinder that can rind the beans enough to allow the water to capture their flavor perfectly. There are several different types of grinders.

Manual Grinders

Manual grinders work by hand and, while less expensive, are not good choices for espresso machines. This is because most hand grinders cannot consistently grind beans well enough for pump-driven espresso machines and because they are slow. Immediate grinding is crucial to good espresso, and beans should be brewed within a minute of being ground. Most manual grinders take two to three minutes to grind, so you lose valuable carbon dioxide with a manual grinder.

Blade Grinders

This type of grinder is generally powered by an electric motor and uses sharp blades to dice coffee beans within the grinding chamber.

Burr Grinders

This type of grinder is also typically powered by an electric motor. It uses burrs, serrated gear-like discs, to crush coffee beans by rotating the discs against each other. This allows for a more consistent and uniform grind than in either the manual or blade type grinders.

Features to Consider

Now that you know a little bit more about the different types of espresso machines and grinders, there are a few more things that you should consider.

- How “usable” is the machine? Does it have easy-to-read indicator lights? Is the portafilter handle convenient? Is there enough clearance between the spout and drip tray for your cup?

- Knowing that espresso machines have to be cleaned often, is the cleaning process easy to understand, or are there a lot of small crevices where espresso can leak into?

- How much space do you have for an espresso machine? Will you store it somewhere when not in use, or keep it on your countertop?

- What is guaranteed by the machine’s warranty?

- What is the machine’s noise level like?

- Does the cup warming tray retain heat, or is it more for aesthetic?

- What other accessories will you need to factor into your budget?

The following sections will help you prepare to buy an espresso machine with these questions in mind.

Features to Avoid or Ignore

Overall Construction

Metal is better than plastic in an espresso machine because a metal construction can provide better durability. While metal may be heavier and easier to scratch, plastic is easier to crack and even melt.

Crema Enhancers

These pressurized filters enhance the appearance of crema, but don’t change the taste or texture of the coffee. If you’re interested in a visually appealing espresso, a better machine and grinder will do you worlds better than any kind of crema enhancer can.

High BAR Pressure

Espresso is generally best when produced at a pressure in the group head of 9 bars. Some espresso machines, however, advertise top pressures of up to 18 bars. Not only is this unnecessary, but some machines also have restrictor valves that reduce this pressure to the standard 9 bars.

Froth Aiders

Frothing milk does take a little skill, but it isn’t difficult to master. Froth aiders can actually prevent sweetness in heated and frothed milk. The way in which a froth aider introduces heat to the milk destroys most of the sugar transitions that would normally take place.

Buttons for Steam

Buttons are an all-or-nothing option. The addition of a button to activate steam in an espresso machine takes away from the ability to control how much steam actually gets introduced into the milk pitcher. A knob is much more practical, allowing you to adjust exactly how much steam goes into the milk.

Your Budget

In addition to the money you send on the espresso machine, you should remember to also set aside funds for a quality grinder and accessories.

For your grinder, you should expect to spend at least the same amount as you do on the espresso machine, up to $250, and then you can taper the percentage of your overall budget down as you purchase a higher quality, more expensive machine.

Most espresso machines come with a cheap, plastic tamper for compressing your coffee grounds into an evenly dispersed puck. Investing in a quality tamper that fits your hand well will lead to less nuisance and a better overall espresso-making experience. Just as important is the knock box for removing the puck. A good knock box can make cleaning up the portafilter a much easier, less messy chore.

Because espresso is a form of art, purchasing a cup set that matches your aesthetic will help you feel even better about the hard work you put into making your early morning drink. Additionally, the right cup will aid in the development of your espresso’s taste. The shape, thickness, and material of the cup all play a role in how your espresso tastes. Generally, a round, preheated, thicker porcelain will allow for a full taste at the perfect temperature.

A few other accessories to consider are steaming pitchers, cleaning supplies, digital timers, different size filter baskets, and gram scales. Each of these accessories depends on your personal taste and what you already have in your kitchen.

Conclusion

Hopefully this buyer’s guide has opened your eyes to some of the things you need to consider when you purchase a new espresso machine. Because every person has their own tastes, it is up to you to experiment with your personal aesthetic and favorite flavor profiles in order to create the perfect brew for you.

Espresso can only become what you make it into. While part of that creation includes the tools that you put into your drink, the passion that you pour into every cup is the most valuable thing that you will bring into your kitchen.


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