Best Espresso Machine Reviews Guide 2016

Before you embark on buying your dream espresso machine , you will face many options like types and styles, from simple stovetop version to stylish imported machines and full-featured automatic machines.

This can be a daunting task; what you need to do is to ask yourself some questions to determine what type of machine to buy as there is a wide variety of espresso machines with different faculties and specialities.

Our Top Rated Espresso Machine

Mr Coffee Espresso Machine

Why We Rate It Number 1!

1. Exceptional Reviews - An incredible 3 out of 4 users rate it as 100% satisfaction!

2. Fast - Brew ready in under 30 seconds

3. Use Right Away - Remove from the box and it's ready to use immediately!

5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Buying:


1. What type of quality are you looking for?

Every brand and feature of espresso machine will produce different results. Note that the highest quality models usually produce the best tasting coffee.

If you drink beverages such cappuccinos, doppios and unflavoured lattes, you probably have high expectations. If mochas, caramel lattes are your thing then flavour of coffee is less critical as the added flavours are not dependent on the machine.

If your intention is to save money at the cafe. You probably need a machine that produces quality espresso with minimal effort.

2. Is it for entertaining your friends when they are over your place? How many cups do you want to churn out and how often will you be making them?

If you need to make espresso often and many at a go, it is good to consider a machine that produces espresso faster or many cups in a sitting.

3. Is it for an office kitchen?

You will need a machine with features like built-in grinder and milk steamer which handles many cups in a single take and produces fast espresso.

4. Are you in the process of mastering the art of espresso?

If so, it is better for you to stay clear of steam-driven machine and get a premium manual machine with professional grade construction.

If you are a beginner, then choose a basic machine with helpful features like a pod adapter, foaming attachment or maybe a fully automated machine.

5. What is your budget?

Prices vary significantly from model to model due to the fact that true espresso is dependent on pressure, temperature, coffee quality, grind, dose, water quality and skill.

When you pay less, you get strong coffee which is suitable to mix with flavour and steamed milk. The unit will be simple to use and easy to maintain.

When you pay more, you get features like rapid heating, a pump, built-in grinder, control over pressure and true espresso.

You can actually get a steam espresso machine for just below $50 while a high end commercial or semi-automatic espresso machine can cost above $10,000.

Type of Espresso Machines


The next step is to determine what type of machine will best suit your purpose.

There are two basic types of espresso machines (mechanism-wise) for your consideration: steam-driven and pump-driven.

1. Steam-Driven Machines

Steam or steam pressure is used to forced water through the coffee grounds to produce espresso. The first espresso machines worked on a steam-pressure foundation, and they are still in use today.

They are cheaper than a pump-driven machines and cannot produce true espresso (only very strong coffee) because they cannot generate enough pressure or provide the precise temperature control necessary.

Espresso character: Strong and light bodied coffee

Suitable for: As they cost less than a pump-drive machine it is best suited for people who are on a tight budget and enjoy occasional flavoured drinks. It is also a good entry level for beginners to "test waters".

2. Pump-Driven Machines

An electric pump is used to force water through the coffee grounds. This process produces true espresso. There are two different types of Pump-drive machines:

  • Semi-automatic espresso machines:

Perfect for espresso connoisseur. Takes longer time and more effort in producing a cup of espresso as you have control over every subtle nuance that goes into espresso. What you get is the best-quality and taste out of the machine.

As it is semi-automatic, the water temperature and pressure are automated to produce that perfect cup of espresso.

User is able to adjust the pump, the steam and water flow for a customised taste.

There is no in-built grinder so you must fill the portafilter with ground coffee and tamp the grounds yourself.

Espresso character: Rich and full bodied, true espresso.

Suitable for: People mastering the art of espresso, wanting their own precise taste, temperature and body in their shots.

People mastering the art of espresso, wanting their own precise taste, temperature and body in their shots.

  • Super-automatic espresso machines:

If you do not have the time or find no need to fine-tune a particular taste for your espresso and just want great tasting cup of espresso, go for super-automatic espresso machine.

Almost all of the brewing steps are automatic - built-in coffee grinder grinds, tamps and extracts the espresso shot automatically.

If you connect the machine to a water line, it will fill automatically as well, if not you can always add water manually.

A push of the button will dispense high quality espresso in minutes. Higher-end models have the ability to froth and dispense milk too to give you the option for lattes.

Espresso character: Rich and full bodied, true espresso.

Suitable for: People who enjoy great cup of coffee and prefer convenience over control.

Espresso Machine ModelWhat We Like About ItUser FeedbackGuide for PriceOur Rating Out of 5
Mr. Coffee ECM1601 - 4 cup brewing capacity, Easy to clean & Produces strong coffee.Very GoodCheap4.25 / 5
Rancilio SilviaEasy to clean, warming top surface to pre-heat cup & stainless steel finish.Very GoodAffordable4.5 / 5
Breville BES900XLLCD display, simple to use, consistent and programmable.Very GoodHigher Price4 / 5
Gaggia 14101 ClassicCombination coffee/espresso machine, preheat 5 cups at once, frothing wand included.GoodAffordable4 / 5
DeLonghi ESAM3300 MagnificaEasy to use with push buttons and programmable menu settings.GoodCheap3.75 / 5
Jura Impressa Z9Auto rinse and clean, Six pre-programmed drinks with one touch button.GoodHigher Price3.5 / 5
Nespresso D60 PixieFast - makes your drink in 30 seconds & fully automatic - works via Nestle coffee capsuleExceptionalAffordable5 / 5

7 Best Espresso Machines 2016


Finally, to make things easier for you, we have pick our top 7 best espresso machine for 2015. We have highlighted the pros and cons of each machine for you to make an informed decision.

1. Mr. Coffee ECM160 4-Cup Steam Espresso Machine

Pros:
  • Produces strong coffee
  • Value for money
  • Easy to clean
  • Removable drip tray
  • Drip-free pouring spout
  • Removable frothing aid
  • Decanter with measuring marks
  • 1 - 4 cup brewing capacity
Cons:
  • Lacks some features
  • Steam system produces less foam than pump-driven machines
  • Doesn’t include tamper or frothing pitcher
  • Steams slowly

2. Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine (Semi-Automatic)

Pros:
  • Value for money
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean - easy to remove heating element
  • 15 bar pump pressure
  • Removable 67 ounce water tank that can be refilled before, during and after operation
  • 3 thermostats to monitor steam, espresso and boiler heat
  • Warming top surface to pre-heat cup
  • stainless steel, stylish looking
Cons:
  • No PID temperature - fluctuation between low and high temperature point

3. Breville BES900XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine (Semi-Automatic)

Pros:
  • Electric PID temperature control for precise water temperature
  • Over-Pressure Valve (OPV) limits extraction pressure
  • Backlit LCD displays brew temperature, shot clock or time
  • Steam wand rotates 360 degrees with full range of action
  • Separate hot water outlet o preheat your cups
  • Consistent and programmable
  • Easy to use
Price:
  • Around $1,200.

4. Gaggia 14101 Classic Brushed Stainless Steel Espresso Machine (Semi-Automatic)

Pros:
  • Commercial graded portafilter handle
  • Chrome-plated brass filter keeps machine's temperature constant
  • 72 ounce removable water reservoir
  • Frothing wand
  • Hot water dispenser
  • Preheat 5 cups at once
  • Combination coffee/espresso machine
  • Brushed stainless steel construction
  • Powerful 17 1/2 bar pump
Cons:
  • Initial learning curve
  • Coffee must be precisely ground
  • Aluminium boiler is subjected to corrosion
5. DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine
Pros:
  • Easy to use with push buttons and programmable menu settings
  • Grind beans instantly
  • Double boiler system - can make espresso and cappucino at the same time
Cons:
  • Excess noise from grinder
  • Not for oily beans

6. Jura Impressa Z9 One Touch TFT (Super Automatic)

Pros:
  • Easy to use
  • Six pre-programmed drinks with one touch button
  • Very fast and very quiet
  • In-built grinder that is fast but quiet
  • 15 Bar high-performance pump
  • Personalise drink names
  • 96 ounce removable water reservoir
  • Auto rinse and clean
Cons:
  • The high price tag is out of reach for some people

7. Nespresso Pixie (Super Automatic)

Pros:
  • Compact and quiet
  • Fully automatic - works via Nestle coffee capsule
  • Fast - makes your drink in 30 seconds
  • Great Reviews - One of the best-rated products you'll find anywhere. It's a phenomenal product!
Cons:
  • Cannot make your own blend
  • Slightly harder to clean
  • Can only make 1 cup at a time

Buying An Espresso Machine: What To Look Out For?


Once you have decided on your purpose, the type of machine you want and your budget, it is time to research on the different brands of your choice.

1. Compare the Features

You should compare feature on similar models so you can determine the best value. Here are some features to take into consideration as you compare the brands

  • Pressure bar: High quality espresso machines include a pressure bar so you can monitor the internal pressure. It is good to note that Pump-drive machines have more parts than steam machines and most contain parts that need to be hand washed.
  • Water source: Look for one with a removable water reservoir, if you use it often, like in the office pantry or entertaining your friends, look for one with a large reservoir or the ability to connect to a water line.
  • Portafilter: Thick, stainless steel ones usually indicate quality. In short, the heavier the portafilter, the better quality machine. Look for ones with pod adapters which allow you to use pre-packaged espresso pods instead of ground coffee. Look at the number of sprouts, simple machines usually have one sprout while the advanced have two.
  • Steam wand: Swivelling steam wands usually indicator higher quality machine. Some wands are adjustable so you can change the consistency of the milk and some comes with adapters to make frothing milk for cappuccinos.
2. Safety

There is always a risk of scalding, burns or fire with an espresso machine. Since heating elements do not change colour or texture when they are hot, you can consider these:

  • Get a machine with an on and off indicator light.
  • Get one that comes with a polarised plug - A polarised plug has one prong larger than the other so that you can only plug it one way.
  • Get short electrical cords to keep the access cord away from little hands.
3. Warranty and Support

One year warranty is the industry standard for espresso machines, usually covering manufacturer defects. Make sure there is traditional phone and email support. Most companies these days can perform tech support via Facebook or other social media platforms.

Find Espresso Machines By Price

Best Machines Under $200

Best Machines Under $300

Best Machines Under $500

Espresso Machine Buying Guide Infographic