Find The Best Home Espresso Machines For 2018 With This Guide
Before you embark on buying your dream home coffee maker, 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.
Value for money (another moderate-price product on our list!)
Durable, which is what you expect and need from a quality home espresso machine
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 machine so it suits the vast majority of kitchens and looks great!
No PID temperature – fluctuation between low and high temperature point. In the big scheme of things, this is not a huge barrier to making a purchase. The product is not a high-price, top-of-the-line machine, but it does have more than enough functionality.
3. Breville BES900XL Dual Boiler (Semi-Automatic)
Electronic PID temperature control for precise water temperature
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, which is a very important aspect of a home coffee machine. Often it’ll be you that uses the machine, but on occasion another family member or friend may want to grab a quick coffee while you’re busy so having an easy to use machine allows for multiple individuals to operate the product.
4. Gaggia 14101
Commercial grade portafilter handle
Chrome-plated brass filter keeps machine’s temperature constant
72 ounce removable water reservoir
Hot water dispenser
Preheat 5 cups at once – Awesome for the morning rush when multiple individuals are wanting their morning caffeine fix!
Combination coffee/espresso option
Brushed stainless steel construction
Powerful 17 1/2 bar pump. FOr such a well-priced and budget friendly model, this item packs some punch when it comes to the bar pump.
Initial learning curve is a little more involved than some of the other machiens on the list.
Coffee must be precisely ground
Some users have complained that the aluminium boiler is subject to corrosion. This may or may not be true, but on the whole, the majority of user reviews are very positive.
Easy to use with push buttons and programmable menu settings
Grind beans instantly
Double boiler system – can make espresso and cappuccino at the same time
Excess noise from grinder
Not for oily beans
6. Jura Impressa J9 One Touch TFT (Super Automatic)
This is the premium model on our list of best espresso machines for home and does come with a higher price tag than the others on the list, but with good reason – this machine rocks!
Easy to use, as you’d expect from a premium-quality model
Six pre-programmed drinks with one touch button so this machine really is the definition of convenient coffee!
Very fast and very quiet
In-built grinder that is fast but quiet, so perfect for morning coffee when others in the house are sleeping
15 Bar high-performance pump
Personalise drink names (once again – super-convenient!)
96 ounce removable water reservoir
Auto rinse and clean so you’ll save plenty of time on that fiddly little after-make cleanup that most machines require
The high price tag is out of reach for some people but as for features, this machine really does have everything you’d ever want in a home espresso machine.
7. Nespresso Pixie (Super Automatic)
This is our recommended model as it strikes the perfect balance between features, price and plenty of positive user reviews from actual users of the product. Buy with confidence!
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!
Cannot make your own blend
Slightly harder to clean
Can only make 1 cup at a time
5 Questions To Ask Yourself When Buying:
1. What type of quality are you looking for?
Every brand and feature of 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.
The next step is to determine what type of machine will best suit your purpose.
There are two basic types of machines (mechanism-wise) for your consideration: steam-driven and pump-driven.
1. Steam-Driven Machines
Steam or steam pressure is used to force 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:
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.
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 option.
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.
Buying Guide: 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 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.
There is always a risk of scalding, burns or fire with a home coffee maker. 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 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.