Many are now beginning on their home brewed espresso, latte, or cappuccino journey for the first time due to quarantine. You may be overwhelmed by the wide range of espresso machines available. There's everything ranging from simple $100 machines to multiple thousand dollar machines made for professional cafe use. Which one should you get?
There are 3 easy questions to ask yourself before you get started:
- What's your budget?
- How much space do you have available?
- How much control do you want to have?
We've looked around for the best so you don't have to. Below is our roundup of the top 3 espresso machines.
The No Frills, Best Bang-for-Your-Buck Machine
Winner: Delonghi EC155M for $99.99
Delonghi is one of the most well-known brands in the espresso industry, and their machines are built to last. Delonghi's EC155M espresso maker offers great tasting espresso. It just works -- and that's how we like it.
While we'd recommend a larger machine if you're making espresso for a whole family, if you're just brewing for one or two, the 35oz water tank is more than enough to last for a few days. Moreover, the machine itself is quite small and compact at just under a foot tall, so it's easy to fit under shelves. It also heats up quickly so you don't have to wait around to get your morning cup of joe. While the list goes on and on for all the great things we could say about this machine, above all else, Delonghi has really nailed the espresso process here. Each shot comes out with a nice layer of crema on top, and the machine makes a pretty consistent shot each time because of the pressurized filter. Even the most beginner of beginners can make good espresso with this machine.
While there's a lot going for it, the plastic exterior is somewhat plain, so if you're someone who's looking to decorate your counters with beautiful kitchen appliances, you might want to pass on this little dude. In addition, the machine vibrates a lot when it's in use, which may shake around any cups you set on the base. Lastly, as with most value machines, the milk frother does a great job of heating up the milk, but won't necessarily get it to the right texture and consistency for you to practice your latte art skills. But in our opinion, the pros on this machine far outweigh these small nits.
The All-in-One Grinder + Espresso Machine
We could write a whole another article on the pros and cons to buying your own grinder vs having one built into your machine, but if you don't want to have to worry about the hassle of maintaining two, the Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine is for you. For those looking to upgrade from their beginner machines, the Breville Barista Express is regularly acknowledged as the best machine for a mix of great tasting coffee and customization.
We love that this machine moves the coffee grounds directly into the portafilter basket and stops grinding once enough beans have been ground. Automating this step means one less thing for you to worry about, and this machine consistently pulls cafe-quality espresso shots. The machine's milk frother holds its own too, though it can sometimes get messy. This machine truly serves a triple whammy: in addition to convenience and quality, it also offers customizability. With grinder settings that let you go from fine to coarse grinds and temperature control that lets you adjust in 2 degree increments, everyone can make a cup of espresso that matches their specific tastes.
That said, there are a few things to note if you're starting to eye this machine. Because it includes two machines in one, it takes up quite a bit more counter space at 13" x 12" x 15" and weighs 23lbs. The many bits and bobs on the machine also add up to more things that need to be cleaned, and the machine does need to be regularly cleaned to work at its best -- although you should really be regularly cleaning your machine no matter what!
The Easiest to Use Espresso Machine
There's a reason why Mr. Coffee is such a household name, and that's because their products are consistently straightforward and easy-to-use.
Mr. Coffee's Cafe Barista is made for the coffee drinker whose only focus in the morning is to get caffeinated. With the touch of a button, you can have an espresso, latte, or cappuccino -- with the right proportions and all -- made and ready for you to consume. This machine comes in three colors: silver, red, and white. Whatever your kitchen decor, this machine can match it. The parts are all easy-to-remove and simple to clean as well, but maybe our favorite part about this machine is that you can fit large or small cups underneath the dispenser. Most espresso machines only have a few inches of room for an espresso shot glass or teacup, but this one has the flexibility to fit cups of all sizes.
However, the espresso it pulls is a little weaker and more bitter than other machines. While we don't think most people will be able to tell, if you're a coffee aficionado, you may want to pass on this machine. In addition, the milk frother will warm the milk, but isn't the best if you're looking for steaming hot milk.
So that's it! There's a machine out there for everyone, and we wish you the best of luck on your espresso journey. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions -- we'd love to hear from you.