Serious about your coffee? Well in that case, you can’t work with a pod machine, can you? In a pinch, you’ll use a French press system, but really you’ll want a super automatic coffee and espresso machine.
What are espresso machines?
These are the machines that do it all – they grind the beans just before brewing the grounds. You’ll get an incredibly flavorful cup of coffee that retains all the best flavors.
The best espresso machines have milk and frothing features.
When choosing an at home espresso machine, you want to consider the options that mean the most to you. Is space an issue? Look for compact models. Prefer serious customization? Yep, we've got that too.
We’ve spent a lot of time on this list of the best espresso machines, but we know you’ll be a little concerned that you don’t see a ton of products. We looked at dozens of espresso machines and chose the ones that make their users the happiest, are the best value, and have features that people search for.
Now, it’s time to start drooling over the perfect cup of coffee… at home!
This appliance offers just enough options without being overwhelming. You can brew two cups at once, the spout offers adjustable heights, and the milk frother does its job well.
It’s not the cheapest machine given that you can’t completely customize your coffee.
Jura has set the bar high for super automatic coffee makers over the years. As soon as you begin using this appliance, you will completely (and instantly) understand why. Though it has a plastic exterior, it’s quit resilient and available in solid black or black with platinum. The single rotary switch keeps it simple, though you still have choices.
The display is basic (plain text) and you will probably need to refer to the manual every now and again for the first couple of weeks. But, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be so happy you made the investment. Sure, you think you need more options for the price, but this coffee maker proves that you don’t.
Bean reservoir and grinding: You can store up to 200 grams of beans in the machine. Just so you don’t have to look that up, it’s about 7 ounces. And, it’s the grinding function of this Jura super automatic that sets it apart from the competition. It works with a unique cutting angle to halve the time spent grinding. That’s a good thing as this machine isn’t exactly quiet.
Water reservoir size: The water reservoir is 1.9 liters. And, again, we’ll do that math for you. It’s a little more than 64 ounces. That’s actually not a huge amount of water. Sure, you probably won’t get through it in a day (unless you use this in an office), but it’s not exceptional.
Milk and frothing options: There is a milk frother that Jura loves to rave about – and they’re not wrong to do so. It really creates a feather-light consistency as it claims to do, though it doesn’t seem as though it would be as powerful as all that.
Cup warmers and water spouts: Sadly, there isn’t a cup warmer with this machine, but you can brew 2 cups at a time. There is also a convenient water spout, which you can use to give your mug a quick warm just before brewing. And, the primary spout is adjustable so you can use different mugs and cups.
Energy use: For a European machine, this isn’t as energy efficient as one might want. It uses 1450 watts. Sure, that shouldn't make or break your decision to get this machine, but it’s not as resourceful as we would like.
Maintenance requirements: The drip trays are removable and there are programs for descaling, cleaning, and rinsing. You’ll want to do that every couple of months to keep this machine running as it should. Of course, you won’t struggle to find replacement parts, but we doubt you’ll need them.
Bottom line: It’s not the cheapest machine, but it’s easily at the top of its game. The machine is intuitive and offers clean lines. More than that, it makes an incredible cup of coffee without overcomplicating your life. You’ll know what we mean as soon as you enjoy your first cup. Enjoy!
This semi-automatic espresso maker automatically adjusts the water temperature for optimal extraction. It’s made of stainless steel and has decently sized reservoirs.
It takes a fair amount of “getting used to,” and is only a semi-automatic, not a super-automatic.
You need to spend some time thinking this purchase through before pushing the buy button. That’s because this is technically classed as a semi-automatic, not a super-automatic. The difference is in the amount of work you need to do. However, since you can get it all done without another appliance, it’s closer to the super range. Still, you must do more than press a single button for an incredible cup of coffee.
The one thing that we really and truly appreciate about this machine is the automatic water temperature adjustments. You can choose between one and two cup sizes, and there’s a manual override. The hopper and reservoir are the right size and although you hear the grinding, it’s not oppressive. Plus, it’s all housed in a classically stylish stainless steel body. Nice, right?
Bean reservoir and grinding: The bean hopper holds as much as a half pound of beans. You do have control over the size and amount of the grind. The dials are easy to read And there’s also a double-walled filter basket if you prefer.
Water reservoir size: The water reservoir is 67 ounces which is the same as 2 liters of water. It is removable and there is a replaceable water filer to cut down on mineral deposits.
Milk and frothing options: It’s basic at best. If you need frothed milk, this isn’t the machine for you. That said, stainless steel frothing pitchers and practice might make this a viable machine for you.
Cup warmers and water spouts: Neither really. Move along if you need that as part of your routine.
Energy use: It’s a bit higher on the energy usage than other models. But, you will only draw the 1600 watts when you’re using this machine. It’s not going to suck that constantly.
Maintenance requirements: There’s a handy “clean me” light when you need to deal with that and there’s a cleaning kit included in the package. The drip tray is removable and you also get a reminder light for that action. It’s not a machine you can keep pristine during operation, but the stainless steel construction helps.
Bottom line: It’s spot on price wise for a semi-automatic, but inexpensive if you class it with the super automatics. What’s the difference? A lot of finicky dials and settings. If you’re a barista, you’ll appreciate the control. If all you want to do is push a single button for a terrific cup of espresso, this machine is not for you. However, the full experience is here, even if you have to work for it.
This super-automatic coffee maker has all the features of the full-size machines, even though it’s much more compact than the original. The patented frothing system is much more advanced than many other brands can offer.
The slope from the bean hopper to the grinder isn’t steep enough, so you may have to help the beans along every now and again.
This compact model is remarkably similar to DeLonghi’s 3300 super-automatic – it’s just smaller. And, that’s what a lot of people need. On the downside, it’s made of plastic and the angle between the hopper and the grinder leaves a little to be desired. It’s also a little louder than comparable models, though not by much. But that’s about the only things we can complain about.
The fully programmable digital display allows you to make the adjustments you want. There are five strength settings between mild and strong and you can choose cup sizes too. Plus, there is the option to brew 2 cups at once and use pre-ground coffee if you really want to go that route. How can you go wrong this coffee maker? We don’t know either.
Bean reservoir and grinding: Interestingly, the hopper for the beans isn’t that small. You can fit 8.8 ounces of beans inside. Though, you will need to watch that the beans are making it into the grinder – the angle isn’t the best. Although it can automatically handle the grinding, you’ll also be happy to note that you can use pre-ground beans if that’s your style.
Water reservoir size: The water reservoir is actually quite a decent size considering the overall dimension of this DeLonghi super-automatic. You can put 60 ounces in it (1.8 liters) and there’s a built-in filtration system and an empty water indicator.
Milk and frothing options: The frothing system is patented and it’s rather brilliant at what it does. You can expect a rich and creamy froth. Pretty great, eh?
Cup warmers and water spouts: Yep, you get both. That’s a nice touch for such a small appliance.
Energy use: If you’re looking for a greener home, you’ll be happy with this super-automatic, which operates at 1150 watts. It’s the energy-saving switch that lets you save up to 77% of your energy consumption.
Maintenance requirements: It’s a self-cleaning system for the most part. Despite the water filter, you should expect a calcification build-up over time. But, there is a decalcification indicator as well, so you’ll know when you need to take steps.
Bottom line: This compact super-automatic is still under $1,000. In fact, the MSRP is $900. You’ll pay less on Amazon, usually under the $750 mark. And, we absolutely love it. We think you will too.
You’ll be notified if the machine needs anything from you, but with four filtration stages, you shouldn’t have to worry about that too much. You can expect plenty of customization options at terrific prices.
There’s no control over the water temperature and it’s not hot enough for coffee extremists.
This is a solid machine given the price. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s relatively inexpensive. The LED display is prepared to talk you through everything you need to know. And you’ll appreciate that because there are so many options – light or strong, long or short. And, it will save your preferences for the next cup too.
The water filter is powerful and works with four stages for super pure water for delicious coffee. Now it is on the noisy side, the water reservoir is small, and a lot of the machine is made with plastic. You also don’t have any control over water temperature. But, if you want a terrific cup of coffee on a budget, this is the (wonderfully compact) appliance for you.
Bean reservoir and grinding: The bean hopper offers slightly more than average space with 8 ounces. You can choose whether you want a strong or weaker cup of coffee and you can use a variety of beans. There’s also a doser bypass that allows you to work with pre-ground coffee. That’s a bonus if you need tp make a lot of cups in a short amount of time.
Water reservoir size: You may get a slightly larger bean hopper, but the water reservoir is smaller. It holds a mere 1.2 liters. That’s 40 ounces, in case you’re wondering. The water tank is removable, and you’ll need to do a lot of that since it’s so small. But, the multi-stage water filter is impressive.
Milk and frothing options: There’s a frothing wand, but no milk tank. This steam wand also doubles as a separate spout for hot water.
Cup warmers and water spouts: There is a cup warmer, a steam wand which doubles as a water spout, and you have the opportunity to brew two cups at the same time. That said, you are working with limited cup sizes. The max is just over 4.25”. Then again, you’ll probably work with espresso cups, so it's really not that big of a deal.
Energy use: It operates at 1400 watts and there is an auto shut-off feature. That makes this inexpensive machine just about average on the power front.
Maintenance requirements: There’s a self-rinse function that’s activated every time the machine moves between standby and operational phases. There’s an indicator on the display screen to let you know if you need to service and descale the machine. During the first 2 years, you’ve got a warranty to cover any replacement parts you need – and you can find replacements fairly easily after that point.
Bottom line: It’s a really good price for the function that you get. But there are design flaws, or rather, construction flaws. Too many parts are made with plastic. If you occasionally use the machine, you won’t experience too many issues. But if you use it daily, you will need to keep an eye on that. Most users don’t have problems and find the tradeoff between price and bonus features to be exactly what they're looking for.
It’s fast and quiet (thanks to the ceramic grinder operation) and the milk foam is perhaps better than you will get in many coffee shops. You also get 17 individually programmable types of coffee.
It’s rather on the expensive side and does require some practice before you’ll be comfortable using it.
Wow! We are in love with this Jura super-automatic. It’s that cool. It’s just so expensive. Otherwise, it would be our top fave. The front features aluminum plating, but the sides are plastic – which is a bit of a bummer, but it certainly doesn’t detract from the performance of this appliance.
The digital display is totally intuitive and you get a lot of options – each one is easy to identify and select. You get 5 coffee strengths, 3 brewing temperatures, and 17 pre-programmed specialty drinks. With the ability to add milk to the mix without an extra step, you can color us impressed. Plus, there are 2 grinders and hoppers so you can actually brew two different cups at the same time. Wish you had the funds? We don’t blame you.
Bean reservoir and grinding: Wow! If you’re not interested in continually re-filling the bean hopper, you’re going to fall in love with this coffee maker. You get two hoppers and each one holds 9.88 ounces of coffee. Yep – nearly 20 pounds of coffee. You can also choose between 5 programmable strengths.
Water reservoir size: There’s a wonderfully sized water reservoir on this Jura super-automatic. It can hold up to 87 ounces of water which is one of the largest sizes available and there are two separate pumps so your coffee is brewed efficiently.
Milk and frothing options: If cappuccino is your thing, this is the machine you want. Connecting a milk container (the manual suggests a vacuum-sealed, cooler-styled chamber), is relatively simple. This allows you to achieve perfect milky coffee without an extra step. It also moves seamlessly between milk and milk froth or foam, so you don’t need to worry about it. If there was such a thing as super-super-automatic, this is what it looks like.
Cup warmers and water spouts: The coffee spouts are adjustable for different-sized cups (and you can go fairly tall on them too). There’s also a hot water spout for making tea and hot chocolate for those that aren’t tied to their coffee. But, there isn’t a cup warmer in the mix.
Energy use: This isn’t great on energy consumption. It operates at 2300 watts, though the standby keeps it at .5 watts and that’s enough to make sure you don’t have a long start-up time before your first cup of coffee.
Maintenance requirements: It’s a rather intense little machine that wants to take all the pressure it possibly can off of your back. There’s an auto descaling and cleaning process that happens without you worrying about it. It’s essentially a self-cleaning machine that never requires you to remove parts to keep it in pristine condition.
Bottom line: It’s bloody expensive. The MSRP is $7,500. Now, you’re likely to pay less than $6,000. And, if you can afford it, then you want this machine. It may not be the best-looking machine, but it’s far from ugly and it does everything you’ve ever wanted in a super-automatic. If it were cheaper, we would expect it to be more popular. But, it’s really only for those that are serious about their coffee or for small offices.
This stainless steel appliance is surprisingly compact and comes at a remarkably compact price too. It works best with medium roast beans and features programmable settings beyond its price range.
If you’re an espresso lover, this isn’t for you. It’s not strong enough for a short, sharp cuppa.
There are clear reasons to fall in love with this traditionally-styled stainless steel coffee maker. You’ve got the options of grinding the beans to your liking, as well as the amount of water you want in your cup (long or short). You can also move between weak and strong brews.
More than that, it’s compact and energy efficient and once you’ve set your preferences, you really only need to push a button to get what you want (unless you need to add milk to your cup). And, it does all of this at a low price point. Sadly, however, it’s not the best at espressos, but you can expect a damn fine cup of coffee otherwise.
Bean reservoir and grinding: You can store up to 7 ounces of whole beans in the container. The grinder allows for fine tuning so you can get the brew you really want. Grinding happens automatically (according to your settings) when you select a cup of coffee.
Water reservoir size: The removable water tank holds as much as 60 ounces. That’s not exactly huge, but neither is this machine.
Milk and frothing options: There’s a steam arm that rotates up to 180º so you can use it with nearly any milk container you want. But, it’s just an arm; it’s not a reservoir that hold milk or uses it in specific brews. That’s all manual and up to you.
Cup warmers and water spouts: There is a cup warmer with space for 3 cups which is decent considering how many cups you’re likely to work with at a time. Also, the main spout is adjustable so you can work with slightly larger cappuccino cups. The hot water spout makes it easy to make tea or hot chocolate without getting a kettle going.
Energy use: This DeLonghi super automatic coffee maker is rather good with the energy consumption. It operates at 1150 watts. Of course, it doesn’t seem big enough to use more, but you never can tell, can you?
Maintenance requirements: Sadly, none of this espresso maker’s parts are dishwasher safe. But, the drip tray is easily removable and there are rinse and decalcification programs to help you with the maintenance. You’ll need to do that seasonally to keep this appliance operating at its best. Should you ever need it, you can find replacement parts for this machine.
Bottom line: For the price of this super-automatic coffee maker, you get plenty of options. True, it’s neither as powerful or as feature-rich as some of its competitors, but it does what it does remarkably well. We think it’s a hands-down winner, especially if you want the benefits of a super automatic without taking up too much space or money.
Espresso (ess-PRESS-oh) it's not actually a type of roast or a fancy coffee bean; it's actually a way of preparing the coffee. Espresso is made from finely ground coffee beans –that’s it. It’s basically a concentrated form of coffee served in one-ounce shots.
Espresso is made by forcing pressurized, hot water through the finely ground beans. This method produces a fuller coffee-flavor, in addition to crema on top. What in the world is crema? Crema is creamy foam, similar to what you might get in a pint of beer.
Crema and espresso’s fast extraction method give espresso a fuller flavor, stronger taste and lower caffeine content than regular coffee. The stronger, more concentrated taste makes espresso perfect in many coffee drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos.
There are many ways to enjoy espresso. However, if you want to drink it like a true Italian, you drink espresso much like you drink wine –cleanse, swirl, and sip.
First, you’re going to want to drink some water to cleanse your palette. Believe it or not, espresso has unique and lingering flavors that you’re going to want to taste.
Next, skim off the crema with your spoon. Although a thick, deeply colored crema means a good shot, it doesn’t always taste the best. Finally, use your spoon or swirl your cup to give your espresso a stir. Take a sip and enjoy.
Although this is the traditional way to drink espresso, there are many other ways that you’re probably more familiar with.
Espresso Macchiato: You can drink your espresso in an Espresso Macchiato. This coffee shop drink includes a single espresso with a touch of stained foam. Macchiato means spotted or stained; the espresso is “stained” with foam.
Cappuccino: Another way to enjoy espresso is in a cappuccino. This type of coffee drink is made in thirds -1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 foam. The milk should appear smooth and shiny. The milk and foam should be mixed to make a thick, creamy texture.
Café Latte: A latte is probably the most popular way to drink espresso. It is made with 1/3 espresso, 2/3 hot milk, and a very thin layer of foam. Lattes commonly have sugary syrups like vanilla added to them, as well.
Café Mocha: Mochas are no hidden secret. In fact, they’re basically on every coffee shop menu. Mochas are made with 1/3 espresso, 1/6 chocolate, 1/3 milk, and 1/6 foam. Chocolate is the first layer, and then the double espresso shot. Then the steamed milk is added.
Americano: If you’re not into milk, an Americano could be your drink of choice. An Americano is made with a touch of hot fresh water and a double shot pulled long. This gives you a fresh, bold coffee taste, much like brewed coffee (only better).
The biggest noticeable difference between regular coffee and espresso is the amount you get in a serving size. A traditional cup of coffee is 8 ounces while a shot of espresso is only 1 ounce. Hence, why a cup of coffee has more caffeine. A cup of coffee averages roughly 130 mg of caffeine while a shot of espresso has about 40 mg.
Now, let’s look at what they have in common. Believe it or not, both coffee and espresso come from the same plant, which produces the same exact beans. And, the beans are also typically roasted the same way.
The biggest difference is how the beans are prepared. With traditional coffee, medium ground coffee beans are placed in a filter while hot water is poured through. You’re left with a fresh pot of coffee that can be enjoyed for hours.
Espresso’s method of preparation is a little different than your average Joe. When espresso is made, the coffee beans are ground much finer. The beans are then pressurized while hot water is shot through.
Despite what many think, the amount of caffeine is actually greater in a drip cup of coffee. However, it really depends on if you’re comparing the serving size or the concentration amount.
According to Kicking Horse Coffee, a single shot of espresso has an estimated 40 mg per ounce whereas a brewed cup only has around 10 mg in each ounce. By concentration we see espresso having more caffeine. The difference in the serving size is where the confusion occurs. There is technically less caffeine in espresso from a drink perspective.
The espresso machine is not like a coffee pot. Which is typically pretty simple. According to How Stuff Works, to force the water through the coffee, the simplest espresso machines use pressure that comes from heating water inside a sealed vessel.
In this type of machine, the coffee is packed into a funnel-shaped piece of metal that has a tube extending to the bottom of the reservoir. A few ounces of water are put into the reservoir and the top is screwed on.
When the water is heated, pressure builds inside the vessel, and the only way for it to escape is up the tube. This forces the hot water through the ground coffee and out of the spouts. Ideally, it should take about 25 seconds for about 1.5 ounces of espresso to come out. Pretty impressive, right?
Espresso machines are also made to steam milk. To steam some milk for something like a latte, you place cold milk under the steam wand. Then, you turn the valve to the steam position. This turns on the heater, which quickly boils the water in the heating vessel and opens the valve, starting the flow of steam out of the nozzle. The steam quickly heats up the milk, and, if you hold the steam nozzle near the top of the milk, it can make froth.
Espresso is not a special type of coffee bean, or a fancy type of roast. Espresso is simply a way to brew coffee. What this means is, any type of coffee can be brewed as espresso. The only thing to make sure is that the beans are ground finely enough.
The best espresso machine is the Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler. This is an expensive espresso machine and really only should be considered by espresso aficionados who will use this on a regular basis.
That being said, you get a lot in return for what you pay for with this one—especially when compared to the $3,000+ competitor semi-automatics that come with less features.
Unlike the other Breville, this one is regularly noted for how easy it is to use; however, some of that may be due to the type of person who would be willing to pay this much for an espresso machine (i.e. the expert).
With auto programmer functionality, advanced monitoring, commercial features, and more, this espresso machine gives users more control over that perfect pull.
Being as this is a semi-automatic with commercial-level performance, you’re going to get great espresso from this machine. Breville usually provides helpful guides along with each of their machines, so you can turn to that if you should run into any problems producing a high-quality shot.
Some other good home espresso machines are the Breville BES870XL Barista Express and the Gaggia RI8762 Anima Prestige Super Automatic.
The Breville is much like the Breville Dual Boiler we mentioned above (only half the cost). At $579, this is actually a really affordable espresso machine for what you get.
Many of the commercial-grade semi-automatic espresso machines we found were well over $1,000, so you should expect that this compromise in price comes with compromises elsewhere (for instance, a steep learning curve, plastic construction in some places, prone to making a mess, etc.)
This machine is for intermediate to expert aficionados who prefer to experiment with settings to get the perfect shot. Once your settings are well aligned, the quality of espresso from this machine will rival, and perhaps even beat, that of most coffee shops.
Part of this is due to the extra features that come with it. A high-quality espresso should always be made with freshly ground beans, so having the integrated grinder is essential for high quality results. The pressure gauge is also noted as one of the more helpful tools on this machine.
As far as super automatic espresso machines go, the Gaggia has a lot going for it. With a ceramic burr grinder, auto frothing, pre-infusion, and a high-quality construction, you’re getting more than you pay for with this.
When compared with the Breville semi-automatic espresso machines, some customers may find themselves not wanting to try this out based solely on price. However, it’s important to remember that this is a super automatic espresso machine, which means less effort is required. This one also happens to be great at preserving energy, so the higher price tag on this is reflective of these additional benefits (and more).
Your ease of use is going to depend on what level of experience you have with Gaggia espresso machines. It seems like those who have used Gaggia in the past do not have any problems at all in setting this up or getting it to produce a good shot. However, it does appear to be a struggle for everyone else.
This machine gives you great espresso. However, because this is a super automatic, it does mean that your shots may have less precision and overall quality than those made with a semi-automatic. But if you favor convenience over having more control over settings, this espresso machine will do you just fine.
Espresso machines do more and last longer than a coffee pot, which is why they cost a lot more. First and foremost, espresso machines are made with much better materials (metals over plastics). They have better electronics (PID temperature control) and multiple boilers (one for hot water and one for steam). Good espresso machines also have quieter and more powerful pumps (rotary vs. vibrating). All this adds cost but gives you the chance for a better coffee experience.
Also keep in mind that "expensive" may be relative. If you are a regular, coffee shop, espresso drinker and drink one almost every day, it may be worth looking at the difference between finance and economics.
Here’s what we mean: let's say you have been buying a latte every day for a year. That’s $4.25 x 365 = $1,551.25 per year. If you decide to buy an espresso machine and make them at home, you’re actually saving money.
A more affordable espresso machine will cost close to $600. You may also need a Burr grinder, which will cost roughly $60. An ounce of coffee beans will cost $.50, while a cup of milk will be about $0.20. That’s $0.70 for the cost of your daily at-home latte. In a year, that’s only $255.
So, depending on your espresso habits, it may be "expensive" to not own an espresso machine.
Step 1: Pour water into the bottom part of your espresso pot. Keep in mind that you don’t want the water to touch the pressure valve.
Step 2: Put the filter on top and scoop the coffee beans in. Be careful not to tap or press the beans down. Also make sure that there are no coffee grinds on the edges of the filter.
Step 3: Screw the top of the pot on tightly.
Step 4: Turn your stove on high (the highest temperature possible). Place your espresso pot on the stove with the pot’s lid closed. Listen carefully for the noise that your pot makes. This is the water boiling and distilling through the coffee grinds and up to the top. When the noise gets loud take the pot off the stove. Now your espresso is ready!
The Original Bialetti Moka Express is the best espresso pot. And, it’s made in Italy, which is pretty cool too, right?
Having an in-home espresso maker can be a very expensive investment for those who don’t drink it too often or who aren’t obsessed with exact precision over their shots. For those who simply want an easy way to make espresso (or, as some would argue, just really strong coffee), this espresso pot is a great pick.
You can’t get any better than $46 if you’re looking for a sturdy and trustworthy espresso pot.
Since this is an espresso pot and not a full espresso machine that can precisely heat the water and pour the shot, you’ll need to adjust your expectations a little. While this pot does pour a delicious espresso, it doesn’t produce authentic, thick, bittersweet espresso.