The Top 7 Most Recommended Espresso Machines

Published on 02/07/2024 · 10 min readDiscover the crème de la crème of brewing: Our guide highlights the top most recommended espresso machines for barista-quality coffee at home.
Jason Gass, Coffee Expert
By Coffee Expert Jason Gass

Photo by Mavo

Tl;dr: Espresso machines are quickly becoming one of the most popular kitchen appliances. This popularity means that there are plenty of options to choose from. However, not all espresso machines are made the same. Look for machines that are easy to use, have the options you want, and are adjustable, allowing you to make that perfect shot of espresso.

I used to love going to the café to get my morning espresso. That was until I discovered how satisfying it is to pull my own shot of espresso at home. I get to make my morning espresso to taste just the way I like it, using my favorite beans and my perfect setting. There really is no better way to start the day.

If you are looking to enjoy brewing your own espresso but are not sure which espresso machine is best, I’m here to help. In this article, I will share with you some of the best espresso machines, as well as what to look for in a quality product when you are shopping. If you have questions about espresso machines, contact one of our Curated Coffee Experts for more information.

How to Choose the Right Espresso Machine for Your Needs

If you are looking to purchase your first espresso machine or if it is time to trade in your old espresso maker for a new model, it is important to know what you’re looking for. While it is certainly important to find a machine that brews a great espresso shot, it is equally important to find one that makes your espresso, latte, or cappuccino the same way, every day.

I tend to prefer superautomatic espresso makers that have plenty of features for customization. I also like a machine that has extras like a built-in grinder and a steam wand. These features just make life easier. These are the things you need to consider when selecting the right espresso maker for your needs.

Before I get into some of the best espresso machines on the market, I will walk you through some important information about espresso makers and how to pick the best espresso machine for you.

Types of Espresso Machines

If you have not purchased an espresso maker in a while or if you are one of the beginners who are ready for a new experience, you will find that there are many different espresso machines to choose from. The most basic piece of information you need to start with is the type of machine you are looking for. There are three general categories of espresso machines:

Factors to Consider: What I Look for in a Great Espresso Machine

When I am shopping for a home espresso machine, there are some factors I always consider. These help me narrow my options to those that fit the closest with my particular needs. Here are the factors you should consider before shopping for an espresso maker.

Size

A smaller espresso machine like this one would be nice if you have more limited counter space! Photo by Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko

The first thing you need to know about your espresso machine is how big it is and if it will fit in your kitchen. Measure the countertop space where your machine will sit, and use those measurements as a guide for shopping.

Pressure

Good espresso quality starts with water pressure. Pressure can be generated with steam or a pump. However, pumps have a better consistency. Look for machines with a minimum of 9 bars of pressure.

Boiler Type

The boiler is the way an espresso machine heats water for extraction and milk steaming. You will find machines with single and dual boilers. Dual boilers are helpful if you want to steam milk while your espresso is extracted.

Temperature Control

If your goal is a perfect shot of espresso, look for machines with PID controllers. These carefully control water temperature for a flavorful espresso shot.

Built-in Grinder

Photo by papi8888

Built-in coffee grinders are great if you have minimal space. They also allow you to fresh grind coffee beans to different grind sizes, depending on the espresso quality you are looking for.

Ease of Cleaning

I love customizing my espresso, but I also love not working hard maintaining my espresso machine. Look for machine components that are easy to remove and, when possible, dishwasher safe.

Price

Price is important to consider. There are great products at all price levels. Do not purchase a machine that is more than you can afford, simply because it has more features.

Overall Best Espresso Machine: Breville the Barista Touch Espresso Machine

If you are looking for a quality machine with plenty of options for customization and user-friendly controls, you will love the Breville Barista Touch espresso machine. This machine is ideal for beginners because it is easy to use, but it is also great for espresso lovers who demand a high-quality shot of creme. The touchscreen controls are easy to use and offer you the ability to store up to 8 personalized coffees.

The Barista Touch has a built-in burr grinder that automatically grinds your favorite coffee beans to the perfect grind size and then adds the perfect dose of grounds to the filter for brewing. You also do not have to wait for this machine to heat up. The Breville Thermojet technology heats water in just 3 seconds for quick start-up. The one downside is that milk does build up in the steam wand.

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Second Best Overall Espresso Machine: Rocket Espresso Appartamento Espresso Machine

For the experienced espresso lover, the Rocket Espresso Appartamento espresso machine offers an outstanding manual brewing experience. This machine is steam pressure driven, which allows for a slower pressure increase.

This reduced speed of extraction provides better puck saturation and reduced channeling in the porta-filter baskets. The traditional lever for pulling your shot is replaced with ergonomic knobs. Although it can be noisy, I like that this espresso machine comes with both a steam wand and a hot water spout.

Best Budget-Friendly Espresso Machine: De'Longhi Dedica Arte Espresso Machine

While the De’Longhi Dedica Arte espresso machine is our pick for the best budget-friendly espresso machine, it is also the perfect machine for small spaces and the coffee lover who is looking for a semi-automatic machine. This espresso maker allows you to enjoy grinding your beans, filling the porta-filter basket, and frothing your milk. The rest of the process is done at the push of a button.

The Dedica Arte has a rear water tank that is easy to remove and fill. The milk frother utilizes the De’Longhi My LatteArt steam wand, which perfectly steams milk and also helps you perfect your latte art skills.

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Best Upgrade Espresso Machine: Terra Kaffe TK-01 Espresso Machine

If you are ready to upgrade your current espresso machine to a beautiful, superautomatic espresso machine, the Terra Kaffe TK-01 should be at the top of your list. This sleek espresso machine is easy to use but offers you so many ways to customize your espresso experience. You can easily make everything from a double shot of espresso to lattes, cappuccinos, and Americanos.

The Terra Kaffe TK-01 has a built-in burr grinder and a large water reservoir for added convenience. It is very easy to clean, thanks to automatic cleaning functions, and easy to remove and clean parts, including the puck bin and water reservoir. No stainless steel option, unfortunately.

Best All-Purpose Espresso Machine: De'Longhi La Specialista Maestro Espresso Machine

If you want a home espresso machine that feels like a commercial machine, the De’Longhi Las Specialista Maestro is a smaller version of a professional espresso machine. The difference with this machine is that it takes the guesswork out of extracting a perfect shot of espresso. It starts with the coffee grounds. The sensor grinding technology makes perfectly sized grounds, doses grounds specifically for your preferred espresso style, and then tamps the grounds to a firm puck. This process gives you amazing consistency in your espresso extraction.

The De’Longhi La Specialista also offers you manual and automatic milk frothing and a removable milk pitcher that easily goes from refrigerator to espresso machine.

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Best Espresso Machine for Beginners: Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine

We all have to start somewhere, and if you are shopping for your first espresso machine, Breville offers a great option with its Bambino Plus espresso machine. If you want cafe-style coffee without the hassle of going to your local coffee shop, this is a perfect addition to your kitchen. The Bambino offers you many of the features you will find on some of the more advanced Breville machines.

Some of my favorite features of this espresso machine include the large porta-filter and the ThermoJet water heating system that allows you to start extracting espresso in just 3 seconds. I also love the automatic steam wand that makes it easy to froth milk and make amazing latte art. Add to all of those great features, sleek styling and a compact footprint that fits perfectly in smaller kitchens.

Best Manual Espresso Machine: Flair Espresso Flair Pro 2 Espresso Maker

For the coffee lover who is looking for a truly manual espresso maker, the Flair Espresso Pro 2 is a wonderful option. This manual espresso machine is not for everyone. Set up can be challenging, and it does require a fair amount of strength to extract your espresso. The Flair Pro 2 forces water through compacted grounds using physical force. If you are looking for a way to have complete control over your espresso flavor, the Flair Pro will give you that. This is also a fairly compact espresso maker, so it works well in small and larger kitchens.

Frequently Asked Questions About Espresso Machines

Does the Brand of Espresso Machines Matter?

Brand matters only if you are looking for particular features or options. In general, if you stick with brands that are known for high-quality espresso machines, you should get a great product. Brands like Breville, De’Longhi, Gaggia, and Rancilio are among the best options on the market.

Are Espresso Machines Difficult to Use?

Espresso machines are not, in theory, difficult to use. The principle behind making espresso is pretty simple, making the process also simple in theory. The difficulty in operating some espresso machines comes from design flaws. Controls that are not intuitive, parts that are difficult to clean, and assembly that is complicated are where difficulty in use happens with espresso machines. Make sure you carefully read about the maintenance, operation, and assembly instructions before buying an espresso machine to avoid headaches.

Does Price Matter for Espresso Machines?

Price does seem to matter when it comes to quality in espresso machines. The more you spend, the better the product. This tends to be true with many of the espresso machines on the market. However, this is not always the case. There are some great low-cost products and some high-end espresso machines that are terrible.

Find the Right Espresso Machine for You

Photo by Oleg Doroshin

Getting up in the morning and starting your day with a good espresso in the comfort of your own home is the biggest reward of owning an espresso machine. If you are ready to step away from boring cups of coffee and upgrade to fresh, cafe-quality espresso, our best espresso machines offer something for every home barista.

In this article, I have offered helpful insight into shopping for high-quality espresso machines. Whether you are a beginner or have years of espresso-making experience, there is the perfect machine for you. If one of our picks meets your needs or if you take my shopping factors on the road, I hope that your journey ends in a delicious shot of espresso or your favorite espresso drink.

If you have questions about our best espresso machines, making great coffee, or any other java-related questions, reach out to me or any of the other Coffee Experts here at Curated.

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Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Shop Coffee & Espresso on Curated

Breville the Barista Touch Espresso Machine
$799.95$999.95
Rocket Espresso Appartamento Espresso Machine
$1,850.00
De'Longhi Dedica Arte Espresso Machine
$199.95$299.95

Browse more Coffee & Espresso

Terra Kaffe TK-01 Espresso Machine
$895.00
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine
$499.95
Flair Espresso Flair Pro 2 Espresso Maker
$325.00
Flair Espresso Flair 58 Manual Coffee Espresso
$575.00
Flair 58 Plus
$640.00

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