Best Espresso Machine Reviews

best espresso machine

Best Espresso Machine Reviews

Home espresso machines are quite popular among coffee aficionados and they have that incredible power of creating the best espressos ever with minimal effort. There are different kinds of espresso machines and we would be exploring them in this report so that you can purchase any espresso machine regardless of your skillset or budget.

Here at reviewdots, we take a look at some of the best espresso machines in functionality and in price. We would take a look at the best home espresso machine in the market now – the Breville BES870XL Barista Express and the cheaper alternative – the DeLonghi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Maker. We would also delve a bit into the best semi-automatic espresso machine, super-automatic espresso machines and pod-style espresso drink makers in the market; what makes them tick and more valuable than the manual espresso makers or the stovetop espresso makers.

 

Perfect espresso is not dependent on budget or skill level

Espresso machines designed for home use are manufactured for one purpose – making a personalized shot of espresso and it does it so well. Making espresso is not as easy as most people think, as it is the base for a lot of specialty beverages like cappuccino and lattes.

Espresso machines use ground beans majorly and unless you opt for a machine that has a grinder, you would need to get a solid grinder. The thing about coffee grinders is that some are made for fast drip coffee (blade coffee grinders) while others are made for specialty coffee like espresso (burr coffee grinders). We have covered coffee grinders extensively in our report. It is very important that you invest in a solid burr coffee grinder to grind your coffee beans for the perfect brew.

How to buy an espresso machine

There are so many features and factors that need to be considered before you fork out money to invest in an espresso machine. The benefits of having an espresso machine are enormous but the cost of purchasing one machine is no child’s play. It could run from hundreds of dollars to thousands. So there are some things that you need to know before you select your espresso machine.

One of the things you need to know is the learning curve. Some machines require a bit of practice and a bit of finesse to get it right while others require a lot of practice. While there are lots of videos and forums for espresso lovers all over the internet, the bad news is that a lot of these pieces of information could become overwhelming or fuzzy so much that you drop your machine and trade it in or end up taking back your spot on the long Starbucks queue down the block.

Do you have the patience needed to make a perfect brew? Espresso is not a quick proposition that occurs within seconds. It takes a process that takes time. You first have to grind the beans with a coffee grinder, and then you heat the water, immerse and extract which could take anything from 10 minutes to 15 minutes before you end up with your espresso. For some the ritual and the time invested are well worth the wait, for others it’s just too much time spent all in the name of getting a cup of coffee.

 

Are you better off with an espresso machine or a coffee maker?

We have covered coffee makers in a separate report and you can check it out later. The difference between an espresso machine and a coffee maker is in their brewing method. If you prefer a true coffee to sip or drink at regular intervals of the day, then you would need coffee makers. An espresso is a shot of very strong coffee and it takes time and a process to get the perfect flavor from the fresh grounds. It is also important to know that home espresso machines are usually quite tall and bulky and would require a permanent position on the countertop as you can’t be moving this around every time. So, if you want something smaller or you need an espresso machine for occasional use, you should go for smaller models with functional ability.

 

Features of best-rated espresso makers

a.) Stainless steel construction. Stainless steel is one of the most durable materials found in espresso machines due to the steam and pressure needed to make the espresso. Stainless steel offers protection against corrosion and rust and it would hold up better than plastic housing.

b.) Adjustable pressure. Having the right pressure in your machine could be the determinant factor in extracting the right amount of flavor from the coffee grounds. Espressos are highly dependent on the pressure at which water is pushed through the grounds with semi-automatic machines that has nine bars of pressure being the best in this regard and also for its flexibility in allowing you to dial up or down.

c.) Removable water tank. The bigger the water tank, the better for you as you won’t have to remove it every time to fill it up with liquid. Also, a big water tank is easier to clean and maintain.

d.) Cup warmer. Some espresso machines come with cup warmers at the top which helps maintain the temperature of the espresso minutes after it has been brewed.

e.) Movable steam arm. When it comes to controlling the amount and consistency of froth, you would need a movable steam arm to handle this. Espresso is made possible thanks to the steam and pressure through which water is pushed through. A movable steam arm should also be long and adjustable to fit the container underneath them.

 

The 7 Best Espresso Machines

1.) Breville BES870XL Barista Express – Best home espresso machine

Breville BES870XL Barista Express

There is a lot of positive vibe around the Breville BES870XL Barista Express with hundreds of current customer says that it is their favorite and an appliance that they would keep using for years to come. It comes with its own grinder on top and it has features that make it create a wide variety of specialty beverages. It is highly customizable and well built

 

Quick Facts

Type: Semi-automatic espresso machine

Movable steam wand: Yes

Removable water tank: Yes

Cup warmer: Yes

Warranty: 1 year

 

What does it come with?

The Breville BES870XL Barista Express comes in a conical burr grinder used to ground the beans to prepare the perfect espresso. It has an integrated steam wand and a dedicated water spout that controls the flow of water into the cup. This espresso machine has everything you would ever need in making a cup of espresso or espresso-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.

It comes with a removable water tank that holds 64 ounces of water. This can be removed and clean at will. The burr conical grinder on top also comes with a removable hoper that can be removed and clean as well as kept for storage.

 

How does it work?

Owners and experts at WilliamsSonoma agree that the Breville BES870XL Barista Express is everything you would ever need in an espresso machine. It has grand size adjustments up to 15 bars of pressure (espresso is all about the effect of pressure and steam, so this is good news), water temperature controls that give you the flexibility to tweak the final brew. A lot of new or aspiring baristas admire the amount of flexibility it affords them and the options it has, while others love the intuitive controls on the machine and the well-designed pressure gauge that helps them produce consistent espresso shot without doing too much.

 

Problems but not deal breakers.

Too much customization means you would have to go through a learning curve and the intuitive controls seem to have left some owners confused. We noticed some comments from overwhelmed users who couldn’t seem to get it to work properly even with the instructions manual. Some users said they made the Breville BES870XL Barista Express work by following a video on the Breville website which helped them a lot.

The Breville BES870XL Barista Express is a big boy and it would take up a certain amount of space in your kitchen. It is also solid, attractive and heavy so you would need to find a permanent place for it to call home in your kitchen. Reviewers believe that its stainless steel construction made it sturdy and its rubberized feet also means it can stand firm in its place. It is admired for its easy to maintain feature, there are lots of removable parts and compartments that can be taken out for cleaning.

 

Pros:

Well-built and attractive

Built-in burr grinder (you don’t have to buy a coffee grinder <link>)

Has an inbuilt water spout and steam wand

Large water tank with a 64 ounces capacity

Breville customer service is excellent

 

Cons:

A bit heavy

A learning curve would be required

1-year warranty

 

 

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2.) Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine – Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine

Customer’s favorite for both amateur and professional baristas. The Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine comes in an attractive design so much that you find it hard taking this machine off the counter. The Rancilio espresso machine is a high performing machine that can produce expertly prepared delicious espresso shots as when prepared with well-grounded fresh coffee beans; this espresso machine has no rival. The Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine combines durability with espresso quality and it is one of the very few available espresso machines that come packed with so many features and are still well priced. It doesn’t come with a coffee grinder, so it’s imperative you get one. Read our report on coffee grinders (link) here.

There is a bit of learning curve also as it contains many commercial grade components. It features a movable steam wand and water tank that makes for ease of use and cleaning. There is a cup warmer on top that is great for maintaining the temperature of the espresso even after it has been brewed.

 

Quick facts about the Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine

Type: Semi-automatic espresso machine

Movable steam wand: Yes

Removable water tank: Yes

Warranty: 2 years

 

What does it comes with?

The Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine is a semi-automatic espresso machine that delivers top performance every time it’s been tested. It has some commercial grade components that help in the even distribution of water and steam on the fresh grounds. It has a 12-ounce boiler which is touted as the largest for an entry level espresso machine. It takes about 15-20 minutes for the Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine to warm up for the best brewing results and some users suggested new owners should run warm water through the machine to speed things up as well as to warm the portafilter. This espresso machine has lots of admirers but a vast majority of the owners who reviewed it said this espresso machine is incomplete without a high performing coffee grinder.

How does it work and feel?

With a lot of visually appealing buttons, the Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine is fairly simple and straightforward to configure and use – flick on the right buttons and you would turn it on or off. It comes with a simple to use fully articulating steam wand. It has a removable water tank, cup warmer and it accepts coffee pods though you would need an adapter kit to be able to fit this in. The Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine is built like a tank and it comes in a sturdy design with commercial components visible all-around the construction. It is made from stainless steel and cast iron to enhance its long-term durability. The stainless steel build also fits in with most home decor, though it could be a bit heavy, sitting at 30 pounds and at 13.4 inches tall. This is a machine that would take a fairly good amount of space in your home.

Problems but not deal breakers.

The problems users face here is finding the right espresso grind and tamping pressure. While some espresso enthusiast finds this gratifying, newbie baristas get frustrated easily when they realize that they can’t get their espresso to taste like the shots they get from their local Starbucks. There is also a complaint from owners about “temperature surf” and it entails users using trial and error to figure out when to start the extraction process during the brew cycle. It’s a learning curve that new owners would have to go through

 

Pros:

Well-built and attractive

2-year warranty

Has an inbuilt water spout and steam wand

Cup warmer

 

Cons:

A bit heavy

Learning curve would be required

Needs a top quality burr grinder

 

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3.) DeLonghi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Maker – Best Cheap Espresso Machine

DeLonghi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

Well priced and high performing espresso machine that brews espresso shots that make high-end machines jealous. The DeLonghi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is a versatile machine capable of making other espresso based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. It is attractive and well designed. It comes in a plastic exterior casing while the interior is made of steel. It features a moveable steam wand, a 35-ounce removable tank that can successfully deliver 8 to 10 espresso shots, it accepts coffee pods and it comes with a 1-year warranty.

 

Quick facts about the Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine

Type: cheap espresso machine

Movable steam wand: Yes

Removable water tank: Yes

Weight: 8.4 pounds

Warranty: 1 year

 

 

 

 

What does it comes with?

Weighing a meager 8.4 pounds, it is safe to say that the DeLonghi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is quite light compared to other espresso makers that we have reviewed here. It is quite affordable and compact in design. It has the capability to be used by those who like pods and those who like to grind their own coffee beans. It comes with 15 bars of pressure for optimal brewing and a 35-ounce water reservoir which can pull out eight to 12 shots of espressos. The DeLonghi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is known for its foaming ability as the “crema” is noted to be quite thick. The frothing ability of this espresso maker is excellent. 

How does it work and feel?

The  DeLonghi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is well constructed in all black plastic construction while the heating unit used inside the machine is made of stainless steel to prevent corrosion and rust from the steam and pressure it exerts inside. The espresso maker boasts of 1000 watts of power and it is noted not to take up much real estate in the home. The  DeLonghi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Maker has an intuitive control for starting and ending the brewing process and you can easily disassemble the unit for easy cleaning once you are done.

Problems but not deal breakers.

As with most things that are very affordable, there would be some flaws. These problems are minor and are not to be seen as deal-breakers. The frothing wand is poorly positioned which makes it difficult to fit a pitcher underneath it. Also, the space beneath the steam wand is limited so you are stuck with using smaller mugs even for your cappuccinos and lattes. Some users said they have found ways to overcome these problems as you won’t find any espresso machine that delivers this much quality at such affordable price.

 

Pros:

Well-built and attractive

1-year warranty

Excellent frothing abilities

Can use both ground coffee and ESE pods well

Quite light and won’t take up much space

 

Cons:

Difficult to use larger mugs

No cup warmer

Has a plastic exterior

 

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4.)  ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker – Best Manual Espresso Maker

       ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker

Something magical happens when you manually make your own espresso shot. It could take some time and some effort but the flavor and taste are always well worth it. The ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker is one of the greats out there trusted by true espresso enthusiasts. It is fully hands on and it comes with a frothier for producing “crema” for lattes and cappuccinos. This espresso maker is strictly not for beginners and we noticed some people purchased this unit hoping to get a hang of it but it doesn’t work that way. You need to have some experience making espresso or have a strong desire to make traditional espresso and be patient enough to go through the process in order to enjoy making perfect espresso shots with the ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick facts about the ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker

Type: manual espresso maker

Movable steam wand: No

Removable water tank: No

Weight: 6.2 pounds

Warranty: 10 years

 

What does it comes with?

The ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker is a very basic tool for creating traditional espresso shots and it doesn’t look pretty. It uses a lever type action to press the boiling water through the fresh grounds in order to extract the maximum flavor from it. It requires a bit of a learning curve and is not suited for newbies or those who don’t have the patience required to make a perfect traditional espresso. You would have to experiment with everything to get it right: water temperature, grind, pressure etc. The learning curve could be short or long depending on how fast you learn but once you get it right, you would enjoy using this manual maker to create your espressos. It has an additional frother for making heated milk for your lattes and cappuccinos.

How does it work and feel?

The ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker is easy to use and quite simple with no fancy controls or buttons as we have on the high end automatic and semi-automatic machines. The main problem is the learning curve which could have an impact on your performance. An average espresso shot could take as much as 12 to 15 minutes with this maker. Your performance would be greatly improved within 2-3days based on your penchant for an experiment. The ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker is all about getting the right mix, once you do, you would never turn your back on this espresso maker. This espresso maker comes with a storage tin, a rubberized base which keeps it firm to the counter when you are working it.

Durability

The ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker is well made from sturdy materials and it was manufactured to last you for years. It comes with a 10-year warranty. Owners say the customer service is quite responsive and quick to help. The ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker is available in a variety of colors and on top retail sites.

 

Pros:

Well-built and attractive

10-year warranty

Excellent frothing abilities

Completely hands on

 

Cons:

Learning curve and lots of patience

Process takes time

 

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About Shelby Parrish 57 Articles
Shelby Parrish is a single mom of 2. She enjoys researching and writing on products that have to do with family, Babies and Health. She was a Business Developer for a top SEO firm in Boston before she resigned to focus on producing high quality consumer guides for consumers on the internet. When she's not working online to create awesome unbiased reviews, she's busy listening to podcasts on fitness and healthy living.