The Jitter-worthy: 6 Espresso Machines Ranked

BEST OVERALL
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Large, Stainless Steel

Suppose you needed to completely cut out trips to the cafe for your fix of espresso, cappuccino, or anything else. This machine has you covered and then some. It grinds the beans fresh on the spot, it lets you control pressure, water temperature, froth levels, coffee strength, everything you would expect from your favorite coffee joint.

This machine essentially puts the coffee bars out of business as far as you’re concerned. Aside from capabilities, this unit is easy to clean and uses smart technology to alert you when it needs to be cleaned.

BEST VALUE
De'Longhi 15 bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker, Black

This machine is a friendly introduction to espresso and cappuccino brewing and it will last a very long time if you take care of it. It’s a pleasant middle ground between automation and customization and it’s also very light compared to other machines.

It would be a delight to have your cup your way every single time it’s made. But it’s more than a simple matter of how much money you want to spend. For example:

Certain levels of perfection require certain amounts of brewing time. Do you mind waiting for your cup or is speed a priority? Automatic brewers and travel-sized, hand-operated units can have you drinking fairly quick. 

Your kitchen might be huge or it may just be a closet. The size of espresso machines are as varied as the size of pets. There are single-serve machines that will fit inside your duffel bag… Perfect if you travel or are short on space. If you have the room, there are all-in-one units that grind the beans and carry on a host of prep cycles. These will take up most of the room you can spare… and you might want to set them up somewhere they won’t be leaving for a long, long time. They’re on the hefty side. 

Will this unit be used just by you or is there someone else in your life joining you for a cup? There are espresso machines that make two cups at once with varying levels of complexity, and the wait time tends to be short. But there are options if one of you is an espresso alchemist. 

And speaking of complexity, do you want your espresso to magically appear at the push of a button, or do you want to control your cup down to the atomic level? All-in-ones usually let you control everything from water temperature to the texture of the foam, and even how fine the beans are ground. Mid-to-smaller units tend to do most of the work for you. You’ll just have to grind your beans separately.

Each of the machines we’ve rounded up are at least one of the above-mentioned solutions. Take a look…

1. Breville BES870BSXL Barista Express Espresso Machine

BEST Espresso Machine
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Large, Stainless Steel
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute
  • Dose Control Grinding: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of bean
  • Optimal Water Pressure: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 13.25 x 12.5 x 15.75 inches
  • Weight: 23 lbs
  • Wattage: 1600 Watts

The Good

  • Saving Lost Seconds: Coffee beans start to lose their flavor after five minutes of exposure. This unit cycles the beans from whole to ground to brewing with no lost time.
  • Does Everything a Cafe Can Do: You’re not going to be buying another espresso machine. Not out of necessity. Between storing, grinding, brewing, steaming, and many small functions in between, this espresso maker has you set.
  • Incorporates Smart Tech: Intelligent technology is part of this package. Including an indicator that tells you when your machine needs to be cleaned. Things you don’t want to control manually can be managed automatically.
  • Absolute Variety: Just about everything you’d order at a popular cafe can be replicated with this machine.

The Bitter

  • Steep Price Point: As a machine that will cut out your business with your favorite coffee shop, the makers will be charging you for just that. This is no casual investment.
  • More Parts, More Problems: Any machine with a ton of features has a ton of chances to malfunction. Jammed grinders, bad heaters and imprecise precision instruments are all possibilities. They aren’t likely, but they are possible.
  • Complicated and Complex Controls: If you’re just curious about the world of homebrew espresso, this machine will come across as rocket science. This is the deep end of the pool if you’re just learning how to swim. But if you’re ready to control every aspect of how your espresso is brewed, then this is for you.

Final Remarks

If you’re ready to make your espresso the way you like to buy it at the cafe, this Breville espresso machine will put that kind of control at your fingertips. But it’ll cost you, and the complexity of the equipment may come with a steep learning curve.

2. De'Longhi 15 bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

Best Value Espresso Machine
De'Longhi 15 bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker, Black
  • Use convenient pods or ground coffee with the patented dual function filter holder. It makes espresso preparation simple and fast
  • Easily prepares latte and cappuccino with the swivel jet frother, for perfect drinks every time. Rated voltage/Frequency (V-Hz)-120-60
  • Eliminate annoying start-up preparation with the self-priming operation. On/off switch

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 19.3 x 15.0 inches
  • Weight: 6.67 lbs
  • Wattage: 1100 Watts

The Good

  • Built to Last: Do you like the idea of waking up to the same espresso machine for the next six years? This unit’s stainless steel boiler means it’s going to be working in your kitchen for a long, long time. And it’s easy to clean.
  • Big Margin For Error: The pressure baskets save you from having to “dial in” exact settings for the grind of your espresso like you would at a coffee shop. Beginners will find this feature very forgiving. 
  • Uncomplicated Controls: Novice espressoteers won’t be overwhelmed with complicated knobs and dials. More experienced brewers won’t be underwhelmed either. Water and steam pressure can be controlled separately with two different thermostats. Swivel jet frothers open up the option of lattes and cappuccinos. 
  • Light Weight for Heavy Performance: This unit can be carried with your fingertips according to one buyer. Most appliances are much heavier.

The Bitter

  • Not For Chugging: The machine accommodates rather small cups. Regular-sized coffee mugs require all kinds of awkward tipping and wedging according to reviewers. Cup sizes meant for anything other than espresso won’t fit well.
  • Unrefined Froth Texture: The steaming wand doesn’t get some of the froth textures more experienced brewers like. If you’re more worried about the coffee itself, then no worries.

Final Remarks

This DeLonghi espresso machine is a peerless starting point for getting your feet wet in the world of espresso and cappuccino. This machine will deliver above-average cafe-grade espresso for years. You can move up to more expensive units later, but you don’t have to. 

3. Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine

Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine, Pack of 1, Black
  • PERFORMANCE: Create a barista-style Coffee or Espresso drinks every time, thanks to our one-touch operation and extraction system which delivers up to 19 bars of pressure.
  • SIZE: Discover the newest and smallest ever single-serve Espresso maker from Nespresso by De'Longhi, without compromising on exceptional Coffee and Espresso moments. This compact Espresso machine is effortlessly portable and features a sleek design and modern smooth lines, allowing it to fit into anywhere saving valuable counter space.
  • ENERGY EFFICIENT COFFEE MACHINE: In just one touch, the water reaches the ideal serving temperature in under 30 seconds and an energy saving mode automatically switches off the machine after 9 minutes.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 8.1in x 12.8in x 4.3 in
  • Weight: 4.35 lbs
  • Wattage: 120 Volts

The Good  

  • Rapid Heating: The ideal serving temperature is reached in less than 30 seconds. 
  • You Can Make Just One Small Cup: When all you want is literally one cup of high-quality espresso. No worries about over-producing with this machine. 
  • High Pressure: The higher the pressure available, the more possibilities in brewing. This unit boasts nineteen bars of pressure.
  • Third-Party Compatibility: Capsules don’t have to come from the maker. You can use third-party capsules as well.

The Bitter  

  • Low-Volume Production: This machine doesn’t make much espresso at once. Which is kind of the point. If you see that as a plus, then this machine really doesn’t have anything to complain about.

Final Remarks

If you’re frequently traveling, the Nespresso machine will keep up with you by being uncomplicated, free of big messes, and serving up enough espresso for one person. 

4. Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System

Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System
  • 15-bar pump system uses powerful pressure to extract a dark, rich espresso brew
  • Frothing arm makes creamy froth to top off your cappuccinos and lattes
  • Make 2 single shots at once with dual-shot brewing. Watts: 1250

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 11.45 x 10.63 x 9.45 inches
  • Weight: 8.9 lbs
  • Wattage: 1250

The Good

  • Make Two Servings in One Pass: You can brew two cups at once, making this a perfect candidate for a wedding or anniversary gift.
  • Adjust the Strength of Your Coffee: You can turn the water on and off, controlling the size and concentration of your beverage.
  • Simple Operation: The controls are good for the average home-brewer who wants a quality cup of coffee.
  • Long-Lived Hardware: This machine has shown impressive longevity. Eight to ten years of operation are not unusual experiences for buyers.

The Bitter

  • Regular Care Cannot Be Missed: Monthly maintenance of any espresso machine is a must, but especially so here. Without regular descaling, cracks and leaks are a guarantee, so there’s no margin for carelessness.
  • Minimal Automation: You can’t just push a button and come back later and bing, there’s a fresh cup waiting for you. You have options and therefore, decisions to make about how your cup turns out. Good if you enjoy the process of making espresso. Bad if you don’t.

Final Remarks

Mr Coffee espresso machine will give you a little extra of everything. Extra control, extra options, and an extra cup. If you take care of it, it will take care of you.

4. Breville BES840BSXL Infuser Espresso Machine

Breville BES840BSXL The Infuser Espresso Machine, Black Sesame, 2.3
  • The Breville Infuser delivers optimal flavor in every cup creating third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula, ensuring the right dose of beans, optimal water pressure, precise temperature control and microfoam milk for latte art
  • Volumetric and Shot Control: Control the volume of each pour at the touch of a button and choose 1 shot, 2 shot or manually control over how much espresso ends up in your cup for the perfect dose every time
  • Optimal Water Pressure: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 10.25 x 12.5 x 13.25 inches
  • Weight: 17 Pounds
  • Wattage:  1650 Watts

The Good

  • Extra Cycle for Extra Extraction: A pre-infusion cycle expands the grinds for a more thorough, more even extraction.
  • Instant Hot Water: If you want tea, hot chocolate, or Americanos, you can literally have it now. Handy if you don’t want to wait for the kettle or the microwave.
  • Precise Measurement of Pressure: A pressure gauge lets you know if the grinds are being over- or under-extracted, a critical element of fine espresso.

The Bitter

  • Difficult to Service: If you like to handle repairs at home, parts for this unit can be hard to come by. The company will fix it for a flat fee, but the fee may be more than what the actual problem is worth.
  • Prone to Problems: There are few if any complaints about the coffee this machine makes. But it seems that when problems occur, they occur within the first year of purchase. When you’ve got a good unit, it’s great and it lasts. When you’ve got a defective unit, you’ll pay for it in money and headaches.

Final Remarks

This machine will make espresso and cappuccino that’s as rich as the price tag, but if the machine decides to develop issues, they may not be easily resolved. Buyers are making a gamble when they take on this coffee maker.

5. Wacaco Minipresso NS Portable Espresso Machine

Sale 17%
Wacaco Minipresso NS, Portable Espresso Machine, Compatible Nespresso Original Capsules and Compatibles, Hand Coffee Maker, Travel Gadgets, Manually Operated, Perfect for Camping
  • [ENCAPSULATED ESPRESSO] Compatible with NS CAPSULES*, in which the coffee is ground, measured and tamped with high precision, there is very little left for error. It's also more convenient, mess free and easier to clean after use.
  • [MANUAL OPERATION ONLY] Add any compatible capsules into the outlet head. Add hot water into the water tank. Unlock the piston from its travel position and pump a few strokes to pressurize and extract delicious espresso with generous crema.
  • [GREAT PARTNER FOR TRAVEL] Minipresso NS is your best choice to quickly and efficiently enjoy delicious espresso wherever you are. Your espresso looks great and taste fantastic every time.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 7.87 x 2.95 x 2.95 inches
  • Weight: 13.1 ounces
  • Wattage:  No Electronic Power Source

The Good

  • 100% Hand-Operated: The only power required is the pumping action of your hand.
  • Super Light: The entire unit weighs less than a pound.
  • Perfect Size for Travel: If this doesn’t fit inside whatever bag you are traveling with, chances are that your bag is too small.

The Bitter

  • Does Not Heat Water: If you don’t use hot water, you don’t get hot espresso.
  • Lots of Physical Exertion: You will need to squeeze the pump well over 40 times. This could be a problem for people with arthritis.

Final Remarks

This little machine was deliberately designed light on features so that it could be compact and easy to take of on the go, so if you’re not traveling for a living, it might not suit you. Otherwise it’s a dream come true for someone that has nowhere to lay their head more than one night.

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