With manufacturers progressively flooding the market with all sorts of coffee makers, finding the best home espresso machine can be overwhelmingly difficult for a home barista.
On Amazon.com, for instance, a quick search for “espresso machine” generates more than 3,000 results – with popular options going for even less than a hundred dollars to as much as thousands of dollars. And, if you try to sort them by their customer ratings, things could get even more confusing – as there are still thousands of espresso machines rated four stars and above.
Okay, so who’d have guessed that buying basic coffee-making tools can be as complicated as picking a winning horse? Where do you even start when you need the best home espresso machine for home brewing?
Well, tell you what – I understand your frustration. As such, I’ve done some digging just to ensure that you never again wake up to an average cup of espresso. By the time you’re done with this article, you’ll have identified the best home espresso machine options that’ll transform your kitchen into a mini Italy in 2023.
How to choose the best espresso machine for your home
For the sake of clarity, let’s begin from the top. What do you even prioritize in the first place when it comes to choosing the best home espresso machine? Is it all about the price, the brand of the espresso machine, or maybe the amount of coffee you can brew?
Well, price is an important factor to consider all right – but, it can also be very misleading. The best home espresso machines are not necessarily the costliest. It’s, in fact, quite possible to find a basic budget option that irrefutably outshines a four thousand dollar professional machine.
So, the best way to proceed here is to dive into the features and calculatedly review your options based on their coffee brewing mechanisms, ease of use, espresso quality, temperature stability, plus overall performance.
This goes out to not only seasoned home baristas, but also intermediate-skilled baristas, beginners, as well as caffeine junkies in need of budget espresso machines for use while on the go.
Whichever category you fall in, you might want to prioritize the following four fundamental factors when selecting the best home espresso machine:
Best home espresso machines to buy in 2023
Now that we’ve clarified what it takes to identify the best home espresso machine for your kitchen, I now present to you – the top espresso machines that money can buy in the year 2023.
And just to be fair to everyone, we’ve broken down the list into three primary categories:
- The best espresso machines for beginners
- The best cheap espresso machines
- The best espresso machines for skilled home baristas
Category #1: Best home espresso machine picks for beginners
Breville Barista Touch
Breville is a brand that’s widely renowned for simplifying the complex art of coffee brewing through its intelligently optimized machines.
The Breville Barista Touch, for example, comes with a build that is just as optimized as its intuitive smaller sibling, the Breville Bambino Plus.
That said, one thing you’ll appreciate right off the bat is the minimalistic design of the entire machine. Pretty stylish – but, most importantly, it’s quite commendable that Breville Barista Touch doesn’t adorn a constellation of buttons. Instead, it offers an elegant and easy-to-use touchscreen, complete with straightforward controls.
You could, as a matter of fact, argue that Breville Barista Touch doesn’t have that much of a learning curve. Once you buy it, you can plug it in and start brewing espressos without following up with how-to tutorials. And that’s not all – even your guests at home should be able to whip up quality cups of coffee without your guidance. The touch screen interface will direct them accordingly.
The Breville Barista Touch even saves you the trouble of purchasing and installing external grinders. It comes with an in-built one that’s pretty adequate for beginners.
Don’t get me wrong, though. Beginners and amateurs are not the only users of the Breville Barista Touch. If you’re experienced in the art of coffee making, you can forego some of the automated operations and, instead, work with its manual controls.
You could, for instance, adjust the amount of foam by tweaking the milk auto-froth settings. Other notable professional controls that you’ll find here include PID brew temperature and pre-infusion configurations.
🛒 Buy on Amazon: from $899.95
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Gaggia Classic Pro
The Gaggia Classic Pro is one of the few espresso machines that can adequately service both professionals and beginners.
It got its name from its predecessor, the all-famous Gaggia Classic, which had held a dominant position in the industry for decades.
The Gaggia Classic Pro is now sold as an upgrade, offering entry-level brewing features with semi-automatic capabilities.
If you’re familiar with its predecessor, you’ll be pleased with the Classic Pro’s superior rocker switches, commercial steam wand, streamlined frame, and temperature-ready lights.
Although its controls are not as seamless as Breville Barista Touch’s, at least beginners get the benefit of making quick espressos. For instance – five minutes is all you need to fire up its embedded heating elements. Add another sixty seconds for steam switching, and a basic flush will restore the brew temperature.
Then, while you brew the coffee, you’ll notice that the Gaggia Classic Pro is also admirably quiet. You can calmly run it at home without creating a nuisance, thanks to its pump mounting update.
🛒 Buy on Amazon: from $449
Breville Bambino Plus
Third on our list of the best home espresso machine options is yet another one from Breville, which is officially known as the Breville Bambino Plus.
Although it’s designed differently from the Barista Touch, you can tell that the company has maintained a uniform build principle. The Bambino Plus is more or less just as easy to use as the Barista Touch.
You don’t get an intuitive touch screen, though. Rather, this one comes with analog controls in the form of five dynamic buttons. Two of them are meant to specify whether you’ll be making a single or a double shot of espresso, while the other three are basic settings that define the brewing process.
For instance – one button quickly fires up the steam wand, another manages the temperature of the milk, and the next button handles the degree of foaminess.
Pulling off a silky milk froth is especially easy across all brewing modes. Whether you do it on auto or manual mode, Breville Bambino Plus is bound to give you the kind of froth that can rival the works of professional baristas.
On the flip side, however, it doesn’t come with an in-built grinder. But, I guess that’s what you get when you go for a small and compact espresso machine.
🛒 Buy on Amazon: from $618
Category #2: Best home espresso machine options for budget buyers
The Cuisinart EM-100 is what you go for when you need a cheap and easy-to-use espresso machine that can give the professional models a run for their money.
While advanced coffee makers cost several thousands of dollars, the Cuisinart EM-100 turns you into a bonafide home barista for less than $200.
Its compact stainless steel body comes with very basic settings for controlling hot water, steam, and the coffee itself.
So, even amateurs should be able to fire it up and start making espressos right away.
And speaking of which, you’ll be pleased that despite its low price tag, the Cuisinart EM-100 is exceptionally good at bringing out the flavor and aroma of coffee beans. It manages to do so by maintaining 15 bars of pressure throughout the espresso brewing process. Anything less than that would, otherwise, make your cup of coffee unflatteringly sour.
When it comes to milk frothing, though, the bubbles produced here are not as impressive. But then again, at least they’re thick enough for cappuccinos and other popular espresso-based beverages that contain frothed milk.
🛒 Buy on Amazon: from $189
Wacaco Nanopresso Portable
Wacaco Nanopresso takes quite a distinctively unique approach to semi-professional coffee brewing.
Unlike other entries on our list of the best home espresso machines, this coffee maker is not exclusively built for your domestic breakfast counter. Rather, it’s intended to help you brew tasty espressos while you’re on the go.
For an average retail price of ~$85, the Wacaco Nanopresso comes in the form of a pocket-sized espresso machine that’s perfect for travel. Its founders, as a matter of fact, reportedly came up with the idea for a portable espresso machine after growing tired of the unsavory espresso shots served in hotels.
This gadget doesn’t even need batteries or solar power. It’s, instead, operated manually through a hand-powered system. You can only brew shots of espresso by creating pressure from its hand pump.
A single shot, for instance, requires about 30 pumps – which should take you about a minute or so. Wacaco’s plunger is capable of building up the chamber pressure to about 18 bars, which is more than sufficient for squeezing hot water through coffee grinds.
The resultant extract is usually rich in taste, complete with a smooth texture and thick crema.
Here’s the kicker, though – the Wacaco Nanopresso is allegedly not very consistent with the quality and flavor of its coffee brews. While it can indeed produce world-class coffee, the hand-powered system lacks the precision of fully automated espresso machines.
🛒 Buy on Amazon: from $69.90
With its retail price averaging at $99, the De’Longhi EC155 happens to be one of the best espresso machine options under $100.
It is, in particular, ideally suited for beginners, as well as home baristas who’d like to make above-average cappuccinos, americanos, and espressos on a budget.
The body itself is largely made of plastic, with the exception of a few metal components.
It doesn’t have room for many controls, either – just a knob for some basic point-and-shoot functionalities.
Don’t expect ultra-fast brewing, though. De’Longhi EC155 only comes with a single boiler coupled with a manual frother. This compromises temperature control, which in turn may lead to inconsistencies in preserving all the subtle flavors in lightly roasted coffee beans.
On a brighter note, however, at least you can count on De’Longhi EC155 when it comes to the traditional dark roast brews. It has a knack for bringing out the sparks in not only the black espressos, but even dark roasted blends with a dollop of steamed milk.
🛒 Buy on Amazon: from $99.95
Category #3: Best espresso machine picks for coffee geeks
Don’t mistake it for a fully professional system, though. Even with the sophisticated capabilities, the Breville Oracle isn’t exactly the type of elite espresso machine that you’d find in a cafe. Its advanced features are, instead, automated for semi-professional use.
In essence, the Breville Oracle is a super-automatic espresso machine that packs pretty much everything you’d need to brew like a real barista. Coffee geeks and skilled home baristas can use it to perform all the intricate processes of professional brewing – from grinding and dosing to tamping and milk texturing – but without the complexities of professional cafe machines.
The Breville Oracle is not your typical home use espresso machine – it’s much more sophisticated.
This balance between ease-of-use and full-scale brewing doesn’t come cheap, though. You can expect the Breville Oracle to cost you at least $2,000, which is a fairly understandable price tag when you consider the value it provides.
For instance – in addition to a fully automated system, you’ll get a dual boiler that’s capable of extracting espresso while simultaneously texturing milk. This allows you to make a full cup of latte from a heap of coffee beans in less than a minute.
And since the whole process is carried out at rigorously regulated temperature, the coffee itself is served with a rich flavor and sharp aroma.
One thing you won’t fancy, however, is the time that Breville Oracle takes to heat up. You’ll need about 10 minutes to start it up and prep the boilers for brewing.
🛒 Buy on Amazon: from $3,499.99
Flair Espresso Maker
For the home baristas who appreciate the traditional style of brewing, the Flair Classic Espresso Maker would be one of the best home espresso machine options to consider.
Unlike its contemporary super automatic and semi automatic counterparts, the Flair is a classic all-manual machine that offers a more tactile and artisanal brewing experience. This means there are no plugs, electronics, or buttons. You will, instead, extract your espresso through a human-powered lever.
The process itself begins with coffee grinding, after which you should place the beans in Flair’s coffee chamber, and then fill in the overlying water chamber with hot water.
Once you’re done, you can go ahead and pull the lever to create a pressure of between 8 and 16 bars, which should subsequently force the water through the coffee beans to create a shot of espresso.
In the end, high pressure acting on super hot water is bound to generate a bittersweet flavor of espresso, topped with a thick layer of crema.
On the flip side, however, you might notice that it’s difficult to maintain a consistent taste – due to the temperature and pressure differences between your manual brewing attempts.
🛒 Buy on Amazon: from $165
La Marzocco Linea Mini
If you have deep pockets and would fancy an exclusive espresso machine for connoisseurs, you might want to try out the La Marzocco Linea Mini.
Although this might not sound like the standard brand name that you’d typically expect to find among the best home espresso machine options, it all comes from a very deep heritage of robust coffee makers.
La Marzocco is an Italian authority that has manufactured high-end espresso machines for close to a century now. The Linea Mini, on the other hand, happens to be the company’s impression of a home barista’s version of their globally renowned professional workhorse, the Linea Classic. It offers pretty much the same commercial features as the Classic – but in a smaller, compact housing.
The handmade semi-automatic espresso machine features, among other components, dual boilers, an internal reservoir, a rotary pump, a PID control system, plus a saturated group head.
These advanced features provide extensive customization, highly precise temperature control, and efficient power management. You can, for example, enable pre-brewing, set the boiler temperature, as well as tweak the built-in PID algorithms to maintain stable temperature and pressure.
La Marzocco Linea Mini isn’t just one of the best espresso machine models on the market – it also happens to be among the first few coffee makers to facilitate wireless management.
As a result, the espresso machine is now accompanied by a supplementary mobile app, through which you get to tweak the finer technical settings. You can, for example, program the machine’s pre-infusion rules directly from the app.
It’s worth noting, however, that these advanced privileges are not for everyone – as La Marzocco Linea costs a pretty penny. At the moment, the standard purchase price is ~$5,400, which happens to be the highest rate among all of our best espresso machine options on this list.
🛒 Buy now: from $5,400
Over to you!
You should now have an easier time finding the best espresso machine for use as a home barista in 2023.
And, while the features I’ve alighted in this article provide insights into the capabilities of the respective machines, you might want to do some more in-person comparisons if you have the option to do so. For instance, it’s always a good idea to compare the coffee extracts that each machine can produce and taste which one you like best.
You never know – what some praise as the most savory flavor might turn out to be utterly distasteful to you, or vice-versa.
All in all, beginners should especially keep an eye out for user-friendly espresso machines from Breville (like the Breville Barista Touch), while seasoned connoisseurs ought to prioritize versatile semi-automatic machines from Cuisinart EM-100 or La Marzocco Linea Mini (if you have the money). Otherwise, if you’re seeking for the best home espresso machine on a reasonable budget, a manual model like Flair Espresso Maker would be worth considering.
What features do you expect from your ideal best espresso machine? Feel free to share in the comments.
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