The Best Espresso Machines for Those Who Are Serious About Caffeine

best espresso machines
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Whether you work from home or you’re looking to curb your Starbucks addiction on the way to the office, an excellent way to stick to your routine is by starting your day with a homemade coffee drink. And though there is nothing wrong with a typical cup of drip coffee, sometimes you’ve just got to treat yourself. Espresso is a great way to capture coffee’s earthy and nutty flavor, but it can also be customized into a variety of hot and cold beverages. The best espresso machine makes it easy to whip up your own lattes, iced americanos, cappuccinos or for the truly caffeine-obsessed, a red-eye.

So whether you want to sip espresso solo or use it as a base for macchiatos, cappuccinos and other concoctions, you’ll need a home espresso machine at your disposal. Unfortunately, the best espresso machines for homes are famously expensive, so you want to make sure you choose the right appliance.

Keep reading for the complete SPY guide to choosing the best espresso machine for your kitchen (or workplace).

Read More: SPY Guide: The Best Coffee Makers

  

What Is Espresso?

Espresso is made from the same plant as regular coffee but it is more concentrated and has more caffeine. According to the roasters at Kicking Horse Coffee, a typical 1-ounce shot of espresso contains 40 mg of caffeine (compared to 12-16 mg of caffeine per ounce of coffee.) However, that estimate is actually on the low side, as Consumer Reports cites Department of Agriculture data that shows the average shot of espresso has up to 63 mg of caffeine.

That’s why, instead of serving espresso in a regular old mug as you do with coffee, you enjoy it as a “shot” in a smaller, specialized cup. Alternatively, you can mix the espresso with milk, ice water, chai tea and other bases to create espresso drinks. Whether you chose to grind your own beans with a coffee grinder or buy coffee grounds, espresso is a more delicate ground that should be stored in an airtight container in a cool place.

  

How To Find the Best Espresso Machine For Home Use

Finding the right espresso machine is key because good espresso doesn’t just happen; it is something you create. In that vein, consider your coffee-drinking needs. Do you enjoy fancy lattes with lots of steamed milk? Or are you a purist who doesn’t need a milk frother attached to your coffee maker? Will you be making large batches of espresso and need a machine with a double spout? Or will a single-spout with a built-in grinder suit you just fine?

You’ll also want to consider your price point. There are so many types of espresso machines on the market, and some of them are incredibly expensive. But for the regular espresso consumer, you don’t have to invest an entire paycheck to enjoy that smooth, creamy, complex taste. Here, we’ve rounded up the best espresso machine options (complete with pros and cons) that can help you to find the perfect at-home espresso machine.

  

1. De’Longhi Arte Espresso Machine

BEST OVERALL

We’ve put this De’Longhi Arte espresso machine to the test and we have to say it’s worth every last penny. It comes with all kinds of accessories to brew up the perfect cup (eight different grind settings, temperature control, and a steam wand to create your own java art) but it’s also straightforward and easy to use, which is always a plus on those bleary-eyed mornings. We love how the detachable parts are dishwasher safe to make cleaning a breeze, and overall it’s not a giant machine, which makes it a practical addition to smaller kitchens. This isn’t a commercial espresso machine, but it has similar features such as a pressure gauge and stainless steel milk frother.

Pros:

  • Plenty of accessories
  • Steam wand for java art
  • Built-in grinder

Cons:

  • Hefty price tag
  • Only some parts are dishwasher safe
De’Longhi Arte Espresso Machine Courtesy of Amazon

  

2. Philips 3200 Series Espresso Machine w/ Milk Frother

RUNNER UP

This Philips espresso machine is fully automatic and features a built-in milk frother. Choose from four different kinds of coffee beverages with easy-to-navigate touchscreen buttons. Users can adjust the strength and quantity, and unlike cheaper machines, it can brew up to 5,000 cups without needing to descale, thanks to its AquaClean technology. Buyers describe it as “pure and fresh” with a less watered-down effect than the Nespresso devices. Though the price tag is a little higher, it’s worth the investment if you want the absolute best espresso.

Pros:

  • Fully automatic
  • Built-in milk frother
  • Brews 5,000 cups before descaling

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Large model
Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine w/ Milk Frother Courtesy of Amazon
  

3. Cuisinart 1-Cup Espresso Defined Black Espresso Machine

RUNNER UP

This one-cup espresso machine is one of the most handsome pod-compatible espresso makers on the market. From cappuccinos to lattes, choose from adjustment options like brew temperature, froth volume, and flavor strength. It’s a step up from cheaper Nespresso machines, and ideal for those who prefer a stainless steel look and want to customize their coffee order a little more precisely. A built-in frother allows you to make cafe-quality drinks every time.

Pros:

  • Quick brew time
  • Customizable options
  • Built-in frother

Cons:

  • Pods can be costly
  • Only makes one cup at a time
Cuisinart 1-Cup Espresso Defined Black Espresso, Cappuccino and Latte Machine Courtesy of Home Depot
  

4. Smeg Espresso Machine

TRENDY PICK

Smeg’s conversation-sparking espresso machine has a charming 1950s retro look, but its vintage aesthetic isn’t just what makes it stand out. It has a slim profile and makes tasty espresso each and every time. This simple-to-use machine is ideal for espresso beginners and looks like a piece of art wherever you put it. If you’re not ready to splurge on the more advanced and expensive models for home baristas, which can cost over $1,000, this is a valid at-home espresso machine choice.

Pros:

  • Built-in milk frother
  • Drip tray
  • Compact design
  • Retro vibes

Cons:

  • May not fit with all decor
  • Costly model is still more than $500
Smeg Espresso Machine Courtesy of Food 52
    

5. Hamilton Beach Espresso & Cappuccino Maker

EASIEST TO USE

Whether you like to use coffee grounds or capsules, the Hamilton Beach Espresso & Cappuccino Maker has you covered. This machine is perfect for those who have struggled with espresso machines in the past when locking a portafilter into place. Hamilton Beach uses a slide and lock mechanism that helps to secure the filter so anyone can utilize their machine. It offers 15 bars of pressure so that it steams quickly and froths the milk just right for making cappuccinos. The only suggestion when frothing milk is to make sure that your milk is cold.

Pros:

  • Quick brew time
  • Included milk frother
  • Large water tank

Cons:

  • Strong price point
  • Machine drips longer than some other models
Hamilton Beach Espresso & Cappuccino Maker, Best espresso machines Image Courtesy of Hamilton Beach
  

6. Breville Bambino Espresso Machine

MOST COMPACT

Even though the name implies small (bambino means baby in Italian) the Breville Bambino Espresso Machine offers big flavor. Its Thermojet technology heats up the machine in three seconds but is still able to keep the temperature balanced. It easily whips up lattes, cappuccinos and Americanos. The only thing you need to worry about is whether you are going to have one or two shots.

Pros:

  • Small footprint
  • Quick brew time

Cons:

  • Fewer customizable features
Breville Bambino Espresso Machine, Best Espresso Machines Image Courtesy of Williams Sonoma
  

7. Primula Stovetop Espresso and Coffee Maker

STOVETOP OPTION

You don’t need a fancy machine to brew some of the best kitchen espressos around. Whether you have a small kitchen or a small budget, this top-reviewed stovetop model on Amazon will save space and money while still giving you a delicious cuppa. It comes in several sizes so you can grab a model that fits your particular needs, and your coffee comes together within minutes. Stay safe with the temperature-resistant knob and the water pressure control valves, then give it a quick and easy clean with a rinse of warm water in the sink until you’re ready to brew up your next cup.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Small footprint
  • Makes several cups at once

Cons:

  • No milk frother or grinder
  • No automatic functions
Stovetop espresso machine Courtesy of Amazon

  

8. Keurig K-Cafe Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker

BEST ALL-IN-ONE

Sometimes you want a coffee, sometimes you want an espresso and sometimes you want a cappuccino. And, if you want to take your pick any time of the day with as little muss and fuss as possible, this Keurig does it all. Simply pop in the appropriate pod for what you’re craving and you’ll have a steaming cup in a matter of minutes, cutting down on brew time while maximizing flavor. It’s also an affordable option, and these days many k-pods are recyclable too if you separate the components.

Pros:

  • Quick brew time
  • Customizable options
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Requires pods
  • Large footprint
Keurig Espresso machine Courtesy of Amazon

  

9. Mr. Coffee Café Barista

EASIEST TO CLEAN

We all have heard and know the name Mr. Coffee but who knew the brand had upped its game and stepped into the espresso sphere? Well, they did, and we are glad because this three-in-one espresso, cappuccino, and latte maker is easy to fill, clean and use. Plus its 15-pump system creates a brew that will leave you feeling satisfied.

Pros:

  • Three-in-one machine
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Louder than some other machines on the list

Read more: The Best Keurig Coffee Makers

Mr. Coffee Café Barista, Best Espresso Maker Image Courtesy of Amazon
  

10. De’Longhi Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine

MOST CUSTOMIZABLE 

A big issue with some espresso machines is the cleaning process. The De’Longhi Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine’s removable water tank and drip tray make cleaning easy. Still, though that is essential, taste is paramount, and this sleek machine uses 15-bar professional pressure to bring oomph to single or double espresso, cappuccino or latte. The frother isn’t automatic, allowing you the ability to control how thick, silky or creamy you want your milk. Plus, you can brew cup after cup with little to no waiting.

Pros:

  • Single or double brew
  • Control over milk frother
  • Large water tank

Cons:

  • Frothing pitcher sold separately
  • No built-in grinder
 DeLonghi Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, Best Espresso Machines Image Courtesy of Amazon
  

11. Breville Oracle Touch Fully Automatic Espresso Machine

BEST AUTOMATIC MACHINE

If you’re on the hunt for the best at-home espresso machine with a built-in grinder and you don’t mind dropping some serious coin, Breville has your back. This expensive but fully automatic espresso machine does it all from start to finish, without you having to exert any brainpower. The dual boiler and water pressure valve ensure the perfect temperature and water pressure with the press of a button, the built-in grinder will produce perfectly coarse grinds and the automatic milk texturing wand is flavor-enhancing and self-cleaning. Whether you want a flat white, a latte, a cappuccino or any other specialty coffee, this one does it all and more with the simple touch of a button.

Pros:

  • Fully automated
  • Does a variety of drinks
  • Built-in grinder and self-cleaning frother

Cons:

  • High price point
  • Large footprint
Automatic espresso machine Courtesy of Amazon

  

12. IMUSA Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

BEST NO-NONSENSE PICK

This espresso machine is made for a no-nonsense kind of person. It isn’t complicated, and you get a nice cup of espresso from its five-bar working pressure. The IMUSA is like the little engine that could, except, in this case, it can and does brew four servings of espresso. And, even though it is small, it can froth milk so that you can also make cappuccinos, macchiatos and lattes.

Pros:

  • Low price point
  • Brews up to four servings at a time
  • Small footprint

Cons:

  • Some users say it makes better Americanos than espressos
  • Hard to clean
IMUSA Espresso and Cappuccino Maker, Best Espresso Makers Image Courtesy of Amazon
  

13. Calphalon Temp IQ Espresso Machine 

MOST BELLS & WHISTLES

If you are serious about your espresso and want to up your game, the Calphalon Temp IQ Espresso Machine can help you get there. It has a conical burr mill grinder with 30 settings, so you can be as particular as you want about getting the right grind size. Plus the 15 bars of pressure will help you get the right amount of flavor every single time. There are pre-programmed settings for single and double shots and the ability to select steam or hot water. In addition to keeping the temperature balanced so that you have the right amount of heat to produce great espresso, it also has a warming tray. And yes, the steam wand will froth your milk so that you can make beautiful cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos, or any other beverage where milk is required.

Pros:

  • Various settings for the perfect cup
  • Includes warming tray
  • Built-in grinder and frother

Cons:

  • Expensive model
  • Can be complicated to learn
Calphalon Temp IQ Espresso Machine, Best Espresso Machines Image Courtesy of Calphalon
  

14. Breville Duo Temp Pro StainlessSteel Espresso Machine

BEST STAINLESS STEEL PICK

This handsome stainless steel espresso machine is amazing — it extracts flavors in an even and balanced way, automatically adjusting acidity and sweetness for the ultimate sip, every time. You can also manually control microfoam and practice latte art, while a unique auto-purge feature purges the heating system after steaming, setting your next espresso up for a better extraction. One buyer calls it a “nice upgrade from a De’Longhi,” and we agree. That said, you should know your stuff if you’re going to dance with this device. This definitely isn’t an espresso machine for complete beginners.

Pros:

  • Automatic and manual controls
  • Solid build
  • Included milk frother with manual control for latte art

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Complicated for beginners
Breville BES810BSS Duo Temp Pro StainlessSteel Espresso Machine Courtesy of Amazon
  

15. De’Longhi All-in-One Combination Coffee Maker & Espresso Machine

MOST VERSATILE

De’Longhi does sell a machine that exclusively makes espresso, but why limit yourself when you can make practically anything with this combination machine that doles out cups of coffee and espresso whenever you’d like? It even has an adjustable milk frother and comes with an attractive 10-cup coffee pot made out of glass. While it’s not the most space-saving option on the market, this machine does it all for a reasonable price.

Pros:

  • Dual coffee-espresso function
  • Adjustable milk frother
  • Built-in clock and programs

Cons:

  • Large model
  • No built-in grinder
De'Longhi All-in-One Combination Coffee Maker & Espresso Machine + Advanced Adjustable Milk Frother Courtesy of Amazon
  

16. Espresso Works Espresso Machine

BEST POP OF COLOR

If you want a pop of color on your countertop, these European-inspired espresso makers come in unique shades like purple and red. Make a double or single shot and easily view how much water there is left with the transparent removable tank. Multiple five-star reviews praise its small footprint, adequate pressure and easy-to-clean features, with one customer commenting, “ I drink espresso straight, with a little sugar, so I can definitely taste the difference between good and bad espresso. This machine is excellent.”

Pros:

  • Colorful design
  • Large, transparent water tank
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Takes a minute to heat up
  • Tamper and grinder not included
Espresso Works Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker with Milk Steamer Courtesy of Amazon
  

17. illy Y3.3 Espresso & Coffee Machine

BEST DESIGN

If you’ve ever visited Europe, then you know that illy coffee is ubiquitous there, which makes this a natural choice for espresso lovers. The illy Y3.3 Espresso & Coffee Machine was designed by renowned architect Piero Lissoni to fit in the room of your choice. This espresso machine stands out because while it’s slim, it is capable of producing espresso and drip-style coffee all with one touch. Grab one in white, black or red and hit the road if you like because it’s definitely small enough to take on a weekend away.

Pros:

  • Slim design
  • Makes espresso or drip coffee
  • Affordable price point

Cons:

  • Capsules required
  • No customizing options
illy Y3.3 Espresso & Coffee Machine, Best Espresso Machines Image Courtesy of Illy
  

18. Portable Black Espresso Machine with Filter

BEST PORTABLE PICK

If you have no counter space or you just like your espresso on the go, consider the Simpresso portable black espresso machine. For under $80, this machine will take up no space at all in your kitchen, and yields a balanced espresso that even features a little crema. This hand-powered machine is compatible with Nespresso pods and can also be used with ground beans, providing anything from a single shot to a lungo.

Pros:

  • Portable
  • Affordable model
  • Compatible with Nespresso pods

Cons:

  • Can be unsturdy during constant use
  • Hard to clean
Smposh Simpresso Portable Black Espresso Machine with Filter Courtesy of Home Depot
  

19. Nespresso by De’Longhi VertuoPlus

BEST POD-COMPATIBLE PICK

Nespresso’s VertuoPlus machine offers a more decadent and versatile espresso experience than the original, and while it’s not a classic espresso machine per se, it offers a competitive flavor that even beginners can achieve. Each capsule features a barcode that helps deliver precise ratios with each brew, with delicious crema in espressos, gran lungos, coffees or other drinks paired with milk. Whether you’re making an iced caramel macchiato or a black Americano, the Vertuo Plus hits the spot every time.

Pros:

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Cold and hot brews
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Requires specific pods
  • Only makes one cup at a time
Nespresso by De'Longhi VertuoPlus Courtesy of Walmart
  

Updates: This article was last updated on Monday, June 6, at which time we selected a new “Best Overall” espresso machine. After testing and reviewing the De’Longhi Arte Espresso Machine, we now believe it’s the best espresso machine for the money. We have also added additional FAQs and information about the caffeine content of espresso.

 

Common Questions About the Best Espresso Machines

As you're searching for the best espresso machine, it's important to understand the various terms and tools. Below, we've gathered some of the most common questions about espresso and home espresso machines.

What is espresso?

Espresso is a type of coffee that comes in the form of a potent, concentrated shot of liquid. This drink first became popular in Italy, but it is now enjoyed throughout the world. It's a concentrated type of coffee most often served in small 1-ounce "shots" or blended with other ingredients to make popular beverages such as lattes, americanos, cappuccinos and macchiatos.

 

How much caffeine is in espresso?

The answer will vary depending on the beans and brewing method, but a typical 1-ounce shot of espresso contains between 40-63 mg of caffeine. According to Kicking Horse Coffee, a typical 1-ounce shot of espresso contains 40 mg of caffeine (compared to 12-16 mg of caffeine per ounce of coffee.) However, Consumer Reports cites Department of Agriculture data that shows the average shot of espresso has up to 63 mg of caffeine.

Can you make espresso at home?

Yes. Espresso can be made at home with stovetop pots or countertop appliances called espresso machines. The best espresso machines can cost thousands of dollars, and they're a popular luxury appliance among coffee lovers.

What is the best espresso machine?

To date, the best espresso machine we've tested is the De’Longhi Arte Espresso Machine. However, there are plenty of more affordable options if the $700 price tag is outside of your budget.

Can Keurig machines make espresso?

Most Keurig machines cannot make shots of espresso; however, some newer models such as the K-Cafe can brew both espresso and coffee. Other popular single-serving coffee makers include Nespresso, a countertop appliance that quickly brews espresso from pre-packaged coffee pods.

How much do the best espresso machines cost?

The finest luxury espresso machines for commercial establishments and homes cost $2,000 or more. However, you can buy home espresso machines for $300-$700 on average. Single-serving espresso machines typically cost under $200, and stovetop espresso pots can cost as little as $20.

  

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