Espresso purists everywhere have an opinion on the best kind of espresso maker. When making an investment in your daily coffee routine, you’ll want to have all the information you need to purchase the best espresso machine for your needs. Here is a roundup of our top picks for high-quality espresso brewing.

The Different Types of Espresso Machines

Before choosing an espresso machine to bring home, it’s important to know your options. Here are the main types of machines, the average costs, and how they perform.

1. Steam-Driven Espresso Machine

This type of espresso machine makes very strong coffee, but technically it’s not espresso. These machines are very affordable, usually in the $40-$60 price range.

2. Pump-Driven Espresso Machine

These machines produce a crema-topped espresso. There are two commonly used kinds of pump-driven espresso makers:

  • Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine: Requires a little skill to use, and ranges in cost from $100-$1,000.
  • Super-Automatic Espresso Machine: No skill involved to use, but these machines are the biggest investment at $500-$3,000.

4 Best Espresso Machines

Need some ideas for choosing the right espresso machine? Here’s a roundup of four espresso machines that we love.

1. De’Longhi Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso ESAM3300

Best espresso machine: De'Longhi Magnifica

Why we love it: It’s an easy-to-use super-automatic espresso machine equipped with a burr grinder.

The De’Longhi Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso ESAM3300 is a machine that combines espresso brewing and a built-in burr grinder. Super-automatic machines like this one have extra ease of use and do it all for you. You can use any kind of coffee bean you prefer, grind fresh coffee grounds, brew espresso, and make cappuccinos with the built-in milk frother.

The perks of this machine are that it’s decently easy to clean, and comes with the durability and quality that Italian brand De’Longhi is noted for. The only potential downfalls of this machine are that there is no electronic display, and it features only push-button controls. For many, the digital display is easy to see and offers a bit more convenience than standard buttons. The drip tray is also non-adjustable, so the machine doesn’t accommodate taller mugs.

Price: $505

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2. De’Longhi EC680M DEDICA 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine

Best espresso machine: De'Longhi Dedica

Why we love it: It’s a compact, versatile machine that brews quality espresso quickly and it comes with an honest price tag.

The De’Longhi EC680M DEDICA 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine is an espresso powerhouse with exacting standards at a very decent price point. If you want to start your morning with one or two espresso shots, or maybe a cappuccino, this machine has you covered. This De’Longhi is a sleek machine that preserves the counter space in your kitchen. Many coffee lovers sacrifice tons of kitchen space for a machine that brews a perfect espresso (that’s understandable) but this won’t be the case with this De’Longhi.

The heating system is very quick, taking less than a minute to heat up. The brewing process features temperature-controlled espresso drinks done right every time. Another perk of this machine is the clever cup warmer.

The 15 bars of pressure makes a quality cup of espresso, meaning you can abandon the coffee shop and brew from the comfort of home.

Price: $199.22

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3. Breville BES870XL Barista Express

Best espresso machine: Breville

Why we love it: It’s easy to use, consistently brews great espresso, and it brews for a crowd.

If you want a semi-automatic espresso machine in the comfort of your kitchen, enter the Breville Barista Express. The main highlights are a conical burr grinder with dose control grinding, automatic water temperature control, and an intuitive grind size dial. The water to ground coffee ratio, perfectly heated water, and grind size will ensure consistent, quality brewed espresso.

This machine is easy to operate and produces coffee shop-grade espresso. The only necessary steps for brewing are loading the coffee beans and water into the reservoir. The front panel buttons are easy to understand and the machine itself looks sharp. It comes in a variety of colors like stainless steel, cranberry red, and black sesame.

Price: $569.99

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4. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker

Best espresso machine: Mr Coffee

Why we love it: This is the best semi-automatic espresso machine under $200. For the price, it’s a reliable coffee maker.

The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker features 15 bars of pressure (this makes a rich-tasting espresso) and a milk frothing mechanism. It makes espresso, lattes, or cappuccinos with one touch of the control panel. This espresso maker is easy to use and has easy cleanup, too. There is no need for brand-specific coffee pods, so any kind of coffee beans will work.

This coffee machine is noted for the durability and sturdiness that Mr. Coffee is popular for. There is an adjustable drip tray to accommodate small and large cups. It’s recommended that the frothing tube be cleaned after each use to avoid inconsistent results. Both the milk and water reservoirs are easy to remove and refill. This Mr. Coffee machine comes in three colors: red, white, and stainless steel.

Price: $159.99

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What Type of Coffee Beans to Use

Atlas Coffee Club Coffee Culture Collection 1

Now that you’re able to pull off brewing the perfect shot of espresso at home, the question is: What kind of beans are needed? Do you need a specific kind of coffee beans to make espresso?

Coffee and espresso are both brewed from a coffee bean, but the difference between the two is how each one is made. It’s the brewing method that creates the distinctive flavor of espresso.

Traditionally, espresso is brewed with a dark roast, but the best espresso is made with coffee beans you love. If you’re looking for a smoother espresso with nutty and cocoa notes, a darker roast is your best bet — especially if you plan to make milk-based espresso drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. The dark roast notes will stand up to the creamy flavor of the milk.

If you plan to make a plain espresso or an Americano and you typically enjoy more acidity and a wider range of tasting notes (think: fruity, herbal, floral), a light or medium roast should hit the mark.

Arabica or Robusta?

Arabica beans generally taste sweeter, and offer a wider range of flavors and aromas than Robusta beans. Robusta beans have a nuttier flavor, and are used to make almost all instant coffee. Robusta beans are also used as a base in blends to make some of the most prized espresso — Italian espresso.

Robusta coffee beans have little value in the coffee market, but they are used in espresso blends for the bold flavor and the rich foam head they produce. When Robusta beans are brewed into espresso they produce a thick crema, which is highly desirable for espresso.

Ready to Home-Brew Espresso Like a Pro?

Skip the daily run to score a double shot at the coffee shop and start brewing at home. No matter what your budget is or how advanced your skill level may be, there is a machine that suits everyone.

The espresso machines listed here are sleek and fit right into your kitchen, so there is no need to worry about a huge, hulking piece of equipment to make your morning java. The skill level involved in many machines is slim to none as well. Owning a quality espresso machine will make your mornings a bit more pleasant, knowing that your caffeine jolt is only one pour away.

With high-quality, freshly ground coffee beans, the right equipment, and the application of some new coffee knowledge, home espresso-brewing can be done like a professional barista.

About The Author

An entrepreneur and musician, Michael quit his full-time job in the corporate world to assemble a band of fellow storytellers, travelers, and coffee-lovers as enthusiastic as himself to share the unique stories and coffee from around the world.