An espresso machine provides you with beautiful flavorsome coffee in just a couple of minutes. It’s like having your own personal barista in the kitchen. Of course, you have lots of different machines to choose from, but which one’s are the best? This guide will show you the best espresso machines in 2020, along with a buyer’s guide to help you make your decision.
The beauty of coffee is that there are so many ways you can make it at home. There are instant coffee granules, cafetiere machines, French presses, and even coffee bags! But, if you want a more authentic taste, then espresso machines are your best bet.
Sowtech Espresso & Cappuccino Maker
The Sowtech espresso machine packs a lot of excellent features into a compact design that won’t take up space in your kitchen. A big worry people have when buying espresso machines is understanding how to use the device. Thankfully, this machine couldn’t be any easier to use. There’s just a single switch knob and a light that indicates when the machine is active and ready to use. So, there are no usability issues here – and you get an impressive 3.5 bars of pressure that can make 1-4 cups of espresso in one go.
Another pain point for coffee loves is knowing how much espresso to brew per person/cup. The Sowtech sorts this out by providing you with a clear glass cup that’s marked to tell you how much coffee is being produced. This lets you accurately brew one cup for you, and another cup for someone else. The cup also has a handy design that makes it easier to pour your coffee once it’s brewed.
As well as helping you brew delicious espresso coffee, this machine also has a foaming feature as well. So, if you want to foam up some cream or milk to top your coffee, then you can do it without needing to buy a separate milk frother. For lovers of cappuccinos or lattes, this is a brilliant little addition.
If there’s anything to criticize about this product, then it’s the lack of advanced features available. Yes, it makes coffee and foams milk, but it’s not timed, so you have to manually switch it off. Plus, some users have warned that the handle can get really hot after use, so you may need to use a towel or oven gloves to handle the machine at times. Other than that, it’s a great little product for people that just want fast espresso without many extras.
- 4 cups of espresso in 5 minutes
- Makes foam
- Lightweight and well built
- Small and portable
- No timer
Mueller Espresso Machine for Nespresso Compatible Capsule
This espresso machine from Meuller Austria is made for Nespresso coffee capsules. So, unlike the previous option, you can’t add your own freshly ground espresso coffee to the machine. This poses some advantages and disadvantages, but the main benefit is that making coffee has never been easier. Fill up the water tank, pop a capsule of your choice in, press a button, and you’re done!
You get a very impressive 20 bars of pressure in the pump here, which helps produce a smooth espresso that replicates what you’d find in coffee shops throughout Italy. As soon as you turn the machine on, the water will heat up in around 25 seconds. It’s incredibly fast, which makes this product perfect for anyone that needs coffee in a rush. Plus, a handy energy-saving feature automatically turns the machine off after 10 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about it running all day long if you forget to turn it off.
As far as espresso machines go, the Mueller Austria is pretty compact and will slide into your kitchen without taking up all of your counter space. The great thing about capsule espresso machines is that they’re effortless to clean. With this one, you can buy a descaling product and add it to the water tank, then let the water run through the machine into a few glasses – that’s all it takes!
The obvious downside for some is that you’re restricted to Nespresso compatible capsules, so you can’t use freshly ground coffee. It’s also quite a basic machine as there aren’t really any additional features beyond espresso making. If that’s all you’re after, then it may be fine for you. But, if you wanted a milk foamer or some other advancements, then it lacks in the features department.
- Italian high-pressure pump
- Ultra-fast heat up system
- Large capacity, small footprint
- Great customer service
- A bit loud
Nespresso by De’Longhi EN85B Essenza Mini Espresso Machine
DeLonghi is a brand synonymous with excellent coffee. Here, we have another espresso machine for Nespresso pods. Instantly, you can see the key selling point here; the size. Nobody wants a massive espresso machine, but this one is phenomenally small. It barely weighs a thing too, which makes it a portable option as well. Want to take your coffee machine into work? This could be perfect for you.
You get beautiful barista-style espresso when you use this machine thanks to 19 bars of pressure that extract all the delicate flavors for you. It’s so easy to use as well; there are just three buttons to worry about. One heats up the water, and the other two are used to select your drink size. That’s a wonderful feature here; you can choose between espresso (1.35 oz.) and lungo (5 0z.) with ease. Make your selection when a capsule is loaded up, and the machine automatically stops when the size is met.
The DeLonghi EN85B heats up quickly as well – 30 seconds is all it takes to heat the full water tank to the ideal temperature for brewing coffee. It can also boast an automatic off-switch that turns the device off after 9 minutes of inactivity. To round things off, you get a complimentary gift set of Nespresso capsules to help you get started!
This espresso machine is at a somewhat premium price, considering the features it boasts. You have to buy a milk frother separately, and it doesn’t do anything outside of making tasty coffee. Some users experienced issues with leaking, but this was because they found it hard to connect the water tank correctly. So, make sure you double-check that everything fits and connects before you use this product or it may leak.
- Energy efficient
- Small footprint
- Complimentary gift
- Cup size limit
Nespresso by De’Longhi EN267BAE Original Espresso Machine Bundle
If you’re interested in buying a DeLonghi machine, but want to spend a little extra to get more features, then the Nespresso by DeLonghi ticks a lot of boxes for you. Again, you get a space-saving design – and this one really looks impressive and sleek. With 19 bars of pressure, you will have perfect coffee every single time. You can choose between espresso and lungo sizes as well, and the machine is straightforward to operate. It takes 25 seconds for the water to heat up when loaded, then you pop in the capsule and select your size.
One thing that’s really nice about this product is the way the used capsule gets dispensed into a compartment in the machine. It means you can use it multiple times, fill up the chamber, then dispose of/recycle the capsule all in one go. That’s not the only impressive design element either; there’s a foldable cup tray that lets you use differently sized/styled cups and glasses with this machine.
You get the automatic energy-saving function here as well – and it kicks in after 9 minutes of inactivity. Overall, the Nespresso by DeLonghi machine is very energy efficient as it consumes 40% less power than other models with energy ratings of A.
Alongside the coffee machine, you also get a Nespresso Aerocini as well. This is a milk frothing device that heats and foams your milk. It works very well and can provide thick and creamy forth for your espresso. This lets you recreate coffee shop classics like flat whites, cappuccinos, and more. Plus, it works well with dairy-free milk too.
As far as any critiques go, it’s not the most compact machine. The espresso machine on its own isn’t too large, but it’s still bigger than most. Plus, the milk frother is attached to it, which takes up some extra space. The price can be a sticking point for some as well, but bear in mind you get an espresso machine, milk frother, and the complimentary Nespresso capsule welcome kit all in one package.
- Energy efficient
- Aeroccino frother included
- Complimentary gift
- Could be hotter
Mr. Coffee One-Touch Coffee House Espresso Maker and Cappuccino Machine
If you’re an avid coffee lover that’s willing to invest in a multi-functional machine, then this product from Mr. Coffee might be just what you’re looking for. 19 bars of pressure are packed into this espresso machine, and it generates fantastic coffee that’s full of flavor. You provide the coffee yourself – in ground form – meaning you can theoretically use freshly ground coffee to extract even more flavor.
When you first look at the machine, it seems complicated. There are buttons everywhere, but it’s so easy for anyone to use. Load up the water and the coffee, then select a button of your choice. Unlike other models, you get to choose between automatic and manual functions here. There are three pre-programmed drinks to pick; espresso, latte, and cappuccinos. Each one comes in two size varieties as well, for added diversity. Press one of these buttons and the machine stops as soon as the drink is made. If you want to control the level of coffee yourself, then you can press the manual button to get as much espresso coffee as you like.
To add to this, there’s a built-in milk frother that foams the milk for you. When you choose pre-programmed drinks, it will add the milk to the coffee automatically. Alternatively, you can froth the milk yourself and add it as you like.
There’s so much to love about this Mr. Coffee machine, and there are only two downsides. Firstly, it might be a bit much for casual coffee lovers. If you just want a machine that makes espresso, then it’s probably not worthwhile spending a lot of money on this. Secondly, there are lots of extra parts; a milk container, a water container, and handles for the ground coffee. As such, it’s not the most space-saving option either!
- 19 bar Italian pump
- Easy one button interface
- Automatic milk frother
- Removable milk reservoir
- Inconsistent amounts
As you can see, there are plenty of candidates for the best espresso machines on the market today. In this section, we’ll go over a few things that you should consider before making your purchase!
What are the advantages of brewing coffee in an espresso machine?
Technically, you can make espresso coffee using many methods. However, an espresso machine carries a few distinct advantages:
- Fast brewing time: compared to manual espresso makers – which you use on the hob – espresso machines can brew coffee in a fraction of the time. Often, it takes less than a minute from start to finish, which is perfect for the early morning rush before work.
- Barista-style taste: espresso machines use a lot of pressure, which helps extract the flavors from your coffee. Most machines use around 19-20 bars, which is what you’d get in coffee shops from a barista.
- No skill required: perhaps the best thing about espresso machines is that there’s literally no skill required to operate them. Usually, all you have to do is will a water tank, put your coffee/coffee capsule in the machine, then press a button. It takes all the guesswork out of the equation, meaning you get excellent coffee every single time – without any added stress.
If you look at the alternatives to espresso machines, you see how much better the machine option really is. Yes, instant espresso coffee granules give you quick coffee. But, you don’t get anywhere near the same amount of flavor. It’s incomparable, and you are paying for sub-standard coffee. With traditional espresso makers, you do get great tasting coffee, and you can use authentic ground espresso to make it. The problems are that these machines are hard to use and hard to clean. You can easily burn the coffee if you heat it for slightly too long, and they have many different parts that are near enough impossible to properly clean. An espresso machine – like the ones reviewed above – gives you fantastic coffee in a device that’s easy to clean and easy to use.
What are the pros and cons of buying an espresso machine?
Before you splash the cash, it helps to understand what the pros and cons are of espresso machines. Many of the pros have been mentioned before, but we’ve not really looked at any of the cons. So, for the sake of being balanced, we’ll show you some of the main things to think about if you want to buy one of the best espresso machines around.
- Pro: Great tasting coffee – the main pro is that these machines provide great tasting coffee. There’s no disputing it, and a lot of the machines can make drinks that you would willingly pay for in a coffee shop.
- Pro: Various drinks can be made – following on from the point above, an espresso machine doesn’t just provide you with one drink. Some have features that let you make other drinks, and you can always add milk to make your own creations too.
- Pro: Save money on coffee – do you go to Starbucks or another coffee shop every morning before work? Think about how much that costs every single day. With an espresso machine, you get coffee shop coffee in your home. It saves money because you aren’t spending $5 or $6 on a cup of coffee every morning!
- Pro: Long-lasting – the best espresso machines are built to last. If you take care of your machine – buy cleaning and descaling as per the instruction manual – then it will last for years on end.
- Con: Can be expensive – some espresso machines can be a little bit too expensive for your liking. If you’re not an avid coffee lover, then you may be against spending over $100 on a machine that makes coffee. But, if it stops you from buying coffee while you’re out, then you could still save money over time, so bear that in mind!
- Con: They take up space – while pretty much all of the best espresso machines are designed to be compact, they still take up space. If you have a small kitchen with limited counter space, then make sure you choose an option that doesn’t take up too much room and make it harder for you to work in the kitchen.
- Con: Coffee capsules – you’ll notice a handful of the espresso machines on this list use coffee capsules. To some, this can be a problem as they are sometimes expensive to buy. Also, they aren’t always the most environmentally friendly. However, if you get Nespresso pods that are actually from the brand themselves, then they offer a recycling service that you can take advantage of. Also, if you don’t want capsules at all, then choose an option that lets you use ground coffee instead.
Take all of this information into account before you rush into buying an espresso machine. By thinking about the pros and cons, it helps you come to a more informed decision.
To conclude, there are lots of excellent espresso machines on the market today. If you want to buy the best espresso machine, then it depends on your needs. Think about why you want an espresso machine and what you’ll use it for. Will you use it every day? Do you want to use capsules or ground coffee? What’s your budget? How much space do you have in your kitchen? Answer all of these questions, go through the reviews above, and you’ll soon figure out which espresso machines tick all the right boxes for you. Now, you can enjoy glorious coffee at the touch of a button!