What you’ll find with machines at this price point is that most of the manual tasks of the lower-priced options are handled seamlessly in the process.
You will also notice a difference in construction quality and ease of maintenance of the machine itself.
THE FINAL SHOT: The Breville Barista Express my top pick for the under $1,000 range. I use this machine every day and the built-in conical burr grinder is a huge bonus.
The self-priming and auto-purge functions are also highlights, but in general, this is a solid machine for the home barista that enjoys being involved in pulling the shots and dialing in some of the brewing options.
You’re probably thinking, what’s the big deal about a grinder? Honestly? It was absolutely worth it. I’ll tell you why.
I was originally considering the Breville Infuser, which is priced around $500, but I really value convenience as well as quality and the perfect combination of those two fell in the under $1,000 price point.
My favorite machine from this group is the Breville BES870XL Barista Express. First and foremost, it makes really really good espresso, every time. I can say that with certainty because this is the machine I own and use every day. You know, the one with the magical built-in bean grinder.
Basically, every morning, I whip my wife up the most delicious latté she’s ever had, and I enjoy doing it. I’m actually excited to use the Breville every day.
And about that grinder…I can’t tell you enough how nice it is having the added convenience. You push a button and the perfect amount of grounds are measured and drop into the portafilter for a single or double shot.
This really beats using a separate grinder and measuring on my own. The consistency of the grounds is key and the measuring is also more precise when automated. It was a pretty easy choice.
Breville’s the Barista Express Coffee Machine is the best automatic espresso machine listed in my guides and has one of the highest overall ratings.
The Barista Express Coffee Machine is the least expensive coffee machine on this list, but like the other options we share, it comes with a wide array of useful and luxurious features for a dream espresso experience at home.
If you want to be your own home barista and tinker with some different settings without the full-on lever-action experience of a coffee shop barista, this is a great option for you.
To start, the Barista Express weighs in at 23 lbs and 13.2” x 12.5” x 15.8”, making it similar in size to most other coffee machines currently being sold commercially. I can tell you from experience, it is well-designed to fit comfortably on a kitchen counter without dominating the space.
Some of my favorite and most notable features of this machine that really characterize the $500-1,000 group are an integrated conical burr grinder with stainless-steel conical burrs, enabling the machine to fully extract flavor from every coffee granule, a locking 1/2 lb hopper for convenient bean storage, a 54 mm stainless-steel portafilter with commercial-style spouts, a pressure gauge monitoring the pressure generated during flavor extraction, a Thermocoil heating system, which controls the temperature of the water with a great deal of accuracy, and an auto-purge function, which adjusts the temperature of the water after steaming automatically to the optimal temperature for full flavor extraction.
You are also able to select filter size, which indicates whether you’re using a single or double-wall filter basket for single or double shots, which tells the grinder to dispense the desired amount of ground coffee beans. The machine also has easily removable drip and dreg trays, which I know from personal experience are super easy to clean and pop back in.
Not surprisingly, the Barista Express received a stellar rating of 4 and a half stars out of 5 on Amazon. I’m a huge fan, and my personal rating would be a solid 5 of 5.
BREVILLE BARISTA HOT FEATURES:
- 15 Bar Italian Pump and 1600W Thermo coil heating system
- Purge Function: Automatically adjusts water temperature after steam for optimal espresso extraction temperature
- Stainless steel conical burr grinder with 1/2 lb. sealed bean hopper
- 67 fl.oz (2L) removable water tank with handle
- The newer model of the Breville BES860XL Barista Express
The Rancilio HSD-SILVIA Silvia Espresso Machine is one of the mid-range options for this price point. It is also one of our favorite overall machines and is listed as one of the best super-automatic espresso machines and great for smaller-scale commercial use.
We love all the features this powerhouse comes equipped with and that is was inspired by Rancilio’s line of large-scale commercial machines used widely in coffee shops and restaurants.
Weighing 34 lbs and measuring 9.2” x 11.4” x 13.3” inches in dimensions, the Silvia is luxurious in size and meant to accommodate the needs of the serious home espresso brewer. Its housing is made of an iron frame and stainless-steel side panels for a really stylish look and long-lasting durability.
Rancilio offers some great, top-quality features that really put this machine in the stratosphere for quality coffee brewing.
Most notably are Rancilio’s commercial grade group head, which ensures that the heat generated during brewing remains stable and that full extraction is achieved, the 58 mm patented, ergonomic portafilter, which is also optimized to achieve full extraction, the single boiler of the Silvia also has the largest volume capacity of any home espresso machine in its class.
Holding 0.3 liters (12oz) Silvia’s chrome-plated brass boiler produces outstanding steaming power and remarkable recovery time between shots for quick, timely production, great for parties, and for multiple espresso drinker households.
This machine also comes with an articulating, stainless-steel steamer, which allows for a complete range of motion for producing perfectly steamed milk. The steam knob is also of commercial-grade and allows a range of adjustments for power.
The rest of the espresso maker’s features include a 7 g coffee scoop, a plastic tamper, and filter baskets (single and double), all of which enable you to brew with precision.
The espresso machine received a stellar rating of 4 and a half stars out of 5 on Amazon.
RANCILIO SIVIA HOT FEATURES:
- Ergonomic porta filter handle same as the proven design of Rancilio commercial machines
- Commercial grade group head for superb heat stability and extraction quality
- The articulating steam wand offers a complete range of motion and a professional steaming knob precisely controls steaming pressure
- The classic linear design fits most decors
- Optional pod and capsule adaptor kit available
The De’Longhi is the most expensive espresso machine on this list. It meets every expectation you could possibly have for an $800+ espresso machine.
Let’s start by assessing the De’Longhi with its weight and dimensions. It comes in at 28 lbs and 15” x 11” x 14” inches. It is also beautifully designed with a clean, modern aesthetic and quality materials, ensuring its long-term durability.
Simply, the De’Longhi is a powerhouse. It is equipped with all the best features and is made from all the best materials. This model comes with a unique beans-to-brew system that, like the Rancilio and Breville, grinds coffee beans right before brewing, enabling the machine to make espresso with a heady aroma and ultimate freshness, it also uses 2 stainless-steel boilers to distribute heat evenly, an instant reheat function, which maintains the espresso/coffee machine at an ideal temperature, a quiet burr grinder that not only grinds coffee beans automatically, but can also be set to a specific grinding level of fineness, De’Longhi’s patented “Cappuccino System” frother that carefully mixes steam and milk to produce an especially rich, creamy froth, and an easy-to-use rotary and push-button control panel with programmable menu settings.
The rest of the espresso/coffee machine’s features include a sizable and easily refillable water tank and coffee bean container, Magnifica’s coffee spigots, with height adjustment to accommodate cups of different sizes; a cappuccino system that rotates 180 degrees to accommodate a milk container of virtually any size; a cup warming tray similar those you would find at cafés that let you leave your cup on it for several minutes to keep it toasty warm; and a stylish, intuitive front panel, making use of the espresso/coffee machine pretty hassle-free.
Consumer reviews are overwhelmingly positive, with the De’Longhi being a star appliance for most, receiving a solid rating of 4 stars out of 5 on Amazon.
DE’LONGHI MAGNIFICA HOT FEATURES:
- Patented “Cappuccino System” frother that mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth
- Easy-to-use rotary and push-button control panel with programmable menu settings
- Grinds beans instantly with the patented, compact, and easy-to-clean “Direct-to-Brew” system
- No waiting between preparing espresso and cappuccino with the double boiler system
- Professional-quality, conical low-pitch burr grinder with adjustable grind fineness
I am a huge fan of the Jura brand and there are SO many superior options at this price point that the Jura D6 had to fall toward the top of the roundup.
The D6 is a top pick for quality and overall ease of brewing. This is an automatic machine, which means little interference from the user is required – Jura handles it all.
You will see the one-switch operation, a height-adjustable dispenser, and a fine foam frother for smooth microbubbles. This machine is nothing like the lower-end Keurigs and Nespressos think of the Jura as being more akin to your favorite craft coffee shop barista.
If you end up purchasing, just keep in mind that super-automatics like the Jura perform best when they are not paired with a super oily bean. We recommend the Lavazza Super Crema.
I told you I love Juras! I’m including the Micro on this list as well for the simple reason that it performs like a champ and is streamlined for a single function at a very reasonable price point. This is a great pick if you’re looking to enjoy straight espresso, no lattes, and no cappuccinos.
The Ena Micro 1 includes a top-level integrated grinder and micro-brewing unit. It has an easy to use touch panel and three sizing selections to choose from.
And that’s it, folks. Quality builds simple purpose, exceptional delivery of a really tasty cup of espresso. If you’re a purist with a desire for ease and efficiency, this is the machine for you.
Next to Jura, Breville is our go-to brand for fine-quality espresso at home. The Barista Touch is an upgraded model from the one I swear by at home, enhanced with a good-looking and easy-to-use touch panel for quick selection of beverage preference.
Like the other Breville on this list, this machine will grind your beans, allowing you to customize the coarseness based on the coffee you’re using, it will also let you fine-tune the extraction process to customize your beverage per your individual taste, and then save those settings with your name to quickly repeat the process again later.
The Barista Touch also has an especially fast ThermoJet system with a heat-up time of just 3 seconds, one of the quickest on the market. The frothing wand is upgraded to produce perfect micro-foam automatically, without user interference.
This is one of those top-quality machines designed to enhance the morning coffee ritual and endure years of daily use. If you have the budget for it, splurge on the Breville.
De’Longhi’s are some of our favorite espresso machines, and the La Specialista model is an excellent example of fine Italian engineering and design.
Included in this machine is a 19 bar pressure pump, a one-second quick start, Sensor Grinding Technology for precision, adjustable grinding, automated tamping using a lever system, temperature control, a dual heating system for optimized extraction, and an independent heating system for steaming and frothing milk for lattes and cappuccinos.
The steam wand is designed to automatically froth microfoam for a perfect latte or thicker richer foam for cappuccinos, no skill needed. It also includes active rinsing and self-cleaning for easy maintenance of the wand.
The overall design is aesthetically striking with a great mix of black enamel and stainless steel. It is a high-quality machine for a beginner or an experienced coffee lover and delivers a quality beverage with flawless results.
The Krups machine is another super-automatic machine that offers a similar experience to the Jura Impressa but at a lower price-point. Keep in mind, the overall experience quality and durability is a bit lower, but the price point is better suited to most budgets.
The frothing is performed in a separate milk canister on the side of the machine, which can be a bit cumbersome and irritating to clean, which is the primary reason why the Krups doesn’t rank higher on our list.
The Gaggia Anima is similar in feature inclusion and styling to the Saeco on this list and I consider the two to be pretty interchangeable aside from the price difference.
On the Anima, you’ll find programmable brewing options, a limited range of temperature control, and a manual Panarello steam wand. Like the Saeco, it features a ceramic burr grinder and also offers the option of using pre-ground beans. Gaggia is a well-known maker of high-end machines so the construction is of high-quality, but we are a little frustrated by an over-abundance of plastic parts.
The Gaggia is also several hundred dollars pricier than the Saeco and for the savings, we recommend the Incanto, given the nearly identical feature list and lack of stainless materials in the build.
One of the more automatic machines on our list, the Dinamica is a high-end option with a lot of fun bells and whistles.
Key features in this machine include an Italian 15 bar pressure pump, a less than 40-second heat-up time, dual spout design for brewing two shots simultaneously, a steel conical burr grinder built-in with 13 grind settings, a fully adjustable manual frother, a removable brew unit and dishwasher safe tray for easy cleaning, and a simple but intuitive customizable touch-screen control panel display.
This model is pretty hands-off and doesn’t require any tamping skill or for you to even attach the portafilter to the brew head. Everything is facilitated internally for a super-automatic experience.
The Dinamica also includes De’Longhi’s innovative true-brew process designed to craft perfect iced coffee by brewing at a lower temp and infusing the coffee over ice. This is really a great feature if you love iced lattes but don’t want to wait overnight for cold brew coffee to steep in a fridge infuser.
This is a thoughtful, versatile machine and an excellent pick for the more hands-off coffee drinker.