When was the last time you took a close look at the espresso machines currently available for home use? Perhaps you’ve never done so, discouraged by the wide, dizzying variety. Besides, notwithstanding certain differences, all modern-day coffee makers are the same, aren’t they?
For the most part, they all come with the same features, varying only slightly and all of them have the same essential function of making coffee?
On a basic level that’s true, but, if you’re a true espresso aficionado, and you can appreciate the subtle differences in both how your coffee is made and the end result, you should at least be aware of the different types of automatic espresso machines available and what you can expect from them.
All automatic espresso machines come equipped with grinders, pumps, sensors, and valves that together enable these modern-day coffee makers to prepare espresso with little to no help on the part of the user.
While they may have similar features, these machines aren’t all the same. They may be divided into three groups based on their degree of automation: semi-automatic, automatic, and super-automatic.
Semi-automatic espresso machines can be characterized by their ability to deliver water for brewing espresso through a built-in pump rather than manual force.
Automatic espresso machines can be characterized by their ability to control automatically with an in-line flow meter the volume of the coffee being brewed. Super-automatic espresso machines can be characterized by their ability to grind the coffee, tamp it, and extract the espresso shot automatically.
Given the variety of automatic espresso machines currently available in the market, it might be difficult for you to determine which kind would be the best machine for you. We think the standard automatic espresso machines are the best place to start.
Not only are these coffee makers more automated than semi-automatic espresso machines, enabling you to prepare espresso much easier, but they also still allow you to tamp and grind coffee manually, unlike super-automatic espresso machines, which gives you more control over the quality of the brew.
With a weight of 23 lbs and dimensions of 13.2” x 12.5” x 15.8,” the Breville Barista Express Coffee Machine is a great average size. It isn’t overlarge and won’t dominate your kitchen countertop so it’s really great for home use, but it is built to last and the quality of materials is in part evident in the slightly heavier weight.
The Breville Barista Express Coffee Machine comes equipped with several of our favorite features that ensure it will make you a top-notch brew.
Most notably, the Barista Express includes an integrated conical burr grinder with stainless-steel conical burrs, which enables the coffee machine to fully extract flavor from every coffee granule;
A pressure gauge that monitors the pressure generated during flavor extraction; a Thermocoil heating system, which controls the temperature of the water with extreme precision; a 54 mm stainless-steel portafilter with commercial-style spouts; and an auto-purge function, which after steaming automatically adjusts the water temperature to the optimal temperature for full flavor extraction and enjoyment.
The rest of the coffee machines features are: a half-pound bean hopper with a locking system, which enables you to remove, transfer, and store coffee beans easily; a filter size button, which indicates whether you’re using a single or double-wall filter basket, enabling the grinder to dispense the appropriate amount of ground coffee beans for each filter type;
A hands-free grinding cradle, which pushes the portafilter into the cradle, signaling the coffee machine to dispense freshly ground coffee beans into the filter by itself, making preparing espresso using the coffee machine even easier; and a water tank and drip tray, both of which are removable, making cleaning the machine a cinch.
The only complaints that customers have aired about the coffee machine are the occasions where it wasn’t able to generate the needed pressure-volume and that where it left a mess after a brewing session.
Customers have also pointed out that the coffee maker’s water tank is placed in an awkward position, making detaching and re-attaching it a hassle.
All of these are fairly minor issues, but we like to share everything we possibly can about the products we recommend so you can be confident you will love your purchase.
The Breville The Barista Express Coffee Machine, however, received a stellar rating of 4 and a half stars out of 5 on Amazon. Given the price, this is totally worth it and does well among the other espresso machines under $1000 and has also been a fan favorite.
A great place to buy is on Amazon and here is why:
- All the reviews are like having hundreds of really good friends give you their personal experience with the espresso machine, then taking all of that personal experience and giving it a star rating. You’re buying quality when there are hundreds of fans of the machine.
- A friendly UPS driver will deliver it right to your door. No waiting in line, no hauling it in your car. No sore muscles or achy back the next day.
- Amazon has the best price 99% of the time. Amazon constantly watches competitor pricing and makes sure you get the best deal. They do a ton of business and take advantage of economies of scale, which means you get the savings!
- FREE shipping. Enough said.
- Returns are easy. Amazon recently shipped a car, and they ship a ton of large items, all day, every day. If they can ship a car, rest assured, you will get your espresso machine in perfect condition. BUT if for any reason it comes damaged, it is super easy to return. Just print out a UPS label, slap it on the box and a friendly UPS driver will pick it up, free of charge. This is way easier than waiting in a return line at Williams & Sonoma talking with a snooty sales clerk.
HOT FEATURES OF THE ESPRESSO MACHINE ARE:
- 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
#2 Choice – DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker Stainless
Weighing in at 14 lbs and 11” x 9.1” x 11.6” in size, the Delonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker is similar in weight and size to most of the other espresso machines currently being sold commercially, assuring you that the espresso maker would fit cozily on your kitchen countertop, island, or coffee bar.
If you hate waiting for your espresso int he morning and need an immediate fix, you’ll love the DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker’s self-priming operation, which enables the machine to brew coffee faster than most of the other espresso machines currently being sold commercially.
If you’re worried that your cup of espresso might get cold if you let it sit while you, say, switch the laundry, or prepare some bacon for breakfast, you need not be, because the espresso machine comes with a cup-warming tray, which will keep your cup of espresso warm, even if you let it sit for several minutes.
Espresso connoisseurs with even the pickiest temperature preferences will love the DeLonghi’s 2 separate thermostats, which enable you to control water pressure and steam pressure separately, giving you more control over how the espresso maker brews coffee and allowing you to customize your beverage to your specific tastes.
The rest of this espresso maker’s features include De’Longhi’s patented dual function holder, which not only lets you use both pods and ground coffee beans but also makes brewing quick and hassle-free; the Sempre Crema filter, which enables you to make delicious crema every time;
an ESE filter, which also helps make brewing quick and hassle-free; durable, high-quality, stainless-steel boiler with 15-bar pump pressure; De’Longhi’s patented cappuccino system frother, which enables you to make rich, creamy milk froth for cappuccinos; and a 44 oz removable water tank and anti-drip design, both of which make cleaning the espresso machine quick and easy.
Despite the espresso maker’s wide array of features, some customers have noted a few drawbacks. One customer found that the espresso maker’s steaming wand didn’t function as well as expected while another customer felt that the espresso maker was a bit complicated to use at first.
Nevertheless, the DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker Stainless received a strong rating of 3 and a half stars out of 5 on Amazon, really great for a $200 budget.
HOT FEATURES OF THE ESPRESSO MACHINE ARE:
- Patented dual-function filter holder
- Sempre Crema filter; E.S.E. (easy serving espresso) filter
- Patented cappuccino system frother
- 44-ounce (1.3-liter) removable water tank
- Anti-drip design; On/off switch with indicator light
#3 Choice – Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso/Cappuccino Maker
Coming in at a petite 9 lbs and 11.4” x 13.7” x 13” in size, the Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso/Cappuccino Maker is another modern-day coffee maker that will fit snugly in any small space and is a great choice for apartment-dwellers or for kitchens with limited counter space.
If you pride yourself on only drinking the best when it comes to espresso, rest assured that the Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso/Cappuccino Maker comes equipped with several great features to provide you with the best possible brewing experience. One of our favorite features is a built-in, powerful milk frother, which gives you control over how the froth turns out.
Another feature we love is the thermal block heater, which enables the coffee maker to prepare coffee quicker than most of the other coffee makers currently being sold commercially by heating up quickly. Last but not least is a 15-bar pressure pump, which enables the coffee maker itself to provide you with a strong, flavorful brew.
Mr. Coffee is also exceptionally easy to clean and all the relevant parts are easy to maneuver and unattached when necessary.
While most customers have found this machine to be well-made and a joy to use, one consumer did complain of their machine leaking, though this does not seem to be a common occurrence.
Overall, the Mr. Coffee ECMP50 Espresso/Cappuccino Maker received a solid rating of 4 stars out of 5 on Amazon, making this the most affordable machine on the list and truly a great investment of not more than $100.
HOT FEATURES OF THE ESPRESSO MACHINE ARE:
- Thermal block heating system
- Removable water reservoir
- Powerful milk frother
- Removable drip tray
- Lighting on/off switch