Best espresso machine 2021

Coffee & Accessories

About 13% of American coffee drinkers use an espresso machine at home.

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What is the best espresso machine in 2021?

When it’s time for a little pick-me-up, a double shot of espresso is a little drink that goes a long way. If the café is out of the way or you just want to save money on all of those lattes, an espresso machine makes a great addition to the home kitchen. In fact, home espresso machines are more affordable and easier to use than ever before.

Whether you’re an experienced barista, an espresso enthusiast or a new specialty coffee convert, there’s a machine that matches your skills and needs, making sure you never have to go too long without a cappuccino.

What is espresso?

Originated and innovated in Italy, espresso is a drink produced by a specialized machine that brews single or double doses of highly concentrated coffee using high-temperature water and 9-10 atmospheric bars of pressure. The result is a 1- to 2-ounce bittersweet and strong dose of coffee with a rich, thick and silky mouthfeel. It’s usually enjoyed either as is, with sugar or in an espresso and milk drink, such as a latte or cappuccino. A solid espresso shot is also visually appealing on its own with a copper-brown hue in the body and a thin golden layer of crema (the foam created by the emulsification of coffee oils) on the top.  

What to consider when choosing an espresso machine

Ease of use

It’s important to find the espresso machine that fits your own experience or expertise — or lack thereof. The choice between fully automatic and semi-automatic depends on your skill level and comfort with pulling shots.

Semi-automatic espresso machines are what you’ll find behind the counters of most cafés; they require you to grind your beans, tamp your grounds and insert the portafilter (the steel basket and spout that holds your grounds as the water brews at high pressure). Ultimately, with a semi-automatic, you have more control over your espresso, starting and stopping the “pull” of the shot.

On the other hand, fully automatic espresso machines control the brew time of your shots, but you still need to grind your beans, pack your portafilter and put it in place. At the push of a button, the machine produces your espresso, based on the settings and parameters built into its interface. It’s much easier for newbies and less-experienced home baristas.

Convenience

Nespresso Lattissima Touch Original Espresso Machine

An advantage of fully automatic machines is their speed compared to more complicated models. If that’s not fast enough for your busy lifestyle, a super-automatic machine picks up your slack by making the whole drink for you with one touch. For those who prefer the hands-on experience of making their own espresso, a semi-automatic keeps you in control.

Features

Nespresso Essenza Mini Coffee and Espresso Machine by DeLonghi

While there are many standalone home machines that stick to espresso, other models offer features like a built-in steam wand, hot water output or an electronic display. There are also many models that use pods or capsules pre-packed with specialty coffees and flavors, a feature that makes convenience and ease of use top priority.

Best espresso machines

The top overall espresso machine

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine

What you need to know: For your all-in-one home café experience, this is the best of the best. 

What you’ll love: Pulls single and double shots. All-in-one convenience. Easily adjustable settings for pros. With a fully integrated grinder, precision steam wand and adjustable pressure, this machine is every barista’s dream.

What you should consider: Expensive. Too advanced as a point of entry for novices.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

The top espresso machine for the money

Gevi 15-Bar 2-in-1 Espresso and Cappuccino Machine 

Gevi 15-Bar 2-in-1 Espresso and Cappuccino Machine 

What you need to know: If you want all of the convenience at an affordable price, this Gevi machine offers everything but the grinder. 

What you’ll love: Small and sleek profile. Coffee scoop-tamper combo included. Its relative ease of use and simplified controls make it perfect for a new home barista.

What you should consider: Simple controls leave little room for individual adjustments.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Honorable mentions

Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

What you need to know: From the number-one name in home drip coffee brewers, this machine takes some of the guesswork out of heating and frothing milk. 

What you’ll love: Simple controls. Removable and storable milk reservoir. Affordable. For the aficionados, espresso preparation is still hands-on, giving you some control over your single and double shots.

What you should consider: Built-in milk steamer is not as precise as a steaming wand. The machine may feel too automatic for some.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

De’Longhi EC155 15-Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine

De’Longhi EC155 15-Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine

What you need to know: This is a slim espresso brewer and milk steamer combo from a trusted brand in home coffee. 

What you’ll love: Compact, easy to use and easy to clean. An ideal intermediate machine — especially for the price.

What you should consider: Some users complain that the machine is too small and develops leaks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee and Espresso Machine by De'Longhi

Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee and Espresso Machine by De’Longhi

What you need to know: For coffee lovers with less expertise and instant demands, Nespresso machines are the way to go. 

What you’ll love: Nespresso pods offer a wide variety of coffee types and flavors. The best ease-of-use on the market. This set is especially valuable — it includes an Aeroccino3 milk frother to make it a complete portable café.

What you should consider: With a Nespresso machine, you’re stuck with their products, for better or worse.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top accessories for an espresso machine

Miroco Electric Milk Frother and Steamer

Miroco Electric Milk Frother and Steamer

What you need to know: With four settings for foaming and heating milk, this standalone frother is easy to use and to clean.

What you’ll love: Ergonomic grip. Automatic safety shut-off.  It creates light and dense hot foam with ease and heats milk for hot chocolates and chai lattes as well. 

What you should consider: Some users report electronic switch failures. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Nestle Aeroccino3 Milk Frother

Nestle Aeroccino3 Milk Frother

What you need to know: Made for use with Nespresso products, this milk steamer and frother is also an excellent addition on its own. 

What you’ll love: Compact and easy to use. Not only can it froth and steam milk, it can also produce cold foam.

What you should consider: Not the most consistent milk frother.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

What you need to know: If your espresso machine doesn’t have a built-in grinder, the Baratza Encore is one of the best on the market. 

What you’ll love: Up to 40 grind settings with accurate burr grinding. Good for pros and novices. It’s approved by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, making it the choice of baristas everywhere.

What you should consider: Not useful for grinding into a portafilter.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

New Star Foodservice Frothing Pitcher and Tamper Set

New Star Foodservice Frothing Pitcher and Tamper Set

What you need to know: In order to master your machine, you’ll need tools like these to make great drinks every time. 

What you’ll love: Professional quality at a great price. The milk pitcher is stainless steel and the tamper is die cast aluminum, making them long-lasting.

What you should consider: Require some training to use. Some users report faulty construction.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Matt Fleming writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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