“Tutto e’possibile dopo il caffè,” as the Italians say. “All things are possible after espresso.”
Achieving that perfect cup doesn’t have to require a morning stop to the local coffee shop every morning. Creating espresso shots at home, paired with perfectly frothy foamed milk can be easier than you think with a high-quality espresso machine.
What to Consider
Espresso making is a bit of a science. There is a chemistry and an art to espresso. Espresso machines used to be a completely manual process for the barista. It required stamina, agility, multi-tasking, and precision. The barista had to watch closely, ensuring the best pressure, temperature, and timing to pull the perfect shot. A barista was an engineer, scientist, and artist all in one.
There are manual machines that are great at-home machines if you like a totally hands-on experience. However, if you are on time constraints or would enjoy a simpler process, there are fantastic automated options on the market. There are few automated types to shop for in addition to manual.
Espresso machines come in a few automation styles. Deciding which one is for you will depend on whether you want a more manual or automated experience, your skill level, and your quality desires for the espresso when making your coffee drink.
Super-automatic espresso machines do all the work for you. From grinding the coffee to pulling the shot, super-autos allow you to press a button while the machine creates the perfect cup for you. It’s great for beginners or for busy schedules. What makes super-auto machines different is in their flow meter. The flow meter automatically stops the espresso shot for you, so you don’t have to pull it yourself. It also works with the steam wand for foamed milk. You can produce a quality cup of coffee with just a touch of a button. All you have to do is add beans and water. It makes it one of the best home gadgets to have in your kitchen.
Automatic espresso machines do almost everything for you like a super-auto, with the exception of grinding your own beans, Like a super-auto, the machine automatically stops the flow of water, so you don’t have to do it manually.
Semiautomatic espresso machines are more hands on and allow you to take almost the whole process from start to finish, unlike a super-automatic that does it all for you. Semiauto machines are usually what comes to mind when you think of espresso machines. You will need to know how to pull the shot yourself, and the difference of 5 seconds, can impact the flavor of your espresso. It could take some practice, but you have more control over the quality of your coffee with a semiauto. A semiauto gives you the most control, without being a manual machine, which gives you the options to perfectly craft your coffee drink to your exact preferences.
Manual machines are the most hands on and allow you to take the espresso process from start to finish, with levers and gauges you engineer entirely yourself. It’s old fashioned and allows you to have complete sovereignty over the taste and quality of your espresso shot.
Espresso machines have to withstand high pressures, high temperatures, and high use. Investing in a high-quality espresso machine will not only ensure viability of your machine but ensure the most perfect cup of espresso. Here are some of the best coffee machines on the market.
1. Best Super-Automatic: JURA Z8 Fully Automatic Espresso and Coffee Machine - $4,499.95
Made in Switzerland, this machine was designed to allow you to enjoy the perfect cup of coffee with just a touch of a button. There is a built-in touchscreen to be able to adjust for what kind of drink you’d like made.
2. Best Automatic: Victoria Arduino Theresia T3 Volumetric Espresso Machine - $8,091.00
This machine fulfills all your espresso connoisseur dreams. Not only is its stylish and futuristic design amazing, but it also comes with a setting to soften your water to enhance the quality of the espresso shot. It is a perfect addition to add to your gourmet kitchen appliances.
3. Best Semi-Automatic: Lelit Bianca V3 Dual Boiler Espresso Machine - $3,191.00
You will be able to control almost every step of the espresso creation with this beautiful machine. It’s shiny silver body and wooden knobs will look elegant on your counter space.
4. Best Manual: La Marzocco GS3 MP Manual Paddle Espresso Machine - $7,900.00
For a completely hands-on experience, this is one of the best manual espresso machines on the market. With products handmade in Florence, Italy, La Marzocco has been a trusted brand for coffee making as one of the best coffee machine brands in the world.
5. Best in Professional Quality: La Marzocco Linea Mini Espresso Machine - $5,900.00
This is a commercially certified espresso machine, made with the highest quality parts and materials, and innovative features to help you achieve the perfect cup at home, just like you’d have in a café. It is a semi-automatic and comes in several colors.
6. Best for Small Spaces: La Pavoni Botticelli Dual Broiler Espresso Machine - $3,220.00
If you’re short on space, this espresso machine is small and has an option to connect directly to your water line instead. The option to hand pour is still incorporated and comes with a 2.9 litre water reservoir.
7. Best for Beginner-Friendly: Giobagnara Creatista Beige Plus Coffee Machine - $4,215.00
This is by far the easiest espresso machine to use from the list. It’s a beautiful leather bound, retro-style Nespresso machine. All you need are the Nespresso capsules to create your morning cup of coffee. Comes with a milk frother and a touchscreen to make you drinks as customizable as you would like.
8. Best Overall: JURA Z10 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine - $3,999.95
For best overall space, features, automation, technology, and quality, this espresso machine comes highly rated for all of it. It is one of the best espresso machines you can buy right now. It’s a super-automatic that comes with 32 drink variations that are easily selected with the built-in touch screen.
Whether you’re a connoisseur, an enthusiast, or just your average (cup of) Joe when it comes to espresso, choosing the right espresso machine depends on personal preference. There’s not one more right way than the other. Espresso machines are highly sophisticated, no matter the automation type, which makes it easy and seamless to bring professional café quality right into your home.