Different Types of Espresso Machines

Steam-driven machines

The pressurized coffee confection system was invented in 1884 by Angelo Moriondo. But while these large clunky systems are no longer in use. Electric steam-powered machines are still in use. They are easy to handle and maintain. 

Essentially, water is made to boil in an airtight tank resulting in pressure-producing steam that pushes the water through a chamber and into the coffee grounds. One drawback of this system is that it can only attain about 2 bars of pressure. The standard pressure when dialing a shot of espresso is 9 bars.

Lever-driven machines

These require manual effort to press a shot. It is marked by the horizontal placement of the lever. When raised, a nozzle in the brewing compartment sucks in the already heated water to permeate the ground coffee. The barista can modulate duration of the pre-infusion, rate of flow, and delivery pressure when they dial the lever.

Pump-driven machines

Pump-driven systems work by electrically pumping preheated water into the brew compartment and into a layer of coffee. The electrification of this process ensures that consistent espressos are produced. There are three kinds of pump-driven machines namely:

Why are espresso machines so expensive?

Espresso machines are expensive for a number of reasons:

The comprise a lot of dense parts: espressos are made from premium-grade materials like stainless steel and brass, resulting in its expensiveness. 

They are handmade: there aren’t so many espresso machine units in circulation because they are handmade and not off a production line. If they were, prices would nosedive.

Wonky coffee maker, zero money: bigwigs in the cafe business want to outmuscle the competition by providing an unbeatable taste experience to their customers. They are happy to spend top dollar on a reliable machine that can deliverr, shot after shot, so that they can rake in profits.

How can I pick the right espresso brewer?

Developments in espresso machine tech are happening all the time with newer components, hydraulic systems, and digitalizations developed by engineers and baristas all over the world. It’s easy to be swayed by glossy features of the machine, but it’s important to do an introspection around your individual needs. 

Temperature control

Most seasoned espresso machine buyers are looking to improve the drinks quality by controlling the temperature of the water. Water that is too hot will scald the coffee beans leading to over-extraction and a distasteful drink. A machine that comes with a PID (proportional-integral derivative) will control the variable water temperature in realtime, using a slew of mathematical commands to ensure that you’re dialing shots at the right temperature.

Digitalization

Digitalization makes the entire process simpler by ensuring temperature and pressure uniformity. Computerized controls include timers, pre-infusion delay controls, filter placement notifications, troubleshooting prompts.

Brand reputation

Go for brands that have stood the test of time and are renowned for their quality year on year. This originality leads to high prices demanded by such top brands as Rancilio, Breville, and De’ Longhi.

Are you looking to buy an espresso machine soon, but are coy about your options? In this review, we’ll allay some of the fears that you might have when selecting a befitting coffee maker to enable you make the right choice and make your morning preparations easier.

There are a ton of espresso machines all over the planet, and we have taken it upon ourselves to select the best ones favorited by home brewers and baristas alike out of seemingly endless categories.

Breville the Barista 

Breville the Barista wins the ultimate pick of all the coffee makers we’ll be reviewing. We love its features and how easy it is to operate. It promises rapidly delivered, great-tasting espressos that kick-in fast. Little wonder the manufacturer aptly dubs it “From beans to espresso in less than one minute.”

Features

  • Measurements: 13.25″ × 12.5″ × 15.75″
  • Water tank volume: 67 Oz
  • Warranty: 1 year 
  • Coffee category: beans, ground

Additional perks

  • 15-bar pump
  • 0.5-pound bean hopper
  • Stainless steel motor
  • Mono and dual sheets
  • Cleaning toolset 

The machine is designed with high-end materials as fitted with perks like non-slip feet, a burr grinder, and a lustrous stainless steel encasing.

All its knobs and buttons are conveniently placed and its portafilter does not allow granules to drop into the final espresso shot. 

Usage

The espresso maker allows you to gauge good volumes, high temps, and an even micro-foam with a steam wand, resulting in memorable coffee drinks.

Users are awash by its rich crema, which is not overly bitter. 

What we liked 

  • Selector control that allows you to adjust the grind size and amount
  • Electronically controls the water temperature 
  • Removable drip tray to make cleaning easy

What could be better

  • Requires pinpoint settings for each drink to work effectively
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Large, Stainless Steel
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave...
  • Dose Control Grinding: Integrated precision conical...
  • Optimal Water Pressure: Low pressure pre-infusion...

De’Longhi la Specialista

The De’Longhi la Specialista is one of the most well-worked espresso-making gizmos on the market. It is fine-tuned to deliver the perfect espresso cup. Rely on the machine’s sensor grinding tech to give you the perfect grind and jab. Users also get to enjoy the fail-safe temperature control, imbued with double-heating system to maximize temperature stability when transitioning i.e. from milk to coffee.

The machine is not completely dedicated to espresso-milling alone as it can be used to make a wide variety of beverages.

Features

  • Measurements: 14.5″ × 12.5″ × 14″
  • Water tank volume: 67.2 Oz
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Coffee category: beans

Additional perks

  • 19-bar pump
  • 1400W power
  • Dual heating mechanism
  • Stainless steel finish
  • Integrated burr grinder 
  • Cleaning toolset 

Usage

You can make cafe crema or Australian lungo by applying the same pressure as with espresso, but on medium, grind using 130 to 150 ml of water. Simply switch the grind settings on the left, use the two-cup basket and select ‘coffee’ mode on the axial knob of the espresso machine.

What we liked

  • Auto dosing function
  • Delivers the greatest amount of hot water and steam
  • Has a memory for drink volumes

What could be better

  • The pricing given its less professional status
De'Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine with Sensor Grinder, Dual Heating System, Advanced Latte...
  • Sensor grinding technology: Exclusive sensing...
  • The smart tamping station: Simply pull the lever to...
  • Active temperature control with dual heating system:...

Rancilio SilviaEspresso Machine

Since 1997, Rancilio has been producing this quality semi-automatic espresso machine. A baristas delight, this coffee maker has got your back when you need to get your profit-making edge on. Little wonder it’s a cafe and restaurant favorite. It pulls consistent shots to ensure that cafe customers remain happy.

Features

  • Measurements: 13.5″ × 9.6″ × 11.1″
  • Water tank volume: 67 Oz
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Coffee category: ground 

Additional perks

  • 15-bar pressure gush
  • 12 Oz heater
  • 1100-watt power 
  • Drip tray
  • Cup heater
  • Cleaning toolkit 

Usage 

Brew time for 34g of espresso from 17g of ground coffee is 25-30 secs. Process time from the moment the machine is turned on until the time the espresso is ready is 4 minutes.

What we liked

  • Commercial-build group head for excellent heat stabilization and clinical extraction 
  • Easy to handle portafilter 
  • Steam wand ensures full range of motion 
  • Lucid plain design that blends with most decors
  • Captures a lot of water 

What could be better

  • Can be difficult to use
  • Operations manual was presented in 6 languages without English
Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch
  • Ergonomic porta filter handle same as the proven design...
  • Commercial grade group head for superb heat stability...
  • Articulating steam wand offers complete range of motion...

Gaggia Classic Pro

Fabricated in the outskirts of Tuscany, Italy, the Gaggia Classic Pro gets the best entry-level espresso machine in this roundup. This rugged machine features a commercial style steam wand and a professional-sized 58mm filter basket that makes coffee-making a much-anticipated activity.

The Classic Pro is built with a special single- and double-shot filter basket. The pressurized basket can be used make better pump fittings for noiseless brewing, especially if you want to make a delicious cup when someone is asleep upstairs.

You don’t need to worry if you don’t have freshly scranched beans to start with because the Classic Pro’s pressurized and non-pressurized baskets are compatible with ESE pods.

Features

  • Measurements: 9″ × 15″ × 9.5″
  • Water tank volume: 72 Oz
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Coffee category: ground, pods

Additional perks

  • 15-bar pressure pump
  • Cup warmer
  • Drip tray
  • 1450W power 

Usage

This contraption is Immensely easy to use as it only has three switches and one knob. You can top up the water repository or discard or fill water from the frontal part of the machine. This is an excellent feature for those who managed a small kitchen counter space. The three-way solenoid ensures that after you’re done brewing your espresso, a valve reroutes the pressure and excess water from the group head, right into the drip tray. Ultimately, when you take out the portafilter, your coffee powder will be a dry splatter instead of a slushy mess.

What we liked

  • Professional style steam wand for superb frothing control
  • Portable and versatile
  • Reliable stainless steel encasement

What could be better

  • Single boiler; can steam milk and make espresso concurrently.
  • It’s less-than-professional parts could be improved.
Breville BES870BSXL The Barista Express Coffee Machine, Black Sesame, 2
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave...
  • Dose Control Grinding: Integrated precision conical...
  • Optimal Water Pressure: Low pressure pre-infusion...

EspressoWorks All-in-One Espresso Machine Set

Press down great-tasting coffees in just 45 seconds with EspressoWorks All-In-One Espresso Machine. Simply add beans and let the advanced Thermoblock fast heating mechanism deliver precise temperature and momentous steam. 

The all-in-one espresso machine is rife with all the necessary appendages like electric grinder, portafilter, and a steel lathering cup, as well as a measuring spoon and a tamper. It allows you to enjoy rich-tasting Espresso, Macchiato, and Americano.

Features

  • Measurements: 9.75″ × 9″ × 11.4″
  • Water tank volume: 42 Oz
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Coffee category: Pod, ground

Additional perks

  • 15-bar pressure surge 
  • Automated milk churner
  • Detachable water repository
  • 26″ long cable
  • 1040 Watts of power 

Usage

Everything is a plus with this coffee brewer. You’ve got cup after cup of espresso plus and cappuccino plus thanks to it’s stainless steel milk foaming cup and built-in steam modbar.

The device also comes with a recipe book with which you can impress your friends and visitors with impressive coffee drinks.

What we liked

  • Thermoblock heating element; heats up real quick
  • Well-built for home or office use
  • Frontal-view water tank design praised by users
  • 26″ long cable enables movement around a large-counter kitchen

What could be better

  • The weak espresso due to the machine having a two-blade grinder and not a burr grinder 
  • Its 80db noisiness 
  • Difficult to clean
7 Pc All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker Barista Bundle Set w/ Built-In Steamer & Frother...
  • ✅ Includes: 15 Bar Pump Espresso & Cappuccino Maker,...
  • ✅ ESPRESSO MACHINE and LATTE MAKER 15 BAR PUMP...
  • ✅ SINGLE ESPRESSO SHOT OR DOUBLE ESPRESSO SHOT- Two...

Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista

This product wins the gong for the best bargain purchase. Most espresso makers come with a price forewarning, but Mr Coffee Cafe Barista, thankfully, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. For its price territory, the Cafe Barista comprises an in-built milk churner and a bevy of brew selections. You don’t need barista-level expertise to make an authentic coffee splash. Due to inconsistent results, not uncommon with a lowly priced coffee maker, you may need to use a darker bean roast as they sequester more readily without the need to be finely crushed.

Features

  • Measurements: 12.4″ × 8.8″ × 11.2″
  • Water tank volume: 54 Oz
  • Warranty: money-back guarantee 1- year 
  • Coffee category: ground

Additional perks

  • Removable milk reservoir that makes for easy refrigeration
  • Small space footprint

What we liked

  • Easy to use
  • Automated milk churner

What could be better

  • Device may clog
  • Broadly unreliable results
  • Its cheap quality
Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker and Cappuccino Machine
  • 19 Bar Italian pump delivers ideal pressure to extract...
  • Easy 1 button interface takes the guesswork out of...
  • Select single or double shots of espresso with a simple...

Final thoughts

We have just unpacked the best espresso machines available on the market to guide your purchasing choices. Espresso machines are made from sophisticated parts, all working in tandem to deliver rich-tasting coffee to kickstart your day. Overall, the best coffee maker for you is one that caters to your individual needs at a decent price.