You’re looking for a new espresso maker because you love coffee and you want to be able to make the best coffee yourself at home. A professional home espresso maker isn’t cheap, but when you, your family, and friends taste the difference one can make in the quality of your coffee, you probably will find that the purchase is actually a great a value.
The espresso maker market has exploded over the past few years and the espresso coffee maker models available range from basic manual home machines to fully-loaded professional-grade automatic machines. Which you should buy will be determined by your budget, whether you’re more interested in making coffee for yourself or for gatherings of family and friends, and how important making the best coffee at home is to you.
With these factors in mind, let’s take a look at some tips for how to choose your home espresso coffee machine.
Manual, Semi-Automatic, Fully-Automatic, or Fully-Automatic with Grinder/Super Automatic Espresso Machine
A manual espresso machine or piston espresso maker requires you to have a coffee grinder and grind the beans yourself and produce the pressure needed to make espresso using a lever. This is the classic espresso maker and for experts with the strength and desire to make their perfect cup of coffee. If you have the time and patience to use a piston espresso maker, this may be the machine for you.
Semi-automatic espresso machines are by far the most popular and available because of their price and because they are easier to use. For non-experts, it’s also much easier to be consistent when making coffee. You still need to grind the beans and tamp the grounds yourself.
Fully-automatic makers add automatic control of water volume and automatic shut-off to the semi-automatic models. Users can basically step away from the espresso machine while brewing perform other tasks that are part of everyone’s daily lives.
Fully-automatic espresso makers or with built-in grinders are the ultimate in automatic espresso making. These espresso machines are truly one-button coffee makers that grind the beans, tamp the grounds, and extract the right amount of coffee all controlled with a built-in microprocessor. Many of these machines also allow you to make other types of coffee including lattes, cappuccinos, and café crema in addition to nearly unlimited shades of espresso. You could say that one of these professional machines is a latte machine, cappuccino machine, and cafe crema machine all rolled into one. One of these models might just be the best espresso machine.
If the best coffee is important to you, it may also say something about your appreciation for beauty and style. With that in mind, an espresso machines could be the best looking appliance in your kitchen. Manufacturers tend to build a lot of style and beauty into especially their top-of-the-line automated models. If style is important to you, you don’t have to settle for a boring machine. There are plenty of models with the style you’re looking for.
One of the problems with a semi-automatic espresso machine is that you need to have a grinder and grind the espresso beans yourself. The process of manually grinding, tamping, and putting the grounds in the filter is inherently a messy process. Fully-automatic models are cleaner in that the grinding, tamping, and filter loading happens completely inside the machine for a mess-free experience.
Semi-automatic models typically have small reservoirs that store enough water to make a few cups of coffee and have ports for you to add more water. Fully-automatic models may allow you to add water directly to the machine or may require that you connect the machine to a water source in a similar fashion to your refrigerator. Make sure you’re prepared for the water requirements of any machine you buy.
If you entertain frequently and your guests all like want the perfect cup of espresso, you’re going to need to choose a machine capable of handling the demand. A manual or even a budget semi-automatic machine is probably going to be too slow. Your guests will be “over it” long before you satisfy the last guest’s order.
You should most likely consider a professional model of fully-automatic machine for the ability to make just what they want, doing it consistently, and making it fast. It is also much more likely that you will be able to adjust the machine to meet the needs of your guests than with a manual or semi-automatic machine.
What about the mess? If you choose other than fully-automatic, count on making a big mess that may take up a lot of counter space during the process.
If you’re dressing to impress, your espresso maker will probably be evaluated for its style and how it complements your kitchen. Nothing impresses guests like the beauty of an espresso machine
Cappuccinos, Macchiatos, Americanos
If you need to make coffee based on espresso, in addition to espresso, you need a good frother. Many fully-automatic models have this feature and can support more than just making espresso.
We found a brand of espresso machines that is consistently rated the highest for quality, style, and performance and we decided to take a look at their top-of-the-line machine.
Read on to see if this Breville fully-automatic espresso machine is the best coffee maker for your needs!
Espresso Maker: Top Rated Professional Home Espresso Machine
Breville bills their Breville BES980XL Oracle Espresso Machine in Silver as the world’s first automatic manual espresso coffee maker. It combines the ease-of-use of an automated machine with the barista-quality of a manual machine. Its automatically grinds doses, tamps and delivers the perfect amount of coffee without mess into the filter basket in preparation for coffee making. For espresso-based drinks, it uses automatic milk texturing to produced your desired temperature and style to deliver from silky smooth lattes to creamy cappuccinos. A One Touch Americano feature even produces a double espresso and fills the cup with hot water like your favorite café. It’s expensive, but it’s one of the most highly-rated automatic machines available. Here’s what you need to know.
Beautiful and durable stainless steel construction design will complement any kitchen decor
Powerful 1800 watts heating capability
Automatic-manual design grinds, doses, tamps, and fills the filter basket with the perfect amount of coffee at the touch of a button giving you barista quality without the mess
Automatic milk-texturing helps produce perfect espresso-based drinks from lattes to cappuccino to Americanos
Patented triple heat system with dual Italian pumps has a dedicated espresso boiler with electronic PID (Proportional, Integral, Derivative) technology that extracts espresso shots to within +/- 2 degrees F of the selected temperature, a dedicated steam boiler with integrated Heat Exchanger that delivers instant, continuous steam on demand for simultaneous espresso extraction and milk texturing, and a heated group head that maintains thermal stability
The Oracle’s professional-grade Over Pressure Valve (OPV) limits max pressure throughout extraction to prevent bitter flavors and true low-pressure pre-infusion which gradually increases pressure providing a more even extraction
One Touch Americano puts water directly into the cup after extraction with 3 preset and 6 customizable settings
½ lb. removable bean hopper
Espresso shot clock duration display helps deliver more consistent extraction
Programmable Auto-Start preheats machine at your specified time and Auto Off turns off the machine after your specified duration
Programmable shot temperature from 190 to 205 degrees F with configurable C/F display
Programmable hands-free milk texturing with automatic purge
Large, removable 84 oz. water reservoir has integrated water filter and backlit level indicator
Onboard storage for cleaning kit
3 backlit LCD displays show current settings and programmable features
Handy work area down lights
Heated cup warming tray
Dedicated hot water outlet for Americanos and pre-heating cups
Removable drip tray with Empty Me! tray full indicator
Drop Down Swivel Foot lifts machine upwards for easy maneuverability
Fill Tank alert prevents a shot from being pulled without sufficient water in reservoir
Full 2-year repair warranty
The Breville Oracle measures 16-/4L x 15D x 18H inches and weighs in at 35 lbs.
1 – Mini grinds bin
1 – 58 mm full stainless steel portafilter
1 – 58 mm single wall filter basket
1 – 10 oz. stainless steel dual-wall espresso cup
1 – 16 oz. (480 ml) stainless steel milk jug
1 – Set steam wand spare parts
1 – Cleaning kit
1 – Water hardness test strip
1 – Water filter holder and water filter
CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON SERVICES LLC. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME.
Mark is a Systems Engineer with an advanced degree who has been trained to interface between non-engineers and engineers to design products that meet customer needs. He uses this training to help consumers make smart choices about the products they buy. He is a prolific writer who loves to research and provide helpful information about consumer products. He calls Virginia home along with his wife and three kids and loves all that it has to offer including the mountains, the beaches, and the historic sites. His hobbies include his three kids, NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, Premier League Soccer, UEFA Soccer, and MLS Soccer. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter.