Addicted to that morning latte from your favorite coffee shop? Well, you can recreate those coffee drinks at home whenever the urge strikes. There is, however, one device you'll need: An espresso machine. They can be a little intimidating at first, but with a little trial and error, you can be your very own barista. Here, we've compiled a list of espresso machines for both beginners and experts alike so you can find the machine that's right for you.
The Breville Bambino Plus is a compact yet capable espresso machine that's perfect for beginners. The water heats up quickly and the automatic steam wand adjusts the milk temperature and texture to your tastes.
This reviewer on Amazon absolutely loves it: "Oh My Goodness (that needed to be spelled out)! My headline said 'Must have but Beware'. The issue is once you get this espresso machine and learn how to do it just right, you will never be able to drink just coffee again. Plain coffee is just too nasty compared to the wonderful beverage that comes from this espresso machine. Also to go stand in line to get a cappuccino or latte will no longer be something you will be willing to do. So just know if you get this machine you will never be the same."
For those who want an all-in-one machine, the Breville Barista Express is for you. It has a built-in grinder! You can grind coffee directly into the portafilter for maximum freshness and in perfectly measured doses.
This machine is so good, even baristas love it! "After working as a barista for 4 years, the thought of leaving the cafe to go to grad school was upsetting. As an early birthday gift slash cafe departing gift, my mom purchased this machine for me. It does everything I need it to in order to prepare any coffee shop drink! Perfect single or double espresso (even coming with dual wall filters to give decent espresso from preground coffee), steam wand with acceptable pressure and good heat for texturing milk (latte art is a must for me and this machine allows me to achieve it 7/10 times) [...] I really love this machine and after 4 times daily use for the last 2 months, I have yet to need to clean it with the tablets provided due to all of the self cleaning the machine does. Water is a great temp for brewing and steaming, and it’s not piping hot but plenty hot enough from the water spigot. This machine is kind of a 'why on earth not?' kind of deal."
The De'Longhi Stilosa is a manual espresso machine that won't take up space in your kitchen and it's affordable as well. It has a manual milk frother and the stainless steel boiler is robust and durable.
A former Starbucks barista says this is a great budget espresso machine: "It's a fantastic little machine that produces great tasting espresso, awesome steamed milk, and saves you a ton of money and time. Get it! Super easy to use! Not like the industrial ones I used to use when I worked at Starbucks but still super easy and makes great tasting espresso. I got this as a Christmas present and have been using almost every day for about a month now. I feel I have finally perfected making a great latte with this."
The Gaggia is for espresso enthusiasts who want to take their love for coffee to the next level. You can tinker with it to your heart's content to get the coffee just how you like it. This is a pro-level machine for the home.
"If you are serious but not obsessed with your espresso, this is absolutely the machine for you!" said one five-star review. "Over the years I’ve spent more than this machine’s cost, all while looking for that perfect prosumer espresso machine. Do I wish I would had just bitten the bullet all along? U betcha! The Gaggia classic lives up to its hype and more! I have to warn you tho... once you dial it in and learn how to brew a more than decent espresso shot, visiting Starbucks will become a thing of the past!"
Want to take your espresso to the next level? Then consider the Rancilio Silvia, a machine designed for those who think of espresso as a hobby and a passion. It's commercial-grade but it's compact enough for the home kitchen.
One former barista vouches for it: "I worked at a coffee chain in college so I had a minimal passing familiarity with making espresso. That's all the training I needed, and even if you never made espresso before, it's not hard (if I can do it, you can do it). This machine is fantastic and easy to use. Quality of coffee is top-notch with a little practice — you could do worse with a cheaper machine, or you could pay more for something more automatic, but you won't get better espresso. You will want to get a good burr grinder. When I'm super lazy, I make a generous double shot (americano-esque) and pour it into microwaved milk, and it's a killer cafe au lait in ~3 minutes — including the time to warm up the machine. When I want straight-up espresso I'm a little more careful about everything (length of the shot ~17 seconds, blah blah), and this machine works beautifully."
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
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