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Best Espresso Machines of 2022

By: Sheryl Cannes
Updated on: May 11, 2022

Most of us enjoy a warm, delicious latte or cappuccino each morning—espresso drinks are rich, comforting, and pack an intense coffee favor that jump-starts your day. But without an espresso machine at home, many of us have to rely on our favorite barista. But, a visit to your local coffee shop every day can become costly.

Maybe you’re under the impression that making espresso at home is a complicated and challenging process—in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many reputable brands now offer advanced machines that allow you to make the perfect shot of espresso with the push of a button. These machines also help you create beverages with a cleaner, bolder espresso flavor then what’s available at most coffee shops.

Most of these machines fit nicely into any budget, plus they are compact, streamlined, and easy to use. To help you find the right machine, we’ve reviewed 11 of the best espresso makers on the market. Plus, we’ve included a shopping guide and five simple recipes that will turn your kitchen into your own private café.

Best Espresso Machines of 2022

Best Overall Espresso Machine:
Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe With Aeroccino3 Milk Frother
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Photo: Nespresso.com

If you are looking for an easy to use espresso machine with the ability to make drip coffee, the Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe gives you the best of both worlds.

$249 from Nespresso.com
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Photo: Nespresso.com

Best Overall Espresso Machine: Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe with Aeroccino3
Best Value Espresso Machine: Nespresso Pixie
Best Touchscreen Espresso Machine: Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine
Best Manual Espresso Machine: De’Longhi Bar Pump EC155 
Best Espresso Machine With Attached Steam Wand: De’Longhi Dedica
Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine: La Pavoni Napolitana
Best Entry Level Espresso Machine: Gaggia Classic Pro Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
Best Compact Espresso Machine: Breville-Nespresso Essenza Mini
Best Espresso Machine With Built-in Grinder: Espressione Concierge Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
Best Capsule Espresso Machine: illy X7.1 iperEspresso Machine
Best Programmable Espresso Machine: Cuisinart EM-200

Best Touchscreen Espresso Machine
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Photo: Brevielle
Best Touchscreen Espresso Machine:
Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine
  • Eight personalized brewing and milk texture settings
  • Automatic or manual milk frothing wand
  • Comes in black or brushed stainless steel
$1000 from Breville.com

Although the Breville Barista Touch comes with a higher price point, the touchscreen and ease of use make this machine well worth the price. The built-in conical burr grinder delivers the perfect amount of grounds into the portafilter for each pre-programmed drink. Digital Temperature Control (PID) heats up in three seconds and provides the perfect water flow and temperature control for consistent shots each time.

The attached steam wand allows you to create silky microfoam manually or by using pre-set milk textures. When creating your drinks manually, you can save those settings to one of the eight personalized presets. The fine texture of the milk allows you to adjust the flavor of your espresso. If you prefer a semi-automatic machine, Breville’s Barista Express is similar to the Barista Touch but without a touchscreen.

Best Manual Espresso Machine
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Photo: Delonghi.com
Best Manual Espresso Machine:
De’Longhi Bar Pump EC155
  • Allows you to use grounds or ESE capsules
  • Attached steam wand to make the perfect cappuccino
  • Reasonable price
$100 from De’Longhi.com

De’Longhi is committed to helping you make handcrafted espresso right from home, and the Bar Pump EC155 is their most popular machine. This manual espresso machine is surprisingly easy to use and perfect for beginners who want a more hands-on experience. The De’Longhi EC155 allows you to brew both espresso pods and ground coffee. It doesn’t come with a built-in grinder, but with the great value of this machine, you can easily purchase a separate grinder, or you can use per-portioned ESE (Easy Serving Espresso) capsules.

With a 3-in-1 filter holder, you can decide between one shot or two. No matter which brewing method you choose, the dual-wall filters produce rich crema for both sizes. The attached steamer wand lets you manually mix steam and milk to build a texture based on your preferences.

“De’Longhi is committed to helping you make handcrafted espresso right from home, and the Bar Pump EC155 is their most popular machine. This manual espresso machine is surprisingly easy to use and perfect for beginners who want a more hands-on experience.”

Best Espresso Machine With Attached Steam Wand:
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Photo: Delonghi.com
Best Espresso Machine With Attached Steam Wand:
De’Longhi Dedica
  • Adjustable steam wand for warm milk and foam
  • Two programmable dosage buttons
  • Built-in cup warmer on top
$329 from De’Longhi.com

Like the De’Longhi EC155, the Dedica is also a manual espresso machine, but the Dedica comes with some more modern features. With 15 bars of pressure, this machine can generate the perfect pressure and water temperature for excellent espresso and steamed milk. Two programmable dosage buttons make portion control easy and straightforward, and three pressurized double-wall filters allow you to use either ESE Pods or grounds.

The attached steam wand is also different from the EC155. The Dedica wand has two functions—one for hot milk without foam and one for foam. A removable drip tray allows you to use both tall and short coffee cups, and the built-in warmer lets you heat your mug before use, ensuring the perfect temperature each time. In the back of the machine is a removable water reservoir with a level indicator. Coffee connoisseurs will love the customization of this machine and its sleek, compact design.

Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine:
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Photo: Amazon
Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine:
La Pavoni Napolitana
  • Stainless steel body
  • Attached grinder
  • Brass boiler for consistent flavor
$759 on Amazon

Initially founded in Milan, Italy, the name La Pavoni has become synonymous with great coffee. The Napolitana is their newest, most advanced machine—suitable for commercial use as well as in-home use. This machine is semi-automatic because while it does have a built-in conical burr grinder, the grounds must be placed in the portafilter manually. Although this may seem like a drawback, coffee lovers who prefer more control over the intensity of their espresso will enjoy this feature.

The Napolitana is made of polished stainless steel and has a very traditional look. Sixteen bars of pressure deliver ideal water pressure and temperature, and the brass boiler provides the perfect conditions for consistent flavor. A chrome steam wand forces more air into the milk for a more delicate, silkier foam. This machine also heats up in very little time, about 30 seconds, and holds 100 oz of water in the attached water tank.

Tip: The La Pavoni Napolitana is currently available for $759 on Amazon, with free shipping and a 1-year protection plan.

Best Entry Level Espresso Machine:
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Photo: Gaggia.com
Best Entry Level Espresso Machine:
Gaggia Classic Pro Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
  • Comes with pressurized and unpressurized baskets
  • Commercial steam wand
  • Universal Gaggia portafilter
$450 at various retailers

The Gaggia Classic Pro machine was designed and constructed in Italy. It’s a semi-automatic machine offering beginners a streamlined, yet hands-on approach to espresso making. The stainless steel housing has a clean look, and although it is taller than some of the other machines on this list, it does have a small footprint. For convenience, the water tank can be filled from the top or by removing the base. The control panel has three buttons—power, brew, and steam, and lights up when the machine is ready to brew.

When you are ready to steam milk, the side valve lets you control the pressure of the steam. The Gaggia Classic Pro comes with a commercial steam wand to produce velvety, rich foam, or warm milk. Although it requires a little more skill than an automatic milk frother, the texture is typically much smoother.

The Gaggia portafilter can be used on any Gaggia machine and allows you to use pressurized and unpressurized baskets. You can also warm your coffee cup before brewing with the built-in cup warmer.

“The Gaggia Classic Pro comes with a commercial steam wand that produces velvety rich foam or warm milk. Although it requires a little more skill than an automatic milk frother, the texture is typically much smoother.”

Best Compact Espresso Machine:
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Photo: Breville
Best Compact Espresso Machine:
Breville-Nespresso Essenza Mini
  • Smallest machine on the market
  • Two pre-set buttons for short or double shots
  • Includes automatic milk frother
$150 from Breville.com

For their smallest machine yet, Nespresso teamed up with Breville to create the Essenza Mini. This machine is perfect for frequent travelers who prefer espresso drinks but don’t want to rely on to-go coffee when traveling. It’s easily portable and lightweight—without compromising espresso quality. Despite its small size, it has 19 bars of pressure for optimal flavor. Unlike the Nespresso Pixie and VertuoPlus, the Essenza does not include a lungo (double shot) setting—instead, it comes with two pre-programmed buttons for .84 oz or 1.35 oz shots. This machine may not be ideal if you prefer higher volume beverages such as Americanos.

The included Aeroccino3 automatic milk frother lets you easily create a quick latte with a perfectly balanced milk texture. The Essenza has a removable drip tray and a used capsule container that holds six capsules. With Nespresso’s recycling program, you can mail used pods back to the company for responsible recycling.

Best Espresso Machine With Built-in Grinder:
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Photo: Amazon
Best Espresso Machine With Built-in Grinder:
Espressione Concierge Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
  • Built-in grinder with 5 fineness settings
  • Can be used with Espressione’s capsules or grounds
  • Automatic descaling option
$480.99 from Amazon

The Espressione Concierge is a fully automatic espresso machine that grinds coffee beans through the top and packs them directly into the machine for you. The built-in grinder comes with five different fineness settings, which you can select based on your preferences. Plus, you can also use one of Espressione’s pre-portioned ESE pods with this machine. Many built-in grinders tend to be loud, but the Concierge has a very low volume grinder, around 70 dB. This machine is fully automatic because while it allows you to use both grounds and capsules, there is no portafilter—instead, this machine grinds, and temps down for you.

Using the one-touch control panel, you can select from two cup sizes—a double and a short. There is also a hot water dispenser for building Americanos. This machine has 19 bars of power and a Thermoblock heating system to regulate brewing and create the perfect amount of crema. With the adjustable steam nozzle, you can create both steamed milk and froth.

Tip: The Espressione Concierge is currently available for 20 percent off on Amazon. Instead of the original $599, you pay $480.99, including free shipping.

Best Capsule Espresso Machine
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Photo: Illy.com
Best Capsule Espresso Machine:
illy X7.1 iperEspresso Machine
  • 1960s vintage look
  • Pannarello commercial steam wand
  • Uses illy’s pre-portioned iperEspresso capsules
$295 from illy.com

Started by Francesco Illy in Trista, Italy, in 1933, illy coffee is now available in hotels, cafés, and restaurants around the world. Their iperEspresso Machine is modeled after the iconic Italian espresso machines of the 1960s. It has a vintage look and comes in red, black, and white. This machine lets you make traditional espresso in the comfort of your home, and their patented capsules system makes the process easy and convenient.

This machine uses illy’s iperEspresso capsules—pre-portioned grounds that provide ideal intensity and flavor. With illy’s capsules, you simply place one in the portafilter, lock it in place, select one of two pre-programmed volume settings, and press the start button. The machine heats up in 50 seconds and delivers espresso with a rich, bold taste. A steam button heats the Pannarello steam wand so you can produce the ideal milk texture for lattes and cappuccinos.

“illy’s iperEspresso Machine was modeled after the iconic Italian espresso machines of the 1960s. It has a vintage look and comes in red, black, and white. This machine lets you make traditional espresso in the comfort of your home, and their patented capsules system makes the process easy and convenient.”

Best Programmable Espresso Machine
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Photo: Cuisinart.com
Best Programmable Espresso Machine:
Cuisinart EM-200
  • 15 bars of pressure for consistent crema
  • 3-year warranty included
  • Unique programmable option for pre-set servings
$219 - $180 at various retailers

Cuisinart is a popular US brand that has been creating high-quality kitchen appliances since the 1970s. In addition to their drip coffee makers, they now offer a 15 bar espresso machine. Their EM-200 is capable of producing high-quality espresso by using either ESE capsules or ground coffee. It comes with an automatic 1 and 2 shot setting, or you can program your preferred portion size. It also has a hot water feature perfect for making tea.

The removable water tank holds 64 oz of water, which is about double the amount of most compact machines. It includes a built-in cup warmer, frothing wand, and removable drip tray, which is ideal when cleaning the machine. The Cuisinart espresso machine also comes with two essential accessories—a stainless steel frothing cup and a tamping tool with measuring spoon attachment. The EM-200 is also reasonably priced. It is currently available for $165 on Amazon, and this price includes free shipping and a 3-year warranty.

What is the Difference Between Coffee and Espresso?

CoffeeEspresso 
Regular coffee, also called “drip coffee,” is produced by running hot water through medium-ground coffee beans. One cup takes about six to eight minutes to brew.

Regular coffee can be made with either a standard drip machine or with a capsule system, such as a Keurig machine.

Espresso is produced by running hot water through finely-ground coffee beans. It uses less water than drip coffee and requires at least 9 bars of pressure. A double shot of espresso takes about 30 seconds to produce and results in a more vibrant and creamier product than regular coffee. Espresso has more caffeine per fluid ounce than drip coffee–1 shot of espresso (about 1 oz) has roughly 63 mg of caffeine. Drip coffee has about 100 mg per 8 oz.

Espresso can be made without a machine such as on a stovetop. But according to the Italian Espresso National Institute, stovetop espresso is not true espresso. To be considered real espresso, there must be at least 9 bars of pressure.

What Makes a Good Espresso Machine?

There’s a wide range of espresso machines on the market. From semi-automatic machines to capsule machines, trying to decide which is right for you may feel a little overwhelming. It is best to start by asking yourself how involved you want to be in the process. To give you a clear picture of each style and the work that goes into using each one, we have broken down the most common varieties below.

Manual MachinesThese machines are designed for users who want a completely hands-on experience. With a manual machine, you control each step of the process. Espresso grounds are first scooped into the portafilter and tamped down. The portafilter is secured to the brewing head, and then a lever is pulled to push water through the grounds. With a manual machine, you will need a grinder, or you can purchase pre-ground espresso.
Semi-Automatic MachinesSemi-automatic machines are similar to manual machines. But a button or a dial forces pressure through the grounds on a semi-automatic machine.
Automatic MachinesThese machines produce more consistency in espresso quality. They operate with a button similar to a semi-automatic machine, but automatic machines usually allow you to control the size of the espresso shot with button control.
Super-Automatic These machines operate like an automatic machine, but on most super-automatic machines a portafilter is not included. Instead, these machines pack and tamp down espresso grounds for you.
Capsule MachinesCapsule machines use either capsules or pods instead of ground coffee. Capsule machines may be either semi-automatic, automatic, or super-automatic. Some machines may also give you the option of using either capsules or ground coffee.

* Note on capsules: Some brands produce their own capsules or pods, and their machines can only be used with their specific brand. Other machines can use universal ESE (Easy Serving Espresso) pods/capsules.

Five Easy Espresso Recipes

To help you become your own barista, we’ve included five simple espresso-based beverage recipes. These recipes are standard and used by many different coffee chains. Having the ability to make your own espresso at home is not only convenient, but it’s also fun. Once you become more familiar with the espresso-making process, you can always adjust the recipes to your taste.

    • Americano

An Americano is one part espresso and two parts hot water. To create this beverage, brew a double shot of espresso (about 2 oz) and add hot water (about 4 oz).

    • Cappuccino 

A cappuccino, (“little cap” in Italian) is equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. To create your cappuccino, brew one shot of espresso (about 1 oz), then add in 1 oz of steamed milk and stir. Then top the beverage with 1 oz of milk foam.

    • Café Latte 

Different from a cappuccino, café lattes have more milk and more volume. The Italian translation is simply “coffee with milk.” To create this drink, brew a shot of espresso (about 1 oz). Then add 3 to 4 oz of steamed milk—reserving the milk foam for the top of the beverage. The final product should be about three-fourths milk.

    • Café Mocha

A café mocha is a café latte with chocolate. To make this drink, follow the steps for a café latte above. Before adding your milk foam on top, stir in about 0.5 oz (3 Tbsp) of your preferred chocolate flavoring.

    • Macchiato 

Unlike cappuccinos and café lattes, macchiatos have two shots of espresso. Macchiato translates to “marked” or “stained” in Italian because, with this drink, you start with steamed milk. When you pour in the espresso, the liquid becomes “stained.” To make this drink, brew two shots of espresso (about 2 oz). Then, add in about 1 to 2 tsp of steamed milk and top with remaining milk froth.

With such a wide variety of quality espresso machines available, you are sure to find one that works for you. For those who want to create high-quality espresso in seconds with very few steps, one of the Nespresso capsule machines, the VertuoPlus, Pixie, or Essenza, would be a great choice. If you want the feel of traditional espresso-making but with more convenience, the illy X7.1 iperEspresso Machine or the Gaggia Classic Pro are excellent for beginners. Lastly, if you are more experienced with espresso-making and want to upgrade to a more hands-on machine, the De’Longhi EC155 or Dedica would be a perfect fit for you.

No matter which option you choose, remember to enjoy the espresso making process. After all, the look and smell of brewing espresso can be just as invigorating as its rich, bold flavor.

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