For lovers of real coffee, a home espresso machine is pretty much a necessity. From sleek ultra-modern models in brushed stainless steel to retro beauties in mouth-watering colours, it’s a buyer’s market.
Design is paramount: some favour a 50s Italian look, all crome and jewel-bright, while others prefer a more pared-down aesthetic. Both tastes are catered to here, with an emphasis on quality, barista-standard coffee. Whether you aspire to create your own latte art or simply want to savour a refined cup of cappuccino in the comfort of home, there’s an option for you. Some models are real statement pieces, with the bulk to match, while others are more suited to smaller living spaces.
One thing that’s not compromised on in any of these models though is the result: that rich, intense Italian espresso with signature crema. All of the models listed below are available on Amazon.com, and makes range from well-known names such as Francis Francis and De’Longhi to less celebrated (but no less excellent) brands such as Capresso.
This vintage-look espresso maker fuses Italian design with vibrant colour and seemless coffee-brewing technology to create a coffee maker that’s a joy to behold. It includes a milk-frother and extra-big water reservoir to make those endless refills, and has a very simple 3-button interface.
Price: $125 (view on Amazon.com)
All sleek crome and retro Italian appeal, this machine is a high-end beauty, and claims to be the quickest, easiest and cleanest way to make professional-quality cappuccino and espresso at home. The water tank holds 1 gallon of water too, menaing 70 cups of coffee between refills.
Price: $575 (view on Amazon.com)
For a break from the retro look, this smooth silver machine is indeed a modern classic. No, it’s not cheap, but it comes from one of the most respected Italian names in the espresso industy, and it’s a sturdy, reliable machine, creating commercial-grade coffee. It uses both ground coffee and pods, too.
Price: $387.55 (view on Amazon.com)
For the very fancy and well-stocked kitchen, look to the brand that’s better known for its versatile mixing machines. The frothing pitcher allows you to create latte art, while the dual independent boilers mean you can steam milk and brew exquisite espresso at the same time. The eye-catching candy red shade makes this machine a real winner, too.
Price: $999 (view on Amazon.com)
For something more appropriate for the tiny spaces urban dwellers often have to live in, this dinky espresso machine boasts an Aeroccino Plus milk frother, which dispenses both hot and cold milk for iced lattes and hot drinks. The whole brewing process is quick and clean, with the resulting coffee of a very high standard.
Price: $199 (view on Amazon.com)
Another machine for fans of retro design, specialist espresso machine makers Francis Francis have created a machine that makes a big visual impact, while not skimping on the quality of coffee it produces (this one only works with Illy pods). It requires minimal maintenance and has a one-touch brewing system.
Price: $541.58 (view on Amazon.com)
This isn’t a coffee machine, it’s a “system” (as well it should be – check the price tag). German-engineered, with automatic cleaning, a one-touch function and a dedicated hot water spout, this Miele is unquestionably a high-end product that produces professional-quality coffee at home. Different cafe-style drinks can be selected from the electronic menu- this is definitely a machine for those with refined tastes.
Price: $2,499 (view on Amazon.com)
This “University”-level coffee machine offers a fully programmable coffee menu which lets you decide exactly how much water, milk, and coffee goes into every cup. What you’re really spending your money on though is a solid piece of Italian-designed coffee gold. The ceramic burr grinder gets the best from your beans, and it can be programmed to make up to 10 cups at once. Perfect for showing off at dinner parties.
Price: $1,663.56 (view on Amazon.com)
Proving that the best needn’t be the most expensive, this Breville’s integrated burr grinder means that you can go from beans to espresso in under a minute. With gauges, dials and controls on the front of the machine, it can seem intimidatingly technical, but its range of options and controls allow for full flexibility for the coffee connoisseur.
Price: $599.95 (view on Amazon.com)
While the brand is not as well known as some, this Capresso machine is extremely popular with consumers. While the coffee quality is of barista standard, this machine is simple and humble in both its appearance and operation, which could be the secret of its popularity. It’s ideal for coffee-lovers looking to improve their skill level while using a commercial-grade machine.
Price: $213.60 (view on Amazon.com)
While we can’t promise that this machine will be able to cryptically reveal your future as it brews your morning coffee, its futuristic silver design should please. The Oracle offers a one-touch Americano and claims to be the world’s first “automatic manual espresso machine”, offering the best of both systems while delivering excellent coffee.
Price: $1,998.95 (view on Amazon.com)
Home eletronics giant Phillips brings its offering to the table with this stainless steel espresso machine. Including a whisper-quiet, integrated ceramic grinder, it promises freshness and quality from bean to cup. The Panarello wand and steamer offer the option of instantly hot and frothy milk, and Philips estimate that each cup of cappuccino or americano brewed with their machine costs just $0.14, representing a big saving on chainstore coffee (after the initial investment, of course).
Price: $1,059 (view on Amazon.com)
If you’re a fan of clean modern lines, this manual espresso machine can’t be beaten for portability or aesthetics. The espressos it makes are strong and easily comparable to those made on more expensive (and complicated) machines, and it uses a unique brewing system not shared by other coffee makers. It’s a real kitchen contender, and available in silver, fuschia, and blue, making a nice break from the endless reds and blacks of competitors.
Price: $199.99 (view on Amazon.com)
Another “system”, this De’Longhi Latissima both promises and delivers. Simple yet sleek, it looks good in any modern kitchen and heats its own milk in the front. Along with other capsule machines, it’s exceptionally quick, clean, and efficient, while producing really good coffee. This brand is extremely popular in Europe and it’s easy to see why: excellent cappuccinos and lattes at the touch of just one button.
Price: $394.69 (view on Amazon.com)
For a less intimidating (but still reassuringly scientific) espresso machine, try this KRUPS model. More accessible in price, it may not have a fancy Italian name, but it doesn’t limit your coffee options as it takes ground coffee, soft and E.S.E. pods. It boasts the usual milk-frothing nozzle, and users rave about the precise tamp system. It also looks far more upscale than its relatively humble price tag would suggest.
Price: $212.02 (view on Amazon.com)
A beautiful design that wouldn’t look out of place in a sidewalk cafe in the movie Roman Holiday, this unabashedly retro design from Italian espresso masters De’Longhi comes in a rainbow of colours from burnt ombre to aquamarine: there are 8 colour options in total. The machine is solidly built, simple to use, and creates an intense espresso with excellent crema every time. It takes up less counter space than its more bulky competitors, and looks fabulous while doing it.
Price: $230.50 (view on Amazon.com)
The Infuser’s name may sound a little threatening, but make no mistake, this is a great espresso machine. It comes in 3 colour options (cranberry red being a standout favourite). There’s a handy cup warmer on top, and The Infuser comes with a range of programmable and automatic features, allowing maximum customisability. It’s also got a dedicated hot water spout, steam wand, and pressure gauge to check your espresso’s not being under- or over-extracted. Bellissima.
Price: $489.88 (view on Amazon.com)
The range of options given above should provide an excellent starting point for any coffee enthusiast looking to bring the cafe experience home, whether you’re looking for a manual Italian model or fully automatic machine that will give up the goods and take you from bean to cup in under a minute. An elegant Italian machine will look good in just about any kitchen environment, and the smaller De’Longhi models are perfect for smaller urban kitchens, while a larger machine such as The Infuser will take pride of place in any country cottage.
While a decent espresso machine undoubtedly comes at a price, the money spent now should pay dividends in the future. Anyone who grabs a daily coffee (or 3) from coffee shops will know how expensive a bean habit is, and of course, great design is truly timeless. Complete your kitchen with a quality espresso machine and enjoy the benefits every morning (and afternoon, and evening…).
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