• 1.2 Million Readers
  • 388 Reviews
  • 330 Articles
Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Should you prefer the superior taste, quality and morning kick which an espresso provides you with over a large, milky coffee, then an espresso machine is probably high on your wish list.

    They are one of the easiest ways to make shot coffee, which can also be used as a base for a wider variety of coffee drinks. Many include a milk frother and steamer, so the option is always there.

    Finding the best espresso maker for you depends on your budget, the space you have in your kitchen and how you like your espresso, as well as how ready you are to take the time to make it. We have rounded up ten of the best picks right here to make your choice a lot easier.

    You may also want to consider a coffee bean grinder if you want your drink to be as fresh as possible

    Our Top Picks

    The Best Home Espresso Machines

    Espresso Machine Buying Guide

    How To Find The Best Espresso Machine

    There are several factors to consider before you buy an espresso machine, including:

    • How many cups will you want to make at any one time?

    • Is milk frothing important to you?

    • How do you want to be able to control it?

    • Do you want to be able to use ESE pods?

    Some will make two cups at once, whereas others will make only one. There are some milk froth arms which are better and stronger than others, and easier to use.

    Controls vary between switches, buttons and levers, and there are both manual and automatic machines (with the former needing monitoring for water levels). Most modern coffee making appliances will take ESE pods, but a lot of traditional styles won’t.

    There are other factors too, such as price, the space available in your kitchen, the size of the water tank and even the colour and general style.

    FAQs

    Espresso machine or bean to cup?

    There are a lot of similarities, so it is easy to get confused. First of all, the main difference is the amount they pour. An espresso pours the strong base, and a bean to cup can usually pour up to Americano size.

    With an espresso machine, you use ground coffee or sometimes an ESE pod. Bean to cup machines have an internal grinder so you can use coffee beans, and they are ground just before use for a fresher taste.

    The majority of both have a milk frother and will make espressos, lattes, cappuccinos and macchiatos. It all boils down to how you like your coffee.

    Espresso machines are mostly dedicated to the job their name suggests. They focus on the base of the coffee, and the milk frother is almost like an added bonus which means you can turn your espresso into another form of coffee if you wish. The taste of the espresso is usually superior, and some will make two at a time.

    Bean to cup machines are more substantial when it comes to their milk frothing capabilities, as they’re designed to make milk-based drinks primarily. They’re usually easier to use too.

    Price-wise, a B2C machine will usually set you back at least £100 for one which is decent. Go over £500 for the best. A decent espresso machine however can be bought for £100.

    In the end, espresso machines are for anyone who really likes their coffee base to be quality.

    Are espresso machines easy to descale?

    Before you buy, you also need to think about the other items and equipment you’re going to need. One big item is descaler.

    Most can be descaled with dedicated tablets, following the manufacturer’s guidelines. Every appliance will be different, so there is no definitive answer, nor is there an absolute time scale in which this must be done.

    Some machines may need descaling every two weeks, whereas others may be every two months. It all depends on how frequently it is used and your water type. Most manufacturers usually recommend using bottled, filtered water and keeping on top of the cleaning of the machine to prevent any problems arising sooner than they should.

    What is an ESE Pod?

    ESE stands for Easy Serving Espresso pods. They have paper filter covers and are used in non-grinding espresso machines.

    Each has 7g of coffee packed inside, which is enough for a single serving. They were developed in 1989 to make espresso preparation at home seem a lot easier, so are great for anyone who doesn’t like mess and laborious cleaning.

    Not all espresso machines are compatible with ESE pods, and none commonly use plastic pods (such as those used with capsule machines).

    Do I need a coffee bean grinder?

    If you’re going to be using your espresso machine with ground coffee as opposed to ESE pods, you will either need a grinder for fresh coffee beans or will need to buy it freshly ground.

    The ideal grind is quite fine. This reduces the speed that water flows through the coffee, resulting in more pressure being needed and a stronger taste.

    A benefit of a grinder is that the beans will be fresh when they go in the machine, whereas pre-ground coffee has already started losing its taste. There may also be the option to change the grinding level if you want something a bit more coarse for fuller flavour.

    There is no need for a grinder, though. Pre-ground coffee is widely available in supermarkets and shops, from brands such as Illy, Lavazza, and Nescafe.

    Share

    Share on facebook
    Share on google
    Share on twitter
    Share on linkedin
    Share on pinterest
    Share on print
    Share on email