The Best Espresso Machines in 2017

The 10 Best Espresso Machines in 2017

1. Breville BES920XL
2. DeLonghi Magnifica S ECAM23210B
3. Rancilio Silvia
4. Gaggia Classic
5. DeLonghi Nespresso Lattissima Plus
6. Jura Ena Micro 1
7. Krups EA8250
8. KitchenAid Nespresso
9. Nespresso Pixie D60
10. Mr. Coffee Café Barista ECMP1000

If you enjoy the thrilling taste of espresso or the delightful flavor of capuccino you should definitely get an espresso machine. Due to the complexity of these machines, their price tag is higher than a normal drip coffee maker. Some models can exceed the $1,000 mark and can break the bank easily. However being a daily espresso drinker means that you spend a lot of cash at local coffee shops on a regular basis.

Investing in a high quality espresso machine you can have the convenience of making coffee whenever you like and save a lot of money in the long term. Choosing a bad machine can give you a lot of headache due to unreliable or poor performance. On the other hand a highly complicated model may not be suitable for you. For this reason we ran an extensive list with reviews of the Best Espresso Machines in 2017 for you!

1. Breville BES920XL

stainless steel silver metal super automatic commercial espresso machine
Build Quality 100%
Functions 100%
Ease of Use 90%
Coffee Taste 100%
Advantages:
  • Absolute Speed
  • Solid Built
  • Fully Adjustable
  • Double Boiler

Disadvantages:
  • Large Size

Overview

Breville has done a lot of research and finally presents one of the best semi automatic espresso machines for home. The Breville BES920XL is a very different looking than classic Italian espresso machine. It is based on the previous 900 model, but has improved significantly. Completely housed in a stainless steel case, it features a dual boiler system with PID temperature control. The whole machine can be completely descaled while the steam boiler temperature can be adjusted from 265°F to 285°F.

Many other innovations have been added such as the Over Pressure Valve (OPV), the water hardness test strip and the LCD assisted descale procedure. Its water tank has a large 84 oz. capacity, which can be filled up from the top or by removing it from the back side. A passively heated cup warmer has been added on top that is capable to hold many cups due to its wide surface.

Testing

With the help of PID brew temperatures you can precisely adjust the temperature from 190°F to 205°F. Furthermore you can adjust the time and pressure of Pre-Infusion, while checking the current pressure with the installed pressure meter. Everything can be regulated from the top mounted control panel, with the backlid LCD screen, performing simple procedures. If that wasn’t enough Breville takes temperature stability to another level with a heated group head. That means extra precise brew tops and faster warmup.

It is not common for dual boiler machines to have programmable shot volumes, but BES920XL is an exception with presets for singles and doubles. These can be programmed by volume or time or go completely manual by a dedicated selection. The pressure gauge will help you dial in the grind temperature and pre-infusion settings by providing the right pressure at the brew head. Here comes the OPV valve, which will release excessive pressure and avoid bitter shots. In addition a 3 way solenoid valve releives pressure at the end of each brewing cycle, so you have an easy to knock coffee puck.

Utilizing the advantage of dual boiler you are able to steam and brew at the same time. The pannarello wand is very flexible as it is attached on a spherical base and is controlled by means of a lever. It is worth to mention that in most espresso machines the hot water comes from the steam wand. But in this one there is an extra outlet solely for this purpose.

Last but not least it is supplied with a lot of accessories. For starters includes a commercial grade stainless steel 58mm portafilter with 4 filter baskets, ranging from single to double and pressurized to non pressurized. On top of that you get a metal tamper that holds by magnet underneath the machine. The removable metal drip tray will reveal a compartment where you can save even more accessories, such as the steam cleaning tools. Notably the cleaning function is fully automatic and in fact it does the back flushing cycle with the tablet efortlessly.

Verdict

This espresso machine is absolutely a top performer built like a tank with a truly professional character. It may look expensive at first sight but is a lot cheaper than similar double boiler machines with PID and has a lot more features. Thanks to its double boiler you can prepare a capuccino at the shortest amount of time without sacrificing its precious taste. The only drawback is the large size but this is acceptable assuming the built in conveniencies. Just match it up with an equal quality coffee grinder such as the Mazzer Mini and you have a clear winning combo.

2. DeLonghi Magnifica S ECAM23210B

super automatic black silver espresso machine with coffee grinder
Build Quality 95%
Functions 95%
Ease of Use 85%
Coffee Taste 95%
Advantages:
  • Compact
  • All in One
  • Noiseless
  • Excellent Coffee

Disadvantages:
  • Slightly Complicated

Overview

Very compact but incredibly powerful, the Delonghi Magnifica S ECAM23210B sets a new reference point for fully automatic espresso machines. Armed with 4 pre set coffee outputs on a stylish board at front provides precise control of the amount of volume. If that’s not enough, one more custom setting can be programmed for your personal preference. On top there is a 5 oz. bean hopper with 7 settings for the incorporated grinder while next to it sits a bypass entrance. From there you can put into ready ground coffee of maximum one scoop size. Closely there is a deluxe cup heater that will keep your cups warm before brewing.

Removing the stainless steel drip tray you will find the coffee bin. A typical pannarello wand at front left, which is partly removable for cleaning, will help you prepare your latte milk. There is an option to pour out steam or just hot water, by pressing the steam button or not respectively. Equipped with a removable massive 60 oz. transparent water tank makes use of its built in filter to ensure a clean brewing. Interestingly the  temperature of the coffee can be adjusted also and a useful econo mode will keep the power consumption 77% down. Another amusing setting can adjust the strength of the coffee taste in 5 steps, virtually adjusting the amount of grinding beans.

Testing

The programmable display is kind of complicated and the first period you may need to use the manual. So to make a cappuccino you follow these steps. After powering up the unit from the main switch at the back you move to front panel.

First you should froth your milk by means of the wand. Remember to press the steam button to not get hot water instead. In a few seconds under the steam the milk is ready to go. Afterwards put the beans into the hopper and select the coffee strength and volume. Then just press the main button for grinding and brewing process. Rapidly you will have your fresh brewed espresso which you can mix with the milk for a creamy cappuccino.

Amazingly tasty espresso, all made by one super automatic machine, as expected by your finest coffee shop. The output was relatively rapid at almost 30 seconds including the grinding. At the same time it was noiseless and the coffee had the right temperature. One thing that’s really handy is the adjustable spout to suit any height of cup or glass. Furthermore the maintance is straightforward with the help of control panel that gives out a lot of info. It can tell you when the water reservoir is empty, when the coffee tank is full or even when you need to descale the unit.

One piece of note for super automatics is to avoid using oily beans if you want trouble free operation. Also keep in mind that for getting the best taste you should allow the machine to make 4-5 coffees at first time. We also observed that the sharp angle of the hopper makes it impossible sometimes for the beans to go down, so it may need some push. Another idea is to overfill but this would sacrifice bean freshness.

Verdict

A sleek designed super machine with small footprint that will be a powerhouse in your daily espresso making. Super automated with a lot of adjustments can fit almost every need. In case you are moving up from a cheap Keurig and used to easily made French press you may find it complex at first. This is a barista level coffee maker that takes some time to find the optimum adjustment, but the result will pay you off absolutely.

3. Rancilio Silvia

silver stainless steel espresso machine with portafilter, cup warmer and pannarello wand
Build Quality 100%
Functions 90%
Ease of Use 75%
Coffee Taste 100%
Advantages:
  • Reliable
  • Professional
  • Quiet
  • Powerful

Disadvantages:
  • Single Boiler

Overview

Choosing between style and performance is not the case with Rancilio Silvia. The Italian manufacturer, famous for its professional line of espresso machines, has managed to combine durability and flair for home use. Built in a stainless steel rugged housing and drip tray features three way solenoid valves, which release pressure from the brew water at the end of extraction. This way internal pressure on other parts is reduced and increases reliability.

A brass made thermal insulated boiler of 12 oz, using internal heater, ensures significant energy saving. Meanwhile an auto power off function reduces even more the already low standby consumption.A commercial grade brass head increases thermal stability and accepts a 58mm professional type portafilter. The latter is made of chrome plated brass and comes with a single and double shot basket.

At the front left are housed three switches. The first is for brewing while the second for dispensing hot water out of the steam arm. The third one is a bit tricky though. You can press it when you want the boiler to reach steam temperature. Because this machine has only one boiler you can’t do simultaneously brewing and steaming as they should be at different temperatures (around 200 F° for brewing and 280 F° for steaming).

Last but not least the rubber wrapped knob at right in conjuction with the commercial steel wand at side, serves as a froth regulator. This is very practical for professional steaming but keep in mind that needs a lot of practice to have a proper result.

Testing

After grinding our beans with our favorite Baratza Sette 270W we were ready for setting up. Pressing the steam button we prepared the boiler for steamed output. Initially you should release the trapped water in tube by turning the knob for a moment in another cup. Very powerful at steaming it enables you to prepare the milk pretty fast. When ready just press the steaming switch off and move to coffee department.

Now because the boiler water is very hot (~280 F°) you should first cool it down for brewing (~200 F°). There are two ways to achieve this. You can simply wait for it or force it by using the steamer. This way the hot water will get out much faster and cool water from tank will enter. Just put a cup under the steamer hand again. At first you it will enter steam and then water will follow. Continue until the thermostat indicator turns on and then turn off the steam switch. This way you can also clean the arm and warm the cup for a better cup of coffee. When the thermostat goes off again you are ready to brew.

Inserting the portafilter in place has an absolute professional feeling giving a firmy grip. We brewed 2.5 oz. of coffee in about 25 seconds. The coffee starts pouring into the cup steady and quietly. When finished we simply added our premade milk and did some kind of art. The result was delicious with a full of body taste without any chemical aftertaste like many other lower priced models. Making a cappuccino could not be any better!

Verdict

The industrial quality of Silvia alone is a great indicator of the expected result, which did not dissapointed at all. On the contrary we felt the authentic sense of making an espresso in a professional manner. Of course the high power steaming will be in favor of those who produce many milk based drinks and not such a big hit for non milk lovers.

The only aspect that you may find frustrating as a beginner, is the lack of a second boiler which makes things a bit complicated. Our advice is to give it a shot and just practice. Overtime you will have the mastery of it and could open the way for your barista career!

4. Gaggia Classic

silver metal espresso machine single boiler with portafilter
Build Quality 95%
Functions 85%
Ease of Use 80%
Coffee Taste 100%
Advantages:
  • Quick
  • Reliable
  • Solid
  • Commercial Grade

Disadvantages:
  • Short Cup Clearance
  • Tricky Water Tank Cleaning

Overview

As the steam free espresso machine inventor back in 1938, Gaggia has made its name synonym of coffee perfection. Born and raised in Italy, for almost 80 years, continues its tradition and equips cafés and homes with first class espresso machines. The Gaggia Classic model is consider one of the entry models built out of stainless steel case but comes with many professional traits. In fact the Classic is a true ‘classic’ as it is already in market for almost 30 years and trusted by a great amount of faithful users.

For starters a heavy coffee filter made of chromed brass ensures consistent coffee temperature. Matched with the 15 bars pressure you will get the optimum performance for creating the best espresso. A commercial grade milk frother or ‘Panarello’ in barista’s vocabulary can be easily rotated for making with flexibility Cappuccino or Latte Macchiato. On its durability is added a stainless steel boiler, three way solenoid valves and a 58mm portafilter. The latter comes with single and double shot basket plus pressurised baskets, which can be used for pre ground coffee.

Aesthetically pleasing design with an 72 oz. transparent water reservoir for visible indication of water level, which is removable from front. Just three switches on front are enough to control this artisan. From left to right you see the main power, the steam and the brew switch which also houses the thermostat indicator. At the right side there is the steam knob for steaming or for dispensing hot water.

Testing

We performed two kinds of tests with the supplied portafilter and baskets. The accompanying pressurised baskets were an opportunity to check them. We just inserted the pin in the bottom of portafilter and then coupled the pressurised basket into it. Subsequently we inserted the pod filter and attached all together straight into the machine’s sturdy socket. After putting the espresso cup under the portafilter we pressed the brew switch. In about 20 seconds the cup filled up with almost one ounce of fresh coffee.

In case you want to brew your own fresh ground you should use the proffesional double shot basket without the pin. After putting in the ground you press firmly with the tamper and attach the portafilter as before. The output was even faster with this method. We got almost 2 oz. in 20 seconds. If the output is slower than expected try to grind coarser to avoid bitterness also. If it is faster try to grind finer or use a pressurised filter.

Steaming is straightforward with Gaggia Classic too. You just press the steaming switch and wait for the indicator at right to turn on, meaning that the optimum temperature has been reached. Thanks to its 1050 watt heater, the water gets from cold to hot in only 30 seconds that is more than acceptable. Now, with the help of the adjusting knob and the auto frothing wand we were ready to froth. Soon we had with ease our fully creamed milk. Notably Classic’s high power along with the compact boiler of 3.5 oz. allowed for very low recovery time after steaming.

Nevertheless some weaknesses were frustrating. First the ‘Panarello’ wand is not so flexible at finessing the froth as it lacks adjustment. Furthermore, although it is perfect for a normal cup of espresso, if you prefer larger cups you may find it a little space limited. You may need to remove drip tray, which will give you almost 2 inches of added clearance. Finally if you need to clean the water tank you will have to remove the drip tray and a stainless drain tube, something not that convenient.

Verdict

Built as a tank with several commercial grade parts and very suitable for novices. The long history of this model proves its success and continuously evolves with a strong support from the manufacturer. At its latest edition it has little to envy of higher priced competitors but has potential for improvement. Undeniably not the best espresso machine around but hard to disregard. Match it up with its brother Gaggia 8002 MDF burr grinder and you will have an absolute winning combo!

5. DeLonghi Nespresso Lattissima Plus

mat black red semi automatic espresso machine with milk frother
Build Quality 90%
Functions 90%
Ease of Use 85%
Coffee Taste 90%
Advantages:
  • All in One
  • Convenient
  • Compact
  • Classy Cappuccino and Macchiato

Disadvantages:
  • Little Dripping after Cleaning
  • Tiny Water Reservoir
  • Tiny Coffee Pods

Overview

Nespresso has really raised up the bar with this machine. The Delonghi Nespresso Lattissima Plus it comes with 2 patented systems that makes things a lot more convenient. One of them is the single touch hot milk system with which you can easily prepare latte or cappuccino. The second is the coffee capsule system that helps you to avoid the usual mess accompanying the normal brewing process.

Energy saving auto timer and unique sliding drip tray for accommodation of your latte cups, complement its innovative profile. An illuminated control panel guides you efficiently through the coffee or milk selection. Lastly the Lattissima Plus includes a welcome kit with Nespresso capsules to enjoy its benefits since the beginning.

At the bottom of the machine there is a removable tray with a metal top. When it is in place you can put on your favorite espresso mug. But if you need to put on your larger mug you can press in the tray and increase the available height. Over the first one there is an additional tray flush in the machine that serves as a pod collector. At the right side there is a milk container that also sits on a stable tray. Opening its tiny door you will find the machine’s descaling spouts.

On top of the machine you see 4 rubbery illuminated buttons. A regular espresso shot, a lungo shot, a cappuccino macchiato and a latte macchiato. The last two will be used when you have the milk container connected to the machine. At left of them you see the brew spigot where you insert the Nespresso pods that opens up by means of a lever.

Testing

Pouring water in the 30 oz. transparent container is possible by removing it or not. You better remove to not make a mess though. Reattaching it back is straightforward. We filled the milk container with milk up to half level. This amount you pour inside depends on how many cups you are going to make and not the type of froth. The machine will calculate this automatically. On top of the milk container there is dial which serves as an adjustment of the milk foam. When everything is setup we inserted the milk container in the machine opening. You will notice that the 2 macchiatto buttons that were initially off will start blinking. That means that the machine is ready to make milk.

Making a cappuccino is very smooth. After adjusting the milk container froth to the max we placed our favorite mug on the tray. Subsequently we opened the lever of the brew spigot to insert a Nespresso capsule. Coffee spigot and milk spigot were aimed into the mug. Last thing to do is to press the macchiatto button and enjoy the show!

Instantly the machine starts frothing the milk with phenomenal speed. Shortly starts brewing the espresso providing an amazing result. The foam, the crema and all the layering created as a piece of art. In a similar manner you can get the latte macchiatto. Only difference is the lower milk requirement, so you just turn the milk froth it at min level. The result was equally impressive! When finished just open the lever and empty the used pod.

There were only minor flaws that we observed. One was a dripping of water for many seconds, after cleaning of the machine, which can spoil the tray. The others are the tiny water container and pods which means more money spent for more coffee mugs.

Verdict

We are really amazed of the performance of this tiny jumbo. Although not the cheapest coffee machine in market, it has many traits that more costly competitors could only dream of. The Delonghi Nespresso Lattissima Plus is a must have if you love your cappuccino or macchiatto perfectly prepared as in a stylish cafe bar. Although it is not only made for milk coffee, if you can afford that kind of money you can look for alternatives. Specifically if you prefer to grind your own beans and seek for premium quality coffee please have a look at the Technivorm Moccamaster KBT-741.

6. Jura Ena Micro 1

black compact plastic one cup espresso machine
Build Quality 85%
Functions 85%
Ease of Use 90%
Coffee Taste 90%
Advantages:
  • Flexible
  • Powerful
  • Small
  • Easy to Use

Disadvantages:
  • Full of Plastic
  • Little Noisy

Overview

Exclusively specialized on automatic specialty coffee machines, Jura is a highly capable manufacturer with lot of experience. Its Swiss origin has managed to marry the precision with convenience in a single package. Their line consists of automatic coffee machine which carry many patents and awards and have the certification of Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). As all of their products, Jura Ena Micro 1, is made out of premium quality materials that ensure reliability and optimum performance.

Jura Ena Micro is the junior model of the company that is made for home use for low volume requirements. It combines a tiny footprint in a stylish cube shape but encloses powerful capabilities. It can grind coffee beans or use preground powder and provide ristretto, espresso or long coffee. All of these are selected through a simplistic three button control panel which can also be programmed for personalized settings.

It carries a compact 37 oz. removable water tank which also contains the Clearyl Blue filter.The bean hopper is also compact with a capacity of 4.4 oz. Its nozzle is adjustable to accommodate a wide range of cup sizes which can be placed on the removable drip tray. Furthermore a power saving function will switch off the unit when left in idle for long time. Finally the whole device is enclosed in a completely plastic case which resists rust but lacks durability.

Testing

Starting from filling up the water tank it is useful to note that its plastic cap allows for filling without removing it. But it is strongly advised to remove it if you want to avoid accidental spilling of water into the bean hopper. Unfortunately its low capacity will not serve more than 2 people or more than 4-5 cups of coffee. Next to it is the bean hopper that you can control from the adjustable 4 stepped knob. Very basic settings but keep in mind that the machine is focused for espresso, so in fact it adjusts around this fine range. Be careful though, you should never adjust when the machine is off to not damage the burrs.

Although there is a bypass doser located for preground coffee we chose to produce a fresh ground by using the hopper. Two touch buttons will adjust the output strength and three more will set the coffee cup size. Notably the output size is programmable, so pressing for a couple of seconds each button enters the programming zone. When the desired amount has been poured into the cup it requires only one more press to store the function. So the next time one press is enough to produce the desired amount.

After powering up you will hear some strange noises which are normal while the machine is warming up. Producing an espresso is relatively quiet and rapid, but most of all precise, full of stunning crema. Similar results were obtained with ristretto and long coffee selections. The adjustable nozzle helps a lot on this, as its adaptability will preserve the scent of fresh coffee. Just aim to place it as close to the bottom of the cup as possible. The coffee is always rich and flavourful without the chemical taste of cheaper models.

Some more indicators on top will inform you about low water level, need for descaling, filter change and ground coffee container status. As a sidenote this machine will not allow for removing the brew groups. Instead you should simply insert a special tablet made by Jura in the bypass doser that will clean the machine. This is different from the descaling tablets, by the same manufacturer, that you should use every 3-6 months through the water tank. Don’t forget to remove the filter though!

Overview

Although the smaller member of Jura’s family, Ena Micro 1 is a highly flexible and solid machine with high quality parts. Highly recommended for couples or solo drinkers that enjoy a top quality coffee but lack the skills or the time to prepare it. Easy to use and to clean will not frustrate you at all. The main downside is the affluence of plastic except of the metal nozzle and top of drip tray that provide a cheap feeling. Regarding its price range it is definitely not the most economical but the results will pay you off, as most possibly you will instantly fall in love with this little giant.

7. Krups EA8250

black all in one automatic espresso machine with coffee grinder
Build Quality 80%
Functions 85%
Ease of Use 85%
Coffee Taste 90%
Advantages:
  • Fast
  • Precise
  • Multi Adjustable
  • All in One

Disadvantages:
  • Slightly Noisy
  • Software Bugs
  • Plastic Plethora

Overview

Inspired by professional baristas, the Krups EA8250 sets a reference point in super automatic coffee machines. Equipped with many innovations such as the Patented Compact Thermoblock System (CTS) promises a lot of potential. Built in there is a bean hopper of almost 9 oz. capacity and an adequate 60 oz. transparent water tank, that is also removable. An LCD screen at front is the center of adjustments, which range from temperature or water levels to grinding fineness.

A cup warming tray is placed on top which can keep you cups warm before brewing. At the bottom you can see a typical metal drip tray which can be removed for easy cleaning. In case you make an espresso or latte which means the glass size will be different, you can adjust the nozzle height. The frothing wand can be used manually or optimized for latte or cappuccino milk froth, by means of a supplementary device. This is actually a stainless steel milk tank that is connected with a tube and a frothing adjuster.

Auto On/Off programmable feature has been added to have your water ready in the morning and switch off after leave. Of course it makes use of conical steel burrs for reliability and consistency. Notably the complete package comes in a surprisingly tiny footprint that is not typical of fully automatic espresso machines.

Testing

We were tempted to use is its automatic frothing option, so we attempted to make a milk froth. So we connected the filled with milk tank to the frothing wand and placed a glass cup under the tube to collect the froth. After pressing the steam button the LCD screen informs you about the preheating process and time required, which can be adjusted. Soon the countdown started and freshly milk froth got out of the tube, into our glass cup. The result was almost perfect just what you would expect of a professional barista’s hand.

Now it was the moment for the espresso making and time to see its potential in doing so. Placing the glass cup under the nozzle and setting the appropriate height we selected the output volume on the LCD. After a swift pre infusion coffee started pouring out until the whole cup was filled with about two oz. That is the approximate size of a double espresso. Pretty layers setup in the cup that looked like an artistic design. Exceptional taste and really hot coffee proved that the patented thermoblock system does its job well.

What is kind of unpleasant is the excess of plastic at front, but that is what you get at this price range. In addition a strange event occurred a couple of times. The machine performed maintenance during brewing session so the coffee was not complete and mixed with plain water. Furthermore the beans like to be pushed at the end if you need to make use of them all. Its flat hopper bottom doesn’t help to collect them efficiently, which is something usual in fully automatic machines, as they are designed for reduced volume. So if the hopper would be typical conical it would take more height.

Verdict

If you want the best for your buck from a completely automatic espresso machine, then you can strongly consider this one. It does not carry the finest quality parts so its reliability could be questionable in the long term, but so far turned out as fast, precise and easy to setup. Its noise levels are on the high side, which discloses the plethora of plastic used. Finally, keep in mind that this machine will not accept pre ground coffee. But why buy such a powerhouse if you want to use pre ground after all?

8. KitchenAid Nespresso

shiny red metal pod espresso machine
Build Quality 90%
Functions 60%
Ease of Use 100%
Coffee Taste 80%
Advantages:
  • Beautiful
  • Solid
  • Convenient
  • Easy to Use

Disadvantages:
  • Narrow View of Pod Container
  • Not Perfectly Fitted Pods Always

Overview

The KitchenAid Nespresso is an ultra stylish espresso machine which is a collaboration of KitchenAid and Nespresso, as the name reveals. It comes in several different colors such as empire red, frosted pearl, medallion silver, onyx black candy apple red and sugar pearl. Notably the case is not only eye appealing but also robust, as it is made completely out of die-cast metal. Obviously the only option of coffee here is the Nespresso pods with more than 22 different kinds to choose from.

Capable of producing 19 bar pressure ensures unsurpassed coffee output. Brewing strength is adjustable in 6 steps and overall the control is very simple but ont point. At the back of the machine sits a removable transparent water tank with a capacity of 1.3 liters. At front there is a metal drip tray which can be folded to accomodate larger cups. Behind it is located the empty capsule container. Everything is easily removable making cleaning straightforward.

Testing

Making an espresso can’t get any easier than this. You simply open the top lid by means of the chrome handle and insert your favorite Nespresso pod. Close it back and after selecting the suitable brewing size just press the main illuminated button to start brewing. In almost 30 seconds your cup is already filled up with delicious creamy espresso. It is worth to mention that in case you need to stop brewing, you can press again the main button and the process stops instantly. In addition the brewing size can be adjusted even after the session has started.

Some minor flaws were observed though. For example the pod collector is too narrow to get a clear view of its content. If it is full the new one gets crashed, so it is advisable to empty the container frequently to avoid headaches. In addition some times the pod will not fit perfectly and although the handle locks down the water doesn’t go through. On the contrary descaling is a piece of cake. It only takes some descaling solution into the water reservoir and choosing the descaling option by pressing the main dial.

Verdict

Honestly we are not fond of pod type machines as they can never give you the aroma of a freshly ground coffee. Sincerely this is one of the most beatiful and solid designs we have ever seen. If you are after convenience and style you will not be disappointed. It is not the cheapest machine of this type but the Nespresso name guarantees the result. In any case, you can always look for a higher level machine such as the Gaggia Classic and enjoy an authentic process.

9. Nespresso Pixie D60

black red one cup compact espresso machine
Build Quality 55%
Functions 50%
Ease of Use 100%
Coffee Taste 80%
Advantages:
  • Tiny Size
  • 19 Bar Powerful Pump
  • Convenient
  • Quick

Disadvantages:
  • Very Noisy
  • Flimsy and Brittle
  • Messy Dripping

Overview

Another popular product based on pod technology comes in a tiny footprint but equipped with a powerful 19 bar pressure pump. The Nespresso Pixie D60 is a nice looking espresso machine housed mainly in a plastic case with some decorative metal parts. Following the philosophy convenience of pods, keeps a very simple control panel with only 2 illuminated buttons on top. These handle only the 2 available shots of espresso size.

At the back you will find a transparent tank capable of storing 24 oz. of water. Notably there is no water filter inside which means that you should definitely use solely filtered water. Finally an automatic turn off function will shut off the machine 9 minutes after completion of brewing to save energy.

Testing

Opening the chrome handle reveals the pod insertion. Just place into it your favorite pod and press the desired amount of coffee. The whole process is fast and stays below the 30 seconds mark, but there is a serious drawback. The cheap housing can’t block the high power pump’s noise which is quite distracting. Judging from the thickness of espresso crema though you can certainly assert its power output.

Making a double shot lungo requires to fold up the tray to accomodate the larger cup. This way you will not get as dark coffee as single shot because of the increased dilution. This is one of the disadvantages of pod based machines. Noticeably after brewing we observed dripping for many seconds. In case of double shot where the tray is folded, expect to have a good cleaning session of your counter.

Verdict

Tiny and sleek with a powerful pump can give you a proper espresso quickly, but some earplugs can be useful. In addition, in favor of convenience, the commitment of using exclusively pods will break your bank easily. Maybe you should save some cash and consider a more reliable model such as the Rancilio Silvia.

10. Mr. Coffee Café Barista ECMP1000

black silver automatic espresso machine with milk frother
Build Quality 50%
Functions 80%
Ease of Use 60%
Coffee Taste 55%
Advantages:
  • All Inclusive
  • Economic
  • Lots of Accessories Included
  • Multi Programmable

Disadvantages:
  • Cheap Quality
  • Unflexible Milk Frother
  • Leaking of Water Tank
  • Undersized Espresso Shots

Overview

The Mr. Coffee Café Barista ECMP1000 is an all inclusive espresso machine, capable of making espresso and milk frothing simultaneously. Very low priced promises a lot of functions such as one touch control panel, automatic milk frother and adjustable cup tray. A multi button control panel is placed in front and a removable water tank at the back side. Its pump can put out up to 15 bars which is more than enough to make a proper espresso.

The structure is made out of plastic and some decoration of thin aluminum parts exist. A removable metal drip tray sits at the bottom and a step can be folded out to accommodate shorter cups. From the control panel you can have an espresso, cappuccino or latte option and manual or automatic function. The milk container has adjustable froth output from latte to cappuccino.

Testing

After filling the water tank and milk container with water and milk respectively, you place the portafilter in place. There is an option of single or double shot filter to accommodate inside it. As expected at this price range even the portafilter dispensing nozzles are made of plastic and that makes it fragile. Using the one touch preset buttons you can select your desired beverage and size by pushing the corresponding one.

Regarding speed it’s relatively quick, but making the “perfect latte” sounds like a dream. One shot makes it too weak and double shot makes it bitter. Concerning loudness it is not the most quiet machine but considering its price it is acceptable. The amount of espresso output is less than it should be and will dissapoint if you have been used to generous cups.

Unfortunately the froth was poor regardless of the dial setting. Strangely too sometimes it sounds like pumping milk without putting anything out. Furthermore it fails to keep consistent brewing temperature and cappuccino tastes weak. The machine can’t pull the more pleasant flavors from light roasted beans and tends to get clogged by very fine grounds.

Verdict

Plenty of options seem appealing at first but increase the machine complexity and reliability. Certainly it is an economical way to make your daily espresso at home but don’t expect miracles. As usual the cheap price matches with cheap performance and this espresso machine is no exception. Better save some bucks and aim for a reputable machine such as Jura Ena Micro 1.

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