The 5 Best Espresso Machines for Home Use: Entry-Level, Mid-Level, and Expert Models Perfect for In-Home Espresso
This article is a guest post from our friends at ABODO.
Over the past 25 years or so, Americans have developed a taste for espresso. It’s not hard to see why. Because it’s so concentrated, shots of espresso give a full cup’s jolt in much less time. Plus, as Italians have known since the 19th century, it pairs well with steamed milk. Who doesn’t like a frothy cappuccino, or its larger cousin, the latte?
The problem is that unlike drip coffee, espresso is harder to make at home. Until recently, espresso machines were mostly found in cafes, which were better equipped to handle their maintenance, calibration, and cost.
That’s starting to change. These days, it’s easier than ever to find an espresso machine designed and built for home use. There are machines for all skill levels, at many price points. So whether you’re a barista beginner or a seasoned pro, you’ll never have to trek down to Starbucks again… unless you want to.
Here are the apartment experts at ABODO’s five favorite home espresso machines, classified by skill level.
Jura ENA Micro 1 Automatic
The ENA Micro 1 is Jura’s smallest machine, and at 9x18x13, it will fit easily onto even limited counter space. Its easy-to-use touchscreen allows you to choose between three coffee sizes (ristretto, espresso, or large coffee) and two dosages. But if you’re looking for built-in milk frothing, you’re out of luck.
Saeco Exprelia Evo
The Saeco Exprelia Evo has many of the same options as the Jura ENA — built-in grinder, multiple sizes and dosage options, automatic shots — and is roughly the same size. The difference? It froths milk for you. All you have to do is fill the detachable milk carafe and pick your drink, and the machine will spit out perfect, cafe-quality cappuccinos and lattes. Plus, if you prefer to steam your own milk, the machine has a built-in steam wand.
Breville Barista Express
The Breville takes a little more skill than the semi-automatic Jura or Saeco machines. You’ll need to be able to pack and tamp your own basket, and measure your own shots, plus use the attached steam wand to froth your milk. But if you already have some barista skills — or are willing to learn — this is one of the most affordable machines on the market.
This minimalist machine is perfect for the home barista who feels confident in his or her ability to pull a good shot. It feels distinctly analogue — toggle switches, pressure gauge, no screen — and at this price point, it’s a steal. Not a whole lot of bells and whistles, but do you really need them?
Slayer Espresso Single
Want to make any barista visiting your home drool? Try the Slayer. This miniature version of the cafe classic features a built in shot timer, adjustable pressure gauge, adjustable temperature gauge, and — best of all — the ability to pre-infuse shots with the precision of a needle valve. A gorgeous, cafe-quality machine, the Slayer isn’t for beginners or the faint of heart — it’s expensive, even for espresso machines. Plus, you’ll have to hook it up to your plumbing. But our guess is that once you do, you’ll be hard pressed to walk down to your local coffee shop.