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Small Kitchen Appliances

Best Espresso Machines

Espresso dates to 1884, when Angelo Moriondo is believed to have patented the first espresso machine. It was later improved in 1901 by Luigi Bezzera, and then by Desiderio Pavoni, who founded the firm La Pavoni and began the first mass production of espresso machines.

Espresso has become more and more popular in recent years all over the world, due in part to the rise of many popular coffee chains that sell tasty espresso. Espresso is produced by the forcing of hot water under high pressure through specially ground, dark roasted coffee. True espresso is very highly concentrated and almost has a sort of a syrup-like consistency to it. It is a real delight to coffee lovers, when properly made. Fortunately, espresso makers are becoming very common and the prices are dropping. You can get a really quality cup of espresso without breaking the budget (but at the same time, you get what you pay for!).

Our best lists for espresso machines include a wide variety of excellent products depending upon your budget. They include best stovetop espresso maker, best manual espresso machine, best semi-automatic espresso machine and best automatic espresso machine. We took great care in judging the quality of the various espresso machines, keeping in mind that to judge the quality of the espresso based upon the general price range of that particular line of products.

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine

The Rancilio Silvia espresso machine provides single cups of a variety of coffee. This unit is designed for home use, yet offers a commercial articulating steam wand which boasts one steam hole tip to control the steam. This machine even has espresso newbies in mind. It offers a Pod kit for beginners, to give them time to learn the proper technique when adding the right amount of ground coffee. The machine comes with a 12-ounce brass boiler and is decked out with three thermostats. Talk about quality this unit boasts a heavy duty pump and a whopping 67 ounce water tank for serious espresso drinkers. This machine is semi-automatic, meaning that it only requires a portion of the work.

Breville Barista Express BES860XL Stainless Steel Espresso Maker

The Breville Barista is a semi automatic machine which combines both brewing and grinding it one unit, and boasts features commonly found on home espresso machines. PID temperature control ensures extremely accurate brew water which is vital for consistent shots. This feature is so precise that it allows the user to adjust the temperature up or down 4 degrees to ensure each cup of espresso is robust. The Barista also offers a dry puck feature, and a purge system both used to release excessive steam in the drip tray making sure the coffee is not burnt by residual steam in the boiler.

DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine

This elite machine is a automatic espresso maker, which means all you have to do is add the beans and water and press a couple buttons and the machine will then grind, tamp, and brew your coffee for you. This unit is fully loaded with power, making it a productivity hog. It has buttons designed to enhance your espresso experience. The Magnifica boasts a digital control panel packed with programmable settings, as well as a built-in burr grinder. The unit also has a one-touch foam system. Not only does this unit make great espresso it also produces delicious cappuccino.

La Pavoni Romantica PC-16 Espresso/Cappucino Machine

The first name in manual lever machine starts with the Italian made La Pavoni PDH Professional 16-Cup Espresso Machine, and when this work of art is compared to any other machine, they all fall short. It has a built in boiler, so once the water is heated up you lift the lever to allow the water to flow into the filter holder, push the lever down, and get exceptional espresso at up to 20 bars of pressure. There are two nozzles so you can fill two demitasse cups at once and the boiler even builds up enough steam so you can froth milk or cream in a separate pitcher.

This espresso maker also features a gorgeous, steam punk-inspired design. A beautiful, gold plated façade topped off with a rosewood lever handle will allow it to stand out on any countertop. This is by far the most expensive espresso machine on this list, but if you want bragging rights in your neighborhood (or demand the absolute best shot of espresso that can possibly be made) this pick is the only one to have.

Delonghi EC155 Pump-Driven Espresso Machine

While De'Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker has the highest price of our “budget” picks, it’s made in Italy so you know the manufacturer knows thing or two about making terrific espresso. This machine features a removable 35 ounce water tank for easy filling and a front mounted selector dial to easily select the function you want. The frother is on the left side so for all of you right handers it may take a little getting used to. However, if you’re a lefty this is probably the perfect espresso machine for you. You can make two cups at a time and it even comes with a cup warmer so your espresso stays hot until it’s ready to be poured. One drawback is the tamper isn’t the greatest so for best espresso results, you'll need to get an aftermarket replacement.

Michaelle Bragassa-Holman
Growing up in a large family, I started helping mom prepare our family meals at the age of nine. Our family table was an important aspect to our lives. It was here that we gathered for a wholesome meal for our bodies, as well as food for our souls. In my hectic world, new innovative appliances can make life easier. For the last 13 years I have run my own restaurant and catering business, so I value efficient products that get the job done. I make it my personal mission to find the best kitchenware for both my business and my home.
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