The Best Home Espresso Machines as Chosen by Our Pros
Ready to set up your own coffee bar? Make sure to outfit it with the best home espresso machine. Our Test Kitchen has great recommendations based on your style and space.
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Our Search for the Best Home Espresso Machine
Of course, at-home espresso machines are good for more than just serving up a demitasse or two. These gadgets can also help you create café-style drinks, like lattes and cappuccinos, in your own kitchen.
Before you run to the store or add just any ol’ machine to your virtual cart, check out our Test Kitchen’s best home espresso maker picks. Our selections have all been tested and given our team’s approval: Test Kitchen-Preferred.
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How We Tested Espresso Machines
Our Test Kitchen staff is full of coffee fanatics and espresso aficionados (many of whom are former baristas). For them, this test was a joy—plus it kept our staff fueled up as they tested our readers’ recipes. (Remember: You can submit your recipes to us anytime!)
Our Test Kitchen’s wonderfully talented Mark Neufang led the charge trying out 10 different home espresso machines. Over the course of weeks, Mark and our culinary crew took careful notes on how the espresso makers worked, what kind of espresso they made and more.
We made sure to answer all these questions that are top-of-mind for anyone shopping for a home espresso machine:
- Operation: How easy is it to use the machine? Can you plug it in and go? Does it require any barista-level knowledge before brewing? Are there a lot of settings to configure before starting?
- Quality of espresso: How does a cup of freshly brewed espresso look? How is the brew strength? What about the flavor?
- Ease of cleaning: Is the machine easy to clean and disassemble? Are the components dishwasher-safe?
- Extra features: Can the machine froth milk? Does it include a bean grinder? Can you adjust the brew strength or temperature?
- Size and appearance: How large is the machine? Can it fit in small spaces? Does it easily fit under cabinets? Does it look attractive sitting on your counter?
- Price: Is the quality and performance of the machine reflected in the price? Simply: Is it worth the money?
Check out the best home espresso machine models as chosen by our Test Kitchen. Any of our top picks will be the perfect addition to your kitchen’s coffee bar.
Best Espresso Machine with Milk Frother
KitchenAid Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
If you’re looking to make your own lattes at home, look no further than the KitchenAid Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine.
From the start, this espresso machine is a joy to use. “Set up is a cinch,” says Mark. With a quick glance at the directions, he explains you can have an espresso brewed in just a few minutes. Another 30 seconds, and you can have that latte!
To make that latte (or cappuccino or mocha or whatever else you dream of), you’ll compress the espresso grounds into a disc, just like you see your barista do at the coffee shop. Fit the portafilter into the machine, make your dosage selection and press start. It only takes about 45 seconds for the machine to reach the optimal brewing temperature. From there you get a perfectly hot and strong demitasse of espresso.
“This machine brews espresso with a beautiful, thick layer of crema (that’s that bit of foam thit sits atop a freshly pulled shot) that doesn’t disappear quickly,” says Mark. “It’s a nice, bold espresso—delicious.”
If you want to take that shot of espresso to the next level, use the milk frother. This attachment heats and froths milks for all sorts of café-style drinks, including lattes. You can even make a flavored latte by using homemade coffee creamers. Mocha latte, anyone?
After you’ve made everyone in your home a next-level coffee drink, this sleek KitchenAid espresso machine is easy to clean. The exterior can be wiped clean and the other parts wash up easily in the sink (skip the dishwasher).
“Kitchen Aid really takes a lot of the guesswork out with this one,” says Mark of this espresso machine. “It’s a model I would buy.”
- Cup warmer on top of the machine
- Programmable brew dosage and temperature
- Includes frothing wand and stainless steel milk pitcher
- Can brew two cups at once
- Simple to use right out of the box
- Brews the perfect double shot
- Great price point for a gadget of this caliber
- Includes a handy guide for brewing all kinds of espresso drinks
- Handle on the water tank makes filling and removing so easy
- The frothing wand doesn’t reach the drip tray; be sure to wipe it clean to avoid dripping on the countertop
Best Small Espresso Machine
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine
With a name like bambino (meaning “baby” in Italian), is it any wonder we named the Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine the best small espresso machine?
This compact home espresso maker takes up about as much room as a traditional drip coffee maker and fits easily under cabinets with room to spare.
When it comes time to put this baby to work, Mark says it’s pretty simple. “The interface here is not hard to figure out,” he says. Each of the five buttons controls basic functions like temperature, brew strength and quantity—all of which you can customize to suit your espresso needs.
In the Test Kitchen, our team enjoyed cup after cup of espresso (and quite a few double shots!). “It makes a full-bodied, dark, beautiful espresso,” says Mark. “There’s a thick layer of crema on top and a lot of rich flavor.” Enjoy this espresso as is or pour it over ice cream to make an affogato.
Take things to the next level with the attached frothing wand. Manually heat and froth milk with the included pitcher (a nice bonus piece of equipment) or use the machine’s hands-free milk frothing function. “Just set the temperature and degree of foaming you prefer and voila!” says Mark. “The machine does it all for you.” With this feature, making cappuccinos, lattes and macchiatos is easier than ever.
After making plenty of drinks, know that this machine is easy to clean. All parts should be washed in warm soapy water (skip the dishwasher). And after 200 uses, the machine will alert you that it’s time for a deep clean. That’s a nice reminder and will keep your espresso tasting great and the appliance running smoothly.
While this option may cost more than even the best drip coffeemaker, know that “Breville is a top-notch brand and its quality is evident in this machine,” per Mark. It’s a piece of equipment that will make anyone feel like a barista. Taste of Home staffer Nicole Doster has been using hers for years. Read her full Breville Bambino Plus review.
- Steam wand attachment with included milk pitcher
- Hands-free milk frothing feature
- Adjustable brewing, foam and temperature functions
- Includes a tamper, steam wand cleaner and filters
- Available in six attractive finishes including navy, stainless steel and deep red
- Compact size can fit in just about any kitchen
- The hands-free frother makes creating coffee shop-style drinks easier than ever
- Can brew two cups of espresso at once
- Learning to measure and tamp down the espresso takes a few tries to learn
- Higher price point (though this is a quality machine)
Best Automatic Espresso Machine
Jura ENA 4 Automatic Coffee Machine
For a fully automated espresso experience, which means making a cuppa with just a push of a button, our Test Kitchen recommends the Jura ENA 4 Automatic Coffee Machine.
This home espresso machine takes whole beans and converts them into espresso (or coffee) in less than a minute. This allows you to get the freshness of freshly ground coffee without the mess of transferring from a stand-alone coffee grinder to the espresso machine.
Before using the Jura ENA 4, Mark suggests giving the manual a quick read. “Once it’s set up and you’re familiar with the buttons, it’s surprising how fast and efficiently this machine works,” says Mark. “It’s rather fun!”
When the machine is set up on your counter coffee station, just select the preset that you desire—that’s it! We’d expect nothing less from the best automatic espresso machine, though. This countertop gadget allows you to brew different types of coffee and espresso, including doppio (that’s a double shot). You can further customize the brew strength and volume of water with this Jura home espresso machine as well.
If you want to go the preset route, though, know that you’ll get an incredibly satisfying cup. “It makes a super creamy, smooth, clean espresso with a thick layer of crema,” says Mark. While the espresso may not look as deep in color as many of us are used to, Mark explains that the java still has great body and depth of flavor.
“The coffee is also delicious,” explains Mark. You can use the Jura ENA 4 to make classic mugfuls of non-espresso coffee. “The result is deep and rich with a crema on top; a well-made cup of coffee,” per Mark.
When you’re done brewing, cleaning this espresso maker is simple. Used grounds are compressed and dispensed by the machine so they’re easy to toss. The outside can be wiped down and the drip tray can be tossed in the dishwasher. The cleaning is as fuss-free as the brewing.
The only drawback to this model, according to Mark, is that it does not come with a milk frother. You can invest in a handheld milk frother, though, for under $20. It’s a great gift for coffee lovers!
- Automatic shut-off
- Makes coffee and espresso with preset options for both
- Adjustable brew strength
- Attached bean storage
- Wi-fi capability allows you to start your morning coffee when you’re not in the kitchen
- Creates rich, delicious espresso and coffee with the touch of a button
- Grinds and brews all in one appliance
- Does not have a milk-frothing function
- Has a larger footprint compared to other models our team tested
Best Budget Espresso Machine
Illy Y3.3 IperEspresso Espresso & Coffee Machine
Our Test Kitchen experts gave the Illy Y3.3 Espresso & Coffee Machine high scores for two reasons: it’s budget-friendly and it’s the best espresso machine for beginners.
Now, going into this test, Mark explains that he had some reservations: “It seemed almost too simple in its design,” he says. But this simplicity, paired with performance, is what makes this Illy espresso machine such a good option for outfitting your kitchen.
To use this machine, pop an Illy espresso capsule into the drawer, close it tightly (use a bit of elbow grease here, per Mark’s instructions) and press the brew option you desire—one or two shots. That’s all there is to it! The resulting espresso is “dark and rich,” according to Mark, with a good amount of crema on top. You can also use this Illy espresso machine to make individual cups of coffee; the brand sells coffee capsules as well.
Now, this home espresso machine does not include a milk frother attachment. This isn’t an issue if you take your espresso black. However, if you want to froth up milk for your morning latte, invest in this editor-favorite frothing wand.
Overall, this is the best espresso machine for beginners. You truly open the box, fill the reservoir and go. With the Illy capsules, there’s no measuring required. Plus, at a price that’s significantly less than most at-home espresso machines, you can’t go wrong here!
- Automatic shut-off
- Detachable water reservoir
- Removable drip tray
- 1- or 2-shot brewing options
- Incredibly easy to use
- Brews very quickly
- Small footprint
- Very easy to clean; just wipe down with a damp cloth and remove the spent capsule
- Does not include a milk frother
- Requires Illy espresso capsules (very similar to K-Cups); you cannot use espresso beans you pick up at your favorite coffee shop
Taste of Home
Check Out More Test Kitchen-Preferred Products
Our Test Kitchen is constantly testing kitchen gadgets, cleaning gear and delicious food, looking for brands that deserve the right to be called Test-Kitchen Preferred.
If you’re looking to outfit your kitchen with a few new items, be sure to check out these tests:
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