THE 15 BEST Espresso Machines
If you are on the market for a new coffee machine, let us introduce you to the regular drip coffee machine’s slightly cooler cousin, the espresso machine. If you aren’t a coffee connoisseur, you might not automatically know the difference between a cup of coffee and an espresso. Most people just assume they are one in the same. But that is not correct. An espresso is a type of coffee,made with the same coffee beans, but the method in which they are made is very different. Regular drip coffee is made by pouring water over coarsely ground, roasted coffee beans through a filter. The filter catches the beans, which are discarded after use, andallows the purified liquid through.
An espresso is brewed quite differently. Espressos are made by forcing a small amount of almost boiling water or steam through finely ground coffee beans. This results in a much different drink than a cup of drip coffee. An espresso has more caf-feine content and is normally much thicker. In addition, this brewing method creates a froth on the top of the beverage, called crema. Crema is oils from the coffee that have been emulsified. Crema is normally dark brown with small bubbles throughout.
Not only is the texture and content different in an espresso, but the flavor and serv-ing size are too. In a drip coffee machine, the filter acts as a barrier keeping any of the grounds from entering the cup of coffee. Unfortunately, this also restricts the nat-ural oils from the coffee beans to enter the cup. Due to this difference in brewing, the espresso has a richer flavor. It is also usually made from a blend of different beans, which tends to give it a heavy content but also a sweet balance of flavors. Espressos are usually served in an one ounce cup, whereas regular coffee is served in 8 ounces. Sometimes, espresso shots are added to regular cups of coffee to give it an extra boost of caffeine. In addition, espressos are the base for many popular coffee drinks, such as lattes, cappuccinos, and americanos.
It shouldn’t come to a surprise that a good espresso machine is not going to be cheap. There are some versions that won’t cost you as much, such as a stove top unit or ‘mini’ espresso machine, but in the end, they don’t make a good espresso. Before you go and invest a ton in an espresso machine, it is important to do your research and consider your current espresso-drinking habits.
If you are currently hitting up your favorite coffee shop twice a day for an espresso or espresso based drink, you are probably spending somewhere around $3,800 a year. That’s a lot of money to be handing over to Starbucks. If this is the case for you, wouldn’t it be a better investment to use some of that money and buy your own espresso machine? Obviously, if you don’t like espressos, or feel like you don’t have the time to learn how to use it and make your own, purchasing an espresso machine doesn’t make sense.
Espresso machines can run you anywhere from $50 to $9,000. But don’t let that number scare you. While it is true that you do get what you pay for, the price of your espresso machine depends on you. If you are looking for a simpler machine, it isn’t going to cost you that down payment on that car you are looking at. That’s why it is important to do your research and understand what you are getting for the price.
When looking at machines, take into consideration a few things. First consider the volume at which you are going to be producing coffee. Unless you are trying to pro-duce 800 cups a day, that $9,000 machine probably isn’t for you. Consider how much you will be using it and try to base part of your budget on that. Next, take into consid-eration the type of material that is used on the machine. Machines with plastic porta-filters aren’t going to be very durable, so you want to watch out. The water heater in espresso machines are made all made of metal, but the type of metal can affect the taste so you want to be careful. Steel and brass are a better selection than aluminum, which can leave a metallic taste. Another aspect to consider is the heating system the machine uses. Low-end machines are currently using a thermoblock to heat the water, but those don’t compare to a real boiler when it comes to temperature stability. A steam wand is another aspect you might want to consider when looking for an espresso machine. Stovetop versions and manual levers don’t include steam wands, but most machines do. Make sure you look into this before buying. You might also want to think about buying a machine with two steam wands, which can help you make lattes, cappuccinos and other similar drinks faster. One last thing you might want to think about is the water reservoir on the machine. Having a water reservoir that is removable is better for you than stationery one. Being able to change out the water every so often will help bacteria not to build up.
Now that we have covered the different aspects you should consider when looking into buying an espresso machine, here are some of the top espresso machines that you might want to look into.
1. NESPRESSO VERTUOLINE
The Nespresso VertuoLine offers the ability to brew larger cups of crema coffee, in addition to the classic Italian style espresso. The system uses intelligent technology that recog-nizes each capsule by it’s barcode, allowing the machine to automatically adjust the brew-ing parameters to deliver the best results. Features include: Centrifusion technology, that allows the machine to produce a thick, rich crema, capability to change cup sizes, a 40 ounce water tank and a convenient one button operation. The Mespresso Vertuoline espresso machine retails for $199 and can be found at http://www.1stincoffee.com/ne-spresso-vertuoline.htm.
2. FRANCIS FRANCIS Y5 DUO BLACK
New from Francis Francis for Illy, the Y5 Duo prepares both real Italian espresso and regular coffee. Utilizing the espres-so and coffee capsules, you can make both in seconds at the touch of the button. The model is sleek and features: a tempered glass top, aluminum body, a 30-ounce tank and 2 brew buttons. This machine will cost you around $300 and for more information, you can visit http://www.1stincoffee.com/fran-cis-y5-duo-black.htm?.
3. ASCASO BASIC ESPRESSO MACHINE
The Ascaso Basic espresso and cap-puccino machine is the perfect machine for those kitchens that are spaced challenged. It is compact, yet performs like a lager professional machine. The Basic was designed as a medium price espresso machine that excels at making espresso drinks including lattes, mochas, cappuccino and all your favor-ite coffee house drinks. Features include: simple to use controls, a powerful pump and ground coffee holder, a milk frothing tip, 2 liter removable water tank, cup warming surface, removable drip tray and a brass boiler. The Ascaso Basic Espresso Machine retails for $339 and can be found at http://www.1stin-coffee.com/ascaso-basic-espres-so.htm?.
4. RANCILIO SILVIA ESPRESSO MACHINE V4
The Rancillo Silvia espresso and cap-puccino machine has been a leader in its class for over eight years for good reason. Ranchilio took their experience in manufacturing some of the finest commercial machines available and put it to work to offer a high quality machine at home for an affordable price. The V4 machine features: a 12 ounce brass boiler, three thermostats, a brass group-head, steam wand, easy to use and con-veniently located controls, a heavy duty chrome plated brass portafilter, a 3 valve pressure release system and a 15 bar pump. The machine is very highly reviewed and can be found for $685 at http://www.1stincoffee.com/rancil-io-silvia.htm?.
5. ASCASO STEEL UNO PROFESSIONAL WITH PID
This version of the Steel Uno Profes-sional has all the features of the highly rated Ascaso Steel Uno Professional with the addition of a PID, which allows you to set the perfect brewing tempera-ture. Other features include: a 2 liter removable water tank, a 16 bar pump, an 11 ounce brass boiler with a tem-perature gauge, a brass portafilter, a solid metal tamper, and a 3-way sole-noid valve. The Ascaso Steel Uno Pro-fessional with PID retails for $799. For more information or to purchase, visit 1st in Coffee at http://www.1stincof-fee.com/ascaso-steel-pid.htm.
6. JURA ENA MICRO 1
The newest addition to Jura’s award-winning line of advanced auto-matic coffee centers, the Jura ENA Micro 1 is an ultra-compact, one-cup espresso machine that brews the ulti-mate in espresso and crema coffee. Features of the ENA Micro 1 include: two strength choices, beverage size adjustment, conical burr grinder, touch panel control, removable drip tray and waste drawer, a bean container, a 37 ounce removable water tank and a pump rated to produce 15 bars of pres-sure. The machine retails for $799 and can be found at http://www.1stincof-fee.com/jura-micro1.htm.
7. LA PAVONI STRADIVARI 8-CUP
The Stradivari 8-cup is the newest addition to the La Pavoni line. The design inspiration was drawn from the world famous violin maker Antonio Stradivarius. Features of this machine include a 20-ounce boiler, dual frothing cappuccino systems, solid brass boilers that are triple chrome plated and a reset fuse. If you are looking for the finest cappuccinos and espressos then consider this ma-chine. It retails for $989 and can be found at http://www.1stincof-fee.com/la-pavoni-stradivari.htm.
8. JURA IMPRESSA C60
Another member of Jura’s award winning line of coffee machines is the Impressa C60. This machine is simple and elegant and allows you to brew the perfect cup of coffee at the touch of a button. The C60 also features Jura’s Fine Foam Frothing technology for delicious cappuccinos and lattes. Other features include: a profes-sional grinder, an intelligent pre-brew aroma system, 64 ounce removable water tank, high pres-sure pump, stainless steel thermoblock heating system, and two brewing temperatures. The Jura Impressa C60 retails for $999. For more information or to purchase, visit http://www.1stincof-fee.com/jura-impressa-c60.htm.
9. QUICK MILL SILVANO EVO
The Quick Mill Silvano EVO is a great machine for the price. It is an entry level machine that has advanced fea-tures. For the Silvano EVO, Quick Mill combined beauty, value and the latest PID technology for making the best espresso, cappuccino and latte. Features of the Silvano EVO include: dual heating systems, 600 watt boiler for espresso, 1000 thermoblock for steam, removable drip tray and lid, 2 liter water reservoir, cup warming surface and a quality stainless steel construction. The machine can be found at http://www.1stincof-fee.com/quickmill-silvano.htm for $1,075.
10. SAECO ROYAL ONE TOUCH
The Saeco Royal One Touch Cap-puccino Machine is the newest addition to the Saeco Royal line of auto-matic espresso machines. The model adds one touch capabilities for your favorite milk based specialty coffee drinks such as cappuccinos, lattes and macchiatos. Other features of the machine include: an automatic brew system with special pre-infusion cycle, one touch automatic milk froth-ing system, 3 pre-set cup sizes, coni-cal coffee grinder, selectable brewing temperature, a double boiler heating system and a 74 removable water tank. This machine retails for $1,499 and can be found at http://www.1stincoffee.com/saeco-roy-al-onetouch.htm?.
11. ELEKRA S1CO MICROCASA LEVER
The Elekra S1Co Microcasa Lever is one of the best espresso machines on the market. This beautiful home machine features a combination of chrome and brass and can create quality espresso and cappuccinos. Features of the machine include a sturdy wide round base, a pressure gauge, a water level indicator, 1.9 liter brass boiler with 800 watt heating element, black bakelite lever and portafilter handles. It retails for $1,499 and you can look more into here http://www.1stincof-fee.com/elektra-lever-s1co.htm.
12. IZZO ALEX DUETTO 3.0
If you are looking for a quality machine, then consider the Alex Duetto 3.0 by Izzo. It features dual boilers, 1200 watt 1.8 liter copper steam boiler, stainless steel frame, chrome plated brass portafilter, automatic pre-infusion, a 2.4 liter water reservoir with low water sensor and a cup warming surface. The Alex Duetto 3.0 retails for $2,595. For more information visit, http://www.1stincoffee.com/izzo-alex-duetto.htm
13. ROCKET R58 DUAL BOILER ESPRESSO MACHINE
There are few machines that can compete with the Rocket R58 Dual Boiler Espresso Machine. The state of the art machine leaves you wanting nothing and can produce an exceptional espresso. The machine’s features include: 1400 watt 1.8 liter copper steam boiler, 2 chrome plated brass portafilters, 2.5 liter water reservoir with low water sensor, removable cup guard, and a quiet rotary pump and motor. It retails for $2,699 and can be found at http://www.1stincoffee.com/rocket-r58-dual-boil-er.htm.
14. JURA IMPRESSA J9.3 ONE TOUCH TFT
The J9 One Touch TFT is the first Jura coffee machine to incorporate TFT display technology (thin film transistor). The TFT 2.75’’ wide color display combines text and graphics, making the J9.3 even easier to use. Other features of the machine include: 15 bar power pump, integrated conical burr coffee grinder, programmable strength, programmable serving size, 9 ounce bean hopper, large 73 water tank, two program-mable coffee brewing temperatures, and an automatic cleaning features. The Jura Impressa J9.3 One Touch retails for $2,999. For more information on the machine, visit http://www.1stincoffee.com/jura-j9-silver.htm?.
15. JURA GIGA 5 BLACK LIMITED EDITION
The limited edition Jura GIGA 5 can produce two coffee specialty drinks at once, pro-viding an unprecedented range of specialty drinks and fulfilling the coffee lover’s every dream. The GIGA 5 sets a new standard in performance, aesthetics and per-fection in the espresso coffee machine market. Features include: two ceramic disc grinders, 18 individually programmable coffees, 2 ceramic burr grinders, two 9 ounces bean hoppers, clearly water filtration system, 87 ounce removable water tank, 20 ounce thermal milk container, dual stainless steel thermoblock heating system and an integrated rising, cleaning and descaling program. This model retails for $5,599 and can be found at http://www.1stincoffee.com/jura-giga5-limit-ed.htm.