Having an espresso machine at home can elevate your morning coffee routine well beyond ordinary drip. Some espresso machines let you control everything from grind size to water temperature, while others make the process fully automated from bean to cup. If you're looking for a way to reduce your trips to the coffee shop, a feature-packed espresso machine can satisfy even the most particular coffee palates.
While all espresso machines feature a filter and boiler for forcing hot water through coffee grounds, the rest of the machine's engineering can vary dramatically. Different categories of espresso machines also require different amounts of effort, which is something to keep in mind if you're operating it first thing in the morning.
Manual espresso machines, also known as piston machines, are pumped by hand in order to create the pressure needed for espresso extraction. These traditional machines aren't common anymore due to the amount of work involved, but they can still be found if you're interested in controlling every step of brewing.
Automatic, semi-automatic and super-automatic espresso machines are much more common. They take care of most, if not all, of the work.
Most espresso machines are equipped with a milk frother to help produce drinks such as cappuccinos. Most have a steam wand, while others produce heated milk from a specialized dispenser. Some espresso machines also provide a steaming jug, so you can master frothing milk and pouring latte art.
Some high-end espresso machines have an assortment of smart features, such as adaptive temperature control and smart tamping. Some machines automate these features with simple one-touch controls, while others offer manual controls, letting you customize your brewing preferences.
If your espresso machine doesn't come with these accessories, make sure you order them so you'll have everything you need on hand to enjoy making espresso.
This comprehensive, high-quality machine features a built-in grinder, steam wand and settings to brew perfectly extracted single or double shots. Helpful features, including a pressure gauge, a cleaning alert light and tamper storage, make this machine innovative and user-friendly.
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It has a lot in common with the Breville Barista, but the Oracle offers even more features, such as automatic tamping and a dual boiler for brewing espresso and steaming milk simultaneously. The touchscreen lets you customize temperature, select drink presets and more.
Packed with smart features and helpful automation, this is about as close to a commercial espresso bar as you can get. It features an integrated coffee grinder, smart tamping, active temperature control, dual heating for coffee and milk and more.
You can brew one or two perfect shots of espresso with this straightforward machine. It features a warming tray to prep cups, and its large portafilter helps extract maximum flavor. It also comes with a steaming jug, tamper and cleaning supplies.
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Not interested in a machine with a steep learning curve? This fully automatic model combines De'Longhi's expertise with easy one-touch operation that lets you create seven beverages with the push of a button.
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This automatic model lets you customize your drink or choose from presets for five different drinks. Special filters let the machine go longer between cleaning. It also includes a built-in ceramic burr grinder and the LatteGo system, which foams and dispenses milk in a container that can be stored in the fridge.
This feature-packed machine is user-friendly, thanks to one-touch preset buttons for both brewing espresso and frothing milk. It heats up in less than 40 seconds and brews espresso from a built-in burr grinder with 13 grind settings. It can even brew iced coffee.
Six preset specialty drinks plus eight coffee strength levels let you easily customize your espresso drinks. Its pulse extraction process forces water through the grounds at short intervals to fully develop the espresso's flavor.
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Laura Duerr writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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