Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: February 01, 2021
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In today’s world, convenience is everything. This is why most people are unwilling to make coffee in their own homes. Some don’t even own coffee and espresso makers. In addition to coffee brewing being time-consuming, what you find in a coffee shop is often superior. However, this doesn’t always have to be the case. The right coffee maker can help you make barista level beverages right in your home, thereby eliminating the need to queue at a café. Of course, there are quite a few machines models that can sit on your kitchen counter. If you would like to purchase one, researching devices can overwhelm you.
Also, there are a lot of features that you have to take note of if you are going to buy an espresso maker to fit the needs of you and your household. You want to know the quality of the grinder in the coffee maker if at all the device has one so you know which coffee beans work best with your machine. Another key feature is the milk frother. This feature can help you make coffee art in addition to improving your overall coffee experience. Make sure to consider your household size and the number of people in your home when checking out the water tank capacity. It would be bad form to have to make coffee multiple times so that everybody gets a cup.
In addition, try to check out the interface of the machine, you want to buy. Easy to use coffee makers are everywhere. Some are touchscreen and others even save your coffee settings so the next time you need to make a drink, you press a single button. If you have children in the house, you might want to bring in a coffee maker that can take a few hits without taking damage. Also, consider the size of the device with regards to the intended installation in your kitchen. As a result of the above, you are likely to come up with a list of potential coffee and espresso maker buys as we have. Mind you these lists are not easy to come by. They involve a lot of time spent on manufacturer sites, personal experience, and scanning other customer reviews and comments. Having done so, we have organized the information below in an easy to digest format that includes a table, detailed reviews of mentioned products, and a buying guide.
For a device with all the right accessories, this might be an ideal pick for a lot of people. The machine allows you to go through all the motions of brewing a cup on your own. For starters, this device will enable you to buy whole coffee beans. The plug-in electrical grinder should allow you to turn whatever beans you come across into a beverage. You would expect this to raise the price of the coffee and espresso maker, but it doesn’t. You can get it for just over $200.
Once ground you use the measuring spoon provided in the package to put the coffee in either the single or double shot basket which you then put in the filter. Conveniently placed on the backside of the measuring spoon is the tamper. This ensures that your coffee is evenly spread and that you don’t exceed the maximum level provided for.
Next up you fill the water reservoir with water and reattach it to the device. At this point, you can turn the machine on. In about 45 seconds, the device would be ready to start extracting coffee. In the package, you should find a stainless steel frothing cup that you can fill up with milk after you’ve rinsed thoroughly. Use the steamer to process your milk to just how it should be.
Even the cups you might need for drinking your coffee are provided with the package. Additional benefits include a handle on the water tank and LED indicators, which help keep an eye on water levels. For clean up, the drip tray is also removable meaning you can rinse it in your sink.
What we liked:
Comes with grinder
Comes with all other necessary coffee making accessories
This coffee and espresso maker review wouldn’t be complete without the Breville Duo-Temp Pro Espresso Machine. As you can see from the features highlighted about the kitchen installation, this device doesn’t come with a built-in grinder. As such you will have to buy your coffee ground. This is however not unique to this particular device as all its predecessors on our list require you to buy ground coffee as well.
This being the second coffee latte and espresso maker from the same manufacturer on our list, there are, of course, some similarities in the design. For one, the body is made of stainless steel with the dimensions being almost similar to those of the Breville Infuser Espresso Machine. Also, at the start of the beverage making process, the device uses lower pressure to expand the grain before amping it up at a later stage. Differences include a missing pressure gauge which in turn is replaced by a rotary knob. Another difference is the button setup with this featuring two while its counterpart has four.
The internal temperature control plays a significant role in extracting the coffee flavor as a slight deviation may lead to a lackluster result. If you continuously forget to clean your coffee makers the fact that this device has a dip tray and cleaning alerts may help sway your buying decision. Also, something that might interest buyers is the auto-purge feature, which ensures temperature consistently each time you resolve to make a drink.
What we liked:
Easy to use interface
Acccurate internal temperature control
Auto purge ensures temperature consistency
Incorporates maintenance indicators
What could be better:
Hard to thoroughly purge coffee grinds from the filter after brewing
Breville as a manufacturer has featured their third and final device on our list in the Barista Express Espresso Machine. The device is similarly designed to the other two with a few tweaks to functionality. From the picture provided and features listed, you will see that there is an inbuilt grinder which makes it one of the two devices on our list to offer the same. Weighing at 23 pounds, this is the heaviest device yet, and it’s also just as bulky. Therefore you need to carefully consider counter type and space if you are to bring this into your kitchen.
The grinder in this device allows for hands-free operation. Usually using the grinder would require you scoop up the ground coffee in a measuring spoon. Next up put it in the filter before proceeding to brew. The way this machine is designed allows the coffee grind to be deposited directly into the portafilter, making your work a whole lot easier. Water tank capacity isn’t a leap from what the other two provide.
As for color options, you get three, namely red, black, and silver. Also, this machine serves users of all kinds as it allows for both manual and automatic operation. Whether you are a coffee enthusiast with a passion for making your coffee or you want the convenience of getting coffee in your home rather than in a café this gadget has you sorted. Given its added functionality, this tool is priced at about $100 more than the Infuser Espresso Machine by the same company.
A coffee expert can tell you the essential elements that go into making the perfect coffee. These include the coffee dose you put into the machine, the water temperature, the water pressure also significantly influences flavor, and last but not least, the steam pressure. Usually, a misstep in any one of these four components may ruin the taste of the coffee entirely. Besides the skill set required to maneuver through the various elements of coffee making, you also need the right equipment, and that is where Breville the Infuser Espresso Machine comes in.
As for the packaging, the device comes in a stainless steel housing that you can get in red, silver, and black packaging colors. As for how much espresso you end up with in your cup, you are totally in control. The machine allows you to choose a single or double-shot all the while giving you the option for manual control if the two options don’t strike your fancy. During the beverage making process, the gadget uses low-pressure pre-infusion, which serves to expand the coffee. After that, the pressure is increased to ensure maximum flavor output.
Also, the temperature is another critical element of brewing the perfect cup. Generally, these espresso makers start at 200 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can adjust this temperature in 4-degree increments if your coffee beans require you to do so.
You may also be interested in making latte art at which point the frother becomes necessary. Even if you don’t need to make coffee art micro-foam may still significantly improve on the taste and you will be glad to have that option on board. The 61 oz water tank capacity is bound to be enough for more than a few cups. Also, the machine will let you know if there is anything you need to do in terms of upkeep, which makes maintenance a whole lot easier.
What we liked:
Accurate water temperature control
Multiple accessories in the package
Alerts users when they need to do anything in terms of maintenance
What could be better:
Pricey to buy
It can also be expensive to repair after the warranty period is over
Our third pick is reasonably budget friendly and comes in a durable stainless steel body. It incorporates some features from our first and second picks with button control in addition to the rotary knob. However, size-wise this is one of the more prominent kitchen coffee makers in the market. With the professional frothing wand incorporated, you are at liberty to make any kind of coffee beverage you want. This is inclusive of cappuccinos, macchiato, and latte drinks.
You can only find this kitchen appliance in a brushed metal finish for the stainless steel body. Given its nature, you will have to froth the milk yourself by pressing the button on the top right corner of the device. You will then be required to place your milk jug just below the frother. After that, you can create latte art or if you don’t know how to pour the necessary amount of frothed milk into your cup. Although the result may not look as good, it will still taste the same. On the back of the home coffee and espresso maker lies the 1.8L water tank. The tank in question is transparent, making sure you can keep an eye on water levels to ensure they remain sufficient. The fact that you can detach this water containment unit from the rest of the machine makes the gadget easier to clean.
As a rule of thumb leave the frother on for a few seconds after you are done frothing your milk. This way, the tube cleans itself out with steam.
What we liked:
Durable stainless steel body
Easy to use
The drip tray is removable and washable
The manufacturer provides videos on how to brew the best coffee on youtube
What could be better:
Limitations to how fine or hard the coffee you use can be
Coffee enthusiasts come in all forms. One might prefer to use an automatic machine that helps you through the various steps of making a beverage. Other people prefer to fully be in control, which is where manual espresso makers come in. A prime example is the De’Longhi ECP3420 Manual Espresso Machine. The gadget allows you to use easy serve pods that are great for determining whether it’s a double or a single shot espresso. You can also use these pods if you are unsure of how to measure your coffee. If you blunder and end up using too little or too much ground coffee, the beverage ends up being substandard. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t put you off from trying as practice makes perfect.
This model is notably lighter and smaller than its predecessor on our list so if you have limited kitchen space you can check to see if this fits from the dimensions provided above. Also, with smaller size comes a lower tank capacity. This might not entirely be a bad thing if there are fewer people in your home. Besides, you can take out the water tank as often as you need to clean it before you replace it. If you need to fill up a bigger cup with coffee detach the bottom tray and position your cup below the dispenser. The manual frother is also bound to come in handy when texturing your milk.
What we liked:
Adjustable cup size
What could be better:
Extra accessories are needed to make full use of the tool
In fifth place, we have our first automatic milk frother. While all other options mentioned above will require that you use a jug, this particular model will have you fill the detachable milk reservoir. Afterwards, when you turn on the frother, it will input directly into your cup. However, this milk reservoir comes with the requirement that you clean it regularly. Also, you will notice from the image that the gadget features an elaborate set of buttons.
This device is created with the following measures to prevent spillage: For one, the water reservoir is removable. Consequently you can detach it and move it to your sink to fill it up. The tank is also transparent so you can see and measure how much water you put into it. The milk reservoir as well is transparent. A third feature is the adjustable cup tray. The manufacturer realizes that the dosage of coffee you need at various times of the day is different and that cup size may vary depending on those needs. Therefore the ability to adjust up for smaller cups and down for taller ones is quite useful.
In line with its automatic nature, the device has a self-cleaning cycle. Remember to press the button that activates the cleaning cycle now and then.
Our next option is the Aicook Barista Espresso Coffee Maker. This device has a few key selling points among them the touchscreen interface. This is more or less like the multiple button controls featured in the Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker and Cappuccino Machine with the only difference being you tap the controls instead of pressing them. If you look at the two devices side by side, you are likely to notice some similarities. Case in point this product has a detachable milk reservoir. Also, if you are going to use this milk reservoir, it might be a good idea to put it in a refrigerator if there is any leftover milk. This way, the milk won’t go bad.
The water tank capacity is impressive, given that it holds 61.5 Oz of water and whether it is full or half the water levels are visible from the back since the reservoir is transparent. As with a lot of coffee makers we have listed, this gadget only works with ground coffee so you might do well to include that in your shopping list as well. Apart from the milk reservoir, which should be cleaned a lot more regularly, the recommended maintenance schedule is that you clean the device every 80 brew cycles. This is only the case for soft water. For hard water, you should reduce that time by half to every 40 cycles.
If you haven’t used the gadget for a long time or you just got it from the store, try and heat water without adding grounds so you clean the innards of the machine. Also, the froth control knob allows one to adjust the level of foam they would like in their beverages.
Right after the Aicook Barista Espresso Coffee Maker is another product by the same manufacturer. This one currently holds the position of the budget pick as it is one of the most affordable gadgets in the market. The overall design is rather simplistic with a rotary knob for all your controls. The user can make a maximum of four cups of coffee at a time. As you would expect of a product in that budget range, this model doesn’t come with an inbuilt grinder. However, there are a few wow factors that might convince you that this gadget is worth the purchase.
An example is that even with the low pricing, the kitchen appliance still affords to feature a steam wand for your milk. Also, despite the large water tank, the Aicook Espresso Coffee Machine takes up very little space on your counter, giving a less cluttered feel. Make sure that you remove the drip tray and nozzle every time you clean the device. The manufacturer advices you to use medium ground coffee and that you should ensure the handle has been turned to lock position before you begin brewing.
Where you want to avoid a messy coffee table or kitchen counter, this machine is an ideal fit. Also, it takes away from the labor aspect of using a coffee maker by using a capsule system. No need to measure coffee or use the tamper. Also, because you only use coffee capsules, the design is inherently different from other gadgets in our line up. You can see this in the absence of a detachable filter on the machine. Also, the system is fully automated and is activated by touching a single button. If you don’t have much time to make your coffee, you can get this machine so you won’t have to spend much time brewing a cup.
The milk frother comes in a separate device, albeit in the same package. Given the small size, you can place the espresso maker almost anywhere in your kitchen. Also, the machine allows one to choose from 5 different coffee cup sizes and capacities.
What we liked:
Easy to use
Easy to clean up
Fast heat-up time
What could be better:
Users are limited to only using coffee in capsules
The very last installation on our list is a semi-automatic device that you control using the buttons strategically placed on the top right part of the brewer. This particular installation features easy to fill water and milk reservoirs, which by extension means easy clean containment parts as well. After filling up the tanks and the filter, the next step is to press one or two buttons and then to wait for your preferred beverage. Also, maintenance seems to be a breeze as you get a programmed cleaning cycle in the device once you make the purchase.
As you can see from the dimensions and weight mentioned above, you can fit this in a small kitchen. A budget of about 200 dollars should be enough to have this delivered to your doorstep give or take a few dollars.
What we liked:
Easy to operate
Removable milk and water reservoirs
What could be better:
You need to clean the frothing tube after each use
For people living alone, there is simply no need to buy an elaborate machine that makes more than 5 cups of coffee at a time. You can opt for a smaller tool that serves your coffee needs, which is what this gadget provides. An added benefit is that the coffee maker is affordable falling below the $100 range. Given its small form, you can position this tool in just about any kitchen no matter how cluttered or small it is.
As for controls, you get a single knob to rotate, and as a result, brewing becomes a remarkably simple process. Among the accessories provided are a spoon, a carafe, a manual, a filter, and lastly a funnel. If you get hold of a frothing cup and fill it with milk, you can proceed to use the steam outlet situated on the side of the gadget to process your milk for later mixing into the coffee. Also, the warranty covers the first buyer as long as he lives.
What we liked:
Easy to use
What could be better:
Small water reservoir
Things to Сonsider
When you decide to get a coffee maker, you should have a plan of action. Otherwise, you may end up buying something with more functionality than you want or you may spend too little and end up disappointed with a product. Highlighting your coffee needs beforehand should help clear up a lot of things on which machine to purchase. This is because you have a better idea of which features to look for and consider.
Features to consider while choosing coffee and espresso maker
Highlighted below are some of the features you will find in most highly rated coffee and espresso makers. You will find that some of these features are left out of some devices and therefore when researching brewers, you should pay keen attention to the features listed on the website or the package.
Only two devices on our list incorporated a grinder, and that significantly increased the cost. For coffee aficionados, you may want to be in complete control of the brewing process from start to finish. This extends to even picking beans from the store as different beans with obviously result in a different feel and taste. Even among those devices with grinders, there are variations. An example is the Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine which grinds its coffee beans directly into the filter provided while its counterpart the EspressoWorks All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker has a plug in option. This one will require you to use a measuring spoon and tamper to get the ground coffee on the filter before you can reattach it to the device.
Almost all the devices mentioned have a milk frother as frothed milk is an essential part of making the right coffee. Where you usually get your coffee in a café, there is sometimes the inclusion of latte art which improves the look of the coffee in addition to texturing the beverage how you like it. Since a home coffee maker serves the purpose of taking over from your regular coffee shop, the experience shouldn’t be different.
Some of the devices we mentioned incorporate a milk reservoir, and the frothed milk is deposited right into your cup. A prime example is the Mr. Coffee Café Barista Espresso and Coffee Maker. However, most devices offer up a steamer that you can use to manually froth milk. You might also need to purchase a frothing cup to make full use of this attachment.
Water tank capacity
The water tank influences how many cups of coffee you can make at a time. For a single person, one to two cups taken in the morning is enough to get them through the day. As such more people in the household means that more coffee is required. Most manufacturers will list their reservoir capacity as a feature, and you would do well to make a few quick calculations that tell you whether or not your needs will be satisfied by the product you buy.
Some of these devices come with extra components while with others, you may need to purchase accessories to make full use of the equipment. A frothing cup is one such accessory. Having to go back to the store to buy one may not be everybody’s cup of tea. Other accessories may include coffee mugs, tampers, measuring sticks, and more. Also, you can purchase a standalone coffee grinder. If you already have one of these in your household, there is simply no need to buy a coffee maker with an incorporated grinder.
What is the device made of? This may seem like a trivial affair, but parents with young children know the pain of losing some of their appliances to their kid’s mischief and curiosity. Also, stronger component materials mean that the device will generally last longer. Most of the tools we mentioned are made of stainless steel with a few plastic components. Even then, regular maintenance will elongate the life of the device a little more. The fact that the Aicook Barista Espresso Coffee Maker manufacturer recommends clean up every 80 cycles for soft water is proof that almost all machines need to be taken care of to have a longer lifespan.
You need to place the coffee and espresso maker combo machine on a particular surface in your house. There are heavier machines and lighter ones. With weak counters and coffee tables, you may have to purchase a lighter model. Their weight can range from below 10 pounds to above 20 pounds. Also, if you intend to move the machine about from time to time, picking a lighter model is generally a better idea.
Dimensions are likely to affect the weight of the machine. Not only that, but you need to consider where in your kitchen you intend to put the purchase. If your counter has enough space or you are willing to make more room for it, you can get a bulkier model. Also, generally, bulkier models tend to carry more features, though this might not always be the case.
Price is a significant thought factor whenever you set off to buy something. Ideally, you would get a coffee machine with all the best features the first time, so you don’t have to upgrade at a later date. These upgrades would be needed where maybe the size of the family using the machine and where people’s coffee needs have grown. However, coffee machines, especially high end models, can be expensive. As such if you have a limited budget, you have to consider cost when choosing the make and model.
Coffee machines are likely to have a different output when it comes to the flavor of the beverage. However, most people don’t get the chance to taste the drink before they order a machine for themselves. As such, they won’t be able to gauge if they like what comes out or not. Nevertheless, some showrooms and stores may offer you the opportunity to test out a gadget by brewing a cup or two. If you get a chance to do this, you should take it and see which machine brews better tasting coffee where all other variables are constant. Remember your tastes are unique to you and so what tastes good to someone else might not necessarily feel the same.
Before purchasing an espresso maker, check out the warranty terms. Different manufacturers offer different warranties. You will find some offering as little as a one-year warranty while others provide lifetime coverage. Also, what kind of damage does the warranty cover and what are the claim terms? Do you get a refund of your money, or will the product be replaced? Does the warranty cover the whole product or just a few parts?
It is always essential to check out the comments and reviews section of an online store when checking out a product. You will find out a lot about the gadget, the manufacturer, and also their customer service.
This may include details of the brewer’s capabilities to produce quality coffee, whether any parts get damaged easily, if spare parts and replacements are readily available, how long customer care takes to get back to the customer and more. In yet another scenario you can choose to ask your friends and family what devices they use and what they like about them. This way, you get more detailed information, and you have the option to visit them and taste the coffee they produce.
Semi-automatic coffee machines are quite similar in build to fully automatic ones. You get a portafilter necessary for coffee extraction and a boiler to heat your water to the right temperature. Perhaps the only difference is in the inclusion of a switch to begin the extraction process. This switch turns on the pump on and off. Some high end semi-automatic espresso makers can be programmed to turn off the pump after a certain amount of time.
Manual coffee machines add a little more control than you would experience with a full or semi-automatic. Raising of the incorporated lever causes an opening in the brewing chamber to pull in preheated water which then mixes with the ground coffee. As such, the barista can control certain aspects of the brewing process such as pre-infusion, flow rate, and pressure giving way for coffee baristas to shine at their craft.
Most of the machines listed above require you to put coffee in the filter so you can brew. If you don’t add any coffee, all that comes out is hot water, and as such, it is possible to use the machine to boil water. Also, some manufacturers recommend that you boil water without including grounds when you haven’t used the coffee machine in a long time. This way, when the hot water passes through the system, it cleans out all the dirt that may have accumulated.
Tap water is readily available, and as such a lot of people use it to make their coffee. Also, most water companies treat their water before they supply it to your homestead. As such, you can use it without fear of any health defects later on. However, if you’ve compared tap water and filtered/bottled water, you will have noticed a change in taste between the two. This is also likely to affect the flavor of the coffee. While there are seemingly no dangers to brewing with either tap water or its filtered counterpart, coffee enthusiasts will have a preference between the two.
Of course, many or all of these above factors come into play when you decide to make a purchase. Also, if we were in your shoes, we would probably want to make the best choice possible. As such, the following three products would be the top of our priorities list.
The EspressoWorks All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker comes up as a favorite because of a few reasons. One is that if you buy this gadget, the only thing left is the coffee. You have a frothing cup in the package, drinking cups, a grinder as a part of the accessories in the box. As such, you only need to bring your expertise to the table. However, this may involve a lot of work and as such, cannot be everybody’s cup of tea.
Our editor’s choice the Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker and Cappuccino Machine also ranks as a potential buy for one primary reason: ease of use. You don’t need expertise at brewing coffee to make use this gadget, and that makes it one of the more accessible devices of its caliber. The only manual tasks include filling up the reservoirs with respective liquids, adding coffee to the filter and re-attaching the filter to the machine. Everything else is button operated and with the choice to make a few different drinks.
Budgetary considerations are also a huge consideration for people, which is why you find the Aicook Espresso Coffee Machine mentioned here. You see most of the capabilities of the other mentioned coffee machines here in a cheaper package. Besides, the device is rather compact to the point where finding space for it in a small kitchen wouldn’t be a problem. Almost everyone can be able to afford the device, and an added advantage is that it is easy to use. Being that your needs are personal and unique, your favorite gadget may or may not be in the three we mentioned. Nominate which product you think would serve you best and why. Just one comment below is enough.