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The Best Home Espresso Makers To Brew the Perfect Jolt of Java

Italy has blessed us with so many culinary creations it’s hard to pick a favorite. When you think Italian food you automatically picture a beautiful, cheesy pizza or a plate full of pasta with a delicious meat sauce. However, one invention that is quite frequently overlooked is the black gold that baristas deal in every day. We’re not talking crude oil; we’re talking espresso.

How many of us would be able to overcome the prior night’s cocktails and be functioning humans at work if it weren’t for our daily Americano? Let’s also not forget it makes a decadent after-dinner treat poured over some ice cream.

Many of us think espresso is too much of a luxury to make at home. But, you’d be surprised by the affordability of some espresso makers. After all, water, coffee, and pressure are all you need to make some tasty espresso. Also, thanks to rising demand, the fancy models similar to those in our favorite coffee shops are becoming more reasonably priced.

So, if you’re trying to bring your espresso-making in-house, here are seven of our favorites to suit the needs of travelers, apartment dwellers, traditionalists, and aspiring café owners alike.

Best overall: Bialetti Moka Express Espresso Maker

best home espresso machine Bialetti Moka Express
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Sometimes it’s nice to go old school and just get back to basics. The Moka Pot was originally patented in 1933 by Alfonso Bialetti, and there’s a reason the design (and the Bialetti name) has stuck around in the homes and cafes of coffee connoisseurs for nearly a century. Bialetti continues this tradition with its Moka Express, an all-aluminum Italian-made Moka pot that combines the sweet simplicity of a stovetop kettle with a boiler chamber that creates the pressure necessary to make espresso without a pump.

An automatic pressure valve keeps things working safely as your water boils, and the whole process only takes about five minutes from start to finish — meaning you don’t have to wait too long for that much-needed morning shot of creamy Joe. For around 30 bucks, you’re not going to get better homemade espresso than this.

Best Value: Fellow Prismo Aeropress Attachment

best home espresso machines prismo aeropress
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If you’re already an Aeropress fan (and if you’re not, now’s the time to jump on board, there’s a new little wonder on the market you should know about. The Prismo is a clever cap that clips right onto the Aeropress and uses a resistant valve to create enough pressure for a rich espresso brew topped with a healthy layer of crema.

Equipped with its own metal filter and boasting a molded design that fits snugly over a standard espresso cup, once the Prismo is attached to the Aeropress, it requires no special extra steps: Simply use the Aeropress just as you normally would, and prepare for a dark, delicious jolt of java. We can’t say this cuppa is going to whisk you away to Italy the way a top-of-the-line machine might, but for a quick $25 add-on to your favorite coffee press, it’s pretty damn good.

Best Manual Option: Flair Espresso Press

best home espresso machine Flair press
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As we mentioned earlier, pressure is the key to making espresso, and the simple fact is that very few at-home pump machines – which are often little more than glorified cappuccino makers – can generate enough of it to put out truly thick, creamy espresso. The Flair espresso maker tackles this problem by ditching complicated electronics in favor of a simple manually operated press, an ingenious and elegant solution that gives you reliably good homemade espresso.

The Flair is a breeze to operate as well. Its wide base keeps everything stable on your counter as you operate the pump, and the coffee brewing head is simple to assemble use, and clean. If you’re looking for homemade espresso and have less than $200 to spend, we recommend the Flair press over any of the cheaper electronic espresso machines on the market today.

Best Single-Serve Option: Nespresso Essenza by Breville

best home espresso machine Nespresso Essenza
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If you’ve never heard of Nespresso, just imagine Keurig K-pods designed for making espresso rather than traditionally brewed coffee. These capsule-based coffee makers pretty much work exactly like a Keurig, too, albeit with an added pressure system for whipping up creamy espresso, and the Nespresso Essenza is the best of the bunch. This Essenza espresso machine is actually built by Breville, which also makes our favorite premium home espresso system (see our final pick for that).

Instead of any sort of finicky manual pump, the Essenza uses an internal extraction system that generates 19 bars of pressure which push hot water over your fine espresso grounds to create a smooth cup with good crema, and it does this better than other machines in this price bracket. Just pop in a Nespresso capsule, select your shot size (large or small), and the Essenza does the rest. It even comes with 14 Nespresso pods to get you started.

Best for Travel: Wacaco Minipresso GR

best home espresso machines wacaco minipresso

You’ve got a few options for making brewed coffee while camping, but espresso is a different animal. For an all-in-one, espresso-on-the-go experience, Wacaco’s got you covered with the Minipresso GR. This sleek little machine, equipped with a built-in water tank, coffee scoop, and espresso cup, is built for travel and delivers a great shot of espresso with just a few clicks of a button.

Weighing in at under a pound and with a length of less than seven inches, the Minipresso easily tucks away in a pocket or pack so you can take it wherever life leads you. A semi-automatic piston hidden away inside helps build up the pressure needed for a brew with enough kick to put a little hair on your chest, and a variety of available water tanks make it easy to experiment with different espresso types.

Premium Pick: Breville Barista Express

best home espresso machine
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For a good countertop cuppa, the Breville Barista Express is a popular choice, and for good reason. First of all, it’s oozing handy features, including a built-in fully adjustable grinder, digital temperature controls, interchangeable filters, both automatic and manual operation options, and a steam wand that gives you complete control over your cream (and is a real boon if you’re looking to practice your latte art).

What’s more is that it delivers all of this with a price tag that, though it still sits at a hefty $700, it’s still less than some comparable machines and is head and shoulders above the less expensive ones in terms of quality. If you’re a true espresso aficionado, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Best Automatic Espresso Machine: De’Longhi Dinamica Plus

Di'Longhi Dinamica Plus automatic coffee and espresso machine.
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If your barista skills start and end at pushing a button, don’t worry, the De’Longhi Dinamica Plus will pick up the slack everywhere else. This machine is a big investment, but there is so much you get. This fully automatic, bean-to-cup coffee and espresso machine features a high-resolution touch display for intuitive navigation and customization. It has a one-touch control system letting you brew over a dozen different and delicious coffee and espresso beverages, including TrueBrew Over Ice. If you know what you’re doing when it comes to espresso, the six one-touch recipes or you can customize a recipe for complete personalization. Drinks include iced coffee, espresso, cappuccino, lattes, and many more.

For an extra frothy cup, The patented LatteCrema™ System automatically froths milk to the ideal density and texture, making espresso classics like lattes and cappuccinos complete with rich, long-lasting foam. You can even use milk alternatives! And what new appliance would be complete without smartphone connectivity? The Coffee Link app lets you start brewing even before you get out of bed and levels up personalization like never before by saving up to three custom profiles complete with recipe favorites.

Most Versatile: Philips 3200 EP3241

Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine EP3241 on a white backdrop.
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As much as possible, we want to keep things simple, especially when we’re waking up first thing in the morning. This espresso machine by Philips is what you need. Not only can you make five different coffees in one machine, but it’s also incredibly easy to use and clean. It takes around 15 seconds for the milk system to become spotless. The user interface is also a touchscreen for a fuss-free time picking your beverage. These delicious drinks include Espresso, Cappuccino, Coffee, Latte Macchiato, and Americano. If you’re not in a coffee-drinking mood, you can also get hot water with this machine.

One of the best features of this particular model is its LatteGo milk system. This milk system has no hidden tubes and is only composed of two parts. It can also easily become a silky smooth froth that adds a light and sweet touch to our caffeinated beverages. What’s even better is that this automatic espresso maker has a 12-step grinder adjustment so that you can make your coffee with the freshest beans possible. Whether you want it coarse or fine, it’s totally up to you.

Editors' Recommendations

Lucas Coll
Lucas Coll is a freelance commerce and affiliate writer for The Manual and our tech-focused brother site, Digital Trends…
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