Your Choice Way

Best Espresso Machines For 2022

Best Espresso Machines For 2022 - Your Choice Way

Considering buying an espresso maker? We've taken home and tested some of the most popular machines from the best brands around.

Make no mistake: an espresso maker is the most time-consuming and fiddly way to make coffee at home. But for those that are willing to put in the effort, the reward is the best coffee you're likely to make yourself.

Espresso makers tend to be expensive – much more so than filter or pod coffee machines. Still, they are less pricey than a bean-to-cup machine and take up considerably less space on your kitchen counter. They are also some of the most attractive small appliances around.

If you don't know your portafilter from your group head, have a look at our guide after the chart to familiarise yourself with features and make sure that the machine you settle on meets your needs.

Otherwise, read on to browse our favourite espresso makers. 

1. Breville Barista Max

1. Breville Barista Max
Pros
  • All-in-one solution
  • High-quality grinder
  • Solidly built
Cons
  • Massive kitchen counter footprint
Not currently available in the US

If you enjoy using a portafilter, tamping and getting your espresso just right yourself, but you want to grind the beans yourself, the Barista Max could be just what you're looking for.

It's a great alternative to a bean-to-cup machine, allowing for all the hands-on personalisation of an espresso machine but with an inbuilt conical burr grinder that has 30 settings. What's really compelling is the price point: it's around the same price as competing espresso machines, none of which feature a grinder.

It's well designed, with handy features such as the Tap & Go Grinding Cradle, a half hoop that you stick the portafilter into. Press down, the grinder starts and coffee is deposited right into the basket. A light even comes on to illuminate the process. 

On the negative side, it has a huge countertop footprint and the plastic water tank is less than attractive – but luckily hidden at the back of the appliance.


2. Sage Bambino

2. Sage Bambino
Pros
  • Fast heating
  • Pre-infusion
  • Adjustable coffee volume
Cons
  • Pricey
Not available in the US

This espresso maker is attractive, compact and feature-filled. It has an inbuilt steam wand, hot water dispenser and adjustable automatic settings for brewing one and two cups of espresso.

It comes with both single and double-walled portafilter baskets for one and two cups, meaning that the machine can be used equally by baristas-in-training who want to experiment to get the perfect shot and those who just want a decently brewed coffee without too much fuss.

It's tall enough to dispense straight into a mug, has a generous drip tray with a bright red float and enough space on top to warm two cups. There are plenty of nice design features, like the handle on top of the water tank that allows you to easily lift it out and the removable water filter. Plus, it comes with all the accessories you'll need, including a stainless steel milk jug.

Most importantly, it has an impressive build quality and it's easy to use.

Read our full Sage Bambino review

3. Smeg Espresso Coffee Maker

3. Smeg Espresso Coffee Maker
Pros
  • Use with ESE pods or ground coffee
  • Narrow & compact
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Price
  • Plastic build
  • Flimsy tamper/ scoop
$489.95

Smeg's espresso maker is in the brand's characteristic retro design: all curves and chrome accents. And it is a thing of beauty. However, it is almost entirely clad in shiny plastic, while other machines have a stainless steel exterior. 

It's light, narrow and compact, so you'll easily find a spot for it on your countertop. It heats up quickly and is easy to use, with a single button operation, but you can modify water temperature, water volume and adjust for water hardness. 

It also has an integral milk wand/hot water dispenser. The machine heats quickly and you can move between coffee making and steaming milk without waiting for it to cool down.

However, it only comes with the most basic accessories: a portafilter, one and two cup baskets and a plastic tamper/scoop, which is a disappointment at this price point.

It comes in a range of colours but you may have to shop around the find the one you want. It's worth it as its lovely design is what you're paying a premium for.


4. Breville Bijou

4. Breville Bijou
Pros
  • Compact
  • Integral steam wand
  • Good value for money
Cons
  • Steep learning curve
  • Manual dispensing
  • Time-consuming to make several coffees
Not currently available in the US

The very compact Bijou would make a good entry-level machine for would-be baristas who want to learn the art of espresso making. It's not such a great option for people who just want to make a quick coffee. 

It's a manual dispensing machine, and the instruction manual provides little in the way of advice on volume, dispensing time or tamping. So if you buy, you need to be prepared to research how to use it and to experiment with the machine.

It comes with a portafilter, two double walled baskets (for one and two cup brewing) and a scoop/tamper but you'll need to provide your own milk jug. 

The budget price becomes apparent in the fact that it takes several minutes to warm up and that it needs time to cool down between using the steam wand and dispensing coffee. This means that making several coffees at once can take some time.


5. Dualit 3-in-1

5. Dualit 3-in-1
Pros
  • Works with ground coffee, ESE pods, NX & Nespresso capsules
Cons
  • Lightweight, slightly flimsy build
  • Noisy
  • Capsules must be pierced before use
Not available in US

Not only does this machine function as an espresso machine, using ground coffee but it's also compatible with ESE pods, NX and Nespresso capsules, making it a good choice for a busy household that wants a quick coffee in the morning but the option of a good espresso on the weekend.

And it does produce a good espresso – reliably so. It heats quickly, using Thermoblock technology, has a cup warming space on top and a drip tray with a float. 

It's an attractive machine, with a stainless steel exterior. On the negative size, it's lightweight and largely made of plastic and does not sit solidly when attaching the portafilter. Plus, it can't fit a full-sized mug under the dispenser. It's also very noisy when in use.


What to look for in an espresso maker
Size
As with any coffee machine, before you settle on a particular appliance, check out your kitchen counter space. An espresso machine needs a dedicated spot on your kitchen counter. They're not always light or easy to move and, factoring in the drip tray and coffee grounds around the machine, moving one could create a lot of mess.

Measure the counter space you have free and check the height of your overhead cabinets to give you the rough dimensions of space you could spare for an espresso maker.

Variable settings
Most espresso makers will allow you to dispense both a one and two cup volume.

You'll also likely be able to adjust the volume of water dispensed. But what to look out for here is whether you have complete manual control (which equates to no guidance) or if you're able to modify an existing dispensing volume. 

Steam wand
Most espresso makers come with an integral steam wand, which will allow you to heat and texturise milk for cappuccinos and lattes. Usually, the steam wand will also dispense hot water for longer coffees. 

Some may also come with a stainless steel milk jug.

Portafilter
The portafilter is the long-handled device that the basket sits in. Fill the basket with ground coffee, tamp it down and insert it into the group head, which will dispense your coffee. Sound easy? Getting the right amount of coffee, at the right fineness and giving it the right amount of tamping is key to getting a great espresso. 

Portafilter baskets
Portafilter baskets come in two sizes: single and double shot. But there are also two different types: double and single walled baskets.

Double walled baskets are also called pressurised baskets. These are better for beginner baristas or for people looking to make a drinkable espresso without having to spend too much time getting the perfect grind and dispensing time. The increased amount of pressure improves the consistency of the coffee and means you can use a less consistent grind of coffee.

A single walled basket is the home barista's choice. There's no safety net while brewing, so you have to create pressure by getting the fineness, dispensing time and tamping absolutely right.

The Sage Bambino comes with both types of portafilter basket, so it's a good choice for households where only one person is interested in experimenting with espresso brewing.

Integral grinder 
Espresso machines can't usually grind their own beans. You'll need to use ground coffee in them. However, there are a few exceptions, such as the Breville Barista Max, which has an integral conical burr grinder.

Pressure gauge
A pressure gauge is another nice-to-have feature in a home espresso machine, but very few machines at the affordable end of the market have one. You can't modify the pressure on an espresso machine but the gauge can tell you if your machine is starting to fail.

You may also be able to use the gauge to let you know if your grind is correct. Lower pressure during brewing could indicate that your coffee is too finely ground.

Tamper
Most espresso machines will come with a tamper, a handy little tool you use to compress the coffee in the basket. More budget-friendly appliances will often come with a single plastic tool, with a scoop on one end and a tamper on the other. Espresso aficionados may want to invest in a higher quality tamper, often made of solid wood and stainless steel.  

ESE pods
As well as taking ground coffee, some espresso machines take ESE (easy serve espresso) pods. These are like teabags but for coffee: pre-filled, perforated bags. They won't provide as delicious a cup as fresh ground beans but they have the advantage of being consistent, quick and clean to use. The Dualit 3-in-1 coffee machine not only takes ESE pods but Nespresso capsules as well.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Best Espresso Machines For 2022 Best Espresso Machines For 2022 Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, April 05, 2022 Rating: 5

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