Alex has never been professionally involved into the world of coffee, however he knows much more than any average barista. Being an avid coffee lover, Alex is constantly searching for new tips, tools, and techniques to make his morning cup of java even more perfect.
Mary has been dealing with coffee almost all her life long: in her teenage years, she worked as a barista in a number of well-known coffeehouses, later developing her knowledge and skills while studying at the university as well. Several years after graduation, she managed to open her own small coffee bar.
Last updated: March 12, 2021
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Have you ever wondered why coffee lovers are lining up at the café to grab an espresso shot in the morning? With so many products out there, can’t they brew some at the comfort of their homes? Your guess is as good as mine. Many espresso machines listed as the best are that in name only. Choosing the right machine is crucial. The best espresso machine for beginners will cut down the costs as you master the art of making your favorite coffee.
In this review, we list the best six models using the product features to rank them accordingly. We have also given you handy tips and some important aspects to consider when searching for the best starter espresso machine. We pay attention to the crucial elements like size, weight, reservoir capacity, frother type, and warranty. These features are essential in helping pick the best among the best and avoid making a costly mistake.
The Gaggia Classic Pro is the upgraded version of the Gaggia Classic, a popular entry-level machine for many years. The updated design gives it a modern look, with superior pump mounts that dampen the sound when brewing your coffee in the morning. The mechanics in the Classic Pro’s are the same as the Classic’s. However, the Pro has an improved steam wand. The commercial steam wand gives you full control when steaming and frothing milk and can produce tight microfoam for latte art.
The durable chrome-plated brass 58 mm portafilter is the same size and style as commercial machines you find in your local cafes and coffee houses. If you want to sit and enjoy your morning cup in a matter of seconds, the dual heating elements ensure your brew is ready in about five minutes, and steam after 30 seconds. This is made easier by the control panel, split up into three switches for power, brewing, and steaming. Each switch has its own indicator light to tell you when the machine is ready to brew or steam.
What we liked: The minimal heat-up time and the powerful steam wand are some of the best features we found in this espresso maker.
What could be better: The manual is poorly illustrated and does not provide key explanations, but once you get the hang of things, the machine is easy to operate.
The Breville Barista Touch features a quality built-in grinder, an adjustable auto-froth setting for milk, and a touchscreen that offers step-by-step tutorials. This makes it an ideal machine for beginners. The intuitive touch screen display simplifies making your favorite coffee in three simple steps grind, brew, and milk. If you want a machine that will allow you to dive right in and make yourself a drink without feeling overwhelmed, this is definitely an awesome choice. The Barista Touch is powerful, will pull you some really balanced shots, and froths milk with ease.
The more experienced coffee lovers can have more or less control over each step in their drink-making process thanks to the advanced controls and manual mode operation. What’s more, you can create and save up to eight personalized coffee settings for different family members. Besides, the jet heating system is such a time saver. It achieves the optimum extraction temperature in an average of three seconds, and you can get ready to make your best coffee without much waiting. With the Digital Temperature Control, the water is precisely at the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction with great taste and aroma.
What we liked: This machine is sleek and powerful and features great programming. The Barista Touch is beginner-friendly, and you can make a variety of café-quality espresso drinks without much trouble. You can also choose from the five preprogrammed café recipes for a quick shot. The option to create, save, and name eight customizable coffee settings is a great feature too.
What could be better: This machine has a beautiful, elegant finish, but it is easy to get it scratched. If you’re careful when sliding mugs, this should not be a big issue.
EspressoWorks, with its stainless-steel finishes, is a powerful machine that only looks great but also sits comfortably on any countertop. It is equipped with a front-view water tank that allows for easy and convenient monitoring of water levels, and it is relatively easy to operate. You only need to press the button, and the green light illuminates when your machine is ready to brew. When you turn the dial to the Espresso setting and the espresso will begin to extract. The included spoon is a useful tool that makes it easier to tamp your beans firmly into the portafilter.
The EspressoWorks espresso machine is ready to use in less than 45 seconds, and the 15 Bar Pump makes it easy to creates the perfect crema with a bold taste. It also includes a built-in steam wand to steam or heat milk to prepare your Espresso drinks. You will find it impressive that you don’t need to purchase any additional accessories when you buy this machine. The all-in-one set includes all accessories you need, including an electric grinder, portafilter, stainless steel frothing cup, measuring spoon, and tamper.
What we liked: We loved that this machine comes as a comprehensive package and you don’t have to buy additional accessories.
What could be better: The machine is difficult to maintain since you have to clean certain parts after each use. If you don’t, it fails and doesn’t work properly. A little time and some patience could be all you need to fix this.
The Breville Bambino Plus is simple, speedy, and enjoyable to use. The user manual is easy to follow, and with time, you can make rich and consistent shots for your guests. Perhaps, the most impressive feature is the Bambino Plus’sPlus’s ability to generate silky milk froth that closely rivals that of your favorite barista. You can opt to use the super-quick auto-froth setting or manually steam the milk when you want to make something special. The Bambino Plus also has a compact design and easily fits in any average kitchen cabinet. With the automatic steam wand, you can adjust the milk temperature and texture to your preferences.
The low-pressure pre-infusion that soaks the grinds and allows water to pass through the coffee helps you get a creamy, caramel-colored espresso for your family. With only three-second heat up time, you don’t have to spend time waiting before your cup is ready. An effective thermojet heating system makes this process easier and fast. As far as coffee goes, sweet, delicious, and nuanced flavors start with perfect water temperature. Using the Digital temperature control technology, the machine precisely controls water temperature for perfectly balanced coffee extraction.
What we liked: We loved that it’s easy to slide off the base for cleaning and back on again. It also got a deep tray for water so no messy spills around you.
What could be better: The machine is so light that it will slide around the counter as you lock in the filter. There’s no handle to grab, but a warm hug around your little machine will work fine when fixing the filter. This small machine is easier to clean and starts up more quickly, which is a good thing.
The Sowtech Espresso Machine features a plastic and stainless-steel body construction with a beautiful, compact design. Being smaller and lighter than an average espresso machine, it is ideal for small kitchens, single apartments, offices, and traveling. The powerful 3.5 bar pressure espresso coffee maker can also make 1-4 cups (240ml) espresso coffee. The Sowtech Espresso Machine uses the frothing arm to make a creamy froth for your cappuccinos and lattes.
No one wants to work on a messy counter. With a removable, washable drip collector, you’re sure to keep the brew space tidy and stain-free. Your package includes o steam espresso machine, a filter and funnel, a spoon, a carafe, and a manual. The Sowtech espresso machine also comes with a lifetime warranty, quick refund, or a free replacement.
What we liked: The compact design makes it portable and easy to handle. It also stores easily in small spaces.
What could be better: It has a chemical smell when first using it. Your coffee might take the smell for a while. Don’t worry. The smell goes away after some time.
The Lattissima one is simple and easy to operate the single-serve system. You can brew different single-serve coffee cup sizes at the touch of a button, depending on your coffee needs. Simply fill the milk jug and let the machine froth directly into your coffee drink for the perfect coffee and milk drink. Lattissima One fits perfectly in any kitchen thanks to its compact premium design. Besides, the chromed lever and subtle gloss and matte line patterns will give a modern touch to an otherwise dull kitchen counter.
The Lattissima one features a removable milk tank, which is dishwasher safe, making it relatively easy to clean. It has a fast heat-up time of only 25 seconds for espressos and 40 seconds for milk beverages. This could save you some precious time when you’re in a rush. Each espresso machine comes with a Nespresso original capsule gift pack with a range of capsules with unique aroma profiles. With a folding drip tray for your machine, you can keep your brewing space clean.
What we liked: The machine is powerful and has a quick heat up time.
What could be better: The machine’s base is too small to hold a small coffee cup. You might find it helpful to look for a suitable cup size in the kitchen, which should sort you out.
Things to Consider
There are several models to choose from when it comes to picking the best starter espresso machine. If you’re not sure which one is right for you, keep reading. Our buying guide contains information that experienced users in this field and newbies will find invaluable.
How to choose an espresso machine for beginners
The best beginner espresso machines can vary as much as your local cafe’s drink menu. Whether looking to pull an excellent double shot or want to whip up a homemade latte in the morning, choosing the right machine is crucial. Perhaps the two major things you need to think about when choosing the best personal espresso machine for beginners is the type of machine and the intended budget. Here are the details.
Types of espresso machines
Manual espresso machines– These machines require you to initiate and stop the brewing process yourself. If you’re looking for a truly hands-on experience, you can go for this electricity-free option.
Semi-automatic espresso machines– They use an electric pump for the brewing pressure and heat the water in a thermoblock. It’s on you to grind the beans, tamp the grounds, turn the machine on and off when your shot gets ready. The pump does the actual work of brewing.
Automatic espresso machines– These are basically semi-auto machines with extra programming features to start and stop the brewing process. You won’t need to stand by as it will automatically turn off when your shot is done.
Super-automatic espresso machines– If you’re looking for the do it all appliance handling the grinding, tamping to the entire brewing process, here is the go-to guy. You only need to select the drink you want, sit down, and wait for your ready coffee.
When choosing the best beginner espresso machine, it’s good to consider the amount of money you’re willing to spend. If you are particular about the flavor and strength or the time spend in brewing a cuppa, consider buying a higher-end model. On the other hand, a budget model is okay if you’re not choosy about the flavor or ease of use. You might also need to buy additional accessories such as a grinder, tamper, frother, and frother pitcher, and more if at all they’re not included in the package.
Features to consider before you buy an espresso machine for beginners
With the wide range of espresso makers in the market, none is perfect for everyone. Picking the best home espresso machine for beginners can be tough. Doing your homework will save you energy and time. Below are some crucial factors that will help you make a wise decision.
Make sure to measure ahead of time and not forget to measure your countertop and cupboards’ distance.
The weight of your Espresso machine will also determine its ease of storage and use. Heavier espresso makers like the Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch Espresso Machine are more stable on the counter than their lighter counterparts. They will not move or fall easily when knocked over by items. On the other hand, lighter machines are easily portable and easy to handle. The Bambino Plus Espresso Machine is suitable if you want something light for the office or camping.
You need to invest in a larger container if you often need to brew larger espresso amounts for your family. Gaggia Classic Pro. is perfect for larger families. The Barista Touch is a good option too. Having smaller capacities will result in filling and cleaning the machine several times during office hours.
Most espresso machines can hold enough water for up to 8 cups. Some machines have water tanks with small filling spouts. For these machines, you need a funnel.
Espresso-cappuccino machines can be equipped with three kinds of milk frothers – frothing wands; others come with a frothing tank or a separate milk frother. Whether you want a classic cappuccino with dairy milk, latte, or macchiatos, you’ll need a frother for that. Some espresso machines like the EspressoWorks come with a built-in steam frothing wand. If you like such brews, ensure you buy an espresso machine with a frother.
The material that makes your machine matters a lot. Most espresso machines are metallic with a few plastic components. Some machines could deliver good coffee but might rust or break if the material is fragile.
You must carefully inspect the exterior and interior body to ensure durability. We recommend a stainless-steel body since it doesn’t corrode and will last for long.
Sometimes, the products you buy don’t always arrive in their best condition. Some items you receive could contain parts that don’t work properly, and some could be broken. A good warranty will cover such instances to cushion you from extra expenses for replacement parts or the cost of a whole new machine.
To clean an espresso machine, you need a portafilter basket, also known as a blank or a blind, a towel, a scrubby a bowl to soak the portafilter. Take the grinder top, then remove the filter screen from the portafilter. Soak the head of the portafilter and screen in a special cleaner along with hot water. Use the brush to scrub all the residue to eliminate deposits under the portafilter gasket. Insert it in the portafilter in the machine and follow the instructions. After the cleaning cycle is complete, take the portafilter off the machine. Once the internal parts of your espresso machine are clean, you can rerun a backflush to ensure no residue is left inside your machine. If your espresso machine has a steam wand, it’s time to clean it. Lastly, clean the outside using a clean damp towel. Dry it with a different towel and store it.
Make sure you know exactly where the machine is going to stay before buying. Whether on the kitchen counter or a cabinet, you need to know the dimensions before purchasing. If you’re not keen on the footprint, you might end up with a machine that does not fit into the allocated space. In some models, the machines have water tanks with front access while others have access on the top. The question here is whether you have cabinet clearance constraints for your espresso machine. You want to do your thing with minimal shifting- without moving back and forth. The best thing would be to set up a little station out of the way of your cooking area if possible. If you have a dining room, you can set up your machine on a counter at the corner. This way, you won’t detract from the useable cooking space in your kitchen.
With so many options and features for espresso machines, none is a perfect fit for everyone. However, it’s worth mentioning the Gaggia Classic Pro for its powerful steaming ward and large reservoir capacity. Second on our list is the Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine. This espresso maker is famous for its versatility. It has customizable coffee settings and preprogrammed options when you need some quick coffee. The touch screen operation also makes it easy to use. EspressoWorks clinches the Best Value position for its affordability and performance. Here is a perfect combination of the best features and value from the other espressos on the list. If you want an affordable machine without compromising on quality, this might be a good pick. No matter your option, the best espresso machine for beginners should give you a perfect cup of delicious espresso.