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: April 28, 2021
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Getting a great cup of espresso shouldn’t always involve going out to a café. Instead the huge variety of espresso machines available has brought the espresso making experience into every home’s kitchen. Everything from a home and office espresso machine to commercial models is available and we are here to help you look exactly for what you need.
Here we have shortlisted five of the best Italian espresso machines to make your espresso brewing experience a breeze. The DELONGHI Magnifica ESAM3300 starts off our list as our Editor’s Choice with plenty of features to impress. It blends style and convenience into one compact, easily operable, premium quality appliance that will give you the professional café experience right in your kitchen. It promises to deliver top-notch espressos every time and paves the way for our other nominees.
Important things you need to consider when making a purchase include bean and water container capacity, warranty information, size and type. The correct specs and features will help you brew your beverage to perfection and enjoy quality espresso right at home. To get started, take a look at our quick comparison table below and read our detailed product descriptions for each model. We conclude with a comprehensive buying guide to give you any additional information you need before investing in an espresso machine.
The Magnifica ESAM 3300 coffee maker from DeLonghi is one that any espresso lover would want in their home. It’s a sleek machine that offers nothing but a wide variety of fresh and pleasantly consistent brews every time. With plenty of features to customize the perfect shot of espresso to your preference, you can be sure you’ve made a good purchase with the Editor’s pick on this list.
In terms of visuals, this is a very stylish machine. With a rounder looking stainless steel exterior at the front and a more compact design, it looks fitting on any kitchen counter. It has a big presence without taking too much space, making it one of the best Italian espresso machines for home.
The compact size also allows for a better distribution of heat, making the espressos produced an ideal temperature every time.
With simple controls including a rotary dial and a push button control panel, anyone can easily figure out this super-automatic machine and the 13 programmable settings to customize their perfect brew.
This DeLonghi espresso machine comes with a built-in professional “Direct to Brew” burr grinding system so your drinks taste as fresh as possible.
Other features include a “Cappuccino System” frother, a self-adjust feature for one or two espresso shots at a time, and a removable water reservoir chamber and bean container for hassle-free refills and cleaning. A good portion of users, however, can collectively agree that the water reservoir is on the smaller side, resulting in the chamber needing to be refilled often.
What makes it special?
Controls are fairly simple
Compact design great for home
Grinder/ coffee maker makes you brew fresher
Requires less cleaning, removable containers
What cons did we find?
Water reservoir is small, frequent refills required
Our Upgrade Pick, the Gaggia Babila machine, is a great quality high-end product made to fit as many diverse needs as possible and taste as rich and fresh as possible.
This is another modern-looking Gaggia espresso machine with a shiny stainless-steel exterior, an organized interface, and an LCD display for showing you all your settings.
The functions of the Babila include one touch brewing, including frothing for lattes and cappuccinos. You can choose from 8 settings, each of which brews a different drink. Each setting is programmable for the best customization, though some reviewers find that it takes a bit of time and fiddling to figure out the perfect brew, especially if you have the most particular of preference.
Included with this machine are plenty of useful maintenance accessories including descaler, a water filter, a test strip for water hardness, lubricant, a brush, and a grinder key/coffee scoop.
The ceramic burr grinders in the Babila not only provide you with immediate fresh coffee grinds and coffee, but also with the best, most consistent and flavorful grinds you can get.
There are plenty of features included to help you find your favorite brew. The manual steam wand doubles as a hot water dispenser and froth customizer. If you’re not looking to add the froth yourself, the automatic milk carafe system should come in handy. A knob controls the flow rate, so you can further customize the strength of your coffee and espresso shots.
You can also adjust the dispenser to accommodate larger cups up to 6”.
What are our favorite features?
Comes with plenty of maintenance tools included
Plenty of programmable settings to better fit your preference
For a commercial setting, you’ll need a more heavy-duty espresso machine that can take larger loads at a time and works time-efficiently. The Rancilio Silvia is one for the job, with a sturdy build and commercial-grade features that’ll offer you the right customization of brew every time.
This semi-automatic espresso machine is built with commercial grade heat regulation features, including a group head for stable quality of heat which results in a better quality of flavor. Built in mostly stainless steel, the contents will warm up quickly and cool down just as fast, making it quick to do the work.
A portafilter used for other commercial grade machines is included, as well as a large volume single boiler to maintain a compact size.
The manual steam wand allows you to better control frothing with a wide yet precise range of motion. The steaming knob helps you better control pressure and heat, giving you extra control, which in a commercial setting can be better than totally relying on the machine.
If necessary, a pod and capsule adaptor kit is available to make the Silvia compatible with more coffee types.
Though the controls are mainly straightforward, it does take some practice, especially if you use this machine at home. The controls require a bit of experimentation to find the right brew.
The Rancilio Silvia is overall a consistent and efficient machine. To top it off, it comes at a decent price and the best value semi-automatic espresso machine of its kind, making it a good investment. We recommend it as the best Italian commercial espresso machine for places where lots of espresso making is involved.
What makes it stand out?
Commercial grade heat regulation features
Large volume single boiler
Pod and capsule adaptor kit available
Easy semi-automatic controls
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Takes a bit of experimentation and practice to find the perfect brew
If you want a decent espresso made from the comfort of your home and want to save yourself the cost of the daily trip to the café, then a home espresso maker is what you need. Luckily, with our list’s Budget Pick, you get both of the above at a very affordable upfront price. The Gaggia Carrezza is a compact semi-automatic espresso machine with all the basics you need to make great coffee – from espressos to lattes to cappuccinos.
Because of its value, this is definitely one of if not the best capsule espresso machines on the market. The Carrezza doesn’t have a built-in grinder, but is compatible with pre-ground coffee and ESE pods. The pressurized portafilter allows you to brew at the industry standard 9 bar of pressure, and lets you easily get a perfect thick crema every time.
For appearance, though many of the external components are plastic, the machine has a complete, well-polished look. Along with the retro style interface, you have a visually appealing and easy to understand panel of controls.
Wand frothing is also easy and doubles as a hot water dispenser. The larger Pannarello wand can be removed to reveal a smaller wand for microfoam and precise latte art.
Other features include an energy-saving automatic shutdown after 9 minutes of inactivity, a 47-ounce water reservoir that pulls out of the machine, and a cup warmer plate on top to help keep your coffee warmer longer.
According to reviewers, the Carrezza includes some small operational quirks, but none of which actually negatively affect the quality of brew.
What makes it special?
Pressurized portafilter works for both fresh grinds and ese pods
The La Pavoni PA-1200 Napolitana is a great machine for larger settings with its high-quality build and semi-automatic functionality. You could say it’s a machine best for the office as it holds large quantities of ingredients for a larger number of people who’ll use it, withstands frequent usage all while providing the best espresso possible.
This espresso machine was made to last. The Napolitana has a heavy-duty external construction, made with stainless steel and brass, glossed finished to provide a pleasing visual. The easy heating of the machine allows for better crema in your espresso. It includes stainless steel baskets as well.
The built-in conical burr grinder lets you grind your espresso fresh for better taste. This machine is capable of an impressive 16 bars of pressure, which is above the standard so you can be sure you get creamy espresso every time.
Despite having a 100-ounce water reservoir, the Napolitana is actually quite space-efficient. A new technology allows unused residual water to return to the reservoir, further saving water and time refilling.
The controls are very straight forward on this machine. Little input is required from the user to make a good cup, saving you the time of picky customizing. The grinding, filtering, brewing and tamping are all done for you for a complete drink.
One issue involving this machine is the chance of noise during operation, one lone feature not exactly optimal for a workplace setting.
What are its best features?
Good, sturdy stainless-steel body
Simple, easy to understand controls
Great value for larger setting i.e. in a shop or office
What could be improved?
Things to Consider
With espresso becoming an integral part of more and more kitchens, it’s no wonder that people want a machine that will give them restaurant quality results right at home. As such, there is a fair bit of variety available when it comes to espresso machines and here we will help you understand what to look for when buying one for your home or office.
Italian espresso machine – does the country matter?
Since espresso is synonymous with Italy and the Italians did come up with the original Moka cup, it is no surprise that espresso aficionados would give preference to espresso machines made in Italy. With historical affiliations such as Luigi Bezerra, Desiderio Pavoni, and Alfonso Bialetti, the pioneers in this industry’s technology, espresso drinkers associate a stronger espresso and superior flavor with Italian products.
Italian espresso making tips
To make the perfect cup of espresso, you need high-quality coffee, a good coffee grinder and the correct espresso machine. Pair these up with the following to get the best espresso every time:
Pre-warm your espresso equipment including cups, portafilter and machine before use.
Grind the coffee fresh for the best taste.
Soften the water you will use to make the espresso.
Tamp coffee grind evenly into portafilter, brushing off any loose grounds.
Press the correct setting for a single or double shot.
To get an idea on how to brew espresso perfectly on a stovetop, take a look at this video:
The price range of your espresso machine will primarily be dictated by the number of operations and features it offers. You can well start off with machines under $100 but don’t expect these to compete with higher-end, super automatic versions that do everything for you.
If you start off with the most basic stovetop model, prices start around the $25 mark. Moving onto more advanced machines that deliver single-cup, pod style espresso will cost anything between $40 and $150. But perhaps the most popular machines come for a price tag ranging between $150 and $300. For machines that deliver professional café quality espresso, you can easily expect to shell out anything between $450 and $1200.
The best Italian espresso machine can be found by the following features
The trick to making perfect espresso is forcing a small amount of hot, but not boiling, water under at least 9 bars of pressure through finely ground coffee to get the most authentic flavor. As such, pressure, among other things seems to be the defining metric to creating real espresso. Here, we will consider what other features need to accompany pressure to give the best espresso you can make at home.
Brands to consider
DeLonghi has a long tradition of manufacturing the best-designed, high-performing espresso machines. The brand name precedes its products and is trusted by millions for creating perfect espresso drinks every time.
Gaggia is another Italian contender in the espresso machine industry. Established in 1938, the company has been manufacturing some of the most popular machines for making espresso.
Rancilio uses the motto “Coffeeing the World”, and rightly so. The company has been producing top-notch products that are used in leading hotel and restaurant chains, airports, schools, company canteens and hospitals across the globe.
La Pavoni needs no introduction in the world of Italian espresso machines as they were the first ones to bring this ingenious invention to the market. Since then La Pavoni has never looked back, keeping tradition and technology up with the times and delivering true masterpieces for creating perfect espresso.
Typically, espresso machines can be divided into the following types:
The moka pot is the most basic type using steam to create pressure. While it is the most cost-effective and space-efficient way to brew espresso, there are concerns with the pressure not being high enough for a good extraction.
Manual lever espresso machines bring old world aesthetics and performance with them. These are best suited for espresso connoisseurs who have mastered the skill of espresso making and who enjoy having complete control over concocting their espresso.
Semi-automatic is perhaps the most common and affordable type of machine found. The semi-automatic espresso machine features an electric brewing pump that needs to be turned on and off manually. These models offer the most brewing flexibility, are fairly compact in size and will yield good quality espresso with a thick crema. The Rancilio Silvia, Gaggia Carezza and the La Pavoni models fall in this category.
Super automatic are espresso makers that do all the work for you using built-in coffee grinders, filling and tamping mechanisms and brewing a pre-determined volume of espresso. These smart models will also get rid of used coffee grounds via an internal waste container. All it takes is the press of a button. Both the DeLonghi Magnifica and the Gaggia Babila are excellent choices for automatic models.
Capsule espresso machines are excellent choices for locations like offices, restaurants, coffee shops, diners, and other food service locations. They offer convenience using pre-filled coffee capsules inserted into the machine. You press a button and get thick, authentic espresso.
Espresso machines will primarily offer a single or double shot. Some may even offer a triple shot. Compact versions carry a 5-liter boiler or 6.5-liter boiler. Larger group head models for commercial settings can go up to having 11-liter boilers and larger work surfaces designed to accommodate both tall and low cups.
Beans container capacity
The portafilter is where the machine holds the coffee ground prior to and during the brewing process. Under typical situations, a single basket can hold up to 11 grams of coffee, a double basket increases that number to 17 grams while a triple basket can hold up to 21 grams of coffee grounds.
Water reservoir volume
The reservoir is the component from where the machine pulls water to fill its boilers. The reservoir makes the machine more portable and eliminates the need for plumbing in the device. Reservoirs work well for small volumes while professional machines need a steady piped source. Based on the machine’s model, reservoirs can hold any volume from 35 ounces to 2 liters.
Big brands in the espresso machine industry will all offer some kind of warranty to back their product. Given the amount you will pay for a high-end machine, it makes sense to look for at least a year’s warranty.
Not every espresso machine comes with accessories included, although there are a few that you cannot do without when making espresso. For instance, you will need to have a grinder, a milk frother and a tamper to press down the coffee grounds. To consider a grinder, if your machine doesn’t have one, look for a burr grinder for an even ground. If you need a frothing pitcher, choose one based on how much milk you need to froth. Ideally, the pitcher should not be filled more than 1/3 of its capacity to allow the foam to double in volume. Espresso tampers can also be purchased separately to help you pack the grounds nicely.
Most home and office espresso machines feature plastic bodies that yield aesthetic to complement the décor. Bigger, commercial machines, however, will have steel bodies to withstand the demand of commercial food sites such as restaurants, cafes or diners where there is a constant influx of espresso orders. Machines that are placed in professional kitchens will gather grease from the air and with a stainless-steel body, it’s easier to scrub this film off.
The performance of an espresso machine is basically linked to how well and how often it’s used and not always tied to its brand name. That said, some of the biggest names in the industry all hail from Italy with years of technology to back them up. So it may not be unfair to say that Italian espresso machines do have some impressive testimonials to back their longevity and performance.
Yes, there are. Most brands coming out of Italy, manufacture both smaller home and office espresso machines as well as their larger, commercial counterparts. Brand names like DeLonghi, Gaggia and Rancilio all manufacture commercial machines as well.
Our favorite choice for espresso machines would have to be the DeLonghi Magnifica. It’s an excellent choice for the avid espresso and coffee drinker. With plenty of variety to choose from at the touch of your fingertips, you’ll love this sleek and compact machine for not only its looks, but the exceptionally rich and fresh brews it can produce.
The Gaggia Babila is another excellent choice, especially for those who are willing to invest in a fresh new upgrade in espresso quality. It offers variety and quality of the highest level, from the fresh grinds to the customizability.
For coffee lovers looking to save on a decent machine and the trouble of buying coffee from outside, have no fear – the Gaggia Carezza has you covered. This is the best Italian espresso machine you can find on a budget, getting the job done easily and efficiently. You won’t want anything else when your favorite coffee can be made from your own kitchen.