While many coffee lovers enjoy visiting coffee shops for the warm, welcoming ambience, what brings people back is the quality coffee on offer. Often times more than not, the allure of a coffee shop is simply the idea that you can treat yourself to coffee that you can’t replicate at home. But with the right coffee machine, it’s possible to brew coffee shop quality from your kitchen.
Whether you’re interested in an espresso machine, automatic coffee machine, or drip coffee maker, there are so many models and coffee machine brands to choose from. To help navigate through the expansive coffee machine sea, we’ve compiled a guide to the best coffee machines on the market.
Best For Most People: Breville Barista Express
The Breville Barista Express is a hybrid grinder and espresso machine that is equipped with automatic and manual options. This coffee maker allows users to grind beans right before the extraction process, ensuring a fresh cafe-style cup of coffee every time. The versatile Barista Express pairs convenience and efficiency with quality coffee at an affordable cost, making it a great coffee machine choice for most people.
The Barista Express integrates a conical burr grinder with dose-control and over 18 available grind settings. This machine is known to grind fresh coffee beans to espresso-fine in under a minute. The dosing control technology allows the machine to grind coffee directly into a portafilter for a smooth transition from grinding to brewing.
The Digital Temperature control (PID) feature helps maintain temperature stability of the group head, and throughout the brewing process for optimal espresso extraction. The Barista Express includes other additional features to maximize user espresso capability. Some examples include the pressure gauge to assist with the extraction process and a high-performance steam wand that allows you to hand texture micro-foam milk.
The Barista Express displays all brew and grind settings on the face of the machine. The adjustable grind size dial and doser is displayed on the left-hand side of the machine, while all espresso configurations can be found on the right. Users have the options to select single or double shot options easily, as well as receive a notification if the machine needs to be cleaned. Likewise, the “Filter Size” button allows users to choose between to 1 cup or 2 cup option. The single basket filter is used for the 1 cup option, while the dual basket is used with the 2-cup option.
- Grinder built into coffee machine for maximum freshness
- Interchangeable filters for single and double shot options
- Electronic PID Temperature Control
- 2 Litre water tank
- Micro-foam milk texturing technology for latte art
- Affordable for its calibre
- Grinder may not satisfy experienced espresso drinkers
- As a single boiler machine, it cannot brew espresso and froth milk simultaneously
Best Automatic Manual Machine: Breville The Oracle
The Breville Oracle is a coffee machine that bridges the gap between semi-automatic and fully-automatic espresso machines. With the ability to provide automated and manual brew options, the Breville Oracle is designed to empower users to make great coffee, regardless of user experience. This machine is capable of producing quality espresso with the push of a button. With automatic grinding, dosing, tamping, and milk texturing settings, this machine is the perfect tool for those looking for an easy and efficient approach to cafe-quality coffee.
While the cost for this espresso maker is steep, the features provided and high calibre make it a worthwhile investment for at-home coffee making. What sets the Breville Oracle apart from most espresso makers is its ability to automate the two most difficult parts of the manual espresso process: dosing and steaming.
The Oracle includes a conical burr grinder that automatically grinds, doses, and tamps 22 grams of coffee right into a portafilter. The dual stainless steel boilers and heated group head is controlled by a digital temperature PID, so the Oracle ensures water is at the right temperature for maximum extraction. Users can extract espresso and run the steaming wand at the same time. The milk temperature and texture can be adjusted to better suit your taste
The Breville Oracle also includes an easy-to-navigate LCD display that allows users control over grinding, brewing, and steaming all in one spot. The machine pump is capable of maintaining 15 bar pressure, maintaining the ideal pressure for extraction to happen. The inclusion of a one-touch Americano feature also makes this coffee machine unique. With it, the Oracle delivers a double shot of espresso and fills the cup with hot water through a dedicated spout, just like any quality commercial machine.
While this machine includes a self-cleaning steam wand feature, the maintenance process can be quite extensive. Users will still need to wipe the steam wand down after every use, and when the machine indicates a clean-out is needed, the descaling process can take between 60-90 minutes. Likewise, this machine weighs around 35 pounds, making it a large machine for most home kitchens.
- Dual Boiler machine, allowing users to brew and steam at the same time
- Automation options for grinding, dosing, tamping, and milk texturing
- Self-cleaning milk frother
- 2.5 Litre water tank and 226-gram coffee bean capacity
- One-Touch Americano Feature
- 60-90 minute descaling process
- Hefty pricing
- Large size may not be a good fit for every kitchen bench
Best Compact Espresso Machine: Rancilio Silvia
The Rancilio Silvia espresso machine is known for its compact size, specialized brew features, and durability. With two unique models available for purchase, one with more automated features to enhance manual and automatic preferences, the Silvia model lives up to the respectability of its manufacturer. As a popular home espresso machine on the market, the Silvia is built with commercial-grade parts to ensure users get the most for their money.
Equipped with a brass group head, 58mm portafilter and tamper, a 300ml brass boiler, and a 15 bar pump, this machine packs enough power to meet the needs of home espresso brewers, without the hefty cost of a commercial coffee machine. The Silvia comes with 8g and 16g baskets, allowing users to choose between pulling single or double shots. Likewise, the rocker switches on the machine’s front offer simple, but efficient control over your shot, water temperature, and steam.
The Silvia V6 has two different models available for purchase. Their “E” model comes equipped with auto cut off function that turns the boiler off after 30 minutes of inactivity. This is great for those only looking to pull a few shots at a time. For those looking to make espresso throughout the day, the “M” model requires a manual shut off for the boiler. Whichever model fits your needs, users can guarantee pro-level calibre in both for a budget-friendly price.
This espresso machine makes maintenance easy with a removable water reservoir, cup tray, and drip tray. The 3-way solenoid valve allows for easy portafilter cleaning, and it cuts off the water supply to eliminate post-brew dripping. The stainless steel swivel milk frother prevents crowding the brew station and creates quality milk foam for latte art. Another feature unique to this machine is a cup warming tray, which keeps coffee cups espresso-ready.
- Compact size makes it the perfect fit for any home kitchen
- Two Models to choose from: E model or M model
- Easy-to-Clean removable components
- 2 Litre water tank
- Swivel steam wand for traffic-free frothing
- This machine is made for those with experience with espresso brewing
- Machine doesn’t come with a built-in coffee grinder
Best Nespresso Machine: Nespresso DeLonghi Citiz Solo
This fully automatic pod machine adds an entirely new dimension to making espresso at home. With its compact size, 19bar pump, and the addition of Nespresso coffee pods, this machine allows café-quality coffee to brew in half the time. The Nespresso DeLonghi Citiz Solo provides users with access to settings most automated machines have at a more affordable price.
This small espresso machine packs a ton of power. With a 19 bar pump, the Nespresso DeLonghi Citiz Solo ensures maximum performance and optimal coffee extraction for a great cup of coffee. The inclusion of a Thermoblock system also adds a super-fast, 25-second heat up time. This coffee machine features automatic and programmable options for coffee quantity. Users can select either the espresso or lungo pre-set buttons, and the machine will brew to the desired level.
As far as capsule machines go, the Nespresso DeLonghi Citiz Solo offers an easy introduction and mechanic ejection of capsules and pods make the process quick and efficient. Users don’t have to worry about stray coffee grounds or tamping like with manual espresso. The Nespresso DeLonghi Citiz will also switch off after nine minutes of inactivity, allowing users to save energy along the way.
As a fully automatic pod coffee machine, users who like to have more control over the minutiae of espresso-making, pod machines like this one may not be the best fit for you. Likewise, for those who love the art of grinding just as much as espresso, the Nespresso DeLonghi Citiz Solo relies solely on pods or capsules instead of freshly ground coffee beans.
- Compact size: great for any bench space!
- 19 bar pump for optimal extraction
- Easy-to-use capsules create mess-free coffee
- 1 Litre water tank
- Energy-saving settings
- Less suitable for brewers who like having control over brew settings
- This machine does not use freshly ground coffee
Best Drip Coffee Maker: Moccamaster Classic
For brewers looking to brew a quantity of good coffee at one time, the Moccamaster Classic is one of the best coffee machines for automatic drip coffee. This automatic coffee machine comes equipped with a large 1.25-litre carafe that fills in under six minutes. The steady temperature controls and ability to evenly saturate coffee grounds has earned the Moccamaster Classic acclaim from coffee associations like the SCAA, SCAE, and ECBC.
The Classic’s durable copper boiler maintains a constant temperature of 90-95 degrees Celsius, which is essential to balanced coffee. The machine itself includes two temperature settings for the featured post-brew warming plate, and the warming plate is designed to automatically shut off after 40 minutes. Whether you drink multiple cups of coffee daily or are making a large quantity of coffee to share, the Moccamaster Classic excels with large brew amounts.
While the Moccamaster is one of the best automatic drip coffee machines on the market, it struggles to brew in smaller amounts and maintain good coffee extraction. Using smaller amounts of coffee makes for less of a barrier for the hot water entering the filter basket, and the water drains into the carafe too quickly for optimal extraction to take place. Likewise, the Moccamaster is only designed to make drip-style filter coffee, so users looking for the ability to prepare barista-style drinks like a cappuccino or latte may need to invest in an espresso coffee machine instead.
- A great value for the money
- Easy to use, minimalistic design
- Produces multiple cups of coffee at once
- 1.25 Litre water tank
- Carafe warming plate keeps coffee hot for up to 40 minutes
- Not the best for smaller quantities of coffee
- Not designed to make café-quality coffee beverages
Upgrade Pick: The Oracle Touch
This super-automatic espresso machine is the best upgrade buy for experienced coffee drinkers. While this coffee machine is a hefty investment when it comes to cost, The Breville Oracle Touch offers a high-tech approach to making espresso. Equipped with an automated touch screen operation, this espresso machine allows users total control over grind, coffee strength, temperature, and milk texture. Simply select your preferences, and save them under a unique name on the device. The Oracle touch can save up to 8 personal doses.
The Breville Oracle touch includes a conical burr grinder that automatically grinds, doses, and tamps 22 grams of coffee, similar to the commercial machines you see a barista use. Users can choose between 5 pre-saved coffee shop favourites including espresso, latte, and flat white.
This device is equipped with commercial-grade features such as dual boilers and heated group head, digital temperature control (DIP), Over Pressure Valve (OPV), and programmable milk frothing and temperature. By ensuring precise water temperature, the Breville Oracle Touch is efficient in producing a balanced and flavourful espresso shot every time.
The dual boiler system in the Breville Oracle Touch allows users to pull espresso shots and steam milk simultaneously. The self-cleaning steam wand automatically textures milk to your taste and preferred temperature, delivering barista quality micro-foam for latte art.
The Breville Oracle Touch is one of the best coffee machines users because it provides coffee drinkers with access to commercial-grade features without the stress of a semi-automatic or manual machine. All of the convenience comes at a cost, though, and the price for one of these upgrade machines is steep, but it is accurate to the calibre and convenience the machine offers. Some users find the grinder unable to achieve the subtleties a separate pro-grade grinder would, but the grinder quality seems a fair trade-off for the other features the machine offers.
- Easy-to-use touch screen operation
- Dual boiler that allows users to brew coffee and froth milk simultaneously
- Create, save, and name 8 customizable coffee settings.
- 2.5 Litre water tank
- Commercial-grade pressure and temperature control
- Higher-end of the price spectrum
- Grinder may not satisfy experienced espresso grinders
- May be too large for an at-home espresso machine
Best Stovetop Coffee Maker: Bialetti Moka Express
Designed and made in Italy, the Bialetti Moka Express is one of the best coffee machines for stovetop use on the market. This durable, easy-to-use maker comes in sizes as small as a one-cup maker, and as large as a maker that produces 12 cups, allowing users to purchase the maker that best fits their needs. Whether you choose a 1 cup maker (60ml capacity) or a 12 cup maker ( 775ml capacity), the Bialetti Moka Express can guarantee rich, flavourful coffee in five minutes or less.
The Bialetti Moka Express is lightweight and takes up a minimal amount of space on a kitchen bench. Made entirely of high-quality aluminium, this machine can be easily cleaned and disassembled after each use. For coffee lovers who aren’t ready to spend the money on a semi-automatic machine, the Moka Express is a great alternative.
While Moka pots like these bridge the gap between true espresso machines and filter or drip coffee, seasoned espresso drinkers may not classify the coffee produced with a Bialetti Moka Express “true” espresso. Since this device provides only 1.5 bars of steam pressure in comparison to the 9 bars of a standard espresso machine, users will not get the same consistency and flavour 9-15 bars can produce.
- A cost-efficient coffee machine
- Can be purchased in a variety of sizes (1 cup-12 cups)
- Easy to use, easy to clean, and disassemble
- Achieves 1.5 bars of pressure, which is lower than traditional espresso makers
- Lacks additional features semi-automated machines have
- Does not come with a built-in grinder or milk frother
Coffee Machine Buyer’s Guide: What to Consider to Make Good Coffee at Home
What do you need to look for in order to buy the best coffee maker for you? While there are many options available and specific preferences to consider, most decisions on coffee makers centre on convenience, the type of coffee preferred, and the cost.
To better help you make the micro-decisions needed to pick out your perfect coffee machine, we’ve provided some contextual information below to make narrowing down your options easier.
Convenience: Manual coffee machine vs. automatic makers
Depending on how much control you want over your morning cup of coffee may play a role in selecting the best coffee machine for you. If you’re looking for a hands-off experience and would prefer to press a few buttons along the way, a programmable electric coffee maker may be a prime choice for you. Some of these machines are so advanced, that users can program their coffeemakers to have coffee ready for them when they wake up!
For users who enjoy the daily routine of making coffee in the morning, you may enjoy a less automated electric machine, or a manual coffee machine instead. Manual devices, like pour-over coffee makers, Aeropress, or French press devices require every ounce of your attention while brewing, but with it, you gain entire control over the end result in your cup. On the other hand, Less automated electric makers, like Moccamasters, may require a bit more time and energy than a fully automatic coffee machine, but users can still produce their desired coffee result with a few button presses.
Pod or capsule coffee makers are also growing in popularity in the coffee machine world. These devices are great for people who crave a variety of coffee styles, but not in large servings. The coffee pods used for this machine can come in a variety of roast origins and beverage types, giving users the flexibility to switch up their brew without the skill of a barista. Pod coffee machines eliminate the need for grinding and buying coffee beans, but for those who enjoy that step in the coffee process, replacing beans with pods may not be your best option.
Pod or capsule coffee makers and single-serving machines are also growing in popularity in the coffee machine world. These devices are great for people who crave a variety of coffee styles, but not in large servings. Pod coffee machines eliminate the need for grinding and buying coffee beans, with the innovated coffee capsule, but for those who enjoy that step in the coffee process, that could be a dealbreaker for you.
The options these days are practically endless on the coffee machine market, and how much time you’re willing to allocate to create your perfect cup is an essential factor to consider. The price will factor in on this as well since the cost for coffee machines does increase as devices add more automated features. When it comes to the best budget buy, you’ll find manual machines to cost less than semi-automatic or super-automatic coffee machines.
Space and Sizing
While it seems like a trivial detail, how much countertop or bench space you have available does affect the type of coffee machine you’re looking to purchase. The best home coffee machines are the ones that fit your preferences and your kitchen. While the size of the machine may not affect the flavour profile in your coffee cup, It’s difficult to consistently brew coffee with a machine you have no space for.
For those with limited space available in their kitchen, smaller electric or hands-on coffee makers may be your best move. If your bench or counter space isn’t a concern, the size of your machine may not matter. However, measuring the area you have available and comparing it with the dimensions of each device you’re considering is recommended before purchasing anything.
Some coffee machines require the top to open for adding water and ground coffee, so be sure that factors into your measurement. For pod, capsule, or single-serve machines, only account for a specific size coffee mug to fit under the brewer. If you’ve decided this model is the best coffee machine for you, mug size in relation to machine size is important to crosscheck first.
Timing and Brew Frequency
How often you plan to use your coffee machine is an essential part of the purchasing process. If your household is the get-up-and-go type, coffee pod or single-serve machines can ensure a quick brew.
For those who are one-cup-of-coffee households, an Aeropress, pour-over device or glass brewer with a warming plate would best suit your needs. If you drink coffee throughout the day, or live with multiple coffee drinkers, opting for a coffee maker with a thermal carafe would do the trick.
Those craving espresso, but may only make coffee once in the morning, a semi-automatic machine will work for you! Those looking for consistent espresso for a large household may benefit from a super-automatic machine. Depending on your available time, household coffee needs, and coffee preference, the best coffee machine for your home may change.
Types of Coffee
Drip coffee, filter coffee, and espresso; each of these provide their own unique flavour and consistency, and your coffee preference separates the type of coffee machine required to brew them. For those looking for the best drip or filter coffee options, a pour-over device, or automatic devices like a Moccamaster Classic may work to best fit your needs.
If you’re craving the smooth, subtleties of authentic espresso, the best home coffee option would be an espresso machine. A Pod machine is known for making espresso-style drinks but does not provide the manual control most experienced brewers crave with espresso. Specialized espresso machines allow users to channel their inner barista in pulling espresso shots. Likewise, with these devices, users can create a variety of specialty cafe drinks from the comfort of their own home. Depending on your brew experience, you may opt for a manual semi-automatic machine.
Whether you’re looking to make a wide variety of coffee with your maker or perfect a single brew style, the available machine models and styles are endless. It is not uncommon for brewers to own more than one type of machine for coffee making. While investing in two separate coffee machines isn’t an inexpensive feat, for those looking for the best of both worlds, and brew the highest quality of both coffee and espresso, two machines may be an option to consider for your home.
Whether you are brewing one cup of coffee in the morning or you’re making coffee for a number of people, the best coffee machine for you will brew the exact amount of coffee to fit your needs. Some machines can offer a variety of brew quantities, while others are restricted to one to two serving size options.
For sole coffee drinker households, or for those who only require a little coffee to get moving in the morning, a capsule coffee machine is a great option to consider. With a capsule coffee machine, users can insert a coffee pod and get a single flavourful serving at home. If you have a variety of coffee drinkers at home who all prefer different styles of coffee, a capsule machine can be the best coffee maker option for you.
Espresso coffee machines are great options for those looking to brew a quality cup versus a quantity of coffee. Whether it’s a machine that requires manual operation at every step or an automatic espresso coffee machine, these only produce one to two shots of espresso at a time. While an automatic coffee machine can pull shots at a faster rate than semi-automatic machines, this process would take more time than a coffee maker designed to brew by the carafe.
For those who need to brew coffee in amounts of 8 cups or more, the best home coffee machine for you should provide you with this option. Automatic drip coffee machines are the best on the market for producing large quantities of coffee.
Custom Options and Extra Features:
As manufacturers strive to create a device worthy of the title “best coffee machine”, custom options and extra brewing features are ways to make a coffee machine stand out.
Some of the most basic brew devices have few options for users to experiment with the outside of adding more ground coffee or water, while other more advanced devices provide users with the ability to control temperature, pressure, brew strength, and more. Capsule machine options can include different settings for creating coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Other espresso coffee machines include commercial-grade features to ensure you create great coffee with each use.
As the number of features and custom options increase on a coffee machine so does the price. Adding features like a cup warming tray, programmable brew time, or auto-shutoff may not add a large extra expense, but the more a coffee machine offers users, the more it costs.
Typically espresso machines tend to offer the most feature options, such as milk texturing, coffee grinding, and cleaning notifications. While searching for the best home coffee machine for you, it’s important to consider what potential features you’d need for your brew, and how much you’re willing to invest to have them.
Water Temperature and Pressure Control
Water temperature is a factor that has a huge impact on the flavour profile of coffee, so it’s important to have a home coffee machine that considers temperature control. The optimal water temperature for coffee extraction is 90-96 degrees celsius. Brew with water any hotter, and you run the risk of cooking your coffee beans instead of extracting flavour, brew with water colder than this, and your end result is under-extracted coffee.
Most electric coffee machines are programmed to heat water to the optimal temperature, but for a manual machine, the temperature control is up to you. It’s important not to use boiling water to brew coffee, as the 100-degree Celsius temperature is too hot for optimal flavour extraction. Some of the higher-end espresso machines include digital temperature control, or a PID system in their brew features, allowing users to ensure their coffee machine maintains their desired brew temperature.
With any type of espresso, pressure control is a factor to consider. The average espresso machine brews with 9 bars of pressure. While this amount is considered standard, many argue that the 15 bar standard produces the best-tasting coffee. For those looking to invest in an espresso coffee machine, making sure your machine meets the industry standard requirement will guarantee great tasting espresso when you brew.
Built-in Grinder and Milk Frother Features
Some of the best home coffee machines for espresso provide users with access to a grinder and milk frother all in one device. While this adds to the convenience of the machine and is great for those looking to replicate cafe coffee at home, it does also add to the price of the unit. However, one could argue that buying a device with both features built-in is more cost-efficient than buying an espresso machine, burr grinder, and milk frother separately.
Key factors to consider with all-in-one units is the calibre of both the grinder and frother. Many experienced espresso brewers argue that the built-in grinder isn’t able to grind beans fine enough for high-quality espresso. For users seeking the espresso flavour, and prefer to have more automated features on their home coffee maker, this may not be a dealbreaker.
While a quality milk frother isn’t as expensive of a purchase as a good burr grinder, having a stainless steel steam wand is a convenient feature for those looking to channel their inner barista. Some of the more high-end espresso machines include texture programming for milk froth, as well as a self-cleaning feature to the steam wand. Depending on how frequently you plan on frothing milk to go with your espresso, these can be helpful features for making great tasting coffee and quality milk froth every time.
Prosumer vs Consumer Machines?
There’s no denying that while commercial-grade espresso machines make some of the best coffee, they come at a hefty price. But for users truly after the cafe quality taste at home, the best home coffee machines for you will be ones made with commercial quality in mind.
Regular consumer espresso machines are more budget-friendly but are not made with the same quality parts, materials, and features. Since consumer machines are built and made differently from commercial-grade makers, it’s unreasonable to expect them to brew the same calibre of espresso. Prosumer machines work along the same lines as espresso machines found in a coffee shop, but typically cost less than a true commercial machine. They are made with similar calibre boilers, pumps, and group heads, but are more suitable for coffee at home.
Should you invest in a prosumer maker if you’re new to espresso making? For those looking to add espresso to their home coffee routine without much experience with it, a prosumer machine may not be the move to make right away. These devices are great upgrade purchases from consumer machines and are great for brewers with some experience under their belt.
Whether you find that a manual coffee machine is more your speed or that your home coffee needs require a super-automatic espresso machine, what matters most that your brew device makes great tasting coffee to fit your needs. While the search or the best home coffee machine is a process and may take some experimentation to find the best coffee maker for you, we hope that this buyer’s guide helps narrow the search.