Stopping by a local coffee chain for your morning coffee fix is great and all, but the cost of all those overpriced lattes, cappuccinos, and espresso shots do add up after a while. Making your own coffee at home is always an option, of course, but they never taste as good as those concocted by professional baristas working on commercial-grade espresso machines.
Fortunately, there’s now an increasing selection of automatic espresso machines for home use that can make the same fancy coffee-and-milk combos from your favorite coffee chains. That means, you get to enjoy quality coffee close enough to what you can get commercially without having to leave your own kitchen. Yes, many of them are still very expensive, but they can also be a worthy investment, especially if getting one will save you the recurring marked-up costs that comes with specialty coffee shop fare.
These are the best automatic espresso machines for home kitchens.
Just when you thought there’s no way you can get a decent automatic espresso machine for under $200, this thing shows up. Seriously, we never thought this category can get this affordable until we saw this. And it’s pretty good, too, with the 15 bars of pressure producing excellent crema on your espresso each time out, all while cranking out up to two cups in one go. It’s a simple, straightforward, and no-frills machine, which is what you’d expect at this price range, but it does the one thing it promises really well. As a bonus, they also threw in a steam wand and a frothing cup, so you can make fancy drinks, too. Do note, the wand is a bit wild and tough to control, but it will turn your milk foamy, so it does get the job done.
If you want an automatic espresso machine with a few nice extras without breaking the bank, this affordable offering from Mr. Coffee just might be your best option. Does it make the best home espresso? No, but it can extract a great deal of flavor from any bean or grind, while an integrated milk reservoir and automatic milk frother allow you to whip up your favorite fancy drinks. It has a thermocouple heating system that quickly and evenly brings water to desired temperatures, while a 19-bar pump squeezes every bit of flavor into whatever coffee you put in.
It uses straightforward button controls, too, so there’s no learning curve to making coffee in this thing. Since milk can go bad, the milk compartment is actually removable, allowing you to store it in the fridge and only put it back in whenever you’re making drinks. Suffice to say, it’s an amazing espresso machine for the price.
Breville’s slightly-above-entry-level automated espresso machine, this compact appliance is designed as a dummy-proof espresso maker. You can literally just press a button and get a rich pressure-extracted cup. However, it does offer some tinkering for those with a bit more fiddling in their DNA, with the option to adjust brewing time and water temperature, so you can dial in the perfect brew. We love how fast this thing heats, as it’s literally ready to brew within just a few seconds of switching on, while the pressurized filter baskets should ensure a good extraction even for inexperienced brewers. While there’s no integrated milk container, it does have a built-in steam wand that you can use by simply placing a cup of milk underneath it, adjusting your foam setting, and pressing a button. From there, you just wait until it’s done.
Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
This countertop coffee appliance comes with four preset drink settings, namely espresso, Americano, espresso lungo, and basic black coffee, each of which you can customize to varying temperatures, volume, and coffee strength. Brewing any of the four options is impressively fast, allowing you to get your coffee or espresso in just a couple of minutes. Sadly, there are no built-in settings for cappuccinos or lattes, since there’s no integrated milk container. However, it does come with a powerful milk frother that you can use with your own cup of milk to create your favorite fancy concoctions. Sure, it’s not as set-and-forget as full-service systems, but we do appreciate the reasonably affordable price and the built-in burr grinder. Plus, it’s built like a tank (seriously, it’s big), so we have a feeling this is the kind of automatic coffee machine that will last you for a good, long while.
Yes, it’s more expensive than most people would probably want to spend on an automatic espresso machine. For that price, though, you’re getting a true all-in-one that can grind your beans, extracts your espresso, froths your milk, and pours you a complete drink at the push of a button. Seriously, the only thing missing is having a robot barista call out your name once it’s done. Then again, you won’t be wandering far when brewing with this thing, as it literally produces a high-quality delicious cup in as little as 45 seconds, so you can literally set it to make drinks, grab a couple of slices to put in the toaster, and come back to find your drink hot and ready.
It offers nine preset options, including cappuccino, ristretto, and latte macchiato, all while allowing you to make up to two servings in one go (there are two dispensers). If you want more coffee, just put a pot underneath and it gives you the option to make up to eight cups at a time.
We love this fully-automatic espresso machine for one main reason: the versatile kind of coffee drinks it can make. Hot drinks? Check. Cold drinks? Check. It handles everything from simple espressos and cappucinos to iced lattes and flat whites to a whole lot more. Seriously, you can select from over 40 drinks available on the touchscreen display, with the machine handling every single step of the process, from grinding the beans down to frothing the milk. More importantly, it makes incredible-tasting drinks that are smooth and creamy, regardless of whether you go with one of their hot or cold fares. Features include 13 grind settings, two separate milk frothing pitchers (one for hot and one for cold), and removable parts that make it easy to clean (dishwasher-safe, too).