Espresso originated more than a century ago in Italy. Since then, such iconic brands as De’Longhi and Gaggia have preserved these Italian traditions and are continuing to make high-quality and authentic coffee makers.
We’ve taken a look at more than 30 products to select the best 8 Italian espresso machines. When choosing products for our selection, there were a lot of things to consider. First, we’ve included coffee makers of all types (manual, semi-automatic, automatic), so you may choose the one that suits you the best. We’ve also tried to represent coffee makers that can accommodate various amounts of water since every family has different needs. Finally, some of the products also include built-in grinders, so you don’t have to buy a separate appliance. The De'Longhi Magnifica ESAM3300 starts off our list as our Editor’s Choice for the best Italian espresso machine that not only gets the basics right but manages to impress with some new features.
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.
More features: ceramic burr grinder, AquaClean water filter, automatic frothing carafe, 1400 W power, LCD screen, 15 bar pressure
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”.
More features: gift boxed; rosewood handles; mounted pressure gauge; dual frothing cappuccino systems
La Pavoni Professional Expo espresso machine is a manual appliance which is operated by a lever. The advantage of manual coffee machines is that you can use them even in remote places with no electricity. Since there is no motor busing or humming, this type of machine also operates quietly. It features a lever with chrome finish, rosewood handles, a boiler made of solid brass with capacity of 38 ounces, and a mounted pressure gauge. It also includes heat diffusers to prevent excess accumulation of heat.
It is equipped with dual frothing cappuccino mechanism that enables the machine to brew sixteen of 2-ounce cups of espresso.
La Pavoni Professional Expo is made in Italy and gift-boxed to make a stylish package. Its overall size is 12.6 x 7.9 x 11.4 inches which is compact enough to take with you anywhere.
We recommend this model to beginners who will appreciate the simple controls and settings of a manual coffee machine, and avid coffee drinkers who like having more control over the brewing process and the final results.
More features: articulating steam wand, 70 dB noise level, 1150 W power, cup warmer
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.
More features: 15 bar pressure, pre-brewing system, 1300 W power, cup warmer, eco mode
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.
The Quick Mill Carola EVO espresso machine is a semi-automatic appliance that features a lever, a heavy duty boiler with capacity of 0.75 liters, and an E-61 grouphead and PID that promote stable brewing temperature. It features the E-61 grouphead and PID for excellent temperature stability. This espresso machine made in Milan is a great choice for the espresso enthusiast.
It also comes with a large drip tray that can be easily pulled out, single and double portafilters, dual function pressure gauge, a cup warming surface that keeps your espresso hot, and an 850-watt heating element.
This is a durable coffee maker with sturdy stainless steel construction, a detachable reservoir with a cover and water capacity of 2 liters, a magnetic switch that cuts off power when the water level runs low to prevent damaging the boiler, and a 52-watt vibratory pump that includes built-in protection from thermal overload.
As a semi-automatic espresso machine, Quick Mill Carola EVO appeals to people who prefer a unit with a variety of brew settings as well as people who prefer manual mechanism that allows them better control over the final output.
More features: dual gauges; optional longer steam arm; 7-day timer
The beauty of automatic coffee machines is their convenience because they come with several settings that limit guesswork and brew your drink at the touch of a button. They, therefore, tend to cost lot more than manual and semi-automatic models. However, this is not the case for La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II, which we consider the best programmable espresso machine with great price-performance ratio. It boasts of multiple appealing features such as dual boilers with capacity of 0.45 liters and 1.2 liters, an accurate digital temperature control with LED display and adjustable offset for current brew temperature, two buttons for single and double espresso, a switch to choose between 15 and 20 amp mode, and a front-placed pull-out water reservoir with capacity of 80 ounces. The lever arm dispenses steam for frothing milk and the gauge has two needles to indicate espresso brew pressure and the steam boiler’s pressure.
This model features greater temperature accuracy and an improved display with steps of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. It provides a less fussy way of making espresso. You can select and change the settings by simply pressing a button, and upgrade the automatic coffee machine with optional accessories such as a programmable 7-day timer for scheduled brewing, a longer steam arm for larger pitchers, and a plumb drain kit for convenient disposal of waste water.
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.
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.
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.