Runners World; Courtesy Phillips
An espresso might be the fuel you need for a morning run. And a great espresso machine can help you whip up a silky latte or potent ristretto to get you through the rest of your day.
An espresso maker adds lots of new possibilities to your morning routine. I regularly make chocolate cakes and muffins with espresso, and I crave the steamed eggs from an espresso machine at a local coffee shop.
Here are the seven espresso machines that will bring plenty of good buzz to your breakfast table.
Best Espresso Machines
The Expert: As a food writer, I test kitchen appliances for a living. I’m also a cookbook author with a solid coffee habit. I favor a mid-afternoon espresso. I’ve used manual and automatic espresso machines with coffee that I’ve ground freshly or that comes in sealed pods. I’ve also interviewed dozens of baristas about what it takes to pull a good shot of espresso (the right grind, pressure, and practice) and what they might order at a new coffee shop (likely a cortado—equal parts espresso and steamed milk).
What to Consider
Espresso machines are like exercise bikes: There are no shortages of bells and whistles, so finding the right one for you means knowing what kind of ride you want to take.
Although your budget matters, you should also consider the amount of space you have for an espresso machine (you’ll need about the size of a small toaster oven). Likewise, think about your standard coffee shop order. Are you getting a double shot of espresso or a foamy cappuccino? Lastly, do you prioritize convenience and want coffee quickly, or do you want to geek out with a single origin bag of coffee?
For those of us who need caffeine immediately, automated machines, which can easily run close to $1,000, often take care of everything. Most will grind your beans, measure the amount of coffee you need, froth milk (for lattes and cappuccino), and dispense the espresso drink of your choice at the push of a button.
If you want to find out if you like espresso, manual espresso makers are cheaper and often smaller, great if you’re looking to store them in a cabinet or take them on the road. Bear in mind, the more you use them, you’ll likely want to purchase a coffee grinder and milk frother.
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How We Evaluated
I have owned nearly every type of coffee machine out of a mix of professional curiosity and a desire to play around with coffee. I took what I know about coffee and balanced that with credible online reviews to find espresso machines that can produce café-worthy drinks on your counter. I also delved into customer reviews and review videos to discover which machines were user-friendly, could fit on most counters, and did a solid job of frothing milk.