In a hurry? Our top choice is the Breville Barista Express.
Getting started in the espresso world is challenging as a beginner.
Choosing the right home espresso machine can be tough with all the options.
What’s the best espresso machine for beginners?
From home baristas to casual latte drinkers, I’ll break down the best choices and features of home espresso machines to help you make your decision.
Let’s jump in!
Best Espresso Machine for Beginners: Our Top Ten Choices
- Breville Barista Express (Best overall)
- Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine (Best for casual brewers)
- Breville Barista Touch Espresso Maker (Best all-integrated machine)
- Gaggia Classic Pro (Best for the home barista)
- Delonghi EC680M Dedica (Best for budgets)
- Mr. Coffee ECM160 4-Cup Steam Espresso Machine (Best steam espresso machine)
- Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker | Café Barista (Best semi-automatic)
- Rancilio Silvia (Best for cafe-style espresso)
- Gaggia Accademia Espresso Machine (Best fully-automatic)
- Capresso EC300 Espresso Machine (Best for ease of use)
Breville Barista Express
The Express is a super capable espresso machine for home enthusiasts. It features an integrated burr grinder, digital temperature control, and manual milk steaming.
The grind function allows you to choose the exact dose for your espresso. You have control over how much coffee you put in the filter. This is huge for dialing in espresso to your specific taste.
The digital temperature control lets you pull shots at the right heat, giving you even more control over extraction. But even using the default settings, you’ll find consistently great results.
The water tank holds up to 67oz of water. That’s plenty to make a few drinks in a row without needing to refill. You can brew many drinks for friends and family without waiting.
Because this is a fully manual machine, you do need some knowledge of coffee extraction and milk texturing. But it’s the best option on this list for a beginner looking for a totally integrated coffee machine.
You don’t need to buy a dedicated grinder, the brew process is forgiving, and there’s room to learn and grow as you use this machine.
- Integrated grinder with grind size dial allows precise dialing of your coffee
- Digital temperature control gives you more power over your shots
- Manual milk steaming so you can create your perfect espresso drink
- The large water tank means you don’t need to refill it often
- Single boiler means more time between drinks
Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine
The Bambino Plus is a compact espresso machine that still produces quality espresso.
With the automatic milk steamer, you don’t need to know the science of milk frothing to still get good espresso drinks.
The Bambino Plus has a 1.9-liter water tank, so you can make about 15 drinks before you’ll need to refill. That’s for single espresso shot drinks. This coffee machine can also brew double shots.
The biggest upside to the Bambino is the ThermoJet heating system. The heating system is ready to brew in just three seconds so you won’t waste time waiting around.
The Bambino, though compact, is still capable of reaching up to 15 bars of pressure. That’s plenty of pressure to consistently produce tasty espresso. The compact design also means it fits even in small kitchens.
It doesn’t have an integrated grinder, which means you would need pre-ground coffee, or a separate grinder. The Bambino Plus has a slightly larger portafilter that makes dosing your coffee easy. It’s a forgiving machine that takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation.
- The heating system means you’re ready to brew in about 3 seconds
- Hands-off milk steaming takes the work out of goof microfoam
- Up to 15 bars of pressure, which ensures quality extraction for your coffee
- The 1.9-liter water tank is plenty for making around 15 drinks in a row
- No grinder means you have to use pre-ground coffee or buy a separate grinder
- The single boiler means waiting between brewing espresso and steaming milk, and more time between drinks
Breville Barista Touch Espresso Maker
The Barista Touch is an easy to use fully integrated coffee machine. Don’t be scared off by the intense look. The touchscreen display will walk you through the entire process.
It has an integrated grinder and a big 67oz water tank that allows for about ten drinks before you’ll need to refill. The milk steamer is automatic, so you don’t need to know the specifics of frothing for good results.
What I like most about the Barista Touch is the easy programming. The touchscreen display has digital temperature control for both espresso and milk. You control each aspect of your favorite drink and can save up to 8 settings.
There are 5 pre-programmed drinks that you can choose from. The machine will walk you through how to brew them for consistent results. If you’re looking for a hands-off espresso, this machine probably isn’t for you.
The Barista Touch is a great option for beginners who want to learn how to create espresso drinks. Simply follow the guides on the display and gain an understanding of espresso drinks. Then go into the programs and customize each part.
- An integrated grinder means no need for a separate appliance
- The heating system is ready in a few second, so you don’t have to wait long between drinks
- The digital temperature changes how hot your coffee and milk is, giving you more control over your drinks
- Save up to 8 personalized drinks for easy brewing
- Requires some work, so not ideal for a complete beginner
- The automatic milk frother reduces some control over your drinks
Gaggia Classic Pro
The Gaggia Classic Pro is powerful and resembles professional machines. It has a 58mm portafilter (most consumer machines only have 54mm portafilters) so you can perfect your dose. It features a commercial-style steam wand for maximizing your milk steaming and a huge 72oz water capacity.
The ease of use makes this a great beginner’s machine. Three switches operate the power, brew, and steam wand. The machinery takes the guesswork out of your espresso brew. The pump reaches up to 15 bars, and the portafilter holds an 18-gram coffee dose, which makes for a cafe-style shot.
While there isn’t an integrated grinder, the Classic Pro is compatible with pre-ground coffee and single-serve pods. You don’t need to buy a dedicated grinder if you don’t have one already.
The only downside for beginners is the fully manual steam wand, so you’ll have to learn how to froth milk if you decide on the Classic Pro.
The Classic Pro is perfect for someone looking for a great espresso machine without all the extra features.
- Built with components you’d find on Gaggia’s cafe machines, which gives you consistently great resultsThe 74oz water tank means you can brew many drinks before needing to refill
- The 58mm portafilter ensures you have a good 1:1.5 ratio for espresso, the ratio used by most cafes
- Intuitive switches make this machine easy to use for everyone
- A fully manual steam wand means you’ll need some knowledge of steaming milk
- The single boiler takes a while to heat up, meaning more time between drinks
Delonghi EC680M Dedica
The Dedica is a great beginner’s espresso machine with a sleek design able to brew single and double shots of espresso.
It is capable of reaching 15 bars of pressure and has a Thermoblock heating system that is ready to brew in under 40 seconds.
It’s only 6 inches wide, so it will fit in almost any kitchen. The Dedica is compatible with pre-ground coffee and single-serve pods, meaning you don’t need a separate grinder to use it.
I really like the simplicity of the Dedica. It’s perfect for people who want tasty espresso without much hassle. The steam wand is fully manual, so you’ll need to know a little about steaming milk. But it does have adjustable settings to help you perfect your milk for lattes or cappuccinos.
There aren’t too many frills on this machine, but the simplicity makes it a great option. It’s perfect for someone who isn’t looking to master the art and wants a great espresso every now and then.
- Up to 15 bars of pressure means you’ll get cafe-style espresso, with good texture and nice crema
- The heating system is ready in under a minute, so you won’t spend time waiting for the machine
- Compatible with single-serve pods and pre-ground coffee so you don’t need a separate grinder
- Only 6 inches wide, it will fit in any size kitchen
- Manual milk frother means you’ll need to know a little about how to steam milk
- Its simplicity means there isn’t as much room for growth if you want to master espresso
Mr. Coffee ECM160 4-Cup Steam Espresso Machine
Steam espresso machines are different than machines that force water through the coffee grounds. You guessed it, steam machines force – steam.
Mr. Coffee ECM160 machine is one of those. This means you won’t get the same espresso you get with water pressure. It will lack thick crema on top.
Still, you will get a dark and rich espresso brew. What’s more, this machine can brew 20 ounces (4 shots) of espresso in one take. This is great when you have a line of coffee lovers standing behind you and waiting for their shot.
Now, let me tell you about the downsides. First of all, the steam wand is so small! If you want to use a larger pitcher for steaming milk, you will have trouble. Plus, it lacks the pressure professional steam wands usually have, so you can forget about silky microfoam.
Overall, it’s a cheap, easy-to-use machine for beginners who are satisfied with an average, middle-of-the-road machine.
- You can brew up to 4 espresso drinks at once, which is great for a coffee-loving family
- The drip catcher is removable and easy to wash, so you can keep your counter clean all the time
- You get a tamper, measuring spoon, and a 1-4 cups glass decanter, meaning you don’t need to buy them separately
- Mostly made of stainless steel, which makes it a sturdy machine
- The milk frother is not so great, so you won’t get nice microfoam
- You won’t get a real espresso with crema because it’s a steam machine
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
The Cafe Barista is a great budget-friendly semi-automatic espresso maker. Featuring an automatic milk frother and brewer, you don’t need to do anything except fill the filter and press a button.
You can choose between single and double shots of espresso, as well as cappuccino and latte milk frothing.
It has up to 15 bars of pressure, meaning you’ll get cafe-style espresso from this machine. While it doesn’t have a grinder, you can still use pre-ground coffee.
I like the Cafe Barista because it takes a lot of the work out of creating espresso drinks. The water and milk reservoirs are removable for easy cleaning. The milk reservoir has a lid, so you can store leftover milk in the fridge directly in the reservoir.
The Cafe Barista is perfect for someone looking for quick and easy lattes and cappuccinos. This is great for beginners who want espresso drinks at home without the hassle of being there for every step. It’s a great machine at a friendly price.
- A semi-automatic machine does a lot of the work for you, so you don’t need to put much effort in to get a great drink
- 15 bars of pressure ensures you get true cafe-style espresso every time
- Removable water tank and milk reservoir make cleaning super easy
- Simple controls and display make this intuitive and easy to use
- The milk frother on the Cafe Barista can be inconsistent
- Can only produce espresso, lattes, and cappuccinos, removing some versatility
The Silvia is Rancilio’s home espresso machine with all the Rancilio technology in a smaller design. You get all the benefits of professional equipment in your kitchen.
The Silvia features a manual, professional-style steam wand. But it’s still easy to use with the modulating steam knob. The steam wand is the same one you’d find on Rancilio’s cafe machines, giving you consistent milk.
It has a full-sized portafilter and a powerful steel boiler. The 58mm portafilter makes it easy to dose your coffee into a 1:1.5 coffee to water ratio, the same ratio used by most cafes. The steel boiler won’t wear out quickly, which gives the Silvia longevity and better temperature control.
The control switches are tactile and easy to understand and use. The steam wand is controlled by its own knob and is a 2-hole wand so you can be precise in your milk steaming.
I’ll be honest, though, this machine takes some knowledge to use at its full potential. First of all, you’ll need a good grinder to pair with this machine. Using pre-ground coffee would be fine, but you won’t get the results this machine is capable of. You’ll also need knowledge of milk steaming and espresso ratios.
This machine is ideal for someone with some barista training or home knowledge. If you’re looking for a reliable and consistent machine you can practice on, this machine is perfect.
- 58mm portafilter lets you dose your coffee like most good cafes
- Simple control switches make this machine intuitive and beginner-friendly
- The 2-liter water tank means you don’t have to refill it often and can make many drinks
- The steam wand is professional quality so you can get great milk texture for every drink
- No pressure or steam gauge, so you have to wait to be sure you’re ready to brew or steam
Gaggia Accademia Espresso Machine
The Accademia is a great fully-automatic machine that has pre-programmed drink options. But each aspect of your drink is customizable.
It has an integrated grinder as well as a milk frother and carafe. This machine stands alone, so you don’t need any other appliance.
It has seven one-touch drink options. Those drinks are customizable to your preferred temperature, milk froth, and coffee strength.
The selling point for the Accademia is automation. All you have to do is choose your drink. For someone looking for a quality automatic espresso maker, this is ideal. It takes all the guesswork out of your favorite drinks.
You can still play around with the taste and styles of coffee. A selector knob lets you decide how light or strong you want your espresso, milk foam, and temperature.
The Accademia is perfect for someone who wants a little control over their espresso drinks without having to do much work in the process. Simply make decisions and let the machine do the work.
- Fully automatic machine, all you have to do is select your drink and wait
- An integrated grinder means you don’t need to buy a separate appliance
- 8 pre-programmed drink options that you can customize give you control over the final product
- The removable brew mechanism and milk reservoir make cleaning a breeze
- Not a lot of control over extraction for someone who wants a more hands-on machine
- It’s a bulky machine that will take up a lot of counter space in your kitchen
Capresso EC300 Espresso Machine
The Capresso EC300 is a capable espresso maker that features single or double espresso options and a manual steam wand.
This Capresso reaches 15 bars of pressure to ensure you have a creamy espresso. The control knob is super easy to use. It has a 42oz removable water tank that makes filling and cleaning quick and easy.
The simplicity is a big upside to the EC300. It does espresso well and works with pre-ground coffee. That’s important because it doesn’t have a grinder, so you’d need to buy one to use freshly ground coffee. Although it isn’t compatible with single-serve pods, it comes with a scoop to help you dose your coffee.
I would recommend this machine to someone looking for an easy entry into manual espresso brewing and milk frothing.
It’s budget-friendly for the quality of the espresso, and you can get great results as a beginner. That being said, there’s room to improve your espresso drinks with a little more knowledge later on.
- It reaches 15 bars of pressure so you get cafe-style espresso every time
- The intuitive control knob makes it beginner-friendly and hard to mess up
- A removable water tank makes cleaning and filling super easy
- A budget-friendly buy for someone just getting into espresso brewing
- A single boiler means you can’t brew espresso and steam milk at the same time
- The steam wand is fully manual, so you’ll have to learn how to froth milk to your taste
How to Choose the Best Beginner’s Espresso Machine
As a beginner, there’s a lot you need to consider before buying your first home espresso machine.
With so many different machines out there, it can be hard to narrow down your options.
From how much you’ll need to learn to steam wands, I’ll break down the most important aspects to consider.
How Much Do You Want To Learn?
Be honest with yourself about how much you already know about espresso, and how much you’re willing to learn.
Do you know the proper ratios for brewing espresso? Do you know how to froth milk correctly to achieve microfoam? Do you know how to dial in espresso from the ground up?
If you already know these things from watching videos or a little barista training, go for a more hands-on machine. The same is true if you’re excited to learn these things.
You’ll go through a lot of coffee when first starting out as a home barista. Make sure you have time to dedicate to learning before going for a fully-manual machine.
Coffee is always about personal preference. It’s alright if you don’t want to learn all those things. That’s where semi- and full-automatic espresso machines shine. These machines do a lot of the work for you. The only thing you need to worry about is what drink you want.
Bars are how much pressure the espresso machine pushes through the coffee.
Each bar is equal to normal atmospheric pressure. If you stand outside in the fresh air, you’ll experience one bar of pressure.
Nine bars is the sweet spot for espresso.
Why do machines advertise 15 bars of pressure?
Think of it like a car. When driving around the city, you wouldn’t floor the pedal because the car easily reaches the speed limit without much effort.
An espresso machine is similar. Even though a machine might be capable of reaching 15 bars of pressure, it will rarely use them.
Using a piece of a machine’s power makes it run smoothly and consistently. It won’t wear out the internal components because it can reach 9 bars easily.
If you’re looking for cafe-style espresso, find a machine that is at minimum capable of 9 bars, but 15 bars is preferred.
Both manual and automatic espresso machines can have manual or automatic milk frothers.
Some manual espresso brewers have automatic steam wands. These machines are perfect for someone who wants an occasional latte but doesn’t want to steam milk. These machines tend to be cheaper, making them great for the budget-conscious.
If you expect to take a deep dive into the espresso world, then lean more towards a manual steam wand. It might take a while in the beginning, but once you get it down you’ll open a whole world of milk textures.
If you just want a morning coffee, trend more for an automatic steam wand. You’ll still get great texture, but you won’t have to worry about doing it yourself.
Home espresso machines are broken down into single and double boilers. Single boilers have one heating system for brewing espresso and a separate one for steaming milk.
Having a double boiler comes in handy when you expect to make many drinks in a row. While this can be a nice feature, it adds quite a bit to the price.
Single boiler machines are still very effective. The only downside is that you can’t brew espresso and steam milk at the same time. That said, as a beginner, don’t worry about finding a double boiler unless you plan on becoming a serious home barista.
For pretty much any beginner, finding a quality single boiler is a great first machine and will serve you well for years to come.
Is it worth it to have an espresso machine at home?
It can be awesome to have an espresso machine in your kitchen. Generally, if you think you’ll enjoy having an espresso machine at home, it’s probably worth it.
How many bars should a good espresso machine have?
You need at least 9 bars of pressure to create good espresso. Look for a machine that is at minimum capable of reaching 9 bars.
Why are espresso makers so expensive?
You need to find a coffee machine that will allow you to grow into whatever kind of espresso drinker you wish to become.
Deciding between manual and automatic machines is the biggest choice to make. The easiest way to decide is to think about how much you want to learn.
Regardless, you’ll need a machine that is easy to use, allows you some control over your espresso, and produces great coffee.
My top choice for beginners is the Breville Barista Express. It’s a fully-integrated machine so you don’t have to buy a separate grinder. It’s sturdy enough to last many years and easy to use. It has the option to take as much or little control over the espresso as you want.
The Barista Express is a machine that will grow with you on your journey.
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