The Best Espresso Machines 2024: For Beginners and Experts

The Best Espresso Machines 2024: For Beginners and Experts


If you haven’t noticed, here at Coffee Bros. we are huge espresso enthusiasts, so much so that we even developed several coffee blends and offerings to suit the espresso brewing method perfectly. Whether you're a home barista who relishes pure espresso shots or someone who enjoys their coffee with a dash of steamed milk and a touch of sugar, we've created a coffee tailored to suit both preferences.

We started our espresso journey years before starting our coffee roastery and were probably in similar shoes as those reading this article. Espresso brewing seemed complex, machines and features seemed endless, and knowing where to start and what espresso machine to buy seemed more like a guessing game than an informed decision.

Knowing where we have come from and where we are now, we wrote this article to outline what is the best espresso machines to buy at every price point and skill level, and only recommend espresso machines that we have hands-on experience with. We also have recommendations in this article for espresso machines that we do not sell or earn commission on. We recommend these machines because we believe in their ability to brew great espresso, and they are ideal for beginners, experts, or those seeking a specific price point.

Strap in, brew a sub-par espresso (soon to be a great espresso), and hear some of our excellent recommendations.

Table of Contents

The best espresso machines in each category

The best espresso machines for $2,000+: Rocket Espresso Giotto Type V

The best espresso machines for under $2,000: Rocket Espresso Appartamento

The best espresso machines for under $1,000: Breville Barista Express and Lelit Victoria

The best espresso machines for under $500: Flair Pro 2

The best espresso machines for beginners: Breville Bambino Plus

The best espresso machine for espresso experts and enthusiasts: Decent Espresso DE1

The espresso machine to keep your eyes on in 2023 and 2024: Meticulous Home Espresso Machine

Machine Price Great For Boiler Type Group Head Key Feature Our Rating


Novce - Experts

Heat Exchange


Extremely well-built inside and out with PID



Novce - Experts

Heat Exchange


Extremely well-built inside and out





Breville Group/53mm

Built-in grinder and PID



Beginners - Novice

Single Boiler

LELIT58 commercial group/58mm

PID, digital temperature display



Novce - Experts



Well-built and travel ready





Breville patented group design/54mm

Slim design, quick start times and easy to use



Novice - Expert

Proprietary system (no boiler)

Decente Espresso's design/58mm

Pressure, temperature, and flow profiling


The history of espresso machines

The history of espresso is quite a recent revelation regarding coffee makers and machines. There was a long road to get to espresso brewing how we know it today, and many systems of brewing developed over hundreds of years before the first steam and piston-pressured machines came into existence.

In just over 100 years, espresso has gone through numerous innovations. Angelo Moriondo submitted a patent for the first coffee brewing machine using steam and water in 1884, which was not produced commercially. In 1906, Luigi Bezzera and Desidero Pavoni created the first espresso machine with a vertical boiler that brewed a single cup of coffee in seconds. However, the espresso produced by these machines was very different from what we know today. Pier Arduino, an inventor and businessman, attempted to create an espresso machine that did not rely on steam to make pressure for brewing but was unsuccessful. However, he marketed espresso effectively and was among the first to export machines from Italy to other countries.

Today, you get to experience years of innovation. While espresso machines constantly change, the core principles of pushing hot water through a puck of coffee at a particular pressure remain the same.

Image source: Smithsonian Magazine,

What are the four types of espresso machines

Before we jump into the best espresso machines at every price point and skill level, we first need to unpack the differences between espresso machines that are currently on the market. There are four main types of espresso machines: manual, semi-automatic, automatic, and super-automatic. There is a fine line between a semi-automatic and an automatic espresso machine, and our recommendations for the best espresso machine will all fall within this range. Though some interesting espresso machines are in the super-automatic range, we will not recommend any of those machines as the price to beverage quality just doesn't add up. Read a bit more on why we do not reccommend super automatic machines here.

Manual Espresso Machines

Manual espresso machines require the most effort from the barista as you will control the brewing process from start to finish. A manual espresso machine would need you to grind, tamp, and extract the espresso manually and without any assistance from the machine itself. If you press a button to brew your espresso, you are not using a manual espresso machine. The barista is responsible for all brewing parameters with a manual espresso machine, from time, temperature, and flow rates.

A great example of a manual espresso machine would be the Flair 58, which requires the barista to apply the pressure needed to brew an espresso by pressing down on a lever. The force you create determines the level of pressurized water that gets pushed through the coffee puck. Manual espresso machines require much practice and can be somewhat inconsistent initially (practice makes perfect).

Manual espresso machines usually need more technology, such as changing the brewing temperature, preinfusion length, or any way to pressure profile. That said, there are commercial manual espresso machines on the market, like the La Marzocco Leva, which allows the barista to manually control the extraction by pulling down the lever. However, this machine is relatively modern and would not fall under the manual espresso category.

Semi-automatic Espresso Machines

Requiring less effort than the manual espresso machine, semi-automatic machines will still require the barista to grind, tamp, and extract the espresso, but a flip of a lever may activate the brew pump and extraction phase rather than manually pulling down on a lever.

Still, with a semi-automatic espresso machine, you, as the barista, are responsible for the brew’s time, temperature, and flow rates. The difference is that the machine will control the brewing pressure versus being a manual component with a manual espresso machine.

Semi-automatic espresso machines require the barista to stop the brew at the intended time or weight. The extraction is both activated and halted by the user with semi-automatic machines.

The Rocket Espresso Appartamento is a great example of a well-priced semi-automatic espresso machine.

Automatic Espresso Machines

Automatic espresso machines are one step up from semi-automatic espresso machines as the brew time and often end weight (extraction volume) are determined and controlled by the machine. With semi-automatic machines, the barista needs to engage with the machine from start to finish; you need to activate and halt the brew. With automatic espresso machines, you can push a button and walk away, and the machine will stop the brew at the programmed time or end volume.

Some automatic espresso machines will have a more manual component, like the ability to adjust or control the pressure during the brewing process via a paddle or lever. What makes an automatic espresso machine stand apart from a semi-automatic espresso machine is the ability to brew at the touch of a button and have tech within the machine to program brew temperatures, brew length, preinfusion length, brew recipes, and more.

Super-automatic Espresso Machines

Super-automatic espresso machines are the true definition of set-it-and-forget-it brewing. Super-automatic machines handle everything from the temperature, brew pressure, brew recipe, grinding, tamping (compacting), brewing, and even down steaming milk and incorporating it into your drink to make anything from a macchiato to a cappuccino.

The lack of almost any control on a super-automatic machine means you, the barista, have little influence over how the machine brews. For example, many super-automatic machines have no brew temperature control and often brew at much cooler temperatures than recommended for specific roast types.

Super-automatic machines also have a complex internal system since the coffee grinding, compacting, and brewing all occur within internal components. This means that users of super-automatic machines have little to no influence on grind size, tamping pressure, or even the amount of coffee being used; it is all preprogrammed based on the drink type you choose.

Since super-automatic espresso machines have complex internal systems, the type of coffee you choose to brew is critical (more on that below). Further, the lack of temperature control, grind size, and tamping pressure in a super-automatic machine means you must carefully choose what coffee you brew.





Espresso machine boiler types and why it matters

If you only make one espresso drink daily, you may be okay with slow warmup speeds or the inability to make drinks quickly back-to-back. Espresso machines come in several different boiler types, and each type can significantly impact warm-up times, temperature stability, the ability to brew and steam at the same time, and the ability to make drinks in quick succession.

First, most espresso machines under the $700.00 price tag have imprecise temperature control and cannot brew and steam simultaneously.

At a minimum, you will want an espresso machine with a heat exchanger to have more stable brew temperatures and the ability to brew espresso and steam milk simultaneously.
Most low-cost home espresso machines have a single boiler, which cannot brew and steam milk simultaneously. Here are the three main espresso machine boiler types and what you need to know.

Single-boiler espresso machine

Single-boiler espresso machines utilize a single boiler for brewing coffee and steaming milk. These compact machines make them an ideal choice for small kitchens, and they heat up rapidly, ensuring you have coffee drinks on demand. With manual steam wands, you can enjoy more control when preparing occasional cappuccinos or lattes. For enhanced precision, upscale single-boiler espresso machines are furnished with PID temperature controllers to maintain a stable brewing temperature.

Heat exchanger espresso machines

A heat exchanger is a device that transfers heat between two fluids without them directly contacting each other. In an espresso machine, it's crucial to regulate water temperature. Heat exchanger machines separate these processes from standard boilers that serve steaming and brewing. This separation is necessary because steam and brewing water require significantly different temperatures. The brew water is carefully heated in a copper pipe within the heat exchanger, ensuring precise brewing temperature. Steam, on the other hand, is drawn directly from the boiler. While heat exchangers offer good consistency and cost-effectiveness, they may struggle in high-volume scenarios, potentially leading to temperature fluctuations and less consistent espresso flavor.

Dual boiler espresso machines

Dual boiler espresso machines are equipped with two separate boilers, one for brewing and one for steaming, ensuring consistent temperature control for both processes. This design eliminates the risk of temperature fluctuations during shot preparation. It's especially advantageous in high-volume cafés, where quick recovery is essential. While they offer excellent performance, dual boiler machines are more costly due to the additional materials and components.

Heat exchanger and dual boiler espresso machines will be able to push more pressure to the steam wand, allowing you to steam milk up to temperature much faster than a single-boiler espresso machine. The added steam pressure will allow you to get that coffee shop quality milk texture as some single-boiler espresso machines are not strong enough and leave you with a more “wet” and flat milk that lacks the texture needed for latte art.

Finally, don’t forget that the smaller the machine, the smaller the water tank unless you can directly plumb (not the case in most smaller machines). Machines with 64 ounces or fewer reservoirs need constant refilling, especially if you drink daily espresso and steam milk.

How we grade each espresso machine

As mentioned earlier, we have hands-on experience with every machine that we recommend. We base our grade for each machine on the below and score it from 1 – 5 stars. None of the machines we reviewed were perfect by any means, and the highest score we gave a machine was 4.5 stars. It is hard to find the ideal machine at any price point, as all machines come with nuances and slight flaws. That said, we were strict on the grading as we didn’t want to score everything 5 stars and make an unrealistic assessment of an espresso machine you may consider purchasing. There are machines on the market worth $20,000 that have flaws and wouldn’t score 5 stars with our simple grading system.

  1. Ease of use
  2. Build quality
  3. Function and features
  4. Price to feature comparison

We will also list the pros and cons of each espresso machine and the basic stats like portafilter size, boiler type, warm-up times, warranty, part availability, size, and much more.

Why don't we recommend super automatic espresso machines

There are a few excellent reasons why we don’t recommend super-automatic espresso machines, and we wanted to tell you why.

Before you spend an arm and a leg for convenience, note that the additional work needed to brew espresso with a semi-automatic espresso machine makes all the difference. There is a reason why coffee shops do not leverage larger super-automatic espresso machines as they cannot produce the same quality as semi-automatic espresso machines. Why is this? Well, it all comes down to how super-automatic espresso machines are built; everything is housed internally, which is the root of the problem.

How super automatic espresso machines work

  1. A user selects their drink on the super-automatic espresso machine screen.
  2. The coffee is ground in an integrated espresso grinder.
  3. The espresso grounds are then pushed into a brewing chamber.
  4. The ground coffee gets compressed in the brewing chamber. Think of this step as the tamping step when brewing using other machines.
  5. The super-automatic espresso machine then pushes a small amount of hot water into the brewing chamber to saturate the espresso puck.
  6. Once preinfusion has been completed, and depending on the drink choice, the remaining hot water flows through the espresso puck at standard pressure and out the coffee spout.
  7. The super-automatic machine then goes through a cleaning phase where it squeezes the remaining water out of the espresso puck, disposes it into the drip tray, then pushes the ground coffee out of the chamber and flushes the system with hot water.

Internal system:

Steps 3 and 4 in the above process are where super-automatic machines struggle, thus altering the max grind size to quite coarse to protect the internal components. The grind size of super-automatic machines is coarser than the ideal grind size when brewing espresso due to how the machine is built.

Super-automatic machines have a complex internal system where coffee grounds run from start to finish. Suppose super-automatic machines use extremely finely ground coffee beans, as recommended for espresso brewing. In that case, the internal systems will gunk up more frequently, causing issues and breakdowns.

What you will find is an espresso that is a bit watery or thinner tasting than the standard espresso brewing from a semi-automatic espresso machine. The crema also isn’t spectacular, as the lack of extremely fine grounds prevents the brewing process from producing the crema, we all know and love.

Temperature controls:

Super-automatic espresso machines also brew coffee extremely cool. While that is great for much darker roasts (often advised against in these machines due to their inner workings), it is not so great for medium to lighter-roasted coffee beans.

From our research of the well-known super-automatic machines, temperatures brew only up to 170 degrees Fahrenheit when ideal brewing temperatures range from 188 - 205 degrees.

There are some new super-automatic machines like the Terra Kaffe, which seemingly solved the lack of temperature controls on the classic supers. Still, we don’t have much experience with their new V2 version to write a full review.

The best espresso machines for $2,000+

We have two picks for the best espresso machines over the $2,000 price point. First, just over the $2,000 price point, a more classic style espresso machine, built by hand in Italy, with beautiful parts and quality internal components. The second, north of $3,600, is the espresso machine we recommend for experts, enthusiasts, and even those within the coffee industry. This machine has the latest technology, great for those looking to explore the depth of espresso profiling, and with a small footprint, makes it perfect for café popups or small coffee shops. We will cover this machine exclusively in the section for the best espresso machine for espresso experts.

We are also capping our suggestions here and not presenting you with a $7,000 espresso machine, though they exist for home use, and some are fantastic. We are trying to keep our suggestions here as realistic as possible and within the price ranges that we have seen our customers purchase within.

Rocket Espresso Giotto Type V

Price: $2,350

About: The Rocket Espresso Giotto Type V combines cafe-level drink quality and professional components within an elegant 304 Stainless Steel enclosure, delivering an exceptional at-home espresso experience. Its standout feature is the PID controller, which ensures unwavering temperature stability, irrespective of your chosen temperature setting. This is crucial in achieving the perfect espresso, regardless of the coffee roast type. The PID controller employs an advanced algorithm to maintain your desired temperature, ensuring each espresso shot is extracted at the precise temperature intended. In contrast, machines lacking a PID controller rely on conventional thermostats, leading to temperature variations from shot to shot. Moreover, the Rocket Espresso Giotto Type V utilizes the high-performance E61 group head, renowned for its temperature stability, contributing to creating exquisite espresso shots with a rich, aromatic profile and a luscious crema.

What we liked about the Giotto Type V: The Giotto Type V has all the necessary parts and components to brew the perfect café quality espresso or milk-based espresso drink. We love the thoughtful and traditional design and the extra spent on quality internal and external parts. The machine has everything you need to brew the perfect classic, from the PID and temperature control to the E61 group head.

What we didn’t like about the Giotto Type V: The Giotto is what it is and doesn’t have any fancy features that machines below and above its price point might have. Just know what you are purchasing and don’t expect features like auto shut off, auto on, pressure profiling, or a digital display to set and record brew recipes. This is a traditional espresso machine, and that is really what you are purchasing.

Product Specifications: Rocket Giotto Type V

  1. Price: $2350
  2. Skill Level: Novice
  3. Group Head: E61
  4. PID Control: Yes
  5. Portafilter Size: 58mm
  6. External Material: 304 Stainless steel
  7. Internal Build: Commercial Grade Brass Compenents
  8. Boiler Design: Heat Exchange
  9. Boiler Material: Brass/Copper
  10. Reservoir Size: 2.5L
  11. Pressure Profiling: No
  12. Auto On/Off: No
  13. Warm up Time: 15 - 20 minutes
  14. Shot Timer: Yes
  15. Weight: 50lbs
  16. Dimensions: 13.18w x 15.53d x 15.74h

How it scores: 4.3

Ease of use: 4.5 stars

Build quality: 5.0 stars

Function and features: 3.75 stars

Price to feature comparison: 4.0 stars

The best espresso machines for under $2,000

Regarding the best espresso machine for under $2,000, it is hard not to recommend the Rocket Espresso Appartamento. This is the machine we find most of our customers upgrading from a lower price point machine as the quality built from the inside out is indeed at the next level.

While the Appartamento is great, it is certainly not for everyone, and we will give some details surrounding our thoughts on who this machine is best suited for.

Rocket Espresso Appartamento

Price: $1,850

About: The Rocket Espresso Appartamento offers café drink quality and commercial components in a tidy 304 Stainless Steel body for the perfect at-home espresso experience.

The Rocket Espresso Appartamento leverages a high-performance E61 group head. The E61 group head is the gold standard for ensuring temperature stability, which contributes to pulling beautiful shots of rich, aromatic espresso with thick crema.

What we liked about the Appartamento: The Appartamento, like the Giotto Type V, is a highly well-built machine inside and out. You have all the necessary parts and components to brew a café quality espresso. The Appartamento features an E61 group head, strong steam pressure, and a large 2.25-liter water tank.

What we didn’t like about the Appartamento: The Appartamento lacks PID temperature control, making it difficult to know what temperature you are brewing and not allowing you to vary temperatures based on the coffee beans you are brewing (different roast levels require different tempreatures for the best results.) There are simple modifications like a group head thermometer that you can add to the Appartamento, but that will only tell you the temperature and not allow you to change it. Just know when you purchase an Appartamento you will not have control over the brew temperature; at its peak, it often brews around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Product Specifications: Rocket Appartamento

  1. Price: $1850
  2. Skill Level: Novice
  3. Group Head: E61
  4. PID Control: No
  5. Portafilter Size: 58mm
  6. External Material: 304 Stainless steel
  7. Internal Build: Commercial Grade Brass Compenents
  8. Boiler Design: Heat Exchange
  9. Boiler Material: Brass/Copper
  10. Reservoir Size: 2.5L
  11. Pressure Profiling: No
  12. Auto On/Off: No
  13. Warm up Time: 15 - 20 minutes
  14. Shot Timer: Yes
  15. Weight: 44lbs
  16. Dimensions: 10.78w x 16.73d x 14.17h

How it scores: 4.25

Ease of use: 4.5 stars

Build quality: 5.0 stars

Function and features: 3.5 stars

Price to feature comparison: 4.0 stars

The best espresso machines for under $1,000

There are two outstanding home espresso machines for under $1,000, one just under $1,000 at $999.99 and the other at $699.95.

When looking at espresso machines for under $1,000, the clear winner always tends to be Breville machines for their function and features, which are vast for the price point and well-suited for the beginner. Breville’s tend to be the machine many of us start on (this is where we got our start with espresso brewing), and they are made for ease of use, high functionality, and a great price point, but they have some flaws.

The other machine we will look at is made by Lelit, better known for their very high-end Lelit Bianca machine, but their quality tends to be unmatched at any price point.

Breville Barista Express

Price: $699.95

About: Experience the art of crafting third-wave specialty coffee in the comfort of your home, from the beans to a perfectly pulled espresso, all in under a minute. With the Barista Express (BES870XL), you can grind your beans just before extraction, unlocking their rich, full-flavor potential.

Additionally, the precise temperature control guarantees the ideal conditions for espresso extraction. Get hands-on like a skilled barista with manual micro-foam milk texturing, achieving authentic results effortlessly and swiftly.

What we liked about the Barista Express: The Barista Express has all the features a budding espresso enthusiast might want from their first machine: a built-in grinder, quick warmup times, good temperature stability, and decent steam power. The Barista Express also has a large double basket allowing baristas to brew 18g of espresso or more.

What we didn’t like about the Barista Express: The inability to accurately adjust temperature is one of the main disadvantages with the Barista Express. While temperature adjustment is possible, the buttons you need to press, and the inability to know what temperature you are at make it a feature not worth using.  We also note that the built-in grinder has limitations and know that certain coffee beans and profiles work best with conical burrs, which might be fine for brewing your espresso.

Product Specifications: Breville Barista Express

  1. Price: $699.95
  2. Skill Level: Beginner
  3. Group Head: Breville patented group design
  4. PID Control: Yes
  5. Portafilter Size: 53mm
  6. External Material: Brushed Stainless Steel/Plastic
  7. Boiler Design: Thermocoil
  8. Boiler Material: Stainless Steel-lined Aluminum
  9. Reservoir Size: 1.8L
  10. Pressure Profiling: No
  11. Auto On/Off: Auto Shut Off only
  12. Warm up Time: 1 minute
  13. Shot Timer: No
  14. Weight: 29lbs
  15. Dimensions: 13.25w x 12.00d x 16.00h

How it scores: 4.25

Ease of use: 5.0 stars

Build quality: 3.0 stars

Function and features: 4.5 stars

Price to feature comparison: 4.5 stars

Lelit Victoria Espresso Machine

Price: $999.95

About: Embark on your espresso journey with the Lelit Victoria Espresso Machine, a perfect choice for novice baristas. This Italian-style machine boasts a compact, handcrafted design and all the essential technology to elevate your first espresso shots. The Victoria incorporates a PID-controlled single boiler system, providing precise temperature control while serving as a steam boiler for lattes or flat whites. Lelit's Control Center (LCC) enables convenient temperature adjustments, programmable preinfusion, and automated backflushing programs, making it user-friendly for newcomers to home espresso. With standard 58mm-sized portafilters and baskets, the Victoria grants easy access to accessories like tampers, ensuring a delightful coffee experience for beginners.

What we liked about the Lelit Victora: The Lelit Victoria is a super user-friendly home espresso machine with a compact body and almost all the features we look for in an espresso machine. The Lelit Victoria has PID temperature control, a digital display, a 58mm portafilter and basket, and a programmable preinfusion. While this machine is not perfect, it really can’t beat the price point for those who may have the budget and are seeking a user-friendly machine for beginners. When paried up with a great grinder, you will be pulling beautifully espresso shots daily.

What we didn’t like about the Lelit Victoria: While the Lelit Bianca has all the necessary components to make it a significant (though expensive) machine for beginners, it does lack the ability to steam and brew espresso at the same time, which is understandable due to its small footprint and use of a single boiler.

Product Specifications: Lelit Victoria

  1. Price: $999.95
  2. Skill Level: Beginner
  3. Group Head: LELIT58 commercial group
  4. PID Control: Yes
  5. Portafilter Size: 58mm
  6. External Material: Brushed Stainless Steel/Plastic
  7. Boiler Design: Single Boiler
  8. Boiler Material: Brass
  9. Reservoir Size: 2.5L
  10. Pressure Profiling: No
  11. Auto On/Off: No
  12. Warm up Time: Less than 10 minutes
  13. Shot Timer: No
  14. Weight: 25lbs
  15. Dimensions: 9.00w x 10.75d x 15.00h

How it scores: 4.25

Ease of use: 5.0 stars

Build quality: 4.0 stars

Function and features: 4.0 stars

Price to feature comparison: 4.0 stars

The best espresso machines for under $500

The under $500.00 price point is tricky as the machines in this category will certainly lack customary and desired features in pricier models. Often times we are asked, do cheap home espresso machines make good espresso. You can undoubtedly brew a good standard espresso with espresso machines below the $500.00 price point and we have two solid recommendations here based on what you might be looking for.

Do note, espresso machines in this category will almost always require the purchase of an espresso grinder to go along with the machine. It is often why newcomers increase price points to purchase a machine with an incorporated grinder. While that is undoubtedly good thinking, we always mention that a great espresso grinder is ideal for excellent espresso, and built-in grinders are not always great, at least in the long run.

We are highlighting two machines, which will be featured below, which fall into the manual espresso machine category and are priced at $325.00. The second we will highlight is the best espresso machine for beginners, which costs $499.95.

Flair Pro 2

Price: $325.00

About: The Flair Pro 2 is the perfect at-home manual espresso machine for beginners and seasoned home baristas, though you will have to find another way to froth milk as this machine only makes espresso shots.

The Flair Pro 2's simplistic design, quality parts, and attention to detail make it so unique. For a machine under $400, you can pull double-shot espresso that rivals some automatic machines at twice the price.

What we liked about the Flair Pro 2: If you want a cheap way to brew great espresso, the Flair Pro 2 may be your answer. While all it does is brew espresso, it does it quite well and in a very compact and travel-ready way. The Flair Pro 2 is a no-frills manual espresso machine that uses a traditional and manual lever to extract espresso. The espresso shots from the Flair Pro 2 are crisp and can produce the expected crema you would find in more expensive espresso makers.

What we didn’t like about the Flair Pro 2: While the Flar Pro 2 does a great job of brewing espresso, it is costly for what it does. A few hundred dollars more, and you will be in the range of purchasing an entry-level machine with milk-steaming capabilities and somewhat of a less frustrating approach to brewing espresso. We often do not recommend the Flair for someone just getting into espresso. Usually, the Flair is more of an enthusiast purchase as manual brewing has complexities and nuances that most semi-automatic machines can’t replicate. It is also great for traveling and may not always be the quickest way to brew yourself an espresso every morning.

Product Specifications: Flair Pro 2

  1. Price: $325.00
  2. Skill Level: Novice
  3. PID Control: No
  4. Portafilter Size: 46mm
  5. External Material: Cast aluminum and stainless steel
  6. Reservoir Size: 70ml
  7. Pressure Profiling: Yes
  8. Shot Timer: No
  9. Weight: 7lbs
  10. Dimensions: 4.00w x 10.00d x 14.00h

How it scores: 3.5

Ease of use: 4.0 stars

Build quality: 3.5 stars

Function and features: 3.5 stars

Price to feature comparison: 3.0 stars

The best espresso machines for beginners

If you're new to espresso, many factors exist, including cost, the abundance of brands, and the features you may find necessary or optional in a coffee machine. We’ve been there and are happy to steer you in the right direction if this is your first machine, or if you are gifting a machine to a first-time home barista.

First, ease of use certainly weighs higher when considering the perfect espresso machine for beginners, and this is often why you see folks move up price points for a machine with even more effortless brewing.

At a $500.00 and below price point, you will undoubtedly need to purchase a dedicated espresso grinder, which can be a big turn-off for first-time home baristas. That said, if you play your cards right and buy an excellent espresso grinder, it will be a tool that you can incorporate alongside any future espresso machine upgrade.

Breville Bambino Plus

Price: $499.95

About: Easily create delicious coffee beverages with Breville's Bambino Plus Espresso Machine. Designed to suit any budget, the Bambino BES500 is the ideal espresso machine for beginners. Featuring a straightforward 5-button control panel and Breville's innovative Thermojet heating system, it ensures you get piping hot espresso shots within seconds of starting. The Bambino Plus includes a classic one-hole steam wand for consistent milk texturing tailored to your preferences. Moreover, it comes with both pressurized and unpressurized brew baskets, making it compatible with preground coffee beans and simplifying the extraction process.

What we liked about the Bambino Plus: If $500.00 is your cutoff on spending on an espresso machine, the Breville Bambino Plus is such a great option. The Bambino Plus is super compact with a low-profile design. It does everything you need, from brewing great espresso to texturing milk for the perfect cortado, latte, or cappuccino. The real "plus" here is that the Bambino Plus can froth milk and pull shots just as good as higher priced models.

What we didn’t like about the Bambino Plus: While the Breville Bambino Plus is priced quite well for an espresso machine, there are a few downsides to owning an entry-level machine. The Bambino is a great first machine, but you’ll soon realize why others opt to save a bit more and purchasing a machine a tier or two above it.

The Bambino is characterized by its straightforward design. It lacks prominent indicators to monitor or determine the brew temperature accurately. Additionally, its small basket and portafilter dimensions restrict the variety of beverages you can prepare. The compact water reservoir and drip tray necessitate frequent water replenishment and emptying.

Product Specifications: Breville Bambino Plus

  1. Price: $499.95
  2. Skill Level: Beginner
  3. Group Head: Breville patented group design
  4. PID Control: No
  5. Portafilter Size: 54mm
  6. External Material: Brushed Stainless Steel/Plastic
  7. Boiler Design: Thermocoil
  8. Boiler Material: Stainless Steel-lined Aluminum
  9. Reservoir Size: 1.8L
  10. Pressure Profiling: No
  11. Auto On/Off: Auto Shut Off only
  12. Warm up Time: 1 minute
  13. Shot Timer: No
  14. Weight: 10.9lbs
  15. Dimensions: 7.70w x 12.60d x 11.80h

How it scores: 3.75

Ease of use: 4.5 stars

Build quality: 3.5 stars

Function and features: 3.5 stars

Price to feature comparison: 3.5 stars

The best espresso machines for espresso experts and enthusiats

When considering the best espresso machine for experts and enthusiasts, it is hard not to include the Decent Espresso machine. Considering its versatility in brewing (users can control all aspects of flow, pressure, and temperature), its open-source API, and its community of brilliant enthusiasts and professionals, it’s a machine many dream of owning. While this is an outstanding home espresso machine, it has also been seen in a number of coffee shops around the world.

When purchasing a Decent Espresso machine, you are investing in a few things:

  1. Community: Their community is built around two sets of espresso enthusiasts and professionals. These individuals contribute significantly to the Decent Espresso community with posts within their Basecamp form or suggested updates to their app, recipes, and machine functions from the industry folks.
  2. Constant innovation: What is so brilliant about the Decent Espresso machine is that it sits on an operating system that houses recipes and how the machine operates, which can all be updated. Decent is often pushing out updates to its software to improve things like the battery life of its tablet to steam purging length and cadence.
  3. Endless spare parts and upgrades: Decent Espresso has almost every spare part on their website to rebuild or repair the Decent Espresso machine and video accompanying those parts for those needing a repair. Decent Espresso also allows you to continue your 2-year warranty forever by enabling you to purchase extensions (this is unheard of in the espresso machine industry).

Decent Espresso DE1PRO

Price: $3,600

About: Decent Espresso’s mission is to bring the exceptional quality of professional Italian espresso machines to home enthusiasts. Using cutting-edge engineering, we ensure precise temperature and pressure control through innovative technology, eliminating the need for a bulky metal boiler. A user-friendly touch tablet manages all functions; internet integration is integral to our design. Inspired by Seattle-based pioneers like Synesso™ and Slayer®, we aim to cater to the exacting demands of espresso making.

The DE1 espresso machine has advanced features, including pressure and temperature profiling, accurate pressure readings, and high-energy dry steam. It allows precise control over brewing, mimicking classic machines, and learning from your best shots. It excels in temperature accuracy and pressure control, is user-friendly, and offers real-time data on temperature and pressure. The DE1 is compatible with different power supplies and can be operated with timed shots. Its open-source software fosters community-driven improvements.

Environmentally conscious with a plastic-free water tank, easy cleaning, and a user-friendly design, the DE1 espresso machine elevates home coffee brewing to a professional level.

What we liked about the Decent Espresso machine: We summed it up nicely above, but the three things that set the Decent Espresso machine apart from other machines at and even above its price point are the community, innovation, and its spare parts, upgrades, and warranty.

What we didn’t like about the Decent Espresso machine: The build quality is not terrible by any means, but it is not a heavy-duty Italian-made espresso machine, which is okay; its look may not be for everyone. Also, while this machine is excellent, it is super feature-heavy. If you are not ready to understand how pressure, temperature, and flow impact your espresso, you’ll be left with many features you don’t take advantage of. Don’t buy this machine to brew espresso using one standard profile. Also, steaming milk on the Decent espresso is not the fastest one would expect for a machine in this price range. It is a small complaint for an overall amazing machine.

Product Specifications: Decent Espresso DE1 Pro

  1. Price: $3600
  2. Skill Level: Novice/Expert
  3. Group Head: Decente Espresso's design
  4. PID Control: Yes
  5. Portafilter Size: 58mm
  6. External Material: Metal, ceramic, plastic
  7. Boiler Design: Proprietary system (no boiler)
  8. Boiler Material: Stainless Steel-lined Aluminum
  9. Reservoir Size: 2.0L
  10. Pressure Profiling: Yes (Flow, Pressure, and Temperature Profiling)
  11. Auto On/Off: Auto Shut Off only
  12. Warm up Time: Less than 5 minutes
  13. Shot Timer: Yes
  14. Weight: 51.0lbs
  15. Dimensions: 9.13w x 14.50d x 16.50h

How it scores: 4.43

Ease of use: 4.0 stars

Build quality: 3.75 stars

Function and features: 5.0 stars

Price to feature comparison: 5.0 stars

The espresso machine you should keep your eyes on in 2023 and 2024

Meet the Meticulous espresso machine, the most backed coffee crowdfunding project ever.

For a century, achieving the perfect espresso has been an art reserved for experts, often relying on large and expensive espresso machines. Even modern home espresso machines can cost thousands, relying on outdated springs, valves, pipes and the lack of an intuitive interface and software.

Meticulous took a fresh approach, completely redesigning the espresso machine to bring the art of exceptional espresso to everyone in an easy, convenient, and fun way.

Meticulous wants you to let the robot take charge! Devotees of coffee know that manual lever machines produce a unique espresso (due to its varying pressure profile) with exquisite flavor and texture. The challenge? They're notoriously tricky to operate, demanding years of experience to interpret subtle cues in flow, viscosity, pressure, color, and resistance and adjust your technique on the fly.

The brilliance of Meticulous lies in its ability to mimic the manual lever machine but with a groundbreaking twist. It's the world's first robotic lever espresso machine, utilizing a robust digital motor and precise sensors to deliver the most exquisite espresso with every pull automatically.

Meticulous follows the Decent espresso machine by implementing software that controls the entire machine from temperature, pressure, pre-infusion settings, and more. You can take control of the espresso profile or download and share profiles from others. Like the Decent, the ability to share profiles is genuinely groundbreaking in espresso brewing.

Meticulous Espresso

Price: $2,000+ (depending on the Indiegogo project or if it is live on the Meticulous website)

What we liked about the Meticulous home espresso machine: The Meticulous espresso machine is super sleek, made with very few parts (to keep production and repair costs low), and has all the bells and whistles one would expect and look for in a machine over $2,000. The Meticulous home espresso machine has a built-in scale where you can not only weigh out your espresso beans but also leverage it for volumetrics, where your espresso shot will stop at the intended weight. Suppose you are familiar with the Decent Espresso machine and the built-in software there. In that case, you will find very similar controls of pressure, flow, and temperature, allowing the user endless capabilities to craft their espresso profiles.

What we didn’t like about the Meticulous home espresso machine: It is difficult to say what we do not like about a machine, considering we have no hands-on experience yet. However, based on what their website and Indiegogo campaign reveal, it's evident that another incredibly innovative and distinctive espresso machine is poised to enter the market in 2024. Rest assured, we'll be closely monitoring its development and launch.

The one note is that the Meticulous espresso machine has no milk-steaming capabilities. Luckily, they have also built the Meticulous Milk Steamer, listed alongside their espresso machine on their Indiegogo campaign. To quote Meticulous about their milk steamer: “Texturing milk is hard, even for the most experienced baristas. That's why Meticulous Milk has sensors that let it steam milk automatically. Just choose your temperature and texture, and a single button press gets you perfectly textured milk every time. Latte artist? Want to hone your skills? Meticulous Milk lets you texture milk manually, putting all the control in your hands.”

What to look out for when purchasing an espresso machine

Our most significant advice when buying an espresso machine, especially one with higher price points, is to look to the brands and manufacturers with quality builds, strong warranties, and available parts and service centers that work on these machines.

Buying an obscure machine that is hard to find parts for will also be likewise for those who service those machines. Call your local espresso machine service facility and ask which machines they work on and their opinion on which are high-quality; you will likely hear names like La Marzocco, Rocket Espresso, Profitec, and others.


We presented you with many great options, from the best espresso machine for beginners to various price ranges for an espresso machine. We have given you our thoughts on some of the entry-level espresso machines that would require the purchase of a grinder, as well as those lower mid-tier machines that already have built-in grinders and the nuances that coincide with those. Finally, your more expensive espresso machines range from $1,800+ in feature levels, but they all have one thing in common: they can brew a fantastic espresso. After reading this blog, you should better understand the type of espresso machine you want to purchase and what price point might suit you best. You can always start small and upgrade your espresso machine or grinder later!

Best Espresso Machine FAQ

What is the best espresso machine for lattes?

The best home espresso machines for lattes and milk-based drinks come with a steam wand and milk-frothing capabilities. All the machines we recommended in our article, The best espresso machines for every price point and skill level, except for the Flair Pro 2, come with a steam wand and milk-frothing capabilities.

Time: The main difference between these machines is the boiler type (single, double, or dual boiler, heat exchanger), which ultimately impacts the pressure of the steam coming from your wand and how long it will take to steam milk. If you are brewing 6oz of milk or more on a single boiler machine, expect to take upwards of 1 minute or more to steam milk for latte art.

Multi-tasking: Next, heat exchanger machines and dual boiler espresso machines can brew espresso and steam milk at the same time. These machines can also produce higher steam pressure from the steam wand, resulting in perfectly frothed milk quicker than smaller single boiler machines.

With all that said, any machine from an entry-level Breville Bambino Plus to an expert-level Decent Espresso DE1Pro can perfectly froth milk for cortados, cappuccinos, and lattes. We have seen beautiful latte art made from the < $500 espresso machine and some awful art using an > $3000 espresso machine.

What is the best home espresso machine for baristas?

The best home espresso machine for baristas comes down to skill level, price point, and the barista's intended use for the machine.

An expert-level and potentially a barista competitor may opt for a machine with all the bells and whistles, including pressure, temperature, and flow profiling. Meanwhile, someone looking for a quick morning pick-me-up may only consider simplicity and price.

Good beginner-level espresso machines can range from $350 to $999 in price and have varying features like boiler type, portafilter/basket size, PID/temperature stability, group head design, and built-in grinders.

If you are looking for true simplicity and mostly drink espresso with milk and sugar, an espresso machine with a built-in grinder and simple recipe buttons for single or double shots would work fine. For someone like this, we recommend the Breville Barista Express all day long.

If you are looking for a bit more out of your espresso machine but still find yourself falling in the beginner to novice level, we would point you toward a machine with a PID and temperature control, which will allow you better and more varied drinks (like ones across several roast levels). One of our current favorite machines at just under $1,000 is the Lelit Victoria; note that you will need a good espresso grinder to accompany this machine.

What is the highest-rated espresso machine for home use?

There is no limit to what you can place in your home regarding espresso brewing. If you just hit the lottery and want to stick a $35,000 espresso machine in your kitchen, by all means, go for it!

If we were to be more realistic and thoughtful with both price and recommendation, we see the best-rated espresso machines for home falling within the $2000 - $4000 price range. There are espresso machines that fall outside that range on both ends. To brew café, commercial, and even competitive quality espresso at home, machines falling in this range will have every feature needed to brew some of the best espresso in the world.

What you would want to look for in a machine is:

  1. PID and temperature control
  2. A heat exchanger or dual boiler for brewing and steaming simultaneously.
  3. Adjustable pressure, flow, or temperature profiling. Some machines have a simple paddle to manually influence preinfusion and pressure, which might be enough to brew more advanced espressos.
  4. Direct plumbing options so you never have to worry about refilling your water tank.
  5. You would look for a well-built machine inside and outside and boilers made of commercial-grade brass or copper.
  6. A more standard 58mm portafilter will give you access to a more extensive range of accessories and baskets.
  7. Saturated brew group, which increases energy efficiency and temperature stability.

Are fancy espresso machines worth it?

Absolutely! Fancy espresso machines are not just about their beautiful look but also their features that make them desirable over cheaper espresso machines.

While brewing espresso from a $500.00 espresso machine can result in a fantastic drink, it will never reach the quality of a more sophisticated machine with temperature stability and controls and a larger, more customary 58mm portafilter. The real difference in what you are paying for when you move up to a higher-priced espresso machine is temperature and pressure stability from the boiler to the group head, as well as the ability to influence temperature, pressure, preinfusion, volumetrics, and time. Once you have control over the previously mentioned factors, and through some trial and error, you are on your way to brewing café quality drinks at home.

What is the difference between home and professional espresso machines?

While home espresso machines set out to do the same thing as professional ones, there are quite a few differences between these two machine types.

The most obvious difference is what their intended use is for. Professional or café quality espresso machines are built for volume and stability. Walk into any busy café and watch the barista pull multiple shots simultaneously and back-to-back. A home espresso machine is not built for this and will fail. While your machine may be able to brew two shots back-to-back within 30 seconds to a minute downtime, those shots may taste wildly different due to temperature stability not being up to par with the more costly professional machine.

As mentioned, everything comes down to speed when it comes to professional espresso machines. This means the machine is built in a way to produce the most shots and milk-based drinks as quickly as possible. Steaming the perfect milk texture for lattes takes a home barista a minute, so it may take the professional barista/machine less than 10 seconds.

Other differences are programmability (for recipes, preinfusion, pressure, temperature, etc.), built-in volumetrics, and profiling capabilities.

The options for the type of coffee a professional espresso machine is endless, while a home espresso machine that lacks temperature controls may only brew one type of coffee well.

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