Enjoying a perfect shot of espresso in the morning is the best way most of us can think of to get things going. However, what we most often end up doing is we either have a bland cup of coffee that we prepared ourselves with an antique coffee machine, or we have to postpone the coffee ritual for when we get to our favorite coffee shop.
The good news is that there is a middle ground where you can still enjoy the best cup of coffee money can buy, but you can have it in the comfort of your home. We are not talking here about getting close to what would be described as a good cup of coffee, we have tackled that question here, but we are talking about making a cup of coffee that will rival any gourmet coffee shop coffee and outclass by many degrees the Starbucks coffee.
For that kind of an experience, though, you will have to make quite a hefty initial investment, but the good news is that, if you are a regular coffee drinker, you can make that money back in just the first year of use. Of course, not all people have the same appreciation for coffee, so, depending on how picky you are, you may have to get closer or further from the 300 dollars limit we have set in order to get an excellent espresso machine. That is why you need to scroll down past the following table of products and check out our in-depth reviews that will help you make an informed decision.
1. DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker
If there is one espresso maker that we are confident to recommend to all of our readers, it is the DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker. It is not even the most expensive product on our list, but we are confident that anyone willing to give it a try will be pleasantly surprised. There is a 10% of passionate coffee drinkers that would still ask for something more, and for you we have the next entry on our list, but, if you want to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, and not blow the bank doing it, then the DeLongi EC702 is your best bet. One of the best indicators of a how good an espresso is, can be seen even before you have a first sip. A good espresso needs to have a thick, creamy layer of foam on top, and that layer needs to stay there for at least an hour. The DeLongi EC702 creates a layer of foam that can be tasted with every sip of coffee, and that will actually be in the cup even 3 or 4 hours later. And, if you enjoy cappuccinos, you will love the patented frother that is attached to the machine. It creates the kind of milk foam that an experienced barista can turn into beautiful leaves or flowers.
2. De’Longhi EC680 Dedica
If you usually drink just one coffee per day, then the EC702 is an excellent espresso machine, but if you are a heavy coffee drinker, especially if there are more than 3 coffee drinkers in your family, it may be a good idea to spend that little bit more and get the De’Longhi EC680 Dedica. On the one hand we like it because it uses stainless steel components, so it will take a lot more punishment and it will help you make excellent cups of coffee for many more years. That is not to say that the DeLongy EC702 is not a reliable machine, but after prolonged use it may not retain its perfect shape for creating foam, so the EC680 may be a better choice from this perspective. Furthermore the De’Longhi EC680 Dedica also has a thermo block technology system that heats up the water for the espresso much faster, and then it goes on to create the steam for frothing milk almost instantly.
3. Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker
There is a very cheap alternative to the espresso machines that we have looked at so far at that we are going to consider from now on, and it is the Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker. It uses a capsule system, but the capsules are filled with an excellent, all natural coffee, only it is ground and sealed in the perfect way that the machine can use. As such you can get an excellent cup of coffee, with absolutely no hassle, clean up is a breeze, and you really do not have to know anything about brewing coffee and still get a superior type of beverage.
4. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker
Coming back to what most of our readers would recognize as a real espresso makers, we have 2 more machines that really deserve to be here. The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker is the best choice if you are looking for more than a shot of espresso, and you are a fan of cappuccinos and lattes. The problem with frothing milk is that you need to maintain the perfect angle on the cup in order to get the best results and clean up afterwards can be a real problem. That is why we love the way the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker has a fix point milk cup so the process is automatic, and, because you can easily remove the cup, the clean up is also extremely easy.
5. Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker
The last espresso machine we are going to talk about today is the Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker. We could not finish our list without mentioning a Breville espresso machine simply because their high end products are actually used in restaurants. As the price would suggest the ESP8XL is not really a top end machine, but it does provide excellent results. We were particularly impressed with how thick the foam on the coffee was, to the point where it is referred to as crema. They used a dual walled filtration system to get that result and, although in a restaurant the components would be of a higher grade and of a stronger material, the basic concept is the same, so the end result is fairly close to what you would get in an Italian coffee shop on the busiest street in Rome.