As coffee lovers, many of us aspire to achieve at-home barista status, where we can brew anything from an Americano to a latte from the comfort of our pajamas.
If you are ready to take this step, chances are you are going to need an espresso machine. However, if you’re still a novice or you’re especially groggy in the morning, you probably won’t want to deal with a manual espresso machine.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Automatic Espresso Machines
So we’re here to help you navigate the other side of the coin: choosing the best automatic espresso machine. They’re easy to use every day, and give you a good cup of coffee every time. An espresso enthusiast needs this in their life.
Quick Summary: The Best Automatic Espresso Machines
|MR. COFFEE CAFE BARISTA ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|BREVILLE BARISTA TOUCH BES880BSS ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|BREVILLE BES870XL BARISTA EXPRESS ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|RANCILIO SILVIA ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|GAGGIA RI9380/46 CLASSIC PRO ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|GAGGIA RI8762 ANIMA PRESTIGE AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|DE’ LONGHI ESAM3300 MAGNIFICA SUPER-AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|DE’ LONGHI BCO430BM||Check on Amazon →|
|JURA WE8||Check on Amazon →|
|DE’ LONGHI EC155||Check on Amazon →|
HOW AUTO CAN YOU GO?
So when it comes to automatic espresso machines, you have a lot of options. The main thing that differentiates them is how much you are physically involved in the brewing process.
Basically, an automatic espresso machine allows you to start it, but it pulls the espresso shot for a preset amount of time. Some machines let you change that time while others do not.
For the most part, very few machines are marketed as simply automatic. This is because a lot of automatic machines look and feel like semi-automatics and have redundant features that make them nearly identical. But some automatic machines have little extras that put them nearly in the super-automatic category.
SEMI VS. SUPER-AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINES
SEMI-AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINES
Semi-automatic machines are basically one step more involved than the “baseline” automatic. These allow you to control the grind setting as well as the pull time, giving you more direct influence over your final result.
Like automatic espresso machines, these require you to grind and tamp your own ground coffee, which can be a blessing for people who want to experiment with their brew. However, it can be a little confusing if you’ve never done it before.
These machines are our personal favorites because they balance practicality and ease-of-use with customization and personal touch. So, even though they aren’t fully automatic, we’ll include some of our top semi-automatic picks.
SUPER-AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINES
Super-automatic machines are just fully automatic machines with more bells and whistles. They often come with their own built-in grinders and milk frothers, which is what really sets them apart.
You also usually don’t have to do your own tamping with a super-automatic espresso machine, meaning you can just sit and relax while your at-home barista does it all for you.
With a super-automatic espresso machine, you’re pretty much asking the appliance to take the reigns. With some machines, you’ll get highly specific customization options, which is nice if you’re a bit of a control freak. However, not all machines are that customizable, so you might just have to accept that machine’s way of doing things.
BEST SEMI-AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINES
MR. COFFEE CAFE BARISTA ESPRESSO MACHINE
If you are looking for an easily affordable machine, Mr. Coffee’s Café Barista is the machine for you. It’s often labeled as semi-automatic, but it does feature automatic options and simply has semi-automatic redundancies built-in. So, no matter your experience level, it can adapt pretty easily.
The machine also features an automatic milk frother, a one-touch control panel, an adjustable cup tray, and removable reservoirs. In sum, these features make the Café Barista simple to operate, easy to clean, and delightfully user friendly. We recommend this for people who are just getting started with at-home espresso brewing.
The main complaints we have about this product are the cheaper parts and weaker espresso. The lower-end parts mean this isn’t going to last you forever, and because this is an entry-level machine, the espresso you brew won’t really stand up to really high-end machines.
BREVILLE BARISTA TOUCH BES880BSS ESPRESSO MACHINE
If you have a bigger budget, the Barista Touch is hands-down the best espresso machine to get. If you are spending five dollars or more per day on coffee, it’ll pay for itself in less than a year. And it has everything you could want in an automatic espresso machine.
With the Barista Touch, you’re getting the best of both worlds: automatic capabilities with semi-automatic flexibility. It’s nearly identical to the more expensive Oracle model; it’s just smaller and doesn’t have automatic tamping.
But with easy-to-follow prompts on the LCD and consistent, delicious brews, the learning curve is easy to manage. So if you can handle the price, this is a great machine to buy.
BREVILLE BES870XL BARISTA EXPRESS ESPRESSO MACHINE
The Barista Express is an all-around great pick. This machine is semi-automatic, and it’s reasonably accessible whether you’re a beginner or a professional.
It’s similar to Breville’s automatic Barista Touch, but with fewer bells and whistles. It has some automatic features but emphasizes the semi-automatic ones more. It includes a built-in stainless steel conical burr grinder, “clean me” light, half-pound sealed bean hopper, 54-millimeter tamper, steaming wand, and a milk carafe for frothing.
Pretty much anywhere you look, this machine comes highly recommended. The main drawback is the price, but it’s still cheaper than most super-automatic espresso machines.
RANCILIO SILVIA ESPRESSO MACHINE
The Silvia is a durable, high-performing semi-automatic machine. It’s ever touted as being able to produce the “perfect espresso.” If you are serious about drinking quality espresso, this is the machine for you.
This model isn’t as expensive as a Breville but will give you much better quality than the lower-end, cheaper options. When paired with a high-quality burr grinder and freshly roasted beans, the Silvia will give you an incredible shot of espresso. Also, the group head is commercial grade and the portafilter handle is well-designed.
Our only complaint is that you do need to purchase accessories (like a grinder), which is a little inconvenient at a higher price point.
BREVILLE BES840XL ESPRESSO MACHINE, “THE INFUSER”
This Breville features two boilers and two pumps and plenty of programmable features, there isn’t much wanting with this model. It also has an over-pressure valve, pre-infusion function, and programmable volumetric control to guarantee the perfect pull. And if you’re into making milk-based coffee drinks, the steaming wand swivels 360 degrees.
This semi-automatic espresso machine has an auto-start function, backlit LCD, and audio alerts, an integrated tamper, stainless steel frothing jug, and cleaning supplies. Our only reservations are that it’s relatively new to the scene, and while it seems durable and reliable, it has yet to really prove that in practice.
GAGGIA RI9380/46 CLASSIC PRO ESPRESSO MACHINE
Made of solid stainless steel, the Gaggia RI9380 Classic Pro Espresso Machine is a commercial style espresso machine that’s designed to suit the comfort of your own home. If you enjoy waking up to a nice, robust espresso in the morning, you shouldn’t look past the Classic Pro.
There are several features on this Gaggia that we’re fans of. For starters, it has 58-millimeter chrome-plated brass portability and brew group, a three-way solenoid valve, and a water tank that can hold an impressive amount of water. The water reservoir is extremely accessible, as the lid is located right on top of the espresso machine.
In addition to the easily accessible water tank, the rocker switches and knob on the machine are very straightforward and simple to operate. The commercial-style steam wand can rotate, allowing for some flexibility to steam and texturize your milk to perfection, resulting in velvety microfoam.
The Classic Pro also offers pre-ground coffee or Easy Serving Espresso (ESE) pod brewing with its pressurized basket and also features an updated design with updated pump mounts to allow for quieter brewing.
BEST SUPER-AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINES
GAGGIA RI8762 ANIMA PRESTIGE AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINE
If you are looking for a high-end, compact espresso machine, Gaggia’s Anima Prestige is the way to go. Featuring everything from Rapid Steam technology and one-touch auto frothing to a sleek LCD and ceramic burr coffee grinder, this machine gives you great espresso and is a dream to use.
The Anima Prestige has a lot of other notable features including pre-infusion, a removable brew group, a programmable descaling cycle, energy-saving auto-off, and stainless steel paneling. With this machine, you can expect reliable, impressive results, as well as a decent amount of customization.
It has a 5-grind setting burr grinder and the coffee dispenser is adjustable (in case you have an odd size cup). It also includes 3 temperature settings and programmable brewing options to guarantee the best cup of coffee no matter what.
While twiddling your thumbs while a machine does all the work isn’t ideal for some coffee fans, this machine is great for those who don’t mind relinquishing a good bit of control for convenience.
DE’ LONGHI ESAM3300 MAGNIFICA SUPER-AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINE
The De’ Longhi ESAM3300 is a great mid-range option from a reputable espresso machine company. De’ Longhi is known for making affordable, high-quality small kitchen appliances, and this product is no exception, which is exactly why it earned our ranking as one of the best super-automatic espresso machines on the market.
The built-in burr grinder guarantees freshness each time you brew. It also includes a double boiler, specialized cappuccino system, an auto-off feature, and a 60-ounce water tank. These features give you the luxury of a super-automatic espresso machine, but the manual steam wand and customization options give you a good amount of flexibility.
The only shortcomings we’ve found with this machine are that the grinder can be a little loud, and it doesn’t work as well with dark (oily) roasts as it does with medium roasts.
JURA IMPRESSA C65 AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINE
If you can’t quite swing the Barista Touch, this is another high-end espresso machine at a slightly lower price point.
The biggest selling point for the Jura Impressa is Aroma+ technology, which helps improve the efficiency of the coffee grinding process. These espresso makers are also super easy to use with their three-step system. It’s also fairly compact.
The downsides are that the steam wand is a little lackluster and the shiny finish means you see all of the fingerprints. But otherwise, this is a great quality machine that’s worth the investment.
BEST ALL-IN-ONE ESPRESSO MACHINE
DE’ LONGHI BCO430BM
Every budding barista needs a machine that can brew it all, and the De’Longhi BCO430BM is just that. The all-in-one pump espresso and coffee maker makes 15-bar espresso, cappuccinos, and lattes on one side and delicious drip coffee on the other.
The semi-automatic machine’s front-loading coffee and water reservoirs create an added level of convenience, and the flavor savor brew system extracts maximum flavor for the best espresso and perfect cup of coffee.
BEST OFFICE ESPRESSO MACHINE
An espresso machine intended for use in an office setting needs to meet certain requirements. It should be able to brew a variety of coffee drinks wide enough to satisfy every employee, easy to clean, and relatively compact. The Jura WE8 super-automatic espresso machine checks every box.
The Swiss brand’s espresso makers are designed to brew coffee shop-quality drinks at a lower cost, and the WE8 is no exception. It’s equipped with a built-in grinder, 101-ounce water reservoir, 17.6-ounce bean hopper, and 12 specialty drink options, including espresso, cappuccino, and coffee.
BEST PERSONAL ESPRESSO MACHINE
DE’ LONGHI EC155
The De’Longhi EC155 is our pick for both the best value and personal espresso machine. It comes at a much lower price point but doesn’t sacrifice too much in terms of quality.
This De’Longhi has a durable, stainless steel boiler and allows you to use both coffee pods or your own grounds. The water and steam pressure can be altered so that you can get your perfect cup of espresso after a bit of practice.
The main complaint we have is that you have to purchase your own grinder and milk pitcher separately. But it’s still pretty user friendly and makes a starter machine.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH IT?
Still not convinced to get one of these machines? Not sure of what exactly you could do with one? We’ve got you covered.
Here’s a list of a few things you can use your new machine to make:
The classic, rich espresso is the base of a lot of different caffeinated beverages. But it can also be enjoyed all on its own with the delightful crema on top.
This will be better with a higher-end machine because you will really be able to appreciate the quality of the drink. It’s especially nice when you really need that caffeine kick.
If espresso is too much for you, but you don’t want to fool with steaming milk, the Americano is the way to go.
Half water, half espresso, this is a longer, more diluted option. However, since the espresso flavor features heavily, this drink is also best enjoyed brewed with a high-end machine, like the Gaggia Brera.
This super-automatic machine gets our vote for making Americanos because of its programmable brewing and steaming wand that doubles as a hot water dispenser.
A Lungo is basically an Americano where the water is added during the brewing process, rather than afterward. You can make these with more flexible machines, especially semi-automatics.
The Ristretto is the opposite of a Lungo; half of the usual amount of water is used to brew the espresso shot. This is a great option for people who like their espresso STRONG. So get a machine that you can rely on to make a great brew.
While you could make a latte without an espresso machine, we honestly recommend trying it with one for the best results. You’ll need a good steaming wand for this milk-based beverage, so look for options with high-quality, easy to operate wands.
With an espresso machine, you have the luxury of making either an espresso macchiato or latte macchiato. For either of these options, you’ll need a steaming wand. When making an espresso macchiato, it’s more important to have a good espresso. For the latte macchiato, the steaming wand is more important.
If a macchiato is typically your drink of choice, we recommend the aforementioned Breville Barista Express. It has both a steaming wand and the ability to make a solid shot of espresso, so whether you crave a latte or espresso macchiato, you’re in good hands with this semi-automatic machine.
This classic Italian drink is a combination of equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. For that reason, a good mid-range machine should work great, as you will get a decent quality espresso and a good steaming wand.
THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING AN AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINE
EASE OF USE
One of the most important things to ask yourself before buying an automatic espresso machine is whether or not it’s easy to use. Whether you opt for a semi or super-automatic espresso machine, you’ll need to be able to operate it easily.
Brewing a good cup of coffee in the morning shouldn’t be rocket science, so research a coffee maker before making a purchase and spend some time familiarizing yourself with its features before testing out your barista skills.
A steam wand is often a good indicator of the overall quality of the espresso machine. The main things to look for in a steam wand are:
- Manually controlled (automatic ones might be convenient, but manuals will give you better results once you get used to them)
- 2-4 steam holes
- Good range of motion and swiveling for optimal angles
Because milk frothing is an important step in making many specialty coffee drinks, investing in an automatic machine with a built-in milk frother comes in handy if you frequently drink cappuccinos, lattes, or macchiatos.
Of course, a machine with a frother is going to come at a higher price point than one without, but we think the few extra dollars are well worth it if you’ll be adding bubbly, frothy milk to your coffee every day.
Low-end portafilters are much smaller than the standards you’ll find in a commercial setting. So if you’re looking for an experience that similar to your local coffee shop, make sure your group head accommodates a portafilter that can hold 16-22 grams of coffee grounds.
This mainly affects the size of the shot you can pull, rather than the overall quality of that shot, which is affected more by the coffee beans themselves.
Speaking of beans, let’s talk about grinding them. Of course, you could use pre-ground coffee, but why would you sacrifice freshness if you can find a machine with a built-in grinder?
Some higher-end machines have a bean-to-cup feature that grinds your coffee beans right when you start. These are generally more expensive, but if the machine doesn’t have it, you’ll need to get a separate grinder.
If you do opt to get your own grinder, go here to figure out which one will work for you. We recommend flat burr grinders.
STEAM OR PUMP-POWERED
Another internal mechanism to look at is the power behind the pressure of the espresso machine. The pressure is vital to creating a good espresso.
While steam is the “classic” and cheaper option, these machines can often suffer from inconsistent pressure, meaning inconsistent results.
Pump-powered machines give you more control over the temperature and pressure of the brewing process and are generally worth the extra cost.
SINGLE OR DOUBLE BOILER
The espresso “sweet spot” is achieved at 195 degrees Fahrenheit with 10 bars of pressure.
Single boiler options are generally cheaper and slower on the heating uptake. On the other hand, while double boilers are faster at getting to the sweet spot, they’re much more expensive.
So if you aren’t on a constant time crunch and you’re looking to save some money, a single-boiler will probably work for you. However, if you’re brewing for multiple people or just impatient, you might want to spring for a double boiler.
If you don’t feel like constantly refilling a water reservoir, some espresso machines allow you to connect directly to a waterline in your kitchen. However, most people are fine with a larger water tank.
If you don’t drink much espresso every day or you don’t mind refilling the reservoir, you can save a bit of money by getting a machine with a smaller reservoir.
Also, if you like tea or an easy way to pre-warm your cup, some machines feature a secondary water spout. This option isn’t exactly necessary, but it is a nice touch.
MAINTENANCE AND CLEANING
One thing to consider with these machines is how easy they are to maintain, so ask yourself a few questions before shelling out any of your hard-earned money on an espresso machine. Is it self-cleaning? Does it have a drip tray? Are the parts removable?
Removable components tend to make things easier to clean, but you do usually have to deep clean your machine to keep it functioning at full capacity. This article will give you a step-by-step on how to keep up with your machine.
If you’re purchasing an automatic espresso machine for an office or some other setting where you know it’ll be used multiple times a day, a self-cleaning machine might be a worthy investment.
At some point though, you do have to consider the quality of the materials inside your machine. Plastic tends to deteriorate faster than things like stainless steel, so your maintenance efforts can only keep a lower-quality machine going for so long.
If you are particular about how your espresso is brewed, you have two options. You can either get a good semi-automatic machine or a high-end super-automatic machine. Low-quality automatic machines aren’t going to give you the flexibility you require.
With a semi-automatic machine, you will have to put in more physical effort and practice to get the perfect brew. However, once you get used to it, you should be able to get exactly what you want.
On the other hand, high-end automatic machines should give you plenty of programmable options that will allow you to customize your brew with a few button presses.
So this category really comes down to price and convenience. Semi-automatic machines are cheaper but require more effort on your part. Super-automatic machines are significantly more expensive but are usually much easier to operate.
EASE OF USE
While we all aspire to be ultra-talented at-home baristas, you have to start somewhere. And sometimes it’s better to practice on a cheaper, user-friendly machine than it is to jump straight into the dream machine that might just overwhelm you.
If you already have a bit of experience, it might be worth it to save up a bit to invest in a machine you know will last you a long time. That way, you know you will be able to use it without too much trouble and you’ll be able to get a truly high-quality brew.
But if you want something to test run before really committing to a machine for the next decade, get a lower-end machine. That way, you can get an idea of what features do and do not matter to you.
BEST AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINE BRANDS
We’ve included products from a few brands that are known to make a reliable automatic espress0 machine regardless of the price point. However, while all of the brands featured here produce great appliances, they are produced in different places. Some of them are Italian while others are UK-based. And some companies have their machines produced in China.
Thus, it may be worthwhile to check into a brand and its production policies to see if they align with your personal ideas and opinions, even if it won’t really affect the quality of your espresso.
Italian company De’Longhi has been around since 1902, starting first as a small industrial parts manufacturer and, in the more than a century it’s been around, making a name for itself in the domestic appliance industry.
Breville was born in 1932 in Sydney, Australia. Now, the innovative kitchen appliance brand sells products in 70 countries. Don’t just limit the brand to the coffee machine, though; Breville is a manufacturer of blenders, microwaves, food processors, and more.
Gaggia was established with the intention of pulling the best espresso shot, and while perfection may not actually be attainable, some might say coffee brewed with one of the Italian-born brand‘s machines comes pretty close.
Rancilio is a leader in the coffee maker industry, serving customers across the globe. Almost a century of experience under its belt makes the Italian company an expert in the automatic espresso machine business.
Swiss-born brand Jura is the global market leader in the automatic coffee machine industry. Jura coffee makers are designed by a team of 70 engineers who are dedicated to creating the perfect cup of coffee every time.
The Ohio based and founded Mr. Coffee brand came to be in 1970 when Vincent Marotta and Samuel Glazer took it upon themselves to create an automatic drip coffee maker, and in 1972, their dreams became a reality. Fast forward to now, and Mr. Coffee is a household name with a roster of coffee and espresso makers and coffee accessories.
Hopefully, you can use this list and the information we paired with it to make an informed decision when selecting an espresso machine.