If you love espresso as much as I do then you may be planning to buy a new espresso machine. If so, and you are looking for some suggestions and recommendations, I can help. I have reviewed hundreds of espresso machines under $1000 and I will share as much information as possible about what I think are the best espresso machines available.
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If you don’t feel like reading; I have come to the conclusion that The Barista Express Espresso Machine, from Breville, is the best espresso machine under $1000 currently on the market.
The Different Types of Espresso Machines
To begin with, you will want to decide what kind of machine suits your needs and budget the best. Most people choose between the four types of espresso machines listed below.
A steam-driven espresso machine
These don’t really make true espresso. More like strong coffee. But they are the most affordable priced between $40 and $75.
Electric pump-driven espresso machine
These make real espresso. Topped with thick, velvety créma. They can be further divided into two sub-types:
Semi-automatic espresso machine
You are in control of certain elements of the brewing process. It requires somewhat more skill. Priced between $200 and $1,200
Super-automatic espresso machine
Fill with roasted coffee beans and water and push a button. Making a perfect espresso is easy. Priced between $1,200 and $3,000
Although they are a little more expensive I would recommend choosing a semi-automatic espresso machine or super-automatic espresso machine. If you know the difference between a real shot of espresso and a strong cup of coffee you will not be satisfied with a steam-driven espresso machine.
The 10 Best Espresso Machines Under $1000:
Because there are so many different machines to choose from I have created a shortlist of what I feel are the best machines on the market:
1. Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine
The Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine is at the top end of the market and packed with features. If you are looking for an espresso machine with a built-in grinder and fully-automatic operation, this could be the one.
With so many features, making barista-style coffee at home couldn’t be easier. From the beginning, the built-in coffee grinder means your coffee is as fresh as it can be. The amount of coffee and grind size can both be controlled with easy to use settings on the front of the machine. The ground beans drop directly into the filter, ready for the high-pressure hot water to remove every ounce of flavor.
The water temperature is digitally controlled, to extract the most from the coffee, leaving you with the optimal espresso flavor. Finally, use the steam wand to foam the milk and create your beautiful latte design perfectly.
Other controls on the front panel include a one or two cup settings, an automatic cleaning program selector, and a water pressure gauge.
The Breville Barista Express is beautifully built in brushed stainless steel. It wouldn’t look out of place in an upmarket coffee shop and should give you exceptional coffee for years to come.
2. Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
If the Breville Barista Espresso is a little on the expensive side, then take a look at the Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker. At just a third of the price, it can make beautiful flavored coffee but misses on some extra features.
First, you will either have to buy a separate coffee grinder or stick to ready ground coffee. People that insist on only the freshest coffee will spend the extra for a coffee grinder.
On offer are a choice of three automatic coffee styles. Fill the water and milk tanks, then choose the single or double coffee filter. Pick either espresso, cappuccino, or latte on the front panel controls and let the machine do the rest. Depending on your selection, the milk is frothed and added to produce perfect results every time. The milk reservoir is removable for easy storage in the fridge, between coffee making.
If you like the easy use capsules, but sometimes want the full coffee bean experience, then Mr. Coffee could be ideal. You can use fuss-free capsules and pods with an attachment, quickly reverting to coffee beans when needed.
3. Breville-Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine
For ease of use and in a compact form where space is limited, the Breville Nespresso Mini Espresso Machine is certainly worth a look. This is purely a capsule-style machine, with a one-press operation and convenience at the core of its design.
With the water tank stored at the back, just a single lifting panel for the capsules, and a choice of only two settings, this machine for coffee is simplicity itself.
Fill the water tank, choose the coffee type you want from the extensive range of capsules, select either espresso or lungo for a double, and that is it. In under a minute, you’ll be enjoying fresh-brewed coffee with no mess or hassle.
After use, the Mini Espresso has an energy-saving device. three minutes later, it switches to the low energy eco-mode. After nine minutes with no use, it automatically switches off.
For great tasting coffee in a rush, this could be the ideal machine. Optimum water temperature is reached in under 30 seconds, and the 19 bar high-pressure pump delivers hot water for the perfect coffee.
4. Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine
If you want the convenience of a Nespresso capsule machine, but also want to get as close as possible to the authentic espresso taste, this could be a great choice. The Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Maker uses the latest capsules, and technology to bring you near espresso quality coffee.
The Vertuo system has several differences over the standard Nespresso capsule. First, each capsule has a barcode around the rim. The Vertuo coffee maker reads the barcode and automatically adjusts the settings for the particular style of coffee to give you perfect results every time.
Second, when you activate the coffee-making process, the Vertuo capsule is spun at up to 7000 revolutions per minute, while water is added to produce a light and delicate crema.
Once you have the perfect coffee brewed, you need delicious milk to go with it. Use the supplied Nespresso Aeroccino to heat and froth your milk for a gorgeous cappuccino or latte textured topping.
Other features of this machine include an adjustable cup holder for different sizes and five drink sizes; espresso, double espresso, gran lungo, coffee, and alto coffee.
The 40 oz water tank is enough to produce over 30 espressos before requiring refilling, but only enough for two large alto coffees.
5. DeLonghi EC155 Espresso Machine
The DeLonghi EC155 Espresso Machine provides irrefutable evidence that you can make a great cup of espresso with a machine that costs less than $100. Hard to believe, but true.
The secret to the delicious tasting, créma-topped espresso, that this machine makes, is that it uses a pump, and not steam, to force heated water under pressure through the ground coffee. This is the same method, and makes espresso at the same level of pressure, like that employed by the best espresso machines that cost 10 times as much.
The DeLonghi EC155 is a semi-automatic espresso maker. This means that the user must control certain aspects of the brewing process. But that allows the user to adjust and control the strength and flavor of their espresso. Customized in other words.
The DeLonghi EC155 doesn’t have a long list of bells and whistles like a fully automatic espresso machine have. But that’s OK. It has all of the essential features necessary to make a tasty espresso, cappuccino, or latte. And you wouldn’t expect a lot of fancy features on a machine costing less than $100. If it did I would be very suspect.
6. Gaggia RI9380 Classic Espresso Machine
Great value and best buy for first entry-level home espresso machine if you have the budget. Most espresso maker retailers will tell you that the Gaggia Classic machine is one of their all-time best sellers. That’s because this machine is so well-built and delivers such a good cup of espresso that it has a great following and a great reputation.
This machine was designed and built by Gaggia S.p.A. in Milan Italy. Gaggia is without question one of the most respected makers of coffee makers in the world. The Gaggia Classic is made exclusively in Milan, Italy, by Italian craftsmen and craftswomen.
If you are looking to purchase your first home espresso maker this is a great choice. It is modestly priced, it is easy to set up and easy to use. It cleans easily and the brushed stainless steel finish looks great in the kitchen. But best of all, and most importantly, it makes a delicious espresso drink topped by a thick, rich créma.
The popularity of this machine is due in part to its durable construction and the inclusion of many commercial-grade machine features. For starters the Gaggia Classic’s portafilters and group head are made of heavy-duty marine-grade brass with chrome plating which helps stabilize the water temperature during the brewing process. The filter basket measures 58 mm in diameter like on commercial espresso makers.
7. Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
The best semi-auto espresso machine that can easily outperform Starbucks. There are plenty of people who are not able to make it through the day without having at least one mug of coffee. It really is tasty, makes you more alert and gives you a veritable spring in your step.
Certain people are satisfied with instant coffee, other people can take pleasure in a cup of filter coffee, yet increasingly more individuals are looking for the stronger and much more fragrant flavor of homemade espresso. The most popular machine in the mid-range price ($300-$800) is definitely the Rancilio Silvia , which is the best selling product above $300.
This is a smart-looking stainless steel appliance that weighs in at about thirty pounds and is relatively streamlined in size, which means it should fit on most kitchen countertops without having any kind of space problems. It operates with both pre-ground coffee purchased from the store or your nearby coffee shop, or you can grind the beans at your home for the freshest coffee possible.
Many people don’t realize that coffee really starts to go stale soon after it has been ground, which is the reason why it needs to be kept in an airtight container. If not placed in a sealed container it will likely be stale within 1-2 hours, but even if sealed the coffee will start to gradually deteriorate. To get the freshest coffee, you truly do need to grind your own coffee beans.
The Rancilio Silvia is very straightforward to set up and has a very clear and helpful instruction guide supplied. As soon as you have filled the detachable reservoir with water up to the maximum line, you’ll be able to turn it on and it really should warm up in about half an hour ready for use.
8. Gaggia Titanium Espresso Machine
Best for those on a tight budget and still want a super-automatic. Add together its elegant looks, an impressively long features list, push-button ease-of-operation, low maintenance, and the excellent “I must be in Italy…” quality of espresso that this machine produces, and you end up with a brilliantly awesome espresso machine.
The menus are easy to navigate thanks to an electric blue LCD display. Push-button simplicity begins with seven programmable buttons that operate many of the features on the machine including five temperature settings, three coffee volume settings, pre-infusion, a pre-grinding feature, and an on/off timer and clock.
A sleek stainless steel front panel and steel outer shell house the Titanium’s stainless steel lined brewing boiler and additional steaming boiler. This double-boiler system is designed to create steam for heating and frothing milk without the typical wait time after you have finished brewing your coffee. And the Gaggia Titanium gives you the option of using either the stainless steel Gaggia Turbo Frother or the auto-frother (which is included) to make supremely delicious cappuccinos and lattes.
Customizing your espresso or coffee drinks is absolute simplicity. Firstly you can select from three brewing button options to dispense the exact amount of coffee that you’d like. If you want to adjust the grind of the beans, somewhere between very fine and somewhat coarse, then all you have to do is open the Titanium’s 8.5 oz bean hopper to and choose between 18 individual grind settings.
While you’re there in the bean hopper (did I mention that the hopper holds up to 8.5 ounces of your favorite coffee beans?) you’ll see where you can make the adjustment to deliver between 6 and 9 grams of coffee for each shot. And since it seems that everybody likes their coffee just a little different you can easily change any of these settings whenever you need to, and then change back again!
And if for some reason you find yourself in the mood for something a little different than the whole bean coffee you keep in the machine, like decaf (really?), you can easily add pre-ground coffee to the Titanium’s bypass doser and brew away!
9. DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 Espresso Machine
Good value and the best machine for cappuccino lovers. After you’ve tasted the rich, complex, crema-topped espresso that the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 Super Automatic Espresso Machine makes, you realize that you’ll never be able to enjoy drip coffee anymore.
You may have a sudden, and justifiable, urge to throw out the Mr. Coffee that you got at Target, but don’t worry, because it has never been easier to make a perfect espresso (or cappuccino or latte) at home.
The DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is a handsome and sleek looking coffee maker and will add class to any kitchen. Designed and manufactured in Italy, the same country that gives us Maserati sports cars and Prada shoes. And wasn’t it the Italians who invented espresso?
As an espresso aficionado you know that the best tasting coffee drinks are the result of using only freshly ground coffee beans. This is the reason why the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 automatically grinds the coffee beans only just prior to brewing, resulting in the very freshest, most aromatic coffee, and best-tasting espresso. This unique and patented system is called the Beans-to-Brew System.
10. Gaggia Platinum Vision Espresso Machine
You don’t have to go to Italy to get an authentic espresso or cappuccino. All you need is an authentic Italian espresso machine, like the Gaggia Platinum Vision!
Gaggia S.p.A. is an Italian manufacturer of coffee machines designed to be used in the home, like the Gaggia Platinum Vision Espresso, and its brand is synonymous with quality and dependability all over the world. It began in 1948, when Achille Gaggia, the man who is credited with the worldwide popularity of the best espresso coffee, filed a patent on a machine which eventually evolved into the modern espresso machines that we know today.
Gaggia’s first espresso machine created specifically for home use was called the Baby Gaggia, which to this day is still regarded in Italy as being the perfect family coffee-maker. All of Gaggia’s best espresso machines are still, to the present day, produced in the Robecco Sul Naviglio factory in Milan, Italy, the place where tradition and care for details merge with state-of-the-art engineering.
Another brilliant design element (you will soon recognize the value of) is the rapid steam boiler system. This system allows you to change immediately between brewing and steaming with no waiting around for lengthy re-heating times. What this means is the best espresso, cappuccino, or latte, at the ideal temperature.
A superb cup of coffee always starts with freshly ground beans, and the Gaggia Platinum Vision grinds fresh beans with every new brew. Brewing a fresh cup of coffee is as simple as pressing an icon on the machine’s touchscreen display.
What Makes The Best Espresso Machine?
There are a few things that determine whether an espresso machine is good, and they are:
- Made by a reputable manufacturer
- Quality design and construction
- Ease of use
- Quick heating boilers
- Double boiler system
- Easy access to brew group and reservoir
- Easy to clean
- Sturdy and replaceable parts
Espresso vs Nespresso
There is one crucial difference between an espresso and a Nespresso. And that is the coffee you use. Nespresso is the trade name of the Breville company for coffee machines that use capsules. The best espresso makers make coffee using coffee beans that are ground just before the brewing process begins.
Nespresso offers the convenience of coffee in a capsule and no mess. The best espresso machine may take a little longer to brew a coffee. Purists would argue that an espresso machine produces a coffee closer to the ones you buy from a barista.
The choice is yours. Do you prefer the convenience of a Nespresso machine, with push-button operation and no mess? Or the art of grinding the coffee beans, packing the filter bowl, and preparing the coffee by hand?
Automatic Espresso Machine vs Semi-Automatic
In reality, there is actually little difference between automatic espresso and semi-automatic machines. In both types of machines, you need to grind the coffee beans, fill the portafilter, and start the brewing process.
The only real difference is that the automatic machine will flow a predetermined volume of water through the coffee and stop. You will need to push a button or move a lever when enough water has passed through the coffee using a semi-automatic machine.
Similar to the difference between Nespresso and espresso machines, it is down to convenience. If you prefer convenience, then you may be better off choosing a Nespresso machine in the first place!
Many people get their day started with a coffee, and for many, that means fresh-brewed, not instant coffee. Drip machines are perfectly reasonable coffee makers, but take a while to complete the process and may produce more than you need.
Espresso, and particularly Nespresso machines, offer convenience and speed. Within a minute or so, an espresso machine will produce fresh-brewed coffee that comes as close to a barista brewed coffee as possible.
If you want the ultimate convenience and don’t mind being tied to using capsules, then the Nespresso machines are hard to beat. They are quick, easy to use, and clean.
However, if you like to experiment with different coffee, vary the number of grounds, water or milk, then an espresso machine is probably what you want. If you love to bring back specialty coffees from around the world after your vacation, then definitely invest in a top-notch espresso machine.