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Espresso machines have become the ultimate symbol of the high-end urbanite. Where “coffee machines” are generally the province of women and kitchen countertops, espresso machines have become nearly as hot a status symbol as your own wine cellar. And with such influential publications as Gourmet and Conde Nast Traveler devoting high-profile stories to the art of coffee cupping and the nuances of coffee flavor and enjoyment, it’s no wonder that coffee is achieving nearly sacramental status. And of course, to prepare an excellent cup of espresso, one needs an excellent espresso machines.
The list of top ten best-selling espresso makers for this year is an interesting and rather eclectic mix. It includes names that have been at the top of the professional espresso machine market for generations – and latecomers whose profiles are considerably more proletariat and provincial. Their prices run the gamut from under $50 to nearly $1,500, so there’s something here for everyone except perhaps the most elite coffee snob.
The Top Ten Best Espresso Machines
Rancilio Silvia V2 2 Cup Espresso Machine
The Rancilio Miss Silvia is one of the most highly and affectionately regarded espresso machines of all time. Introduced in the early 90s, the Silvia quickly acquired a following among coffee geeks as much because of the amount of fiddling one needed to do in order to make a perfect espresso with her as despite it. There are entire web sites devoted to the Miss Silvia with tips on how to get the best espresso from the Rancilio Silvia, which is still widely acknowledged to be the most popular espresso machine of all time. At about $600, it’s considered a mid-range machine.
Saeco Odea Go SOGOSG Automatic Espresso Machine
Saeco is another of the old regime, in the business of making espresso machines for generations. The Saeco Odea Go espresso machine is an elegantly styled workhorse that is highly regarded by coffee aficionados all over the world. At $500, it’s very reasonably priced for a fully automatic espresso machine. The Saeco Odea Go Automatic Espresso Machine is easy to set up and even easier to use. It includes a built-in burr grinder and automatic steam wand.
Saeco Odea Giro SOGSG 6 Cup Espresso Machine
The Saeco Odea Giro shares the same sleek styling of the Odea Go, and is just as easy to use. It grinds, tamps and brews a pre-measured (and adjustable) amount of coffee beans on command, dispenses the precise amount of hot water when it reaches just the right temperature, and even dumps the spent coffee grounds into an internal dump box that holds up to 14 spent pucks before it needs to be emptied. The ceramic burr grinder and water filter make this an all-in-one machine that is perfect for the home barista.
Nespresso Essenza C100 Espresso Machine – Titanium Gray
The Nespresso Essenza espresso machine is an automatic single serve coffee maker. Wholelattelove.com calls the Essenza C100 espresso machine “efficient, easy and fresh” and says that it has “all the essential tools” for making a hot, fresh espresso or cappuccino – quickly and with no fuss. The Nespresso Essenza uses Nespresso coffee capsules, so there’s no measuring, no mess – and the capsule is even automatically ejected into the built-in dump box so you don’t have to mess with it. At just over $200, it’s an excellent deal for a single serve espresso maker.
Mr. Coffee ECM20 Espresso/Cappuccino Maker
Mr. Coffee? Espresso maker? While Mr. Coffee’s espresso machines haven’t always hit the mark, there have been a few standout successes. The ECM20 is one of the least expensive electric moka pots that you’ll find on the market, and it makes a decent cup of strong, dark coffee. The 4 cup boiler is big enough to make 2 cups and still have steamy water left for frothing milk, making it a great choice for the person who likes strong, hot lattes and Americanos. You can pick up a Mr. Coffee ECM20 espresso/cappuccino maker for about $35.
Saeco Royal 21103 Espresso Machine
Another winner from Saeco, the Saeco Royal espresso machine is a fully automatic professional machine that does it all. The Saeco 21103 was designed for light commercial use in an office or coffee shop setting, but it’s equally at home in your kitchen if you take your espresso seriously. It features an adjustable conical burr grinder, a 15-bar pump and the Saeco Opti-dose system for making perfect espresso and cappuccino every time. It’s the priciest machine on the top ten list, but according to the reviews, worth every penny of the $1,500 or so that you’ll spend for it.
DeLonghi EC140 Pump Espresso/Cappuccino Machine
Delonghi is another name that is rated high in the espresso industry. Well-known in the field for innovation, Delonghi combines Italian design with high quality materials and mechanical design to create some of the most luxurious high-end machines in the market. The same quality extends to the DeLonghi EC140, made for the budget home market. At less than $100, the DeLonghi EC140 Pump Espresso/Cappuccino machine is a true bargain that makes an excellent cup of espresso.
DeLonghi Nespresso Lattissima EN680M Espresso Maker
Part of the Nespresso single serve coffee maker line, the Delonghi Nespresso Lattissima gets rave reviews from coffee snobs and coffee newbies alike. The Lattissima uses Nespresso coffee pods to make single serve shots of rich espresso with perfect crema every time. At about $800, it’s on the pricey side for a coffee maker, but solidly in the middle range for a high quality espresso machine. Did we mention that it’s also gorgeous?
Breville 800ESXL Espresso Machine
The Breville 800ESXL espresso machine is a solid, beautifully designed machine that makes good to excellent espresso. It’s widely regarded as a great machine for the aspiring home barista. Even the guys at coffeegeek.com, who can be really tough in their judgments, think this is a great machine for the $400 price.
DeLonghi EC155 Espresso Maker
Made by one of the premier home appliance makers of Europe, the Delonghi EC155 espresso machine is a 15-bar pump espresso machine with a perfect crema accessory. Compact and affordable, the EC155 has great little features like a built-in tamper so you never have to go looking for it. At about $90, the Delonghi is a bargain for the home kitchen.