Having an espresso machine at home is brilliant, but it comes with many things to consider when making the investment. That’s why I’m here though, isn’t it? To break down several of what I believe are the best espresso machines to have at home, which fits in with every budget.
The ‘Special Buy’
This snazzy kind of machine is very hit and miss, but I’ve only ever had good experiences with this. The big guys at Aldi, Lidl etc hold seasonal events where limited edition products are sold at an absolute bargain of a price. However, in many cases, these items come from similar, or the same, factories as higher priced branded versions. Much like the overall ethos of these supermarkets anyway.
When I was 16 I bought an espresso machine from Aldi for about £40. To be honest, it was very simplistic and bulky - it wasn’t the nicest thing to look at, but it definitely did the job. The only downfall (which came with the small price tag) was the steam wand didn’t pack too much of a punch and was a push button system, thus you did not have the same level of control as you may do with more expensive models. However, when it came down to the nitty gritty of making an actual espresso, it did the job well.
[Currently out of stock]
The Basic - Delonghi Icona
Now this bad boy is actually the one I have in my flat at the moment. Until I move to a flat where I know I’ll be for more than a year (darn those student years of hopping from one flat to another), then I’ll be sticking to this one actually!
When I purchased the Delonghi Icona, it was around the £120 mark, but RRP’s at £180 according to amazon. Cheekily, I just saw that they’ve just brought this down to under £100 at the moment, so if you’re looking for something relatively cheap but under a trusted name (such as the big guys of ‘delonghi’), then this is the for you. Plus, it looks good, works well and comes in different colours. Oooh.
The only thing I would say is that you should really invest in a proper tamper with these two coffee machines. The Icona does supply you with one attached to the machine, but doesn’t do justice to the coffee that you’re making.
The mid-tier one - Sage by Heston Blumenthale - the Barista
Now this is the one next on my wishlist, but it is quite a jump up in price. However, the qualities which this coffee machine holds parallels the big guys out on the market - which therefore reflects well when placed alongside the price of £500.
However, if you’re looking for a little bit more control over your cup of coffee, enjoy the idea of freshly ground coffee every time but don’t want to invest in a coffee grinder separately, then this is definitely for you. It looks quite nice too, and is in the background of many BBC and Channel Four programmes, so if it’s good enough for the television then it’s good enough for us!
The convenient one - The Nespresso Creatista
As Nespresso pods become more and more of the norm, and speciality coffee shops introduce their own pods to supply the demand - different Nespresso machines are coming onto the market.
This machine from Nespresso is an absolute doll, and I love the way that it doesn’t necessarily look like a Nespresso machine. With the steam wand and pastel chrome plated finish, this looks more like an old school espresso machine than nespresso, and would look lovely on any countertop.
Also, the steam wand is fully functional with milk jugs, rather than Nespresso’s conventional ‘milk box’, which enables the personal feel of pouring the steamed milk out of a jug (and therefore giving the option of latte art) in a way that has never been available before.
[note: like the special buy above, they also release non-branded Nespresso machines. Although they never look as fancy as the ‘creatista’, these are definitely worth a look at as I’ve heard wonderful reviews from them]
The ‘Go All Out’ one - La Marzocco Linea Mini
If you have enough money to go out and buy yourself one of these, you can become one of my Patreon’s quite easily, thank you very much! Ah, I joke - but if you do have this money available then I’d wholly recommend splashing out on the wonderful classic that is the Linea Mini from La Marzocco.
La Marzocco are the Ferrari in the espresso machine world. They make wonderfully crafted espresso machines, and there’s probably more than a 50% chance that when you walk into a coffee shop, there’ll be a L.M standing on the table top to make your coffee.
But don’t wince at the cost and call it overpriced - there’s a reason for this. With things such as a pre-infusion built in and the ability to change the temperature of your outgoing espresso, these are just a couple of reasons as to why getting a Linea Mini is a great idea if you have the amount to splurge on. By being able to control these features and functions, you’re going to be able to play around with the outgoing product of the espresso in much further detail, and fine tune it to perfection.
So there you have it - the various espresso machines I recommend for every budget. It’s evident with these that the amount of money you spend is reflected in the flexibility you wish to have with fine tuning your espresso. However, it also plays a huge part in the power of the steam wand supplied, as well as the after care and service provided. For example, with the La Marzocco and Sage machines, you are able to ask for a custom installation and run through to make sure your machine is in tip-top condition, something you won’t be receiving with the other models.
Something I haven’t touched on at all is the dual boiler, but this also becomes apparent as the price tag increases. Instead of the machine using a single boiler system to heat up its water (and steam), it has two. This has a huge benefit as you can use both boilers at the same time - basically meaning you can pull an espresso shot but also steam milk at the same time, and save yourself some time.
I hope you enjoyed this, and it gave you some help in clearing up the vast range of espresso machines out there at the moment.
Until next time, lovelies.