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Top Ten Best Home Espresso Machines

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Choosing the ‘best’ home espresso machine is a virtually impossible task, since every home is different, and everyone’s needs are different. The best machine for you is quite simply the one that fits your particular needs.

However, for dedicated home baristas, there are a few espresso machines that stand head and shoulders above the rest. This list of machines, then, represents the very best that home espresso has to offer: the top ten home espresso machines that we would choose for ourselves.

Nuova Simonelli Oscar Mood — All the essentials in an affordable package

At the top end of this list, we have some incredible espresso machines. There are compact espresso machines that can stand up to heavy commercial use; there are even home machines with the kind of advanced technology that most cafes can only dream of having in their machines.

Realistically, though, most home baristas will not make use of the full potential of those machines. Most of us don’t want to wrestle with complicated technology first thing in the morning — especially before we’ve had our first coffee. And absolutely no one is making three hundred coffees every day at home.

That’s not to say that those machines aren’t amazing — they are, and we’ll see why very soon — but plenty of people just want a machine that does everything they need and no more. If that’s you, then the Nuova Simonelli Oscar Mood could be the best home espresso machine for you.

It includes all the core functions that Nuova Simonelli’s commercial machines are famous for, such as soft preinfusion for consistent, delicious espresso every time, and a cool-touch steam wand, for easy, safe milk steaming. With the Oscar Mood on your counter, there’s nothing to stop you from making coffees that are just as good as the ones in your favorite cafe.

Sage The Oracle — Unbeatable automation

The Oracle from Sage (also known as Breville) is a bit of an outlier on this list. It falls into the category of domestic appliances, while every other machine on this list can be considered either ‘prosumer’ level, or is a fully commercial-grade machine.

While The Oracle is well-made, it doesn’t have the same heavy-weight build as the other machines on this list. Instead, it offers something completely unique: barista-style coffee, but almost completely automated.

Traditional bean-to-cup machines can produce good results but offer very limited control over the flavor of the coffee. The Oracle gives you the same control that a barista machine has, but does most of the work of the barista for you automatically. It grinds, measures the dose of coffee, and tamps. It even steams the milk perfectly for you!

All you have to do is move the portafilter from the grinder to the machine, and then pour the milk into the coffee when it’s done. It couldn’t be simpler, and yet the results can be very good indeed. If you want your coffee to be as convenient as possible, but aren’t satisfied with the usual coffee from-bean-to-cup machines, then The Oracle is the best espresso machine for you.

Lelit Bianca — Espresso wizardry for an incredible price

The Lelit Bianca is another relatively budget-friendly machine. The Bianca is designed for the barista that wants to take complete control of the espresso-making process.

The key feature of the Bianca is the paddle on top of the brew group. This paddle controls the flow of water through the group in real time — a feature found on only the most advanced espresso machines. This gives the barista full manual control over every stage of the extraction of their espresso.

This level of control allows the barista to manipulate the flavor of their espresso, and get great results out of any kind of coffee. Since espresso brewing with the Bianca is a fully manual process, this machine isn’t the right choice for everyone — but no other machine in this price range has this kind of functionality. 

With its mirror-polished stainless steel bodywork and warm walnut wood accents, the Bianca is also a beautiful-looking machine that would be perfect at home in any designer kitchen.

Rocket R58 V3 — Commercial build in a compact machine

Rocket Espresso’s R Cinquantotto is the third version of their popular R58 espresso machine. Like all Rocket machines, it is hand-built in Italy from commercial-grade components. It has the same functionality and solid build quality as many professional espresso machines but in a stylish compact design suitable for the home.

It has relatively large dual boilers, which have enough power to make coffee after coffee with no loss of temperature or pressure. Both boilers are equipped with PIDs, giving you precise control over the temperature.

Rocket’s dual pre-infusion system allows you to choose between manual or automatic pre-infusion. This ensures delicious espresso every time but gives you more control over the brewing process.

Like professional espresso machines, it also features a rotary pump rather than the cheaper vibratory pump found in many home espresso machines. The rotary pump is quieter, gives you control over the brewing pressure, and best of all gives you the option to plumb the machine in, instead of filling the water tank manually.

ECM Synchronika with Flow Control — German engineering at its finest

The Synchronika is the top-of-the-line machine from the renowned German manufacturer ECM. Already a highly capable machine, it’s now available fitted with a flow control lever, putting full control of the flow during brewing into the hands of the barista.

Controlling the flow during brewing opens up new ways to unlock the flavor in your coffee, and in the Synchronika this cutting-edge technology is paired with the precision engineering that ECM is famous for, making for a robust machine that is easy to maintain. It also features enhancements such as highly responsive ‘joystick’ style controls for water and steam, instead of the traditional control knobs.

As with the Lelit Bianca, brewing with the Flow Control version of the Synchronika is a highly manual process, so this machine may not be right for everyone. But if you want to really explore the tastes and textures of espresso, then the Synchronika with Flow Control is a formidable machine.

Ascaso Baby T Plus — A new approach to temperature stability

Ascao’s Baby T Plus is a scaled-down version of their popular Barista T line of commercial espresso machines. These machines use a unique technology to ensure rock-solid temperature stability of the brewing water while using up to 50% less energy than a traditional espresso machine.

Instead of relying on a dedicated brew group, the Ascaso Baby T Plus is built around a high-capacity thermoblock in the group head. Incoming water is preheated via a heat exchanger in the steam boiler, and then the final brew temperature is stabilized in the group head. With this technology, the water is only heated exactly when it is needed.

This approach reduces energy use and also reduces the risk of limescale. The water for brewing is always fresh water drawn directly from the tank or plumbing. Add in a powerful 2.5L steam boiler with cool-touch steam wands, programmable preinfusion, and four volumetric dose settings, and you have a powerful commercial-grade machine in a compact footprint.

La Marzocco Linea Mini — The barista’s dream machine

La Marzocco fans might be surprised to see the Linea Mini this low on the list. Ever since it was launched in 2015, the Linea Mini has been one of the most desirable espresso machines on the market — a true beauty of the espresso world, and the first machine on the wishlist of every aspiring and former barista.

The Mini is, as the name suggests, a miniature version of La Marzocco’s classic commercial espresso machine. As such, it’s a deceptively simple machine, with few frills. There’s a manual paddle for espresso brewing, a steam wand, and water tap, two indicator lights, and bright white LEDs to light up the espresso as it brews — and that’s more or less it.

This outward simplicity belies the precision and attention to detail of La Marzocco’s engineering inside the machine, however. Like all their machines, it’s incredibly rugged and gives stable, consistent brewing under any conditions. No wonder it quickly became one of the favored machines of coffee roasteries traveling to trade shows. Sling this compact machine in the back of a van, you have enough power to make hundreds of coffees, knowing that whatever happens, the machine will not let you down.

However, this simplicity means that the Linea Mini is not the perfect machine for everyone. Baristas seeking precise control over the espresso may find the simple on-off control limiting; on the other hand, the Linea Mini is fully manual, so it’s also not the right choice if you want espresso brewing to be as easy as possible. Nonetheless, it’s an incredible machine, and, for a skilled home barista, a real pleasure to use.

Rocket R9 One — The cutting-edge of espresso

The Rocket R9 One is the latest and greatest machine from the famed Italian brand Rocket Espresso. The R9 One is a pressure profiling machine, unlike any other home machine on the market. It offers the barista the option of taking full manual control over the pressure during the shot or of programming a pressure profile for the machine to follow automatically.

With this machine, you can set up a default profile that will make amazing coffee, for those times when you don’t want to fiddle about with pressure profiling. You can then choose to take manual control over the pressure profile when you really want to spend time exploring the flavors of a new coffee. It really is the best of both worlds.

The R9 One is built on completely new technology from the ground up. For this machine, Rocket designed a new saturated group instead of the traditional E61 group they use on all of their other machines, for tighter control over the brewing temperature. They also built a discreet full-color touchscreen into the front panel, to offer the barista full control over all the machine’s functions.

All told, the R9 one is an incredible achievement, with capabilities that only the very best commercial machines can match. The features that it offers may be too complex for some users, however, which is what keeps this machine off the top spot in our list.

La Marzocco GS3 — A true commercial espresso machine for the home

The La Marzocco GS3 sparked a revolution when it was first released in 2008. This machine takes the cutting-edge technology of La Marzocco’s commercial machines and crams it into a compact, low-profile machine.

In contrast to the Linea Mini, all of the technology inside the GS3, from the design of the brew boiler and saturated group, to the volumetric controls, is identical to La Marzocco’s beloved commercial espresso machines. This makes getting the perfect espresso a little easier, compared with the Linea Mini; you don’t have to watch the shot and stop it manually, and the machine will deliver the perfect amount of espresso, every time.

The sheer power of this machine makes it very popular in commercial settings — anywhere where there isn’t room for a full two-group machine, such as high-end hotels, restaurants, boutiques, and mobile coffee units. Since it’s built for commercial use, it can also be expected to last for a long, long time with proper maintenance.

It goes without saying that this is also an incredible machine to have in the home — and there is even a pressure profiling version available, called the MP (manual paddle) for serious coffee geeks who want more control over their espresso. The biggest drawback is that being essentially a commercial machine, the size, weight, and above all the price of the GS3 may be too much for some homes. But if you have the space — and the budget — for this machine, then your home coffee setup could be the envy of many a professional barista.

Victoria Arduino Eagle One Prima — The future of home espresso machines

Every machine in this list is a machine worth considering. From the machines that we think offer great value, such as the Lelit Bianca, all the way up to the extremely high-quality engineering and complex technology of the La Marzocco GS3 or the Rocket R9 One — each of these machines can produce great espresso in the right hands.

However, for us right now there is one machine that is leading the way in home espresso machines. The Victoria Arduino Eagle One Prima is another machine that was designed from the ground up as a commercial espresso machine. The technology and build quality inside this machine are exactly the same as that found in Victoria Arduino’s latest commercial machines, with no compromises in any part of the build.

From the soft preinfusion system to the market-leading temperature stability, to the spacious working area and the beautifully designed, powerful but barista-friendly steam wands: everything about this machine is designed to make delicious espresso drinks while making the barista’s life as easy as possible.

These features alone would be enough to earn the Eagle One Prima a place in the list of best home espresso machines — but what sets this machine apart from all of the others is the key word: ‘sustainability’. Victoria Arduino completely redesigned the core of the espresso machine to build a commercial espresso machine that uses one-third less energy than its competitors.

The insulated boilers prevent heat loss, while an automated flush cycle cleverly reduces the amount of water the barista uses to clean the group between shots. The Eagle One Prima even includes a system to recover heat from the wastewater in the drip tray — a unique innovation that really demonstrates how far the engineers went in the pursuit of energy efficiency.

This efficiency makes it cheaper to operate, as well as better for the environment, and this is why we consider this machine the future of espresso machines. 30% of the carbon footprint of a cup of coffee is produced by heating up the water, so everything we can do to reduce the amount of energy used can make a huge difference.

And if all this wasn’t enough, the Eagle One Prima is also a beautiful, timeless design. The elegant shape and subtle use of colors, lighting, and materials make a machine that will fit perfectly with any interior. The design also incorporates thoughtful touches like the ‘ghost’ display for the shot timer, which disappears when not in use, or the perfectly placed slot in the drip tray to hold the steam wand when not in use. 

Ultimately, the Eagle One Prima leads the way in technology and sustainability — but most of all, the thoughtful design makes using this machine every day a simple pleasure. For all of these reasons, we have no hesitation in saying that, right now in 2022, the Eagle One Prima is the best home espresso machine on the market.

 1 PCF Pilotprojekt Deutschland, Case Study Tchibo Privat Kaffee Rarity Machare

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