The 5 Best Espresso Makers

Now that we have given you our recommendations for the best tools to make great drip-coffee at home, it is time to move on to a more specialized form of coffee — espresso. Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee that can serve as the base for drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, or mochas. (See also: Better Brewing: 12 Ways to Make Coffee at Home)

What Is an Espresso Maker?

Espresso is made by forcing a small amount of near-boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. An espresso maker boils water to just the right temperature, pressurizes the water, and "pulls" it through the coffee grounds. Unfortunately, making espresso requires some high-tech equipment, which generally costs much more than the other coffee equipment we've highlighted in past articles. If you want to make espresso at home, be prepared to make a hefty initial investment.

Best 5 Espresso Makers

De'Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

A well-reviewed espresso machine from Consumer Reports as well as from users, the De'Longhi EC155 is by far the most affordable espresso maker. Users agree that the machine is easy to use and prepares great espresso. The machine also contains a swivel jet frother allowing it to prepare lattes and cappuccinos. The outer casing is made of plastic, however, so durability may be an issue. Currently $83.99 on Amazon.

Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine

Most users agree that the Gaggia Classic produces espresso that is on par with machines that cost much more. The housing is made of stainless-steel, which owners applaud as being remarkably durable — many claimed their Classic has lasted years. It's also great for those who are looking to get into making their own espresso but occasionally prefer the consistency of pod espresso. To get a sense of the general cost of purchasing an espresso machine, this is the second cheapest machine in our list. Currently $393.87 on Amazon.

De'Longhi EN680.M Nespresso Lattissima Single-Serve Espresso Maker

The De'Longhi EN680 is another espresso machine well-reviewed at Consumer Reports. This machine utilizes a patented capsule system — simply load coffee capsules into the machine and press a button to release espresso. Its special hot milk system also easily converts your espresso into a latte or cappuccino. Users agree that the coffee it produces tastes great and that the machine is very easy to use. Currently $499.99 on Amazon.

Breville BES860XL Barista Express Espresso Machine

One of the more advanced machines, the Breville BES860XL contains a number of features for precise espresso prep. However, its dual-wall, pressurized filter is also friendly for beginning baristas. This Breville machine also contains its own coffee grinder so that you can freshly grind your coffee beans immediately before making your espresso. Many users agree that the Breville makes espresso comparable to some of the best coffee shops. Currently $579.99 on Amazon.

De'Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee

Another of the more advanced espresso machines, the De'Longhi ESAM3300 also features its own conical burr grinder. Users consistently maintain that not only does it produce great espresso, but that the machine is also easy to use, durable, and reasonably priced for the amount of features that is included. Its double boiler system allows one to quickly convert your espresso to a cappuccino with minimal wait time. Currently $489.99 on Amazon.

And those are our recommendations for the best espresso makers! As always, be sure to check out the Wise Bread Buying Calendar to learn when and how to buy just about anything.

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Or get one of these: for less than $30.