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5 Features to Look For in an Electric Espresso Maker and Our Top 3 Picks in 2017

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For a lot of coffee fans, having a professional barista on-call in your kitchen is the definition of a dream come true. However, for most people, that dream is somewhat unrealistic. The next best thing to having a live-in barista is having an electric espresso maker right in your own kitchen.

These convenient espresso machines bring home the taste of your favorite coffee shop. With one of these on your kitchen counter, you won’t have to brave the elements or the coffee shop lineups anymore! Of course, like with many home appliances, choosing the right electric espresso maker can be a daunting task. There is a wide range of options at all different price levels. How do you make the right choice for your taste buds and your budget?

We have you covered! First, we will take a look at some of the essential features to look for in an electric espresso machine and then we will give some of our top picks to help you narrow down your shopping list.

Top Features

  1. One very handy feature, especially if you are just starting your home espresso journey, is a built-in grinder. When making a good espresso you want a quality grinder that produces the right type of grounds for making espresso. If you have a grinder you have used for making drip coffee then you may be surprised to know that the grinder you own might not do the trick when making espresso. Some units with built-in grinders are a little more expensive but you need to look at these units as two purchases in one. Yes, there are less expensive electric espresso makers with no attached grinder but, after you factor in the cost of a proper burr grinder, you may find that the cost difference is negligible. Of course, if you already own a burr grinder then you may not need to opt for a unit with an attached grinder. Plus, most importantly, freshly ground beans taste much better than pre-ground beans.
  2. A steam wand is one of those features that separates the basic espresso coffee makers from the true barista replacements. With an attached steam wand you can froth your milk to your liking which makes for the perfect beverage. Some electric espresso makers will dispense frothed milk which is better than nothing but, if possible, opt for a model with a wand for frothing your own milk to ensure the best at home experience.
  3. Some ease-of-use features aren’t immediately obvious but can make a huge difference in your enjoyment of your electric espresso maker. Things like cleaning reminders and easy-to-fill water reservoirs are huge factors to consider that may go forgotten when shopping for an electric espresso maker. Look for removable water tanks that you can easily fill without much effort. Cleaning indicators are especially handy if you are the forgetful type.
  4. Included accessories are another consideration that could save you some expense in the long run. There are some less expensive models that may appeal to your wallet initially but you will find that the sticker price is kept low because of the bare-bones offering. If you have a lot of accessories already then these models may be right for you. However, if you are just starting to brew your own espresso at home then you may want to consider the cost of accessories and if it is better to buy them separately or find an electric espresso maker that includes everything you need in one convenient package.
  5. If you like to host or you simply want to enjoy a fresh espresso with your significant other then you may want to consider units that can make multiple cups at once. Many espresso coffee makers are able to make a single cup very quickly and a short wait may not matter to you, however, it is definitely handy to be able to make two cups at once. Less time brewing your espresso and more time enjoying your company.

Our Top Picks

Breville: The Barista Express Coffee Machine

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This coffee machine checks off a lot of the boxes above and then some. Yes, the price is higher than a lot of other home electric espresso makers but the upfront cost is worth it. The unit includes an attached burr grinder, removable tank, cleaning reminders, steam wands, and more. Plus, there are essential accessories included in the package. If you are starting from scratch then this unit is a great choice. You will be a pro home barista in no time and, other than the coffee beans, this Breville electric espresso maker includes pretty much everything you need to get the best espresso at home.

Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System

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If the price tag on the above unit was a little shocking then perhaps this electric espresso maker from Mr. Coffee is more your style. You lose some features when you opt for this less expensive model but you still check off some of the essential boxes you should be looking for when shopping. One of the best features is the fact that this unit can make two cups at once. Less waiting, more enjoying your fresh espresso. Obviously, with a lower price tag, features like an attached grinder and included accessories are not present. You will have to make those purchases separate which will add some cost to the initial sticker price on the electric espresso maker. However, if you can find some good deals on the essentials then this is a very nice budget-friendly option.

De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso And Cappuccino Maker

de longhi ec155 15 bar pump espresso cappuccino maker image

Much like the Mr. Coffee model above, this De’Longhi electric espresso maker comes with a very nice upfront price tag and some essential features. Brew two cups at once from fresh grounds or convenient pods. Plus, of course, you have the attached frothing wand to ensure your frothed milk is to your specific standards. Again, accessories like grinders are not included and should be considered when looking at the cost unless you own a burr grinder already. This is a budget-friendly model that should still be able to meet all of your needs.