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For those tired of drinking the same old drip coffee every day, a combination espresso-and-cappuccino machine can bring variety to your morning routine (and cut back on pricey trips to the coffee shop). Some hesitate to look into these machines, picturing a morass of thousand-dollar price tags, but there are actually many affordable options out there that cost no more than a typical coffee maker, including ones on this list.
Keep three categories in mind: semi-automatic, fully automatic, and super-automatic. These labels denote how hands-on the brewing process will be and, as a result, indicate price. If you’re looking for a budget option, start with semi-automatic machines. If you want one-touch brewing capabilities, the more expensive path of fully automatic and super-automatic might be the way to go.
Here are the best espresso-and-cappuccino machines for the ultimate coffee lover.
Customers and critics alike consider Breville’s Barista Express one of the finest espresso machines on the market. Users consistently praise its customizable settings, beautiful design, and rich espresso. Although the price appears quite high, it's fairly reasonable when compared to other products, especially considering the overall quality of this piece.
"For the quality of espresso produced with this machine, it’s an excellent option for those who have a keen interest in espresso but are unwilling to spend thousands of dollars," our reviewer wrote.
Of course, the high-end cost comes with high-end features: a built-in burr grinder, digital temperature control, and a sensor for when it’s time to clean the machine. You can purchase the product in three bold colors—stainless steel, cranberry red, and black sesame—and easily find it in-store and online at your preferred retailer.
Semi-automatic is the most hands-on category of espresso/cappuccino makers, requiring users to load the coffee grounds themselves and, most importantly, control how long the espresso shot is pulled. You'll likely want a dependable coffee grinder as well. This process is more laborious, yes, but semi-automatic machines are the most popular variety for household use.
And the most popular product within this category is Mr. Coffee’s Café Barista. It’s affordable, easy to use, and available at multiple retailers (not to mention the downright tasty coffee it makes). The item is designed with a simple and clear control panel, an automatic milk frother, and a 15-bar pump system. Ideally, espresso is brewed around 8 or 9 bars, meaning the Café Barista can make coffeehouse-worthy drinks, right in your kitchen.
The De'Longhi Dedica can brew espresso by using either ground coffee or E.S.E. pods (Easy Serving Espresso), and its manual milk frother is perfect for whipping up lattes and cappuccinos. The item is slightly on the expensive side and some customers experienced leakage issues around the base, but overall this is a dependable machine that offers more robust flavor than many of its competitors. Once the portafilter is packed and in place, all you have to do is select a single or double espresso and the Dedica dispenses the perfect amount of coffee for you.
An added perk is that the item is extremely slim, measuring just six inches wide, so it won't overwhelm your countertop like many other combination espresso and cappuccino machines. It's available in three colors—black, red, and stainless steel.
This 7-piece espresso set from EspressoWorks brings the café to your kitchen. Along with brewing rich, flavorful espresso, the detachable milk frother lets you craft lattes and cappuccinos from the comfort of home. The set also includes an electric coffee bean grinder, a stainless steel milk frothing cup, two porcelain coffee mugs, a filter with single and double shot baskets, and a measuring spoon.
All of this comes at an affordable price and is backed by hundreds of glowing reviews. Customers say the machine is easy to use, easy to clean, and especially great for beginners. And thanks to the Thermoblock heating system, the espresso is ready fast, brewing in under a minute. While a few users noted durability issues, saying the machine wore down after several months, many praised EspressoWorks’ 24/7 customer service and added that their replacement parts were sent promptly if any issues arose.
Every-morning trips to the coffee shop for a latte or cappuccino can get pricey. That’s why household espresso machines make great investments, especially when the machine is as affordable as the Mr. Coffee Pump Espresso Maker.
Typically priced at $100 or less, the item is designed with a 15-bar pump system, a removable 40-ounce water tank, and a milk frother for those fancier espresso-based drinks. The Pump Espresso Maker also has dual shot brewing capabilities, allowing you to make two espresso shots at once—one for you, one for a friend. Many customers add that its ease of use and value for money make it an excellent choice for beginners.
There are some drawbacks to this budget option, however. You’ll have to grind the beans and pack the filter by hand, and the coffee might not be as robust as that of more expensive machines.
No more of the dreaded on-the-go caffeine drought. Staresso’s Portable Espresso Maker is small enough and durable enough to pack inside suitcases, hiking bags, purses, and more. What really sets the product apart is that, in addition to brewing delicious espresso whenever and wherever, it allows you to froth milk for specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, making it one of the only true all-in-one portable espresso makers.
The item is pumped manually, providing between 15 to 20 bars of pressure, and is even compatible with Nespresso capsules. This is an added bonus for when you don’t have access to a coffee grinder. You can find the Staresso Portable in five different colors.
Every drink from this Smeg Espresso Machine will transport you to 1950’s Italy. The style is iconic: bold letters, glossy finish, an eye-catching shape. And you can purchase the item in one of seven gorgeous colors, ranging from pink and pastel green to timeless options like black or cream.
Don’t let the vintage aesthetic fool you, though. This machine comes with modern amenities, like functions to adjust water temperature and espresso strength, as well as a removable drip tray and water tank for easy cleaning. The Smeg Espresso Machine uses a standard 15-bar pump system to produce rich, creamy espresso, and the adjustable frother allows for those all-necessary specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. Simply grab your favorite coffee mug and enjoy.
Best Fully Automatic: Nespresso by De'Longhi EN560B Lattissima Touch Original Espresso Machine with Milk Frother
Fully automatic espresso machines are very similar to semi-automatic ones. The main difference is that fully automatic machines turn off on their own after a set amount of water is poured through the coffee grounds. This is a nice perk for users who want to do other things in the kitchen while their espresso brews.
On top of that, the Nespresso Lattissima Touch offers six different beverage options—espresso, lungo, latte, latte macchiato, cappuccino, and warm milk froth—all of which can be brewed with the touch of a button. If any of these drinks sound unfamiliar, check out our coffee drink glossary. The machine is compatible with coffee pods, so you can avoid manually grinding beans and packing a portafilter, and it uses a powerful 19-bar pump system to brew tasty espresso that customers rave over.
Super-automatic is the highest grade of espresso machine, a designation that means the product does every single step of the coffee-making process—other than drinking it, of course. The Cuisinart Super-Automatic Espresso Machine grinds coffee beans, brews them, and even adds steamed milk at the touch of a button. It’s a coffee lover’s dream. Touch-screen controls let users adjust drink size, water temperature, milk volume, and more. You can also store preset drink options to make the process even quicker. Note, like most super-automatic machines, however, the product is pricey.
Pod usage: Machines that use pods (or capsules) can be very convenient, but they limit you to the coffees that are available in those formats. Machines that use ground coffee let you customize the beans, the grind, and the amount of coffee, but they’re a little less convenient (and messier) to use.
Size: No matter how big your kitchen is, counter space is always a consideration when purchasing a new appliance. If you have the room, get a large machine that can sit out on your counter at all times. Coffee drinkers with less kitchen space should opt for a compact machine, which is easier to store in a cabinet or your pantry.
Milk frothing: Some machines have milk tanks — which makes heating and frothing the milk easier — but someone still has to empty and clean the tank after each use. If you’re often serving coffee to a crowd, the convenience of the milk tank might outweigh the task of cleaning. If you’re usually making coffee for one or two, a tank might not be worth it.