I’ll never forget my first espresso machine.
It was awesome. Mind you, it wasn’t a small espresso machine. It was huge, but this was back in the 1990’s so the technology hadn’t advanced like it has now. Moreover, that first one was quite the automated unit.
After extensive research we put together this comprehensive guide to small espresso machine options organized by different categories.
Table of Contents
- A. Mini Espresso Machines
- B. Compact Espresso and Cappuccino Makers
- C. Espresso Machines with Carafe
- D. Stovetop Espresso Machines
- E. Programmable Espresso/Coffee Maker Machines
- E. CONCLUSION
Whenever you need that sudden boost of energy, a reliable espresso machine to keep you going. For coffee enthusiasts like me, coffee is great but espresso is a sweet bonus. Espresso is like the dark double-choco of the chocolates, the one with sprinkles and cherries among the ice creams, you get it.
Espresso machines are common in the office to give employees energy and to keep them awake during late night shifts. Wouldn’t it be nice to have your own espresso machine and brew your own espresso whenever you want?
Having an espresso machine is a delight and probably, you already have one! If you have been thinking of getting one, don’t delay it any longer. Here, let us help you out by giving you a list of the best espresso machines as reported by most consumer reviews.
A. Mini Espresso Machines
With small espresso cups, small espresso machines are logical and practical. It is also easy to use. Why need a large, bulky and space-occupying espresso machine when you can have all the same features in a smaller and more portable one? Take a look at this video:
When it comes to reliable mini espresso machines with the best reputation in customer satisfaction, here’s a list of the best brands that you should eye on:
1. NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Esperta 2 Coffee, Espresso and Cappuccino Pod Machine
The portability of this mini espresso machine is very unique, cute and innovative! It’s like a small, convenient and portable coffee vending machine in one! It can brew various type of coffee and espresso. The design is also modern and pretty to look at. It brews hot and cold coffee/espresso too! Nescafe mini espresso and coffee machine is a delight, not only due to the machine but due to the taste of the coffee pods as well. Try and taste the difference!
- Fashionable modern design.
- Can brew various hot and cold coffee/espresso mixtures.
- Easy to operate pod-style brewing.
- Compact and portable, you can take it to work.
- Machine is easy to clean.
- Pods are costly.
- This can be prone to technical difficulty.
- Needs replacement once busted. (irreparable)
- Can be prone to leaking in the long run.
2. MiniPresso GR Espresso Maker
If there’s such a word like mini-est, it is the word for this mini espresso machine by WACACO. It is so compact that you can carry it with you anytime, anywhere. Its size is just like the average tumbler size! This mini espresso is perfect for camping and mountaineering so you get you’re much needed boost when you need it!
- Very small and featherlight espresso machine.
- Easy to use and operate manually in just three steps!
- Economical and affordable. It allows you to grind and brew your own beans.
- Does not require pods and cartridges.
- Does not use electric power. It’s completely manually operated.
- The quality of espresso is not that great.
- The water is already lukewarm when your done brewing.
- With the small size, the amount of espresso you get is not even a shot, just a sip.
- Grinding beans take a lot of time and effort.
3. WACACO Minipresso NS Coffee Maker
At first glance, this looks exactly like the WACACO mini espresso machine listed above. It’s lightweight and portable. You can also carry it anywhere–even when mountaineering. The mechanism is just even better. Instead of grinding coffee beans, the operation is made easier since all you have to do is incorporate matching nespresso brand capsules. It makes an awesome travel espresso machine!
- Lightweight and portable.
- Makes espresso fast, without manually grinding cofee beans.
- Allows you to have a quick espresso anytime anywhere.
- Operation is quick and easy.
- Easy to clean and store.
- Costs you some pods/capsules to make espresso.
- Doesn’t hold enough amount of water for a satisfying espresso experience.
- Can be dangerous to use because hot water may leak to your hands when using it.
4. Nespresso Essenza Mini espresso Machine by De’Longhi
This is another portable automatic capsule/pod mini espresso maker. It conveniently creates espresso and lungo. It is cute, intuitive and easy to use. The motor power is of good quality. It easily heats up and has a high pressure that produces espresso and lungos to its optimum temperature.
- Energy-saving with its eco-mode function and automatic energy-saving function when not in use.
- It comes with a complimentary capsule tasting set that allows you to taste nespresso capsule flavors.
- It makes crema and frothy espresso in a short amount of time.
- It has all the features you’ll ever want for a great espresso machine–only that it’s tinier and more affordable.
- The capsule labels that come with it can be a little bit confusing for some.
- Costs you some pods/capsules.
B. Compact Espresso and Cappuccino Makers
Some people can’t settle for the smaller versions. These are the type of people that craves for perfection. The right aroma and taste of coffee. For them, espresso should be made using the full-size version of the espresso machine. Here’s a list of the full-size espresso and cappuccino machine that you would definitely love to keep at home–or even in your cafe shop!
1. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
Either you have a cafe shop, or just a certified barista at heart, you would love this espresso maker from Mr.Coffee. The design is impressive and it is super easy to use! It has a single touch control panel which increases accuracy in operation. Prepare to make espresso in just three single steps–1) Choose a filter: single shot/double shot. 2) Select your coffee/espresso grounds. 3) Choose your brew.
- Easy to use and operate.
- Automatically froths milk for cappuccino and latte selection.
- The transparent water tank is removable, making it easy to clean.
- Makes espresso fast and easy.
- Easy to find replacement parts and great customer service.
- Needs meticulous maintenance for it to last over a year or two.
- Warming or curdling milk issues.
- Water reservoir can be fragile, so should be handled with care.
2. 7 Pc All-In-One Espresso/Cappuccino Machine Bundle Set
Bring home the commercial taste of coffee from your favorite coffee shops through this heavy duty espresso maker. It easily and quickly makes espresso. This is great for coffees and espresso-loving homes as well. You never have to leave the house to enjoy your favorite espresso blend any longer.
- Starting machine is quick–45 seconds is all it takes!
- It has a coffee bean grinder plugin so you can roast/brew your natural coffee beans and enjoy the espresso taste and aroma even without the availability of capsules or pods.
- The removable water tank is transparent so you can easily check water levels and cleanliness of water.
- It regulates heat and pressure automatically as one of its safety features.
- Removable drip tray makes it easy to clean.
- Filters are prone to rust in the long run.
- Questionable hardware for the steam function.
- Some consumers believe that the shots taste more like coffee than espresso. (Not strong enough for the espresso level).
- Not so durable for long-term espresso making.
3. De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
Of all the regular-sized espresso makers, this one is the slimmest and sleekest. The appearance is simple yet modern, and not very bulky at all. The operation is also easy because it has two thermostat–allowing you to control the water temperature and steam pressure separately and more more accurately. The dual function filter holder also allows you to brew coffee either by using ground coffee or capsule/pods.
- Swivel jet frother makes frothy crema for you to enjoy p and latte blends.
- Accurate control of the two thermostats give you espresso at their optimum serving temperature.
- Built to last long.
- Affordable price.
- Easy to use and operate with brews like a pro!
- It allows you to brew cup after cup without waiting since it retains optimum temperature.
- Noisy and vibrates so much.
- Some consumers reported that it heats up very small amount of water so its inconvenient having to fill and refill each time.
- Some reported that newer models made in China has lower quality and durability.
C. Espresso Machines with Carafe
Carafe type espresso machines are very much recommended for families who love to enjoy espresso and coffees together. Each brew, you get a large amount of espresso or coffee so you can serve it for the entire family!
1. Cuisinart DCC-1150BK 10-Cup Classic Thermal Programmable Coffeemaker
This espresso maker is not bulky at all, and it perfectly brews espresso in a carafe–ready to serve anytime! It doesn’t occupy much space in your counter. It is quite safe as well because the walls and surface are highly insulated so you won’t have to worry about accidentally touching it anytime.
- It comes with water filter that gets rid of chlorine, rust and other dirt particles in the water so you get safe water for your coffee and you get pure taste of the coffee without any addition of unwanted particles.
- Nothing will be wasted since it has 1-4 cup settings so you can serve for yourself or the entire family according to your needs.
- Programmable brewing settings and it can remember the last brewing setting so you can brew more cups conveniently.
- Makes delicious coffee and espresso fast!
- Brewing coffee is messy because water is splattered everywhere.
- It can’t retain hot temperature long.
- Some consumers reported some water from the machine tastes like plastic.
2. Ninja Coffee Bar Brewer with Glass Carafe
This espresso maker has two types of carafe that goes with it. One taller and one smaller. You can choose between the two depending on the number of servings that you want to make. Unlike typical espresso makers, this makes brewing more espressos easier and faster. The design and operation of this espresso maker is also modern and premium. Selection of brew type is also easy with the soft touch buttons.
- This espresso maker allows you to select your serving size.
- It has pre-set buttons for easy selection of espresso brewing.
- Unlike other espresso makers, this one comes with a heating plate so the optimum espresso and coffee temperature is retained.
- Plenty of brew selection to choose from, iced or cold.
- This machine creates commercial-tasting espressos and coffees.
- In the long run, the “clean” button won’t turn off.
- More expensive than other brands.
- Some durability and quality issues.
- Has the tendency to leak.
3. Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Switch Coffee Maker
This small appliance is more familiar in the common modern households. It looks like your good old coffee maker that we all saw in our households or offices. Yes, this model can also brew espressos and you won’t be having a hard time operating it because it is easy and almost intuitive.
- It has an auto-pause grab a cup mechanism so you can stop or pause the brewing process so you can already take a sip on your cup.
- Filter basket is removable and easy to clean.
- It has windows which allow you to view water levels so you won’t accidentally overflow it.
- Warming plate keeps your coffee or espresso warm.
- Not bulky, so it doesn’t occupy much counter space.
- Quality issues.
- Some consumer claims that the temperature that goes out of the machine is not hot enough.
D. Stovetop Espresso Machines
Stovetop espresso machines, otherwise known as Moka Pots, are pots (electric or regular pots) that make espressos by making steam from boiling water to create steam pressure. They are small pots/pitchers that doesn’t take much space in the counter. You can simply put them in one of your kitchen cabinets hen not in use. This is ideal for people who love making espressos the traditional way and those with small kitchen spaces.
1. The Original Bialetti Moka Express Made in Italy 3-Cup Stovetop Espresso Maker with Patented Valve
This looks like a traditional Moka pot, only it looks more premium and modern with its polished aluminum finish. This product from Bialetti Italy doesn’t just promise quality. It is also affordable. The products has many color and size variations as well to suit your needs.
- Small and portable.
- High quality polished aluminum finish with a beautiful hexagonal design.
- Simple and easy to use.
- Affordable espresso maker without the use of electricity.
- Takes some time to primary the brewing process to your desire perfection.
- Dishwashers can dull the polished aluminum finish.
- Some consumers claim that it doesn’t actually brew espresso, but somewhere between espresso and coffee, thus the term mokka for moka pots.
2. Delonghi EMK6 Alicia Electric Moka Espresso Coffee Maker
This is the more modern version of Moka pots. It is automatic but still lightweight and portable. You don’t need a stove for brewing using this moka pot but rather, it uses electricity. The design is more modern, yet still has the classic touch on it.
- It has the automatic shut off and keep warm function. Sounds familiar? Pretty much how a rice cooker operates. So, you wouldn’t have to stand there near the machine for some minutes in order to make espresso.
- Easy to serve with its cordless operation and detachable base.
- The coffee container is also transparent so you can easily watch over the brewing process.
- Brews quickly and conveniently.
- Easy to use and operate.
- Espresso comes out fine and you can also use it to make crema as well.
- Some consumer may not be familiar with the moka type brewing operation.
- Can’t make enough amount of espresso like the manual type and other espresso making machines with carafe.
3. Stove Top Aluminum Espresso Maker
If you are a little tight on budget, this moka pot/stovetop espresso machine would be great for you. Like the other pots mentioned in this section, it doesn’t need much space in your counter and you can store it inside your kitchen cabinets when not in use. It has a solid aluminum finish.
- One of the most affordable small espresso making machines in the list.
- You can take it with you when you travel.
- It is easy to use and operate once you get the hang of it.
- You can make the most out of your grinds since this can make a second cup out of it.
- The aluminum finish is not polished and doesn’t look premium.
- Some consumers find it too small for all their espresso serving needs.
E. Programmable Espresso/Coffee Maker Machines
One thing that is not so convenient in making espressos in the past is that you have to stay by the espresso machine for few minutes waiting for it to be done. You have to watch over the brewing process–or else, the outcome or the taste of the espresso will offer. Not anymore! Thanks to technology and innovation, we now can just push few buttons and relax while waiting for our espresso to be brewed because of programmable espresso/coffee makers! Here are some of them:
1. Cuisinart CHW-14 Coffee Plus 10-Cup Thermal Programmable Coffeemaker and Hot Water System
This espresso/coffee maker is ideal for cafes and in your households too! It can make a lot of serving, because not only it is automatic and programmable, it also has a carafe, so you can make as much as you want and keep it warm for the rest of the family and friends to enjoy! You’ll love its various functions–especially the hot-water-on-demand feature where it gives you hot water to use for tea, chocolate, and many more!
- Premium modern design.
- It has the brew pause feature which allows you to get a cup of espresso without waiting for the entire carafe to brew.
- Has the hot water dispenser function which is perfect for serving tea,hot milk, hot choco, oatmeal and many more!
- Easy and convenient to use operation!
- LCD displays water level and water ready.
- You can adjust the carafe’s KEEP WARM temperature to match your taste and preference.
- Quiet brewing.
- Like other programmable and advanced appliances, they are prone to some technical issues in the long run.
- Coffee/Espresso pot has the tendency to leak.
- Some consumers reported plastic taste in the first few uses.
- Made of plastic.
2. Cuisinart DCC-3200 14-Cup Glass Carafe with Stainless Steel Handle Programmable Coffeemaker
This is one of the modern automatic and programmable espresso machines that is beautifully and thoughtfully crafted. The control panel has 5 big buttons and other features like tone and carafe temperature are around the LED display–so operation is intuitive and it’s easy to familiarize yourself on all the pre-set programs. It looks so modern and premium but not overwhelming at all!
- State of the art technology and design that is not overwhelming for first-time users.
- Allows you to select strength of your coffee/espresso.
- It is fully automatic and programmability is up to 24 hrs–perfect for home and commercial use!
- Has self-cleaning feature which makes it a low maintenance espresso machine.
- Keep warm temperature is adjustable.
- Makes flavorful espresso and coffee.
- Like other automatic machines, this can be prone to some technical problems.
- Few consumers reported quality issues.
When it comes to making espresso, espresso lovers has various preference in the process of doing it. Some would prefer manual and traditional style and others would prefer convenience. This is exactly the reason why manufacturers are still keeping traditional espresso machines and just updating it when there are tons of newer and more innovative appliances. How about you? How would you like to make your espresso?