The Best Espresso Maker For Home Use

BY BORIS POVOLOTSKY - 15 Oct 2022

What is the best espresso maker for home use?

This is a loaded question as there isn’t one best espresso maker for home. There are many espresso makers: the Moka pot; Aeropress; electric espresso machines; and manual espresso machines. The costs vary greatly and would most likely be the determining factor in your final decision. The traditional method of brewing espresso at home is either with an espresso machine or a moka pot.

Moka Pot

The moka pot is an affordable coffee maker that essentially uses pressurized steam from boiling water through ground coffee resulting in a beautifully extracted espresso. The moka pot was invented by Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 and it’s an appliance that can be found in virtually every Italian house even to this day.

Being an affordable espresso maker, I think any true coffee lover should purchase one. You would appreciate the Moka pot even if you end up purchasing a GS3 one day. The moka pot is known for producing strong and bold coffee. The moka also has a learning curve to consistently produce good coffee, and also requires quality ground coffee, preferably freshly ground, meaning you should own a grinder and grind your beans before brewing coffee. This adds significantly to your total costs, but it would also significantly improve your home coffee experience.

The Bialetti Moka Pot is a rather cheap product compared to an electricity-based espresso machine, be it automatic, semi-automatic, pods, etc.

You can get a 6-cup Bialetti moka pot for about 49$

Espresso Machine

Unlike the moka pot, this territory is much more complicated and filled with endless options and possibilities. There are automatic machines that use ground coffee, there are pods machines like Nespresso, semi-automatic machines, and all manual machines. If you’re on a budget, we have a list of the best espresso machine under 500$. If you’re looking for a higher investment, you probably would want to consider an espresso machine along with a grinder and as we said, you should know that a good grinder could outcost your espresso machine, but it’ll also outlive it as well.

Choosing an espresso machine can be very exciting, just imagine yourself making the perfect cappuccino for your partner and guests. The excitement can turn into agony quickly, too. The amount of possibilities is infinite, and the amount of information out there is overwhelming, to say the least. You could be devouring wells of information and only getting farther away from making a decision. While it is educational and beneficial, it is frustrating and time-consuming nonetheless. In this article, I have provided a thoroughly thought-out list of product recommendations for each type of coffee hobbyist/lover and the associated budget. So for example, if you’re a coffee hobbyist who is fascinated by the process and would like to be in control of the brewing and preparation process and don’t mind having an espresso machine that will require subtle hands-on maintenance, and has a budget of around 1,200$, I recommend the Lelit Mara X.

On the other hand, if your one and only interest is to prepare a delicious but not perfect or great cup of coffee every time you press a button, you should get an automatic espresso machine. Which one exactly? Depends on your budget. Here are some recommendations for those types of machines.

Lastly, there are manual espresso machines, the lever machines. There are electric lever espresso machines with boilers and everything, and there are manual lever machines that feature no boiler and require no electricity. They usually use an external kettle for boiling water and have a manual operation for the espresso extraction. The greatest benefits of such a machine are: that it’s significantly cheaper than a high-end espresso machine; it can produce top-notch espresso quality. Such machines are the Flair and the Cafelat Robot.

Aeropress

This is another non-electrical, manual espresso maker that you should at least be aware of. Aeropress is quickly becoming a favorite tool for coffee enthusiasts around the world. It’s small, easy to use, and brews tasty coffee. The brains behind this invention is a creative, entrepreneurial mechanical engineer from Stanford University named Alan Adler. Alan Adler’s motivation for inventing the AeroProess was his frustration with traditional coffee makers that yield 6-8 cups per brew. He was set on a journey to create a single-cup coffee brewer.

The AeroPress has gained a significant following around the world and there is even an organized world championship of enthusiastic baristas that compete for the best cup of AeroCoffee. Isn’t that amazing?

The Aeropress is a rather inexpensive coffee maker and its required accessories are affordable.

In Amazon, the AeroPress costs 39.95$ and is available HERE (affiliate link, thanks!).

The Aeropress is a very comfortable tool to take outdoors or anywhere, really, especially compared to tools like Flair. However, many coffee hobbyists would argue that it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, and rightfully so.

Flair 58

In my opinion, the best way to make great espresso at home without investing thousands of dollars is the Flair manual machine. There’s a lineup of various models that we plan to discuss here in Dripping Coffee, but meanwhile, you can check for yourself. This machine is a fairly portable espresso machine that doesn’t plug into your outlet, and it is dependent upon a hot water source, i.e. a kettle, and an espresso grinder, obviously. You should avoid pre-ground coffee with this machine, otherwise, there is no sense whatsoever in getting a Flair in the first place. Why?

We strongly believe this machine is better suited for those who appreciate and seek the best flavors out of an espresso cup. Using pre-ground coffee, it’s simply isn’t an option. Therefore, the a need for a dedicated grinder. I’d argue you’re better off investing more in an espresso grinder than you would in your Flair model. Purchasing a low-quality grinder will significantly limit and impair your coffee experience as you grow and learn to operate the manual espresso machine.

Although the Flair is a far better experience and produces better coffee than the AeroPress and the Moka pot, it also costs a chunk more than them. Something to keep in mind. However, if you compare the Flair to traditional pump-based machines, the Flair is a money-saver. There isn’t a shortage of Flair espresso machine footage and reviews online, and they’re all largely positive. There are some quirks and little annoying things in the maintenance department, for example, but nothing to reject such a machine altogether.

Where to get one? You can get one from Amazon, or from their website directly, or look for a local retailer selling those.

Traditional espresso machine

Traditional in the sense it’s a pump-based machine that creates 9-15 bars of pressure using a pump. The pump draws hot water from the boiler and forces it through finely-ground coffee beans. We cannot put one single machine in this category, because there isn’t one best espresso machine, they vary greatly in price, quality, and many other factors and variables. It would be wise to categorize them by price, brand, or type (single boiler, heat exchangers, dual boilers, levers).

Beware: purchasing any espresso maker is a dangerous decision that involves severe side effects you should be aware of, so proceed with caution. Upgraditis Syndrome is a well-known condition that has rendered many coffee hobbyists around the world heavily caffeinated and largely broke. On a serious note, some folks get overly excited and fascinated by the topic of making coffee at home and after reading, lots of information online, decide to invest in an expensive espresso machine only to realize after months of use that this isn’t for them. One hopes to be making the best coffee with the least effort by purchasing a La Marzocco La Minea, only to find out he’s spending hours and pounds of coffee go to waste before getting even a mediocre shot and an OK cappuccino to satisfy your partner and justify the expense. Others simply neglect the fact that espresso machines require some maintenance and some willingness to fix things alone and research technical stuff that is a novelty and isn’t necessarily as fascinating as coffee is. For example, feeding your machine with a good water solution is a crucial step in maintaining a healthy coffee machine in the long term, but requires some thought and more expenses as well. I hope I’ll do my best to bring the most of the information you need to make the right choice for yourself and your household.


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This Is The Dripping Coffee Experience, All About Making Great Coffee At Home

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