I love my coffee and there’s nothing like the perfect cup to start the day, but depressingly it’s getting more and more expensive for a simple soy latte. Instead of putting your hard earned into over-hyped corporate chains, why not learn to brew the stuff yourself?
Your taste buds (and your wallet) will thank you. Novices looking to break into the brewing biz might feel intimidated by the equipment options, but try one of these top-notch espresso machines and you won’t be disappointed. As Madonna said, “Espress yourself.” Here are our 10 cool coffee machines.
Best Coffee Machine #1 – Ascaso Factory Dream
Ascaso Factory has specialized in the manufacture of espresso coffee machine components since 1962. More than 50 years of experience have gone into the creation of the Dream model, which the company calls “one of the most emblematic coffee machines of the Ascaso factory.” Designed by Marc Aranyó, the Dream machine combines a retro aesthetic with state-of-the-art tech. In addition to pumping out espresso, this bad boy can whip up cappuccino and other latte varieties while adding a serious dose of style (thanks to 12 colour options, with paints used in Formula 1) to your countertop.
Best Coffee Machine #2 – JURA ENA Micro 9 One Touch
JURA proudly claims that the ENA Micro 9 One Touch is the world’s smallest One-Touch automatic cappuccino machine. The newly developed brewing unit is ideal for preparing a single cup of top-quality espresso in the easiest fashion possible (thanks in part to its smaller design and straightforward, height-adjustable dual spout). And despite the ease of operation, it’s incredibly versatile. In addition to espresso, this machine can serve up a latte macchiato, cappuccino, café crème and, of course, plain ol’ hot water. Plus Rodger Federer himself has endorsed it!
Best Coffee Machine #3 – Scultura Pump Espresso
“Small but mighty” comes to mind when looking at the Scultura Pump Espresso. It may not look particularly imposing, but the high-gloss chrome details are as sexy as coffee is ever gonna get and it isn’t lacking in features. Its self-priming system means the machine is always ready for use. The Cappuccino System mixes steam, air and milk, producing a rich, creamy froth for the top of your favourite Italian beverage. And it can be used with either ground coffee (1 or 2 cups) or the “Easy Serving Espresso” pods, because every man appreciates having options.
Best Coffee Machine #4 – Rocket Espresso Giotto PID V3
The Rocket Espresso Giotto PID V3 is a visually stunning machine with the build quality and impressive capacity to back up its good looks. The boiler construction is built with a lead free brass end plate to increase thermal retention, then nickel plated for protection against copper oxidation. Cool touch steam and hot water wands are incorporated into the design. The boiler capacity of 1.8 litres has been matched to the re-configured thermosyphon system to optimize the espresso-making experience. Altogether, it makes for a device that rivals the output of more costly professional espresso machines.
Best Coffee Machine #5 – Gaggia Accademia
Gaggia has been supplying both homes and professional eateries with innovative coffee machines since the 1930s. Their timeless designs are inspired by fashion, design and culture, and the inherent Italian passion for la dolce vita. The Gaggia Accademia will make you look like a professional barista even if the closest you’ve ever come to one of these machines is ordering your venti, non-fat, extra hot, soy, blah blah blah at Starbucks. Highlights include automatic cleaning, a digital display and a durable ceramic grinder.
Best Coffee Machine #6 – La Marzocco GS/3
La Marzocco is not shy about proclaiming the excellence of the GS/3 machine. They call it an impeccable choice for “small restaurants, boutique hotels or at home in the kitchen,” and “a must for the perfectionist and espresso coffee enthusiasts.” What could we possibly say to top that? The list of standard features is lengthy, from a 3.5 litre water tank to a pre-heating system that increases productivity, plus purchasers have the option of customising their machine with transparent tempered glass side panels.
Best Coffee Machine #7 – Saeco Moltio Automatic Espresso Machine
The feature that makes the Saeco Moltio Automatic Espresso Machine stand out is the bean switcher, which means that no matter how fickle your moods, you will always be able to prepare the caffeinated treat that suits your needs. You can then save your favourite coffee settings for future use. We also love the fully automatic rinsing and de-scaling, and the dishwasher-safe drip tray – anything that makes clean-up easier earns high praise in our book.
Best Coffee Machine #8 – Breville Barista Express
This nifty little guy is proud owner of the 2013 Best New Product – Coffee or Tea Preparation and Serving Equipment award from the Specialty Coffee Association of America. What undoubtedly won the honour for the Breville Barista Express is its built-in grinder. The less time between grinding and extraction, the better – so Breville added a conical burr grinder to the machine that feeds directly into the portafilter. It’s fully adjustable in grind size and dose, so you can tweak it to match your taste.
Best Coffee Machine #9 – OTTO
This charming little device is a top choice for stove top espresso machines. The ‘Little Guy’ won the Australian Design Mark at the prestigious 2008 Australian International Design Awards and was a finalist in the International Design Excellence Awards in America (IDEA). Backed by a three-year development phase, OTTO offers inspirational Italian style and – naturally – superb coffee. It’s even built to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
Best Coffee Machine #10 – Lavazza Minù
Lavazza’s Minù delivers delicious Italian coffee from the comfort of your home or office. Preparing authentic Italian espresso with the Minù machine takes only three steps, so you’ll be feeling like you’re in a quaint café on the Piazza di Spagna in no time. It also earns major points for its sleek and stylish design. It couldn’t get any simpler to use, but just in case you run into problems, there’s a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty to bail you out of any hot water (perhaps literally) you wind up in.