There’s no denying that Australia has a huge coffee culture. Australians usually find that when travelling abroad, no other country can produce specialty coffees with rich authentic flavours as we can. Therefore, it’s no surprise that home coffee machines have become increasingly popular over the last few years.
Australians are obviously wanting the best coffee possible when at home; none of this instant coffee nonsense. But with an oversaturated market, it can be hard to tell which machines will actually brew barista-quality coffee (like they all claim to do) and which machine will satisfy your personal coffee taste buds.
The difference between a coffee machine and an espresso machine:
A coffee machine is usually referred to as a ‘drip’ coffee machine and is when ground coffee is mixed with hot water and then drips through a filter into a coffee pot. The result is a simple black coffee that can either be drunk as is or can have milk and sugar added to it before drinking. These machines are super popular in America, and if you’ve seen any American TV show ever, you would’ve seen a drip coffee machine when a character goes to a diner.
Espresso machines are what baristas use at cafes, although there’s now a whole market dedicated to providing people with smaller espresso machines to use at home. These machines shoot near-boiling water through ground coffee with a bit of pressure behind it to create bold, concentrated flavours and will allow you to create specialty drinks at home; espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, etc.
One isn’t necessarily better than the other, it all depends on your personal preference but coffee enthusiasts (or rather, coffee-snobs) will usually prefer coffee made with an espresso machine as they produce a richer, more authentic coffee flavour than drip machines.
Things to consider when purchasing a coffee machine:
Do you have a small or large kitchen? If you have a small kitchen you may want to consider a small coffee/espresso machine that won’t take up too much kitchen space, or a lightweight machine so you can easily pack it away in a cupboard after using it. If you have a larger kitchen, you may want to get a medium-large sized machine that’ll permanently stay on your kitchen top.
You also need to think about how many people in your household will use the machine. If you live alone, a small machine will definitely suffice, however, if there’s a few of you wanting to use the coffee machine, a small machine will be frustrating to use as you’ll constantly have to refill/empty the machine.
Do you have a coffee/espresso machine budget? Some machines can go upwards of AU$1000. While price doesn’t always necessitate quality, the more expensive a machine is, the more features and benefits the machine will have.
There are some pretty decent machines out there that are relatively cheap but you may find that the machine won’t last as long or have as many features as a more expensive one. Think about what you want from a coffee machine and how often you’ll use it; try and figure out how much the cost per use will be for you. For example, if you drink only one cup of coffee at home per day and then spend 365 dollars on a machine, that works out to be only one dollar a day.
Ease Of Use
Manual espresso machines can be really fiddly and tricky to use if you don’t know what you’re doing. Plus, even for a professional barista, a manual machine will take a little bit of your time to make a cup of coffee; although you’ll have more control over the end result of your beverage.
Automatic espresso machines, however, will make your drink with the touch of a button; meaning you can pop a coffee pod in, push a button, and then walk away knowing that when you return, your coffee will be ready-made.
A drip coffee machine will take a bit of time to brew initially (although many now come with the ability to pre-program the machine to start brewing at a particular time) but will then keep a whole pot of ready-to-drink coffee at the perfect temperature all day; or until you consume the whole pot!
Think about your lifestyle and whether you want a machine that’s extremely easy to use, or whether you’re happy to play around with your machine a little to get a perfectly customised cup of coffee.
Do you like cappuccinos or lattes? If so, you’re going to need a milk frother. That way you can create perfectly frothy coffees at home. Some espresso machines come with milk frothers built-in, while others you’ll have to purchase separately. However, if you like espressos or black coffee, there’s really no need to get a milk frother.
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If you’re looking to get a coffee machine or an espresso machine for your home, these are the best brands to buy from. Whether you’re after an automatic or manual espresso machine or a drip coffee machine, and no matter your budget, you’re sure to find the best coffee machine for you!
Nespresso has a huge range of espresso machines that all use a capsule or pod system. The sizes of most Nespresso’s machines are small to medium as they are smartly designed to be as compact as possible, and the prices range from AU$179 to AU$1199.
It has to be said before we delve into Nespresso’s machines that ‘Nespresso’ is a proprietary coffee system and therefore some Nespresso machines have been made by other brands, like Breville and DeLonghi, who have licensed Nespresso’s system and therefore feature Nespresso’s technology and will only take Nespresso’s coffee capsules/pods. This means that all of Nespresso’s machines (no matter whether you go for one made by Breville or DeLonghi) will make the same tasting coffee and the choice comes down to which machine you like better aesthetically.
Our top picks from Nespresso would be the Vertuo Next, the Essenzia Mini, and the Lattissima Touch. If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all kinds of coffee, Nespresso’s Vertuo Next coffee machine has over 30 coffee blends to choose from in five different sizes and has the capability to create freshly brewed coffee with crema as well as authentic, delicious espresso. The only downside to the Vertuo is if you prefer cappuccinos or lattes, you’ll have to purchase a separate milk frother and making milky coffees will take a bit of time (and good pouring skills).
The Essenzia Mini is extremely lightweight, compact, and easy to use. The small machine brews delicious coffee with crema and is extremely well-priced. The only drawbacks are, again, if you prefer milkier coffees, you’ll have to purchase a separate milk frother and, because the machine is quite small, if you have a larger household, you’ll constantly have to refill the water tank or empty the capsule tray. The size of the Ezzenzia Mini is perfect for those who live alone or if you want to take a coffee machine with you whilst travelling.
Nespresso’s Lattissima Touch is the machine for those cappuccino and latte lovers out there. Extremely simple to use with its advanced technology and intuitive touchscreen, the Lattissima Touch can create ristrettos, espressos, lungos, cappuccinos, and latte macchiatos with one touch of a button. This Nespresso machine has a built-in milk frother and creates milky coffees quickly and easily.
LavAzza has a small but mighty range of espresso machines that favour a coffee capsule system. LavAzza’s machines are small to medium in size and are very reasonably priced with prices ranging from AU$79 to AU$349; perfect for those on a budget.
Our top picks are most definitely LavAzza’s Deséa and Jolie. The Deséa is extremely easy to use and can create delicious espressos, frothy cappuccinos, and milky lattes all with the touch of a single button. The machine is extremely quiet while it heats and froths, and is super easy to clean as all of the detachable parts are dishwasher safe.
The only downside to the Deséa is that if you’re after a milk-based coffee, you need to use the glass mug that’s included with the machine as the milk frother attachment fits on this mug only, which is totally fine unless someone else in your house then wants a milky coffee too; however, the simple solution is to purchase more of LavAzza’s mugs off their site.
The Jolie espresso machine is unmistakably Italian in its aesthetic and will elevate your kitchen with its sleek and elegant design that comes in three colours. The Jolie is small, meaning it won’t take up too much counter space, is extremely quiet, and can make a classic espresso or caffé lungo in just 25 seconds. The only drawback is that if you prefer milky coffees, you’ll need to purchase a separate milk frother.
Breville has espresso machines and drip coffee makers, so depending on what type or how strong you like your coffee Breville has an array of options. Breville’s machines are medium to large size-wise, meaning if you want to go with Breville, expect to give up a decent chunk of your kitchen counter, and prices range from AU$99.95 to AU$3999.
Breville’s espresso machines (aside from the ones they’ve made in partnership with Nespresso) are definitely on the professional side. Some of them are exactly what you’ll see at your favourite cafe, and will require you to manually make your coffee, which is perfect if you’re a barista or an aspiring one. However, if you’re a novice, Breville does have espresso machines that are automatic.
Breville’s espresso machines don’t have a capsule/pod system but require coffee beans which the machine then grinds (manually or automatically depending on which model you go for). The downside of Breville’s espresso machines is that they’re probably better suited for an office or a house with a very large kitchen. They can also be a tad fiddly compared to other brands featured in this guide.
However, Breville’s espresso machines ensure precise temperature control, optimal water pressure, and create true microfoam milk, so while Breville’s espresso machines will take a little more work and time, you will truly get cafe-quality coffee at home.
If you’re after a drip coffee machine, we highly recommend Breville’s Aroma Style. For only AU$99.95, the Aroma Style coffee maker can be pre-programmed so you can wake up to a fresh brew in the morning. Easy to use and with the ability to make different strengths of coffees, the Aroma Style is perfect for busy households, everyone can simply pour themselves a cup, and coffee fiends; you can refill your cup multiple times before you leave the house.
DeLonghi offers fully automatic espresso machines, manual espresso machines, machines made in partnership with Nespresso, and drip coffee machines. Their machines range in size from small to large and are on the more expensive side of the coffee machine world with their prices ranging from AU$169 to AU$2549.
Our top pick of DeLonghi’s machines has got to be the Magnifica; an automatic espresso machine. The Magnifica can make a variety of coffee-based beverages at the touch of a button from freshly ground beans and comes with a manual milk frother. You’ll be able to customise your desired level of coffee aroma and quantity each time you use the Magnifica and you can brew two cups of espresso at the same time thanks to the machine’s Two-Shot system.
The only drawback to Delonghi’s Magnifica range of espresso machines is that if you prefer your coffee extremely strong and bitter, some find this machine’s coffee a tad weak. Plus, the price is expensive when compared to other brands; the basic model of the Magnifica is AU$599. But when you consider how many different coffee-based drinks it can produce and how easy the machine is to use, the price is rather reasonable.
Smeg has everything in terms of coffee machines on offer; manual espresso machines, fully automatic coffee machines, drip coffee machines, coffee grinders, and milk frothers. Their machines range from small to medium in size, and, in price, range from AU$299 to AU$1799; although, that top price is for an espresso machine that was made in partnership with luxury fashion house, Dolce & Gabbana.
Our favourite machines from Smeg are the 50s Retro Style Coffee Machine and the 50s Retro Style Filter Coffee Machine. The Coffee Machine looks oh so good and comes in a range of colours. A semi-automatic espresso machine, it’s easy to use, can make single & double shots of espresso, and can froth milk, if you prefer cappuccinos and lattes. The machine uses ground coffee beans, although it can take soft coffee pods if you prefer.
The only downside to Smeg’s 50s Retro Style Coffee Machine is that it requires regular cleaning and isn’t completely automatic; although, this means you have a little more control over your coffee’s end result.
If you’re looking for a drip coffee machine, Smeg’s Filter Coffee Machine is exceptionally stylish and is available in multiple colour options. Extremely easy to use, it’ll brew 10 cups of aromatic, delicious coffee and will keep the coffee at the perfect temperature, with the ‘keep warm’ function, until you manage to drink it all.