I can tell you how to choose the best espresso machine; that is to know what the dreaded things that might happen are, and to avoid them! If I were to tell you the horror stories of some of my espresso machines, you’ll probably very quickly gain insight to choose a better machine.
But let’s not beat around the bush, I’ve compiled a few points that you should consider while buying your espresso machine, and here they are:
1. Sturdy and replaceable parts
Two points here, actually. Sturdy, because you want it to last longer; and replaceable, because you want it to last longer still! Most above mid-end espresso machines have replaceable parts now, and everything can be found online.
2. Quality boiler(s)
There are 3 types of boilers in espresso machines out there: aluminum, stainless steel and brass.
- – Cheaper but might corrode in the long run. Corrosion happens because of chloride in tap water. Luckily I always used distilled water with my
Stainless steel – Won’t corrode easily but said to be bacteria friendly.
Brass – Best material for boilers in espresso machines because it won’t corrode or breed bacteria, but contributes to the price. My Rancilio Silvia has added this value to its price tag!
Do you have family members who are not a good barista like you? You might want to consider getting an espresso machine which is easier to operate for their benefit. Super automatics are much more user friendly than semi automatics, of course, and among super automatics I think the Bosch Benvenuto B30 is the most user-friendly.
4. Heats up fast
You might or might not need this feature. If you’re the kind who are always on the go, then it’s better to look out for machines that make your coffee real quick in the mornings.
5. Accessible and adjustable spouts
Everyone wants a different size of coffee? No problem if you have adjustable spouts with your machine just like the Bosch Benvenuto B30 but bad luck if you have a budget machine like DeLonghi EC155 which can only accommodate shot glasses or espresso cups.
6. Safe design
Safety is no doubt an important thing. Check whether the model you intend to buy has any safety issues with other users.
7. Easy to clean
This actually depends on how good you are at cleaning. I have written a guide on how to clean your espresso machine; take a read and see whether you think that’s too difficult to achieve. If it is, go ahead and buy a super automatic machine that has automatic cleaning cycles.
Last but not least, always remember that no espresso machine is perfect! So the aim is to get the best espresso machine within your budget range.
I have changed espresso machines many times since my college days; each time is an upgrade, but I still like every one of the machines I owned. This is because I made a lot of research online before buying and each of them is the best within their range!
Anyway you can see my list of recommendations for various types of espresso machines in my Best Espresso Machine main page.