Coffee Machine Guide: Choose the Right Maker

De’Longhi

De’Longhi

Coffee. It’s our morning must-have, our afternoon pick-me-up, and the perfect dessert companion, but coffee is only as good as the beans and the machine behind it. So, if you’re brewing your favorite single-origin beans and getting a mediocre cup or looking to make café-quality drinks at home, it may be time to upgrade your coffee maker.

Today’s coffee machines and espresso makers range from manual to super automatic, and there are so many options in between. Whether you’re team coffee or espresso, prefer hot drinks or cold, like your milk frothed or straight from the fridge, you’ve come to the right place. There are plenty of brewing solutions available to create your perfect cup. Before choosing a replica of your tried-and-true or the newest espresso machine on the market, take a moment to think about your coffee habits and meet the makers of the top machines to help you find the best one for you.

Types Of Coffee Makers And Espresso Machines

Meet the makers: brands behind the top espresso machines

When it comes to creating the ultimate cup of coffee, it’s part art, part science—and entirely about experience. While there’s no
shortage of coffee machines and espresso makers to choose from, the best caffeinated beverages routinely come from a handful of brands that have become bastions of the brew. So, get ready to enjoy authentic coffeehouse drinks at home.

Breville

Creating innovative kitchen products since 1932, Breville has become a mainstay in well-appointed homes around the globe. With espresso makers that are not only easy to use, but beautifully and thoughtfully designed, Breville can elevate your favorite beverage as well as your countertop.

Super Automatic Barista Touch

Creates third wave specialty coffee at home with ease: swipe, select, and customize. Choose from one of the pre-programmed options--espresso, Americano, latte, flat white or cappuccino--or create up to 8 personalized coffees with the strength, milk texture, and temperature to suit your taste.

The Barista Express® Impress

Featuring the Impress™ Puck System to automatically dose and tamp each shot with minimal mess, the Barista Express Impress espresso maker allows you to craft barista-quality drinks in less than a minute. Meanwhile, the manual steam wand makes it easy to get the perfect microfoam milk and design your own latte art.

Jura

For more than 90 years Jura has developed home electrics with an eye toward innovation and sustainability. Today the brand is best known for its bean-to-cup high-end coffee makers and espresso machines that grind, tamp, brew, and self-clean in less than 60 seconds.

Z10

At the touch of a button, the Z10 espresso machine expertly prepares two dozen hot beverages—ranging from traditional espresso to a flat-white or a true Americano. In addition, using the Cold Extraction Process, the Jura Z10 can also create eight specially brewed cold drinks that are balanced and refreshing. And with the machine’s 4.3-inch touch display, you can customize your drinks for the perfect cup any time.

S8

Streamlined and intelligent, the stylish Jura S8 creates 15 specialty drinks in any of 10 strength settings. Using the colorful 4.3-inch display, you can watch the brewing process or program and save your favorite drinks so they’re always ready at a touch. Not only that, but the espresso machine will remind you when to add more beans, water, or when to initiate its self-cleaning mode.

De’Longhi

Founded in 1974 and producing coffee machines since 1993, De’Longhi uses technical innovation to develop its “made for living” products that have become centerpieces of modern kitchens everywhere. Imbued with coffeehouse style and sophisticated technology, the brand’s espresso machines have the power to transform your daily caffeine fix.

Dinamica Plus

Flawlessly blending intelligence, ease, and connectivity, the Dinamica Plus espresso maker creates cappuccinos, lattes, and Americanos brewed to your exact preferences every time. Use the Coffee Link app to control brewing and personalize your beverages from your phone or tap the colorful TFT display to start your drink. For quick access to your favorites, the machine remembers up to three user profiles and displays your top picks first.

La Specialista Prestigio

Inspired by traditional, professional espresso makers, the La Specialista Prestigio features a sleek design and the control you need to handcraft consistently great espresso-based coffee drinks at home. With Sensor Grinding Technology, Smart Tamping, dynamic pre-infusion, Active Temperature Control with three temperature profiles, and the My LatteArt Steam Wand, this manual espresso machine helps preserve the hands-on creativity of brewing espresso with no additional heat-up time and minimal clean-up.

Eletta Explore

It’s the only fully automatic espresso machine featuring hot and cold foam technology to help you create barista-style hot and iced beverages at the touch of a button. With more than 40 expertly brewed pre-set recipes and customizable settings in one compact machine, you can get the perfect drink every time.

TrueBrew

Revolutionizing drip coffee, the De’Longhi TrueBrew Automatic Coffee Maker brews fresh coffee from whole beans with just a touch. Using Bean Extract Technology, it has the power to grind, dose, and brew coffee in six sizes—from 8-oz. cup to a full carafe—and five brew styles ranging from over ice to bold or light.

Nespresso

Since producing its first espresso maker in 1986, Nespresso has redefined the way people brew coffee at home. With the touch of a button, Nespresso makes it possible to enjoy a cup with the perfect crema, as well as a tantalizing aroma and full-bodied taste.

Vertuo Creatista

Create authentic espresso drinks at home—quickly, easily, and featuring your favorite latte art. With the Vertuo Creatista, you can pull classic espresso shots and make traditional lattes or experiment with robust flavors and a broad range of froths and foams and develop drinks that are uniquely your own.

VertuoPlus Deluxe

Using centrifugal force to gently and precisely brew coffee and espresso that are topped with a natural amber crema, the Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe is a capsule coffee machine unlike any other. Add to it the effortless Aeroccino 3, which effortlessly produces fine, creamy milk froth, and you’ll have everything you need to make barista specialties at home.

The extras: coffee grinders & accessories

The extras: coffee grinders & accessories

Breville

The first step to making any cup of coffee—whether it’s from a drip coffee maker or a high-end espresso machine—is to grind the beans. Ideally, the grounds will be uniform, and the coffee grinder will produce little if any heat, which can adversely impact the flavor of your coffee.

Today’s grinders typically come in two styles: blade and burr. For the uninitiated, blade grinders use a blade that looks like a propeller to chop coffee beans, so the longer you run the grinder the finer your grind will be. Unfortunately, the process often produces an inconsistent grind as well as quite a bit of heat. Burr grinders, on the other hand, use plates with burrs, along with pressure and motion, to crush the beans and produce evenly ground coffee with minimal exposure to heat. Note: Super automatic espresso makers and most high-end coffee makers with built-in grinders rely on burr grinders.

In addition to a coffee grinder, you may need a few additional accoutrements to achieve the perfect cup at home. Coffee accessories like coffee pods, stand-alone milk frothers, and latte cups can set the stage for an indulgent cup every time.

FAQs: all about coffee makers

What is a super automatic espresso maker?

Super automatics combine a grinder and an espresso maker into one machine. Think barista-quality drinks with just one touch. Many include customizable pre-sets so you can make preferred drinks your way. Some even allow you to change the pre-sets for a number of different users—storing the settings in memory so every member of your family can effortlessly make their morning go-to.

How should I take care of my coffee maker or espresso machine?

Every machine is different, so be sure to read your owner’s manual for details. That said, most classic coffee makers require little more than keeping your carafe or pot clean, removing grounds, and cleaning up any spillage. For super automatic espresso makers, you’ll typically want to clear the dreg drawer, wipe off the drip tray, and clean your steam wand, pannarello, or auto-foamer daily. Your espresso machine may require other daily, weekly, or monthly maintenance, so, again, be sure to follow the instructions in your owner’s manual.

What is the difference between coffee and espresso?

At their core, coffee and espresso beans are essentially the same. Coffee may use light to dark roasts and a classic medium grind, while traditional espresso is made with coffee beans that have been roasted at high temperatures for a long time. This helps concentrate their oils and deliver a richer, more intense flavor. To extract more oils, the beans are then finely ground before use. In terms of coffee and espresso beverages, it all comes down to extraction. Coffee is brewed by steeping, as with French presses, or by force of gravity, like pour-over and drip coffee makers. Espresso is brewed using about 130 pounds of pressure—completing extraction in 20 to 30 seconds as opposed to coffee’s four- to five-minute extraction process—and results in what is effectively a coffee concentrate.

What’s the difference between cold brew and iced coffee?

Cold brew coffee is made by combining cold water and coffee for 16 to 24 hours to complete the brewing cycle, whereas iced coffee is made by using standard drip or pour-over techniques and hot water. It’s then cooled, or not, and served over ice.

Is there more caffeine in coffee or espresso?

Espresso typically has about 63mg of caffeine in one ounce (a single shot), but one ounce of coffee contains 12 to 15mg of caffeine, which means your 8-ounce morning cup of coffee has 96 to 128mg of caffeine, which means it’s higher in caffeine than your favorite single-shot espresso drink.

How should I store coffee beans?

Coffee beans can be stored in opaque, resealable coffee bags for three weeks if you’re careful to remove air from the bag before sealing it. However, the easiest way to store coffee beans is to decant them into an airtight, opaque canister or storage container, then place them on a shelf or in a cabinet or drawer, not the fridge. This will keep beans good for four to eight weeks. You can also place unopened bags of coffee beans that you may not use for several weeks in the freezer. They can remain frozen without flavor degradation for up to four months. Just be sure to bring the beans to room temperature before grinding them. This will allow the flavor of the beans to “open up” before use.

Did you know?

National Coffee Day is September 29.