The best coffee espresso machines

Give your kitchen its very own dedicated coffee corner with our selection of the best espresso coffee machines

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Not many things beat the smell of fresh coffee in the morning, except maybe the taste of a smooth shot of espresso or a cappuccino just how you like it. Whether its part of a pre-commute morning routine or you’re reluctantly heading back upstairs to commence the working day in your home office, there’s nothing better than starting the morning off with a fresh cup of coffee brewed by you. 

Of course, a great thing about this wake-up routine is being greeted each morning by your own barista-style coffee machine, which takes pride of place on your kitchen counter. Knowing that you have complete control over the consistency of your milk and the strength of your espresso is completely satisfying, as much as not having to walk to the train station via your local Starbucks or Costa, because you have a travel mug full of your own glorious concoction to ease you into the day.  

Coffee espresso machines come in all shapes and sizes; from the sleek and modern to the traditional and slightly wacky, so there’s always the option to choose a machine that feels in sync with your existing decor. There’s also budget to consider. Expensive espresso coffee machines may have a grinder incorporated into its design, with De’Longhi and Sage by Heston Blumenthal giving you the option to grind your coffee beans to your preferred consistency. 

Less expensive espresso machines may lack the capability to grind coffee beans, but there’s a vibrant market of pre ground coffee from around the world to tap into. So, in no way are you compromising on that first sip satisfaction just by investing in the slightly less expensive but ever-so retro Smeg espresso machine that features on our list, for example. 

Whether your kitchen is full of modern, traditional or even retro appliances, our list of the best espresso coffee machines covers all styles so your home remains harmonised. 

1. Sage Barista Express

An espresso machine that looks deceivingly traditional

Specifications
Best for: Barista style
Reservoir: 2L
Bar: 15
Grinder: Yes
Reasons to buy
+ Soaks the coffee to release maximum flavour + High pressure steam output 
Reasons to avoid
- Takes a while to master 

Heston Blumenthal is a chef renowned for his wacky recipes, so it’s no surprise that his coffee machine is just as out there, with its ability to grind beans to your preferred consistency, apply just the right amount of pressure for a smooth espresso and steam milk to the perfect level of frothiness. Despite its advanced features, it’s very traditional in appearance, with a clean, stainless steel exterior that’ll look great against the backdrop of any kitchen style. For its futuristic capabilities and loyalty to a traditional barista espresso machine, we give Sage our number one spot.  

2. Jura A1 Bean-To-Cup Coffee Machine

A modern and minimalist espresso machine for a sleek, streamlined kitchen

Specifications
Best for: Modern
Reservoir: 1.1L
Bar: 15
Grinder: Yes
Reasons to buy
+ Minimalist frontage + Programme three different cup sizes 
Reasons to avoid
- Smallest capacity 

Streamlined in its appearance, this espresso coffee machine combines black and silver for a sleek and modern presence in your kitchen. The machine is fairly compact in size, so it shouldn’t take up too much room in your kitchen, but it’s capacity to freshly grind coffee certainly gives it an edge over the Smeg product featured earlier. You can pre-set 3 cups and 2 coffee strengths - strong for the morning and perhaps a weaker one for coffees at the end of a meal. Just note that there is no steaming arm, so it lacks the theatrics of other espresso machines in our list.  

3. De’Longhi PrimaDonna Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine

For pure style and effortless use

Specifications
Best for: Automatic
Reservoir: 1.3L
Bar: 15
Grinder: Yes
Reasons to buy
+ Sleek, stylish and compact + Automatic milk steaming 
Reasons to avoid
- Tank capacity not as large as our first pick 

This espresso coffee machine blends the convenience of the capsule coffee machine with the authenticity of a bean to cup. The machine can either grind coffee beans or you can choose a pre-ground blend of your choice. Making a latte, cappuccino or macchiato is easy as pressing a button, and you still benefit from the perfectly frothed milk and smooth shot of espresso that espresso coffee machines are renowned for. With its stainless steel and black exterior, it’s smart, streamlined and will certainly look the part taking pride of place in your kitchen. 

4. SMEG Coffee Espresso Machine

A perfectly proportioned, gorgeously retro gadget

Specifications
Best for: Retro look
Reservoir: 1.5L
Bar: 15
Grinder: No
Reasons to buy
+ A range of colours available + Slim, perfect for smaller kitchens 
Reasons to avoid
- No grinder 

Not every kitchen has all the space in the world, so this small, yet perfectly formed coffee espresso machine will fit in perfectly, and especially well if retro gadgetry is a theme in your household. Perhaps the only negative is the compromise of a grinder, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore and stock up on the finest Colombian pre-ground coffee. Because there’s no grinder, this machine is more compact and available at a friendlier price, and there’s still a variety of colours to choose from, including black, cream, red and pastel blue.  

5. Gaggia Naviglio Coffee Machine

For hasty morning routines, this machine will brew your espresso in no time at all

Specifications
Best for: All-rounder
Reservoir: 2 cups
Bar: 15
Grinder: Yes
Reasons to buy
+ Includes a grinder and steamer + Completely black in colour 
Reasons to avoid
- ABS plastic, rather than stainless steel 

If you like the look of our first pick, but require a machine more modern in appearance, this Gaggia espresso coffee machine could be the answer. It’s not as refined in its grinding capabilities, but there’s 5 settings so you can achieve a pretty perfect blend. As an ideal all-rounder, it features a steamer, as well as a grinder, all for a much friendlier price than the Sage. If you’re looking for a way to make a quick and efficient coffee in the morning, it boasts a quick heat boiler and many of its elements are dishwasher proof.