The 4 Best Beginner Espresso Machines
Automatic espresso machines are a great choice for any beginner, who wants to brew their own coffee from scratch. They require no skills to use, and most machines are operated by the press of a single button. They also allow a bit of customization for those who like to experiment a little, and everything is easily done with a built-in control panel.
If you’re ready to get yourself a new espresso machine that’s easy to operate, this is the guide for you. We’ve carefully reviewed and selected the perfect entry-level machines that will get you any type of freshly brewed coffee drink you can imagine.
Here are the best entry-level espresso machines, summarized:
The top picks
Editor’s choice (super-automatic): Jura E6
With the Jura E6 super-automatic espresso machine you’ll have any freshly brewed coffee drink ready in no time. It has a built-in grinder and milk frother, and the app connectivity makes sure the software is always updated.
Editor’s choice (semi-automatic): Breville the Barista Express
If you like having a bit of control over your espresso machine but still want a machine fit for a beginner, this is the perfect choice. The Barista Express gives you an authentic coffee making experience, and has everything built-in so you don’t have to invest in any equipment on the side.
Best value: Philips 1200-Series Carina
A proper entry-level espresso machine doesn’t have to be expensive. With the Philips 1200-Series Carina you get lots of options in a compact machine, and it’s super easy to operate.
Most interesting alternative: Flair Classic Manual Press
If you don’t want a big piece of machinery in your kitchen, the Flair Classic Manual Press is a very interesting alternative. It features a manual lever that needs to be pressed down, in order to make an espresso. Afterwards, you can easily disassemble it for storage in a cabinet or drawer.
Questions? Ask our experts:
How did we find the best beginner espresso machines?
At ConsumerJar we independently select the products we consider the best in each category. Besides reviewing the products ourselves, here’s a breakdown of the entire process:
This is the total amount of products we’ve reviewed, before carefully selecting the ones featured in this guide. You can look into these products by scrolling to the “Honorable Mentions”-section further down.
Expert reviews analyzed
As part of our extensive research process, we go through reviews from reputable experts such as Cuppabean, Expert Reviews, CNET, Good Housekeeping, Coffeeness, and Homegrounds.
User ratings analyzed
We believe user ratings indicate the short-term satisfaction level of any given product, and we skim through thousands of user reviews from numerous retailers. That includes Amazon, Abt, The Home Depot, Jura Shop, and Whole Latte Love.
In-Depth Reviews of the Best Beginner Espresso Machines
Below you’ll find more details on each product featured in this buying guide:
- Anything is customizable
- Step-by-step setup on a color display
- All parts are easily removed for cleaning
- App connectivity
All you need to know: The Jura E6 is a super-automatic espresso machine, which means it will make any coffee drink with a press of a button. Just place your cups, mugs, or glasses below the spouts, plug in the milk container (if needed), and select your coffee drink. It will start grinding your beans and preheat the water, and depending on your choice it will either froth up your milk first or last.
On this beginner-friendly espresso machine you have a large color display at hand, making it a breeze to walk through all settings and adjust any element to your liking. Jura is well known for offering plenty of customization options, and you can even save multiple personal profiles so you and your family can have their own preferred coffee drinks ready without going through the adjustments every time.
The Jura E6 espresso machine disassembles easily for internal cleaning and refilling of water and coffee beans. This makes the brewing unit and puck collector easily accessible too, so you can inspect the internals frequently without having to go through any tedious steps to open up the machine.
You’ll get a milk container with this machine, and it plugs in easily before each use. It can then go back to the refrigerator, so your milk is kept fresh between uses. You can also stick the hose directly into any milk carton, and let the machine pull the milk directly from there.
Breville the Barista Express
- Built-in coffee grinder and tamper
- Premium look and feel
- Semi-automatic functionality
- Lots of useful settings at hand
All you need to know: With a tagline that says they are “everything you need for barista quality coffee”, you sure can’t go wrong with the premium-graded Breville the Barista Express espresso machine.
The luxurious and neatly designed Breville the Barista Express creates a rich flavor of coffee using the right dose of freshly ground coffee beans for every cup you make.
Equipped with a digital temperature control, this espresso machine also delivers water at precisely the right temperature, and therefore getting the most out of your coffee grinds for a perfectly balanced smooth aroma and intense flavors.
Low-pressure pre-infusion soaks the grinds to make them bloom, which allows water to pass evenly through the coffee during the high-pressure extraction process. This is just one of many highly useful features, that this beginner espresso machine comes equipped with.
If you love the silky, velvety taste of micro-foam milk, you’ll love what the Breville the Barista Express espresso machine has in store for you. A steam wand with a nice little silicone handle allows you to create smooth and creamy milk foam, so you can work on your latte art skills while making tasty espresso at the same time.
The Breville Express Machine is semi-automatic, which means that you remain in control of a great amount of personal adjustments.
The grind size dial is there for you to determine what size of grind you want your beans to be, no matter what type of bean you’re grinding. At the same time, it is a hands-free tool, as the innovative grinding cradle will allow you to grind directly into the espresso portafilter.
Philips 1200-Series Carina
- Space saving design
- Easy semi-automatic operation
- Very user-friendly
- Front loading slide-out water tank
All you need to know: The Philips 1200-Series Carina is a great little espresso machine, that works well for any beginner. It is easily set up in a few minutes, and because of the design it does not take up a lot of countertop space. Simply place it in a corner, plug it in, follow the setup guide, and you’ll be ready to brew your first espresso shot in no time.
Despite the affordable price tag on this machine, you still have a milk frother at hand for creating special coffee drinks for yourself, your family, and friends. On the control panel you have the choice between espresso (single or double), coffee (single or double), hot water, and steam. You can adjust the strength of your coffee and amount of water by pressing the “My Coffee Choice”-buttons, making it super easy to customize the drinks to your taste.
Just like the expensive models, the Philips 1200-Series Carina espresso machine has indicators for cleaning, lime buildup, low water level, and more.
What’s really neat about this espresso machine, is its front loading water tank, that slides out for easy refills. Usually the tank is located on the back or side of the machine, meaning you’ll have to move the entire machine in order to access the water tank. But for this machine, you simply slide out the water tank and refill it before placing it back into its slot.
Flair Classic Manual Press
- Hand powered – no need to plug it in
- Super simple design and operation
- Packs away easily after use
All you need to know: This old school espresso maker is operated by manually pressing the lever down, and create a pressure big enough to force the hot water through the filter. It’s a great option for those who don’t like having a bulky machine sitting on their countertops, and what’s even better is how easily it packs away between use.
We believe the Flair Classic Manual Press comes very close to the “real deal” without having to invest in a big electronic machine. However, it does take a bit of practice to get it right, and there’s a bit more footwork involved when using this piece of equipment rather than an automatic machine.
First of all, you have to heat up the water in a pot or electric kettle. and make sure it reaches a specific temperature. You’ll also have to grind your own coffee beans, or buy ground beans — and live with your coffee being less flavorful as if you’ve ground your own beans.
However, it still manages to make a proper espresso, and for a beginner on a budget this is definitely a great and exciting alternative to the electric machines.
Bonus Pick: STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine
- Nice and compact
- Packs away easily after use
- Perfect for camping
All you need to know: If you want to have a coffee on the go without always having to stop at a coffee shop, whether it’s for your daily office routine, or when you’re going for a hike, camping, or traveling, you might want to look into a portable espresso machine like this one by STARESSO. It’s a great alternative to the somewhat bulky espresso machines, and a handy little travel coffee maker.
It’s compact, lightweight, and portable, and can give you the rich espresso taste with a thick layer of cream, just like the kind you get from a coffee shop. It takes only a little space because it is small and compact. It weighs 0.97 pounds and is up to 8 inches, but it can hold up to 80 ml water and a maximum of 0.53 ounces of coffee.
It’s your perfect companion on-the-go, and it is compatible with both Nespresso pods and all kinds of ground coffee. If you’re using Nespresso pods, simply follow the easy directions, poke a few holes at the bottom of the pods, and make your espresso by hand.
The STARESSO Espresso Coffee Maker is easy and straightforward to use. It has a newly patented pumping system that allows you to make manual espresso with little effort and no electricity.
Not only is it compact and portable, but it is also very easy to clean. All components are detachable, so all you need to do is take them apart, wash them, and they are all clean once again.
Below are all great beginner espresso machines we included in our initial review process, but didn’t make the cut for one reason or another. These are all great machines, and acknowledged by our team as being among the best picks.
- DeLonghi Magnifica Auto ECAM22110SB
- DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino ECAM23260SB
- Jura A1
- Krups Barista One Touch EA901050
- DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM04110S
- DeLonghi ESAM3300
- Philips 3200 Series With LatteGo
- Philips 3200 Series With Milk Frother
Why You Should Learn to Make Your Own Espresso
Making your own espresso empowers you to take control of your coffee drinking to an extend, where you can make every sip of coffee more exciting than anything you’ve ever tasted.
If you’ve ever tasted an espresso from a small coffee shop or a chain like Blue Bottle Coffee, you may notice a big positive difference in the taste compared to other shops. That is because Blue Bottle Coffee only allows coffee beans to be sold up to 48 hours after they’ve been roasted, and that makes the entire difference between a drinkable/mediocre espresso and an OUTSTANDING espresso.
Advantages of Making Your Own Espresso
- You’ll remain 100% in control of the coffee beans used for your coffee.
- You decide how strong you want your espresso to be.
- You can create all the coffee drinks you know of.
- You’ll save a ton of money compared to buying from a coffee shop every day.
- You can practice your latte art skills too!
The Basics of a Beginner Espresso Machine: A Word From the Author
Over the last couple of years I’ve become quite passionate about coffee. In particular I’ve grown fond of espresso shots because of how aromatic, bold, and versatile these little shots of liquid energy really are.
Espresso can either be enjoyed on its own or as part of a coffee drink, like these:
- Cappuccino – popular drink with one espresso shot, a good amount of steamed milk and foam added on top. Some like to sprinkle a bit of cocoa powder on top as well.
- Latte – also known as caffe latte, this drink is usually served in a tall cup with an espresso shot, a generous amount of steamed milk and a thin layer of milk foam on top.
- Mocha – a heart warming drink consisting of en espresso shot, hot chocolate, and steamed milk.
- Americano – an espresso shot diluted with hot water. Nice and strong alternative to regular drip coffee.
What’s even better, is that coffee is actually good for you. According to Healthline, coffee has a lot of health benefits. That’s right – you don’t have to feel bad about drinking your coffee before even getting your pants on in the morning.
But seriously: I’ve made the same mistakes as you probably have – settling with instant coffee powder, or spending a fortune on coffee pods for a cheap plastic machine, thinking it’s easier and more convenient.
Oh, how wrong I was.
After I started sampling different espressos from coffee shops around the world, I was hooked. I wanted to learn how to do it myself. So I bought a nice little beginner machine to practice on, and soon evolved my technique and personal taste. I knew immediately there was no turning back to instant coffee powders now, that’s for sure. My tastebuds would self-destruct.
To brew your own espresso and create your favorite coffee drink, requires nothing but a handy little espresso machine for beginners. There are a lot of options to choose from, and some even have a burr coffee grinder built into the housing, while others are completely basic.