Espresso Machines: Ratings of Sources
Editors of Cook's Illustrated test three manual espresso machines for flavor, cleanup and function. One is highly recommended, one is recommended, and one is not recommended. In a separate report, editors test seven moka pots -- also known as stovetop espresso makers -- for ease of use and performance; only one is recommended.
This very helpful site details all things espresso-related, from how to guides, to in-depth forum discussion, to detailed reviews. It rating system is done on a 5-star scale. Although there are not as many reviews as elsewhere, those that are featured are very detailed and include testing and historical data, as well as the editors many years of experience with the various machines.
This retail site for coffee lovers not only hosts unusually detailed reviews from users, it also gives a thorough overview of all espresso machines that are available for sale, including technical specs and, features and settings. Elsewhere on the site -- and on YouTube -- are helpful and informative videos of new and existing products. There are also articles and a community for questions and answers about all things espresso.
Amazon.com sells hundreds of espresso machines, and many have hundreds or even thousands of reviews. There's an excellent representation of popular brands and models here, from super inexpensive steam machines (which we do not recommend) to pump machines in all price ranges. Many products have reviews that date back for several years, offering a unique and useful insight into how some of these products have changed over time -- for better and for worse -- and into long-term durability and user satisfaction.
In addition to in-depth editorial reviews, CoffeeGeek.com publishes previews of new espresso machines, as well as owner ratings and guides to roasting your own beans, frothing milk and using equipment. The top-rated machines here get detailed feedback from hundreds of owners. We like that members rate each other's ratings, so you can easily see which reviews are considered the most helpful.
SeattleCoffeeGear.com is another site dedicated to all things coffee and contributed to by serious coffee lovers. In addition to feedback from users, editors often weigh in on the espresso machines for sale, rating them for ease of use, performance and value. This site also hosts a number of helpful articles and videos to walk you through learning and using the machines.
While BestBuy.com carries far fewer espresso machines than some of our other retails sources, it is a good destination to see reviews of some of the more common home espresso makers. Some of these, like Breville, DeLonghi and Nespresso, get dozens of reviews. Reviewers can also say if they would recommend the product.
Erin Meister, a professional barista, discusses the best espresso machines for home use and recommends a favorite model in different price ranges. She doesn't conduct formal comparison tests, but has used each model she recommends. This is an older review, but still relevant as the machines are still available.
Editors test five espresso machines ranging in price from $100 to $1,800, but leave significant manufacturers out of their review. This also seems to be a very old review based upon the dates of the user reviews. Also, there is very little insight into testing, although editors say the machines are evaluated based on taste, convenience and frothing.
Gayot.com is an online publication that says they are a "guide to the good life." They specialize in reviews of restaurants, hotels and other travel-related topics. In this brief roundup, they list the top espresso machines, but it's not clear how they made their picks, and at least one of these machines has been discontinued; although it is still widely available.