Here, we have test results for 23 manual and semi-automatic espresso machines, including six capsule machines priced from $70 to $1750.
On this page, you'll find:
Through our rigorous testing, we reveal which coffee machines:
- Make the best tasting coffee
- Are the easiest to use
- Make the best frothed milk
- Are able to maintain consistent coffee temperature over consecutive cups.
Australians love our coffee – possibly a little too much. According to Appliance Retailer magazine, a staggering 36% of us consume five or more cups of coffee a day. But whether or not we’re drinking too much, it’s certainly important to us that we drink good coffee, and that’s where these machines come in.
A 30mL shot of espresso forms the base of any coffee. You should use fresh coffee beans and grind them just before use, which means you'll need a coffee grinder.
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Video: How we test espresso machines
CHOICE takes a close look at the next generation of espresso machines and talks about what to look for in a good machine. For more information see our latest test results.
In this test, we cover four types of coffee machine:
- Semi-automatic and manual machines are for those who want to experiment with their coffee. A semi-automatic model will automatically cut off the flow of coffee once a preset amount has been poured into the cup, whereas you have total control with a manual machine and need to cut the flow of coffee yourself.
- There’s also one hand pump machine on test, which works on the same principles as a manual machine except that you need to use a pump action to push the water through the ground coffee.
- Capsule machines use a coffee capsule filled with enough coffee for a single shot. These machines are easy to use - you simply insert the capsule and the machine pierces it to allow hot water to flow through and make the shot. While Nespresso still dominates this market, there are many other players now entering the market with even Woolworths and Aldi releasing more affordable versions. Pleasingly, two on test deliver great quality and make our What to Buy list.
In the past we've used an easy-to-access supermarket brand of coffee for our taste test. But for this test, we’ve changed the coffee we use to a premium product. Since previously tested models can no longer be compared directly we’ve re-tested many of them here.
- Breville Cafe Venezia BES250
- Breville The Barista Express BES860
- Breville The Dual Boiler BES900
- Breville The Infuser BES840
- Bugatti 15-Diva CM
- DeLonghi EC860.M
- DeLonghi Icona ECO310.W
- DeLonghi Lattissima+ EN520.S (Nespresso)
- Electrolux Lavazza A Modo Mio ELM5250S
- Expobar Office SA
- Expressi K-fee (Aldi)
- La Pavoni Eurobar EBR24A
- La Pavoni Stradivari Lusso V230 STL
- Map Bella SO4 Caffitaly System
- Map S02HS Perfecto Caffitaly System
- Philips Saeco Poemia HD8327
- Rancilio Miss Silvia V3
- Saeco Via Venezia Inox
- Sunbeam Cafe Crema II EM4820
- Sunbeam Cafe Series EM6910
- Sunbeam Cafe Series EM7000
- Sunbeam Espresso Vita EM6200
- Woolworths Caffitaly Coffee Machine S14
How we test
Our tester, Peter Horvath, scores each of the coffee machines
- Taste (rated in a blind taste test by three coffee experts)
- Ease of use (including ease of programming, controls, group handle/filter and refilling with water and coffee)
- Frothing milk for lattes and cappuccinos
- Coffee temperature consistency over consecutive cups
To remove any factory smells and tastes, Peter pumps a litre of hot water through each of the machines, then makes 12 cups of espresso coffee (not for testing), one after another.
for these machines Peter chooses the capsule flavour that best resembles an espresso shot. He tries most (if not all) of the flavours supplied for a particular machine before he chooses which capsule will be used for the test.
Meet our experts
For our taste test we've recruited the expert palates of David and Matthew Gee from Barista Basics and our home economist, Fiona Mair. They taste a 30mL shot of espresso from each machine in a blind taste test and assess each shot by looking at the colour and thickness of the crema, the aroma, flavour, mouthfeel and aftertaste. We use a reference machine to check the consistency of our taste testers. Peter uses single wall baskets where supplied (double wall if no single is supplied) and an ECM grinder to get the right grind.
For more information on coffee products, see grinders and coffee roasters.
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