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Automatic espresso machine reviews

Last updated: 01 November 2019

Automatic coffee machines make the espresso experience easy, as they grind the beans freshly each time and make the espresso all at the press of a button. Many models even automatically heat and froth the milk but in some cases milk frothing can be a manual process.

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Automatic coffee machines are handy and can be ideal for office kitchens or busy households. But unfortunately, despite their relatively high prices, not all make a great espresso. Our testing shows that the best machines are not always the most expensive models.

We lab test and review the latest models to help you find the best automatic coffee machine.

Our expert testers give every coffee machine a thorough workout to help find the models that:

  • perform best in a blind taste test
  • are the easiest to use and clean
  • are best for milk frothing and temperature consistency, cup after cup.

To test them effectively our expert tester removes any residual factory smells and tastes, and pumps a litre of hot water through each of the machines. They then make 20 to 25 shots of espresso coffee one after another to make sure the built-in bean grinder is at the correct setting.

We measure the consistency of four consecutive coffees for each automatic coffee machine after warming it up for five minutes. We add five minutes for thermoblock and small boiler machines, and 30 minutes for heat exchangers.

Three experts test the espressos in a 'blind' tasting, checking the colour and thickness of the crema (the tan-coloured foam on the top of an espresso shot), aroma, flavour, mouth feel (for example, creaminess or wateriness) and aftertaste. We don't just use any old coffee beans for our tests – we use the best we can find.

To read more about our testing rigour, see how we test.

This review covers automatic espresso machines only, as opposed to capsule machines or manual/semi-automatic coffee machines. To see how those machines perform, look at our home espresso coffee machine reviews.

Still unsure? See our guide to choosing the best coffee machine to help you decide which type you need.

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Brand

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List of brands we tested in this review.

    Price

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    The manufacturer's recommended retail price. Prices are often flexible, so shop around both online and in bricks-and-mortar stores for options.

    enter value/s in increments of 1 between 379 and 3999

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    Taste test score

    Expand to view more details.

    Three experts test the espressos in a 'blind' tasting, checking the colour and thickness of the crema (the tan-coloured foam on the top of an espresso), aroma, flavour, mouth-feel (for example, creaminess or wateriness) and aftertaste.

    enter value/s in increments of i between 5 and 90

    Milk frothing score

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    We experiment with each machine to find how it best froths milk, looking for fine, pourable froth.

    enter value/s in increments of i between 40 and 80

    Included in this review

    Members-only access
    • Overall score
    • Recommended
    • Taste test score
    • Ease of use score
    • Milk frothing score
    • Coffee temperature consistency score
    • Measured heat-up time (min:sec)
    • Good points
    • Bad points
    • Brand
    • Model
    • Price
    • Availability
    • Standby mode
    • Automatic power turn-off
    • Removable water reservoir
    • Water tank empty reminder
    • Steam wand
    • Hot water nozzle
    • Removable drip tray
    • Milk frothing feature
    • Cup warming plate
    • Cord storage
    • Programmable coffee quantity
    • Digital display
    • Grinder adjustment
    • Hopper empty warning
    • Cup counter
    • Dregs box full indicator
    • Espresso pressure or milk temperature gauge
    • Adjustable water temperature for coffee making
    • Adjustable coffee dispensing height/depth
    • Coffee strength settings
    • Removable group for cleaning
    • Wash / cleaning cycle
    • Decalcifying cycle
    • Use pre-ground coffee?
    • Water hardness adjustable
    • Frothing ready
    • Water reservoir capacity (L)
    • Pump pressure - stated (bars)
    • Instructional DVD supplied
    • Other features
    • Dimensions (HxWxD, cm)
    • Weight (kg)
    • Warranty (yrs)
    • Origin
    • Contact
    • Items supplied

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