If I had to sum up the experience of drinking espresso in a word, it would be “decadent”.
If I had to describe the experience of MAKING espresso in a word, well, we couldn’t print it in this article. We’ll stick with “obnoxious”, or perhaps “annoying”.
Making espresso by hand is a chore, almost as much of a one as the clean up after. Even once you’ve gone through the lengthy trial and error phase, learning the deft touch needed to load, shift, press, froth, steam, and clean with your machine, it remains a touch device.
So why not skip the hassle and go automatic? Let’s take a quick look at some good features to watch out for, and then some of the best super automatic espresso machines I can find, shall we?
Our Top Choice...
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9 Best Automatic Espresso Machines Reviews
Extremely high performance
Great 15 bar pressure
Easy to use
Simple; doesn’t overly complicate your options
Relatively compact for a machine of this quality
Easy to clean
- Grinder: conical (presumed) burr grinder.
- Pressure: 15 bars.
- Bean container capacity: 14.1 ounces.
- Dimensions: 18.4” x 10.2” x 14.2” (max cup height 5.5”).
- Total weight: 30.8 lbs.
This high end espresso machine makes every step of the process easy. The digital interface comes with a slew of options, all of which are easy to read and have distinct, recognizable functions; no fumbling around a dozen sub menus to find what you need.
I like that the overall design of this is dedicated to making this simpler as well as easier, as to many coffee machines of any stripe tend to provide too many options; most of which are never used.
The design of the machine is great, with a conical burr grinder to grind on demand any coffee bean of your choice to the perfect consistency for proper espresso making, and a well placed, fixed milk reservoir that makes getting that delicious foam way easier than a manual espresso machine ever would be able to achieve.
The coffee is put under 15 bars of pressure inside, for a great espresso. Keep in mind that the debate between whether 9 or 15 bars makes the best espresso rages to this day; if you have a particular opinion on the matter, consider buying a 9 bar machine.
On top of all that, it doesn’t take up an extraordinary amount of space on your countertop and it’s easy to clean too, with an auto cleaning system and easily detachable parts for when a manual clean is called for. This feature alone is a godsend for anyone who’s had to manually clean out a less cooperative espresso maker before.
This machine is pretty much perfect as far as espresso machines go. Which means unfortunately you know what I’m going to say next: it’s expensive. Like “you could buy a used car for the price of this machine” expensive.
For real coffee enthusiasts, this price is definitely worth it for high quality, easily made espresso drinks at home, but if you’re looking for something a little more budget conscious, look elsewhere.
Unparalleled coffee quality
Best in class automatic frother
Great construction and overall design
Easy to use
Extremely customizable with up to 8 custom presets
- Power: 110/120 v, 1800 watts.
- Dimensions: 14.7” x 14.5” x 17.6”.
- Total weight: 42.1 lbs.
This is a really good one…if you can get over the sticker shock. It costs about half again as much as our winner, and while I can see why (it’s s upper high quality super automatic espresso machine), that’s getting into the territory where you need to be thinking about whether you can justify buying it without shelling out a bit more and opening your own coffee shop.
Still, the quality is great, as mentioned. The digital touch screen selector lets you easily swipe and choose your drink of choice, and the fully automatic frother is great. The grinder is excellent, and the way it applies pressure is very nuanced, getting the most out of your espresso while cutting the most egregiously bitter elements out by applying pressure gradually instead of all at once.
As far as pure quality espresso and coffee goes, this is near the top of the market, right below light commercial brands, and is well worth consideration.
3. Saeco Incanto Carafe Super Automatic Espresso Machine
Compact and lightweight; very small footprint
Solid midrange price
Sturdy and well made stainless steel body
Makes great espresso, but poor coffee, so you still need to keep your old coffee maker
- Materials: stainless steel (overall), ceramic (grinder).
- Capacities: 8.8 ounce bean container, 60.9 ounce waste container.
- Dimensions: 16.8” x 8.4” 12.9”.
- Total weight: 24.1 lbs.
This is another very good espresso machine. The Saeco Incanto has been very popular for a long time, and it’s easy to see why; it hits that midrange price point and performance perfectly.
While not as amazing as our winner, it’s also half the price, while still retaining excellent performance. It makes double shots and tall espressos as easily as it does multiple cups, and has a great capacity for everything you need; coffee, milk, and waste is all tucked away quite well.
The ceramic grinder is excellent at grinding your beans to the perfect consistency, though be careful as ceramic grinders tend to be fragile, and any unexpectedly hard foreign objects in your beans could break the grinder.
It looks nice on a countertop, and doesn’t take up too much space. This is a strong contender for my favorite option, but the power and capacity of the De’Longhi above won out, especially with this model’s issues; namely it’s not suitable as a regular coffee maker in addition to its espresso duties, and it can be a pain to clean, even taking into account its Aquaclean system.
4. Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine
Easy to use
Lightweight and compact
Produces great espresso
PID controller for perfect water temperature
Sturdy stainless steel construction
Micro foam milk texturing for latte art and overall aesthetics
Like most espresso machines without automatic cleaning, a bit of a pain to clean
- Grinder: adjustable burr grinder (presumed conical).
- Pressure: unspecified (assumed 9 bars).
- Power: 110 v to 120 v, 1600 watts.
- Dimensions: 12” x 11” x 13.5”.
- Kit includes: espresso machine, razor dose trimming tool, 54 mm stainless steel port filter, 1 cup and 2 cup single and dual wall filter baskets, stainless steel milk jug, coffee scoop, tamper, cleaning disc, cleaning brush, Allen wrench/tool/key, water filter and holder.
- Total weight: 29.6 lbs.
If you want something a bit closer to the expected cost of a personal espresso maker, this Breville option is very good.
While it lacks some of the features of our winner, it’s also less than a third of the price and quite compact, so any minor inconveniences (like the lack of the automatic milk frother reservoir) can probably be forgiven.
The coffee grinder on this one is nice, with an adjustable coarseness to make coffee to your preference. The automatic temperature control is excellent, regulating the water temperature for optimal taste and texture via a PID controller.
This one has no digital controls, but the knobs aren’t too complicated once you get the hang of them, making this one of the less intimidating espresso machines out there. The manual steam wand is also quite good, allowing for micro foaming milk; this allows you to just have a nice thick, heady froth and even to make latte art if you want.
If you just want a good espresso experience without having to take out a second mortgage to get it, this is a choice you won’t regret.
5. Philips Carina 1200 Series Compact Super Automatic Espresso Machine
Easy to use
Great adjustable coffee grinds and temperature
Very slim profile for easy storage
Fairly low price for a super automatic espresso machine
Lower quality espresso than the higher end models
- Dimensions: 9.7” x 14.6” x 17”.
- Grinder Settings: 12.
- Power: 1400 watts.
- Water capacity: 1.8 L.
This is a great espresso machine that bridges the gap between a programmable coffee maker and espresso machine.
It has a lot of the features you’d expect from both, with a suite of easy to read and press buttons. Not only does it have presets for both espresso (just press the button twice for a double shot), but coffee (same double dose option), hot water, and steam, but both the coffee and espresso options can be programmed to specific parameters, giving you a customizable cup.
The frother is efficient and easy to use, and the machine itself is fairly low maintenance for an espresso machine, being good for up to 5000 cups before calcium buildup becomes an issue.
Perhaps the best feature of this option is that it’s very compact; a bit slimmer than the Breville, which is already pretty slender.
Combined with its fairly low price point (for an espresso machine), this makes an excellent entry level option for a wide variety of people; if you’re hesitant to jump into the deep end of espresso machines or more casually enjoy espressos and want something that is more easily usable as a normal coffee maker, this is probably the right one for you.
6. De’Longhi Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso Machine
Makes exceptional espresso and pretty good coffee
Well made and sturdy
Good capacity for beans and water
Keeps beans fresh for up to 3 days
Dual brew system
Very finicky, with hard to learn controls and annoying cleaning protocols
- Capacities: bean container 8.8 ounces, water 1.8 L (60 ounces).
- Grinder: conical burr grinder.
- Power: 110/120 v, 1150 watts, 50/6-0Hz.
- Dimensions: 17” x 13” x 18”; max cup height 4.5”.
This is a lower end De’Longhi, and it shows. While not a bad espresso machine per se, and especially good for the fairly low price, it lacks a lot of the polish that the Eletta has.
The main problem with this espresso machine is the interface. The knobs and buttons are fairly obtuse, but can be figured out quickly enough. Of bigger issue are the lights and warning indicators, which are not at all intuitive.
As a rule of thumb, my basic criteria for what constitutes a well designed user interface is me being able to figure out what everything is for without using the manual. The Magnifica does not pass that sniff test.
That aside, this is a great espresso machine. It froths milk well, makes excellent shots, and even makes a pretty good cup of standard coffee. It’s definitely one of the better super automatic espresso machines on the market at this price range in terms of the quality of the espresso it makes.
The only problem is you have to put up with a lot of annoyances to get that quality to show. It’s hard to clean, exceptionally loud, and has the aforementioned design issues. For some, it will be more than worth it for the quality of the espresso. For others, you may want to give it a pass and go with a model like the Philips Carina, which is less finicky.
7. Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
Easy to use
Excellent automatic frother
Clear and easy to press buttons
Well made parts
Ceramic grinder is quieter than steel
A hefty price jump for slightly better parts and a good frother
- Dimensions: 9.7” x 14.6” x 17”.
- Grinder Settings: 12.
- Total weight: 23.9 lbs.
This is sort of like the big brother of the Carina above. It has pretty much all of the same great features, just with a lift in quality in terms of how good the parts are, and especially in how good the frother is.
I’m a bit torn on this one, honestly. It’s quite a bit better than the Carina, and the frother alone makes it worth consideration, but I’m not sure if it’s twice as good as the Carina…and it IS twice the price.
The frother is kind of the make or break here. It’s very good at quickly and automatically whipping up a perfect temperature froth that slides delicately onto your espresso. It’s one of the best frothers I’ve seen from any on this list, actually, including the ultra high end models.
But ultimately that’s a matter of convenience, not performance; manual frothers can get you the same or better results.
Ultimately it’s up to you whether it’s worth paying so much more for a slight boost in part longevity and a great frother.
8. Jura Automatic Coffee Machine
Easy to use one button press coffee design
Makes excellent espresso shots
Easy to clean and maintain
Overpriced for what it truly offers
- Capacities: 7 ounce bean container, 37 ounce water reservoir.
- Dimensions: 9” x 12.7” x 17.5”.
- Total weight: 19.4 lbs.
This one is kind of my dark horse favorite of the bunch from Jura. In many ways, it’s objectively less good than ones in the same price range. It compares very unfavorably to the Philips Carina 1200 in terms of features and usability.
But the sheer simplicity of this one really endears it to me. A single spout, a good grinder and reservoir, and pure, delicious espresso. That’s all it’s focused on, and it does it very well.
You’ll notice there’s no frother here; you have to do that by hand. Which, honestly, is fine by me. I’m fine pumping milk by hand and I’ve become pretty adept at pouring it if I do say so myself. And I hate cleaning frother nozzles.
The only issue is the price. I can’t really justify recommending this one whole heartedly because it costs about $200 too much for an espresso machine of this size and simplicity. Still, it’s like the little espresso machine that could, and I think very worth picking up on a sale.
9. Gaggia Anima Programmable Espresso Machine
Simple and easy to use
Fairly compact and lightweight
A bit TOO simplistic for the price
- Capacities: 8.8 ounce bean hopper, 60 ounce water reservoir.
- Temperature settings: 177.5 degrees Fahrenheit, 182.9 degrees Fahrenheit, and 184.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Dimensions: 13.5” x 10.25” x 17”. 5.9” max cup height.
- Total weight: 26.3 lbs.
Here’s a nice overall simplistic option from Gaggia. It has three temperature selectors, a size selector, and a manual frothing wand.
That’s it. Nothing else really fancy about it like some of these. But, it’s the little things that are nice. It just has an overall great all around performance package. Good bean and water capacity so you can set it and forget it for days at a time. A slim profile for easy storage on the counter. It makes good espresso (always the most important criteria), and it doesn’t cost nearly as much as some of these.
Actually if it was just a tiny bit cheaper it wouldn’t be the bottom slot on this list. I think Gaggia needs to whack about $100 off of this one before I’d say it truly competes with the Philips Carina or even the Jura above. Otherwise they have a pretty solid machine on their hands.
It’s hard to pick from these. I’d say it’s fair to break these up into three price brackets: top end, midrange, and low end. Of the top end models, the De’Longhi Digital remains my favorite. If you’re shelling out that much for an espresso maker, I think it has the bets bang for your buck.
At the middle end of the price spectrum, the Saeco Incanto can’t be beat.
For the low end, the competition’s a bit fiercer. I’d give it to the Philips Carina 1200 series overall. It’s just a god little espresso machine, with a lot of the features the big boys have, at a fraction of the price.
The others are also good, but can’t help but be compared to these three and often found wanting.
What Do I Look For in a Super Automatic Espresso Machine?
The first thing you want to look for is a machine that makes your life as easy as possible. To me, this screams look for an espresso machine that has an automatic cleaning function. It’s not a complete replacement for manual cleans, but it makes them less frequent, which is quite nice. Getting a decalcifier for your machine is also recommended.
How the machine works?
In terms of coffee quality, most espresso machines are honestly exactly alike. They use the same methods to grind (usually in a conical burr grinder) the beans to your specified coarseness, pressurize the resulting ground coffee (usually, but not always, applying 9 bars of force), and then slow dripping it out into your awaiting cup.
There are some nuances there, but these are apparent in individual products, and most brands seem to have something completely different they use to try and set their machine apart.
No, what usually sets espresso makers apart is the frother, both in method and quality.
In my opinion, a bad to mediocre frother is just as good as not having one. Worse, even, as good frothed milk can be made manually fairly easily.
So you want a frother that really both takes the work out of making it, and gives it that precision touch only machines and truly skilled baristas can manage, producing huge amounts of microfoam.
If it doesn’t produce that delicious microfoam to blend with the espresso’s crema, you may as well not bother.
The frother is also one of the bigger determiners of price there, so watch out. The cheapest home automatic espresso machine is going to run you in the ballpark of $500 for the bare minimum of what I’d say is worth looking at. The higher end models will cost you about $10 grand…but we won’t talk about those today. What we will talk about are the very high end home models that might run you over $2000, however, as I think they’re well worth looking at to compare exactly the gap between them and cheaper models.
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