It all began in the Ethiopian plateau when Kaldi, a goat herder noticed one night that his goats were brimming with energy and simply would not sleep.
This happened after the animals had eaten berries from a certain tree. The legend goes that Kaldi later reported this to the abbot of the local monastery. The priest then used these berries to brew a drink that helped him stay focused during his tedious evening prayers.
From that uncertain time in history, those “berries” started taking over the world and now, at the age of automatic espresso machines, we cannot imagine a day without them.
Whether the first thing we do before beginning a day is to stand in a long queue of a coffee shop or struggle in our kitchen with droopy eyes, the goal is universal- to get the perfect cup of coffee to kick start the day.
But it’s just not the mornings, is it? Anytime is coffee time for a soul that craves for a silky-smooth flavor-bursting drink.
If you happen to be such a soul, you are probably considering having a professional barista at your disposal 24/7. You are here because you are looking for the best automatic espresso machines out there.
Here is a list of our top picks to decide which one is best suited to your taste and style.
Simply put, an espresso machine is something that brews your coffee. It does it by running pressurized hot water through a cake of ground coffee and a filter. The result is a cup or a mug of a concentrated coffee- espresso.
Espresso machines first came into being in 19th century Italy and later was developed into a variety of different strains that we see today. Some are manual while the more modern forms are automatic.
You may have come across the labels- automatic, semi-automatic and super-automatic. Let’s find out what they really mean.
They can automate the volume brewed. Coffee grinding and tamping are still manual.
These models let you control the grind settings, do the tamping and regulate the time. If you like to call the shots and fine-tune your drink every time, this is what you would prefer. Commercial machines are usually semi-automatic.
They are the most sophisticated of their kind. They tamp, grind, and come with built-in milk frothers. All you have to do is fill the bean hopper from time to time.
Some models need their water reservoir to be filled manually while others are directly connected to a water supply. While these are persistent in serving a quality drink, they leave little room for customization.
Here are some of the reasons you may be considering having an automatic espresso machine at home.
Your morning routine may involve driving to the nearest coffee shop and standing in a long queue of people suffering from early morning pre-caffeine anxiety just as you are.
The queue moves slowly and eventually, you get hold of your coffee in a disposable paper cup.
Would you rather stick to the routine or opt for a mug of espresso from freshly ground beans and a few extra minutes in bed?
I believe the latter.
The drink that your automatic espresso machine will churn up costs only a fraction of the amount you pay in a coffee shop, and that without even compromising the quality.
A freshly ground whole bean coffee right out of your home or office automatic espresso machine may turn out to be more satisfying than your expensive pre-ground coffee.
How about that?
For busy people the best super-automatic espresso machines are lifesavers. You may not always have the time and motivation to grind and brew the beans, froth the milk and serve it in a cup.
Even after you manage to do the chore, there is always a chance the result in your cup may not taste to your liking. Save yourself some time and hassle and let a fully automatic espresso machine take over.
Unlike semi-automatic espresso machines, many super-automatic espresso machines come with a built-in grinder. This saves money that the burr grinder would have cost you and space which the burr grinder would have occupied.
Be it Americano, cappuccino or latte, with automatic espresso machines, rest assured that you will get a consistent quality drink every time.
Admit it, you would definitely enjoy a compliment or two when entertaining guests. Your very own automatic espresso machine will make you a star barista from the moment you unpack and give it a go.
The best automatic espresso machines for home and office come with an array of features. Features like pulse extraction process and Bluetooth connections and in-app operations are bound to take your coffee experience to the next level of convenience and comfort.
Choosing an automatic espresso machine that best suits your needs and lifestyle is the most important part. You would not want to end up bringing something home that would churn out a brown liquid with strange taste instead of your desired freshly brewed espresso.
So, rather not settle for something other than that which is just right for you. The best fully automatic espresso machine, that is.
Before you begin, ask yourself some basic questions like:
What should be the ideal size of my machine?
How much control do I want?
How much am I willing to pay?
Once you have sorted your priorities, finding just the right robot barista from our 12 top picks becomes a lot easier.
DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 is one of the best super-automatic espresso machines below $1000. The company with a reputation for coming up with high-quality kitchen appliances lives up to its expectations with the Magnifica ESAM3300 super-automatic espresso/coffee machine.
It is incredibly compact for all the features it has. This makes it ideal for you if you have a compact countertop or struggle with limited storage space. For such a compact machine the water tank capacity of 60 oz is commendable.
It is highly programmable, hence it does not limit your control like some of the other super-automatic machines do. There are 5 settings for you to choose your desired strength from and 4 settings to determine the volume of your serving. Irrespective of your setting choice, the Magnifica is known to produce excellent quality drinks and can serve you anything: from espresso to latte.
It is equipped with a twin boiler system. This means you don’t need to wait for the brewing to stop before the steaming process begins. Both the processes occur simultaneously, ergo Magnifica ESAM3300 saves time.
It works best for medium espresso roast. An added bonus is that it can work with pre-ground coffee as well. However, it does not handle oily coffee roasts well.
There are a couple of things that we do not like about the Magnifica ESAM 3300 though. In terms of care and maintenance, it does not get super-automatic. The removable parts need to be detached and cleaned manually. The steam wand also needs manual control.
DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 is a wise pick if you are looking for the best mid-range super-automatic espresso machine with a fair scope for fine-tuning espresso shots at home and office.
Gaggia Brera Super-automatic espresso machine is one of the best automatic espresso machines below $500. It provides good value for money.
It is just the right machine for lovers of milk-based coffee. An excellent milk frother gives you velvety lattes and foamy cappuccinos. With the Gaggia Brera, you get to choose among 5 grind sizes and 3 brew strengths ( light, medium and strong ).
The bean-shaped icons let you tweak the coffee dose. There are no pre-programmed drinks but once you perfect your espresso recipe, it can memorize it and replicate it through the memo function.
It is not a super-automatic barista in every sense of the word. It rhymes more along the line of semi-automatic.
The brewing system is of high quality. Its flat ceramic burr grinder retains the aroma of espresso coffee beans, while the bypass doser allows you to use pre-ground coffee as well. An adjustable spout accommodates a cup between 3.5 to 5 inches in height.
It comes with a single boiler, but that does not slow it down. The Pannarello steam wand heats water under 10 seconds, making your drink delivery quick.
Cleaning and maintenance are relatively easy. The parts that need washing, are in the front of the machine and easily accessible. The automatic rinse cycle can be a bit inconvenient: you may need to place a cup to hold water every time you turn it on or off.
This also means that the water tank empties fast and needs to be refilled regularly. It is energy efficient; goes on standby after 60 minutes of inactivity.
If you want to experiment with milk-based drinks and at the same time enjoy the convenience of a super-automatic espresso machine, this one’s for you. It is the best semi-automatic espresso machine that offers good value for money.
One thing is for sure, DeLonghi ECAM22110SB Compact is a skilled barista. It does not come with any fewer features than its larger counterparts.
With 13 adjustable setting professional burr grinder and with a ‘direct to brew’ technology, it grounds your coffee beans just before brewing starts. This ensures that your drink is as fresh as it could get. On the other hand, there is a second chamber for you to use pre-ground coffee.
It has a 5 strength coffee setting, brewing an array of strengths: from mild to extra strong. The drinks that this compact machine will churn out are ready to give your nearest cafe some competition.
Like Magnifica ESAM 3300, DeLonghi ECAM22110SB Compact is another automatic coffee espresso machine that the manufacturer DeLonghi offers with a price tag below $1000.
In contrast, it does not come with a double boiler system like the Magnifica. However, having a single boiler enables it to save energy. Moreover, an energy-saving switch saves your utility bills further.
The manual controls are easy to use. Cleaning and maintenance are convenient. It is also regarded as less noisy compared to the Magnifica ESAM 3300.
Nonetheless, the two models are similar when it comes to oily coffee beans: they cannot handle them well.
This is a compact, user-friendly and energy-saving automatic espresso machine. It does not provide all the comfort of a super-automatic espresso machine but produces tasty drinks with little to no hassle.
Good value for money. Best for the ones who like experimenting in the arena of espresso.
Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker comes with a super affordable price tag below $250. It is semi-automatic. The fact that it is not really a device that comes with a lot of features reflects its price. Also, the machine parts are not made of grade-A materials, so it may not last years.
Even then, it is a great choice for a delightful at-home coffee experience. The milk frothing part is automatic but there is no built-in burr grinder. This means you have to either grind the coffee beans manually or use pre-ground coffee.
The recipe book that comes with the device will teach you how to use it to get your espresso martinis to raspberry cappuccinos to even choco-nutty lattes – impressive, right?
A removable milk reservoir allows leftover milk to be stored in the refrigerator. The water tank and cup tray are also removable.
Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is quite user-friendly. There is a convenient one-touch control panel for a single or double shot. Cleaning and maintenance are easy. The instruction manual will act as your constant guide for using the device to its best capacity.
You will need to prime the device according to the instruction manual before using it for the first time. In some instances, the new machine may struggle to reach the proper heating temperature (170-180℉) and timing (27-30 seconds) for each shot. If you are faced with such an issue you can simply give your new device a clean, and it kicks starts with a blast ( not literally, duh! )
The espresso you brew with Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker would actually be weaker when compared to the high-end machines. It is best for beginners and those looking for a wallet-friendly option to pick a semi-automatic espresso machine for home use.
Fill the bean hopper, choose from 5 different pre-selected fineness options, choose your brew strength and give the go command. Gaggia Anima Prestige is bound to blow your mind. First launched in 2015, Gaggia Anima Prestige Automatic Coffee Machine bears the title ‘the soul of Gaggia’.
The burr grinder is 100% ceramic. This implies that your coffee beans will go through minimum heat during the grinding process so that there will be no burnt taste in your drink. There is also a bypass doser if you want to use pre-ground coffee.
The automatic milk carafe produces a rich and creamy foam. Although, there is no steam wand. Therefore, manual frothing is not an option.
Programmable brewing options and 3 temperature settings give you plenty of room for customization, while at the same time giving you the convenience of a super-automatic espresso machine.
The water tank is easily accessible with a capacity to retain 60 oz of water: very satisfactory. There is also a water spout dedicated to pouring hot water for beverages like tea and hot cocoa.
The device is relatively easy to clean and maintain. It also comes with an energy-saving auto-off feature.
Too good to be true?
Well, there might be a catch. There have been reports of instances where navigating the repair process has proved difficult, despite the 2-year warranty offered by the manufacturer Gaggia.
If you want the convenience of a super-automatic espresso machine while retaining a decent level of control on your drink, Gaggia Anima Prestige is for you.
Saeco HD 8927/47 Pico Baristo is a good contender for the best automatic espresso machine for office.
It can brew up 11 coffee varieties one after another with its quick heat boiler. Hence, it is just the right thing for you and your colleagues, who are not only unique in terms of personality but in their taste of coffee as well.
Another feature that makes it a suitable office barista is that it can serve up to 5000 cups before it needs descaling.
There are 5 different settings from which you can customize your brew volume and temperature. Through its memo function, it can also memorize your customized settings.
It is compact, ergo won’t take up much of your countertop, whether it be your office or home.
A ceramic burr grinder ensures that the freshness of your coffee beans reaches your cup.
The water tank capacity is 60.9 oz, pretty impressive for a small machine. Although, the tank, as well as the bean hopper and milk carafe, may need to be refilled frequently.
What we disapprove of Saeco HD 8927/47 Pico Baristo is its loud water pump. Some users have also experienced hopper door magnet failure. The metal grate on which you place your cup has a tendency to get scratched easily- another design failure that we have noticed.
The device runs at USA 120 Volts so if you have a different voltage setting make sure to get the issue sorted with the manufacturer before you make the purchase.
A great choice for workplaces; a fairly good choice for homes. If a loud water pump isn’t a problem, the Saeco HD 8927/47 Pico Baristo can be considered as one of the best automatic espresso machines that you could bring home.
The Oracle Touch by Breville is justly named. It will produce the best cappuccino and latte that a super-automatic can turn up with. This machine is simply a powerhouse.
The milk texture quality is to die for. This device is sure to give you a velvety mouthful of quality caffeine every morning!
With a touch screen operation swipe and select which drink you are craving for, and the Oracle does the rest for you.
Although it is not entirely super-automatic in every sense of the word. This device gives you a fair level of control. Coffee strength, milk texture, and temperature are adjustable. You can save up to 8 personalized combinations and can name them as you wish.
A steam boiler, an espresso boiler, and a digital PID control make up the triple heat system of the device. The only bump on the road with Breville BES990BSSUSC Fully Automatic Espresso Machine is that you may find it difficult to obtain a replacement water filter for the device once the original disposable water filter wears off.
And then, there is the price tag. It may seem a bit expensive if you are not a coffee fanatic willing to spend a hefty sum for a worthy cup of coffee.
If you are a coffee addict and don’t mind the price tag, Oracle Touch by Breville is your partner in attaining the best home barista status among friends!
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Calling all entry-level baristas and casual drinkers- Saeco XSmall Vapore awaits!
For casual coffee drinkers and beginners who have just started to discover their inner barista, Saeco XSmall Vapore is a perfect partner to begin with. It is an adorable semi-automatic espresso machine with which you can practice the art of coffee making without spending a lot from your wallet!
It can brew every type of coffee delicacy while giving you a bit of a hands-on experience especially with the milk frothing wand. The ‘X’ in the name XSmall signifies that it is super compact, so it will easily fit into the most limited countertops.
The design is pretty appealing to the 90’s kids; the younger ones may not really understand why it looks the way it does. It is entirely black sturdy plastic with a little bit of metal here and there.
This is not a wise pick for power drinkers though. The manufacturer Philips has not equipped Saeco XSmall Vapore with a lot of features. Already mentioned, most of it is plastic, meaning that it is not meant to last a lifetime.
The water reservoir has a very limited capacity of 33 oz. You may be beginning to see why it is not for coffee addicts who drain several cups of coffee a day. The bean hopper matches the water reservoir capacity and accommodates 6.5 oz of beans.
It comes with a flat ceramic grinder and a single aluminum boiler with thermo-block technology for rapid heating.
Certain features are completely absent. Adjustable spigot and temperature regulation options are a couple of them. Therefore, you do not have any control over the temperature setting and you will not be able to place cups of variable sizes on the device.
Also, there is no water filter but you can add one if you want. Conversely, it is super convenient to use, clean and maintain.
Best for beginners. Great value for money. Not recommended if you are looking for a high end highly programmable super-automatic espresso machine.
While Mr. Coffee may not be a feature-packed super-automatic espresso machine, it ensures great value for money.
It is a decent automatic espresso machine for home well under $500. It brews good quality coffee.
This device stands out with its ability to produce high-quality crema. It also comes with a few handy extra accessories like the frothing pitcher and a measuring cup.
The water reservoir capacity is limited ( 40 oz ), but it should not be a problem if you are willing to refill it on time.
While using Mr. Coffee Cafe Steam Automatic Espresso and Cappuccino Machine bear in mind that the espresso needs to be manually turned off, or else it will overfill your cup.
If you happen to forget that, don’t worry. The drip catcher is removable and washable.
However, the downside to this espresso brewer is that it overheats after steaming milk consecutively. One way to avoid that is to brew all the shots before dealing with the milk.
Great value for money. Good for regular at-home espresso preparation.
This is a budget-friendly bean-to-cup machine in its true sense. Just set your desired brew strength and length and let your Philips 2200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine do the rest!
It costs a little above $500 while at the same time providing a decent level of convenience and performance that one expects to get from a fully automatic espresso machine. In spite of that, we can’t really call it feature-packed.
It has a very stylish outlook. The body is chiefly plastic with chromium-plated areas here and there.
The features that deserve to be highlighted are its two drinks buttons- one dedicated for espresso and the other for coffee. The Panarello steam wand does frothing on its own but gives you control over the milk temperature.
It is moderately programmable. You can adjust the dose, shot time and temperature. It can accommodate cups between 3 to 5.5 inches.
This device also has a bypass doser for your pre-ground coffee.
It does not come with a water filter but encourages you to purchase AquaClean separately and couple these together so that you don’t have to worry about regular descaling routines. The single boiler comes with thermo-block technology.
This machine is an energy saver as well. It is armed with an auto-off feature that takes care of your bills.
This device lies somewhere between a high-end feature-packed super-automatic espresso maker and a limited capacity beginner level espresso machine. The price tag also lies somewhere in between the two ends.
The bottom line is that it is an affordable and decent fully automatic espresso machine for home and/or office. It definitely provides good value for money.
This device is a strong contender for the best super-automatic espresso machine under $1000. It is equally suitable for home and office.
Under 60 seconds it can translate beans into a supreme drink! Honestly, we had a hard time figuring out the cons of this device.
It comes with a flat touch panel with fairly simple icons that don’t need a lot of getting used to. You get to determine the number of grounds, and the amount of water and milk.
To get a double shot of espresso, you just need to tap on the espresso button twice. The convenience that Philips provides here is commendable.
The latte go milk carafe will give you supreme quality silky smooth foam, but bear in mind, it is fully automatic so you do not have any control over it.
The machine remembers the last customized settings for each of your drinks but you won’t be able to save any of it. The bean hopper comes with an aroma seal that promises to retain the flavor of the beans.
Unlike Philips 2200 series, AquaClean comes as a part of the unit. So, you won’t need to buy it separately.
It will make sure that you don’t need to descale your device before brewing at least 5000 cups. The device also reminds you when to descale.
There is a removable basket where spent grounds are dropped so that you can easily empty its contents later. The spout allows cups up to 5.5 inches in height.
This device shuts down every 15 minutes or so due to its auto-off feature. This could be a bit bothersome.
The device requires a bit of careful maintenance. The manufacturer recommends cleaning the brew group once a week and oiling its parts after every 500 cups interval.
You must consider this wonderful device if you have a budget of around $1000 and want to enjoy the convenience of a sophisticated super-automatic espresso machine.
It costs a bit more than Philips 2200 Series. In exchange, it provides you with plenty of conveniences and comforts.
There is a full range of features that you can enjoy with Jura D6. To start with, the menu is user friendly and at the same time quite intuitive. It offers 4 coffee strength options.
A powerful thermal block ensures very fast heating. A semi-automatic milk frother will give a rich foam while at the same time giving you enough control over the process.
The device uses the pulse extraction process to bring the maximum out of the coffee beans. However, there is no bypass doser, so you won’t be able to use pre-ground coffee.
If you want to command the mechanical barista that sits in your kitchen without budging from your couch, you can connect your device to a Jura Smart Connect Bluetooth Adapter. This quite interestingly sets this device apart from its competitors.
The dose, shot time and temperature are programmable.
The water tank capacity is 1.8 L. There is a coffee grounds waste bin that can store up to 16 cups of used grounds. Bean hopper accommodates 200 gms of beans.
Jura D6 also comes with an energy-saving auto-off timer. The great thing about it is that you can set the duration of inactivity after which it should shut down.
An impressive super-automatic espresso machine offering a wide range of functions that also happens to be quite affordable. Jura D6 clearly deserves a spot on the list of our top 12 best automatic espresso machines!
Despite our long list, the buying guide will tell you what obvious features you should be looking for when you’re out shopping for an automated espresso machine. It’s time to take some notes!
The first thing that you need to do is to decide what type of automatic espresso machine suits you. The labels- automatic, semi-automatic and super-automatic will help you narrow down your options. Conversely, the three labels are often loosely termed and are interchangeable. So it is better not to count on the label only.
The capacity of the water reservoir, milk carafe and bean hopper is something you must look into before making the purchase.
If it is just you the automatic espresso machine is meant to serve, then a small machine with a limited capacity water tank and bean hopper is enough.
On the other hand, if you intend to serve your family or planning to set the device up in your workplace, opt for something that comes with a satisfactory water reservoir, bean hopper, and milk carafe size.
A double boiler will save you time. A machine that is armed with a double boiler will do the brewing and steaming simultaneously. On the other hand, one that comes with a single boiler will do the chores one after another.
Having a built-in grinder would mean that you won’t need to buy a burr grinder separately. A 100% ceramic grinder is our favorite as it retains the aroma of the coffee beans.
The brew group is undoubtedly the most important part of your automatic espresso machine. It is the place where the actual brewing takes place.
The built-in ones come with a convenient self-clean feature. The detachable ones have their own advantage. They are easy to handle and clean.
Your portafilter is good if it can process 16-22 grams of grounds per serving. Low-end portafilters are smaller, hence the quality of your espresso may be compromised.
If you like the idea of brewing the perfect espresso from the comfort of your couch, you may want to look for a Bluetooth connection and in-app operation in your bean-to-cup machine. This surely is a lucrative feature for the tech freaks out there.
A manually controlled steam wand will give you more control. With just enough practice you would get a better result than any automatic steam wand. The automatic variety simply does the work for you.
The more high end your super-automatic espresso machine is, the more programmable it gets. The more programmable it is, the more you can customize your espresso.
Look for the number of removable components in the device that you are eyeing. Removable components are convenient to use and easy to clean.
Moreover, you may want to consider the materials the machine is built with. Plastic tends to wear off in the long run, irrespective of how much you care for the device. Stainless steel is a better option.
Go for reliable brands. DeLonghi, Breville, Gaggia, Philips, and Jura are a few names in the world of coffee makers that you can rely on.
Now, let’s get on with the frequently asked questions.
Do not take the term ‘self-cleaning” literally. Even if the machine is capable of cleaning itself, it requires some work from the consumer’s end.
The super-automatics come with a rinse cycle that flushes the brew unit clean every time the machine is turned on and off. Furthermore, some super-automatic espresso machines come with auto descaling functionality.
Even with these features, the consumer needs to pour a descaling solution into the water reservoir, activate the descaling function, and at the end, add fresh water for a new rinsing cycle.
Pros of a removable brew unit:
1. Easily removed (duh)
2. Easily rinsed and cleaned
3. Easily repaired and replaced
Cons of a removable brew unit:
1.Reinserting the brew unit may be difficult and it may not get properly reattached. This will make the machine malfunction.
Pros of a fixed brew unit:
1. There is no chance that the brew unit will be misaligned and malfunction.
Cons of a fixed brew unit:
1. Requires a very specific maintenance process
2. You have to buy the cleaning tablets
3. Repair is more expensive
It cannot be definitely said that one is better than the other. But surely we can compare and contrast to get an overall idea.
Ceramic burr grinders do not generate a lot of heat. This ensures that your coffee beans are not over-roasted, hence, the aroma is preserved.
This does not necessarily mean that your metal burr grinder is going to spoil your beans. Most of the time even a metal burr grinder won’t heat up significantly.
Although ceramic burr grinders are known to be more durable they are prone to shatter if a foreign object enters.
Ceramic burr grinders are less noisy than metal burr grinders.
So, what it comes down to is, although a ceramic burr grinder is a great feature, it does not really mean that you should be discouraged if the machine you have an eye on has a metal grinder in place.
As super-automatic espresso machines are getting increasingly popular, the parts are usually available and the repair will cost you around the same as a manual or less complicated espresso machine.
The right coffee beans for your super-automatic espresso machine are the less oily ones- the medium roast beans.
This is because greasy beans or beans with an oily texture can cause damage to your espresso machine. Dark roasted coffee beans are usually oily.
You can, but you should not.
The mineral content in hard water is not good for your automatic espresso machine. You should use distilled water instead.
Nonetheless, if you intend to use tap water, make sure you descale your automatic espresso machine properly and on a regular basis to keep it efficient.
You can if your automatic or super-automatic espresso machine offers a bypass/second chamber for pre-ground coffee. DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM3300, Gaggia Brera Super-automatic espresso machine, and Gaggia Anima Prestige are a few that offer this feature.
There is only one proper way of descaling your automatic espresso machine. Use a liquid descaler that is marketed for descaling coffee pots.
Please do not opt for the DIY descaling methods on the Internet. If you do, you will end up ruining your perfectly functioning automatic espresso machine.
Here are a few things that you could do to get your automatic espresso machine to
1. Function to its optimum level.
2. Avoid oily coffee beans.
3. Keep your machine clean.
4. Use distilled water.
5. Descale your machine in the proper way and on a regular basis.
6. Follow the user manual that comes with the machine.
Here are a few things that you could do to get your automatic espresso machine to function to its optimum level.
With a 360 degree analysis of our top 12 best automatic espresso machines in 2020 and some personal insight on what to look for in your ideal home or office bean-to-cup machine, this article should be fairly enough to navigate you through the world of mechanical baristas and their manufacturers.
If you are satisfied that you have done enough homework, you should probably take your pick and go ahead with your purchase.
Afterall, espressos are best tasted, not read about!