Best Italian Espresso Machine for Home Use [3rd One NOT TO MISS]

Why do coffee aficionados think of Italy when it comes to espresso? That’s because Espresso was invented in Italy in 1906 when an Italian used steam to speed up the brewing of coffee. Thereafter, espresso became very popular in Italy and spread to Europe and then all over the world. So, without a doubt, the best place to find authentic espresso is in a coffee bar in Italy. However, it is not practical to travel to Italy just for that espresso. So why not bring that Italian espresso experience back home with an Italian espresso machine? In this review, we will look at 5 of the best Italian Espresso machines for home use made by famous Italian brands.

 

 

Best Italian Espresso Machine Brands

When we talk about espresso machines, especially Italian ones, three names pop up. Gaggia, Delonghi and Rancilio are the most popular Italian brands when it comes to Italian espresso makers. Let talk a bit about them.

Gaggia

Espresso machine product category may NOT exist if we didn’t have Gaggia. This is because Gaggia is the company who invented the modern espresso machines using a piston mechanism. This mechanism allows espresso to be brewed without using steam.

From its beginnings in the 1940s in Italy, Gaggia has grown into a superbrand renowned for its design, built quality and innovation in the espresso machine technology, both in the domestic and commercial espresso maker market.

For the domestic market, it makes both super automatic and manual espresso machines. So if you like a classy Italian espresso machine, Gaggia will always be the first company to go to!

Delonghi

Delonghi is another brand based in Italy with a long history dating back to 1902. Unlike Gaggia, Delonghi initially made heaters and air conditioners. It subsequently expanded into household electrical appliances and then espresso machines.

Delonghi makes both superautomatic and manual espresso machines. It’s well known for its automatic milk technology which frothes milk automatically. In fact, its automatic milk technology is also used by Nespresso in its Lattissima models.  

Rancilio

Rancilio is also an Italian espresso machine manufacturer. It started making espresso machine since 1927 for the commercial markets. Leveraging on their expertise in commercial espresso machines, Rancilio created an espresso maker suitable for the home kitchen in 1997. And this machine became the famous Silvia which is their only home espresso maker in the market.

 

Best Italian Espresso Machines

#1 Gaggia Brera

Designed in Italy, Gaggia Brera is a compact super automatic espresso machine which makes the freshest espresso in a convenient way. At the same time, it offers the flexibility to froth milk with its integrated Pannarello wand for your cappuccino or latte. With some advanced features to make excellent espresso, this is one of the best espresso machines under 500 dollars for the value it delivers.

Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine

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Unique Selling Points of Gaggia Brera

 1. Advanced features to make excellent espresso

Gaggia Brera comes with many advance features to make a better espresso.

Heat generated during grinding can destroy the aromatic compounds in coffee. To minimize this effect, this Italian espresso maker comes with an integrated ceramic burr grinder instead of a metal one as ceramic grinder generates less heat during grinding. The grinder also comes with 5 grind size levels to vary the coffee taste.

In addition, this Italian espresso maker comes with a pre-infusion feature. This feature pre-wets the ground coffee bed in the portafilter and provides a more optimized extraction every single time.

Water, the other important ingredient for making espresso, is not neglected by Gaggia Brera since impurities in water can alter the espresso taste. Gaggia Brera comes with the Mavea water filter which uses a four stage filtration process to remove unwanted materials from the water.

2. Easy to clean and maintain

Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine front loading coffee dreg drawerGeneral cleaning is easy with this Italian espresso maker. The water tank and coffee ground drawer are removable for cleaning and can be accessed from the front. The brew unit is also removable and can be accessed from the side service door.

Additionally, its automatic self-rinsing feature will activate when the machine starts and when brewing is done. During this process, it dispenses a small amount of water to rinse and heat all the machine components.

This Italian espresso machine also comes with descaling alert to prompt when it is time to perform descaling. So, it relieves you the task to track your descaling schedule.

Other features of Gaggia Brera

Gaggia Adapting System: This system automatically accommodates the grinder to operate according to your preferred coffee beans.

Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine paranello wand to steam milk

Pannarello Steam Wand

Pannarello Steam Wand: An intake hole is used in the wand to suck air directly into the milk to create foam for your favourite cappuccino and latte.

Powerful 15 bar pump: Adequate pressure is provided by the pump to maximize espresso extraction

Push-button controls & LED display: It is intuitive to make your selections.

Rapid steam technology: This technology enables steam to be ready in 9 seconds and thus minimizing the wait time between steaming milk and making espresso.

250 grams (8.8 ounces) coffee bean hopper: A single espresso shot uses about 8 gram of coffee. With such a large capacity, you can store coffee beans enough to make more cups of espresso for a single refill.

40 ounces water tank: Though not a huge capacity, 40 ounces is sufficient to make 20 cups of single shot espresso before a need to topup.

Bypass doser: If you wish to try other pre-ground coffee or even decaf coffee, you have the option to use this doser to bypass the grinder.

Adjustable Dispensing Spout:  You can adjust the sprout to fit your cup size to avoid the nasty coffee spills

Compact. Its height is just 12.4 inches. Together with front loading used coffee drawer and water tank, it can be conveniently placed under kitchen cabinets.

Video of Gaggia Brera in action.

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Pros:

  • Automatic bean-to-cup espresso brewing
  • Comes with steam wand to manually froth milk for latte
  • Able to use coffee beans and pre-ground coffee
  • Classy stainless steel built
  • Compact
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to clean
  • Front loaded water tank & used coffee drawer
  • Can fit under kitchen cabinets

 Cons:

  • small water tank capacity
  • Only have 5 grind size levels
  • Single boiler, thus unable to perform brewing espresso and steaming of milk simultaneously.

 

 

#2 Gaggia Classic 14101

If you want to make quality espresso, you have to check out Gaggia Classic 14101. This Italian espresso machine is a mid price range semi-automatic espresso maker with commercial components which helps to make better espresso.

Gaggia 14101 Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker

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Unique Selling Points of Gaggia Classic 14101

1. Made to Last

This Gaggia Classic is made to last both in the design and usage compartments.

Just look at the design. Don’t you find it really unique? Look at the “big head”, it really stands out from all other espresso makers I have seen.

Gaggia 14101 Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker timeless design

The Big Hread design

One of the best Italian espresso machine, Gaggia Classic has been around since 1991. In fact, is one of Gaggia’s best selling semi-automatic espresso maker. So there’s just one word to describe this design – It is timeless.

Gaggia 14101 Classic Semi-Automatic Commercial portafilter

Commercial grade portafilter

A timeless design is not worth much without durable parts. And Gaggia Classic is really made to last. Its use of commercial-grade components – chrome plated portafilter and brew head made of heavy duty and marine-grade brass  – just gives assurance on the longevity of the machine. And Classic is packed in a solid stainless steel housing, adding to the durability.

And this stainless steel just adds on to the design, giving the Classic a very rugged brushed feel. If you are re-designing the look and feel of your kitchen, Gaggia Classic is really a wonderful option to consider.

2. Makes great tasty espresso

Gaggia Classic doesn’t just look good. It also has terrific features that make really good espresso.

Classic comes with a high-voltage boiler and 17 bar pump. Together, they provide enough steaming power and pressure to achieve the ideal brew temperature and pressure optimal for espresso extraction.

Temperature stability throughout the extraction is key to getting a good cup of espresso. In normal espresso makers, there’s a temperature drop after espresso is extracted in the brew head.

In the case of Classic, it uses commercial-grade portafilter and brew head. The heavy-duty marine-grade brass stabilizes the temperature in this part of the process. So your espresso taste doesn’t change much as it leaves the brew head, thus preserving the espresso quality.

3. Easy to use
Gaggia 14101 Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker has easy controls

heavy duty rocker switch

Gaggia Classic is really easy to use.

If you look at other espresso makers, you will find a ton of switches and options. Of course, it is a good thing to have lots of features. But it can be daunting for someone new to making espresso. I mean using a semi-automatic espresso maker already requires quite a bit of skills. With so many options, it just adds to the confusion to making a good cup of espresso.

In this Classic, fortunately, there are only 3 switches. One to turn the machine on and off, one for starting the brewing and another for steaming. These rocker switches are also heavy duty and can be easily flipped. And of course, for safety reasons, you get an indicator light to show that it is heating.

Although using a semi-automatic requires skills, it’s actually not that much.

Classic has already taken care of 2 important factors for optimal espresso extraction – brew temperature and pressure – with its high-voltage boiler and 17 bar pump. So there’s no need to pay attention to these 2 factors, like you would in a totally manual espresso maker.

That leaves only the tamping of coffee grounds requiring our attention. But this one thing is not exactly easy to master. Too much pressure, you get an under extracted bitter coffee. Too little pressure, you end up with a flat or sour tasting coffee.

Gaggia 14101 Classic Semi-Automatic Commercial pressurized filter basket

Commercial pressurized filter basket

Fortunately, Gaggia comes with pressurized portafilter baskets. This makes it easy to get consistent espresso shot quality and a thick crema layer out of almost any type of coffee without any skill. For more control, you can also use the included commercial-style filter basket. With this option, you can use the pressurized baskets to make espresso effortlessly on busy days and use the commercial-style basket on other days to develop your own technique!

For those who loves latte, it is easy to froth milk with the attached pannarello wand. Just dispense hot water, steam and froth.

4. Easy to clean
3 way solenoid value

3 way solenoid value

Emptying used coffee puck can be a sticky business. To solve this, Gaggia Classic comes with a 3-way solenoid value which is commonly found in commercial espresso machines. This features acts to release the pressure off the coffee and allows a dry coffee puck for easy discarding.

The use of stainless steel for the housing and the chrome plated surface for the portafilter and brew head also makes it easy to clean stains off it. This is in contrast to plastic surface, which is more sticky.   

Other Features of Gaggia 14101

Dual coffee sprout: Save more time with the delivery of 2 cups of espresso at once

Single and double shot stainless steel filter baskets: You get a choice to choose a stronger coffee on the days when you need it.

Hot water dispenser: The pannarello wand can also dispense hot water for Americano or even tea.

Compatible with preground coffee or ESE coffee pods: This allows the use coffee pods if you do not wish with to deal with coffee mess on busy days.

Cup Warmer : Pre-warm your cups to avoid a temperature drop in your espresso

72-ounce water tank: One of the largest water tank for a home espresso maker. This can make you many many cups of espresso, before needing another refill.

Commercial grade 58 mm portafilter: This portafilter is bigger than typical ones in home espresso makers and allows more coffee to be packed in it.

Dual heating elements: These elements allows a faster heatup time. The boiler can be heated up in about 5 minutes, and steam in just 20 seconds.

Compact: it measures 8 inches (W) x 9.5 inches (L) x 14 inches (H)

Video of Gaggia Classic 14101 in action.

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Pros:

  • Timeless design
  • Compact
  • Durable built with commercial grade components
  • Make great tasty espresso
  • Easy to use
  • Extremely easy to clean
  • Allows manual frothing of milk
  • Huge water tank of 72 ounces capacity
  • Compatible with preground coffee or ESE coffee pods
  • Dual coffee sprout

Cons:

  • More expensive. But it’s worth it, considering its commercial grade components and sturdy built

Update:

Gaggia Classic has been replaced with Gaggia Classic Pro. Essentially, Classic Pro comes with 3 key improvements – a commercial steam wand, new rocker switch interface and quieter brewing.

 

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#3 Delonghi Magnifica ESAM3500

DeLonghi ESAM3500 Magnifica Super Automatic designed in Italy

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If you love cappuccino and latte but want to make them effortlessly, Delonghi Magnifica ESAM3500 is the most obvious Italian espresso machine for your home. And here’s why.

Unique selling points of Delonghi Magnifica ESAM3500

1. Easy to make consistent aromatic tasty espresso every time

DeLonghi ESAM3500.N Magnifica coffee grinderThe longer the time ground coffee is exposed to the air, the more of the flavours in the coffee get oxidized by the air. The result is a less rich and tasty espresso.

With the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM3500, there is no time lag since it is a fully automatic bean to cup espresso machine. Meaning you put in the beans, and press a button. Then the machine grinds the beans and immediately pass the ground coffee to the brewing unit for brewing.

In addition, it uses a conical burr grinder which gives greater consistency in the coffee grind size. Consistent grind size allows hot water to flow uniformly over the coffee grounds and thus maximizes the extraction of coffee flavours.

Its stainless steel double boiler brewing unit is another important factor to a superb tasty espresso. The boiler distributes the heat evenly and allows the espresso to be extracted at the ideal extraction temperature every single time. This means you get a consistent espresso quality every single shot.

 2. Makes espresso and cappuccino automatically. That’s convenient!

DeLonghi ESAM3500.N Magnifica automatic milk frotherDelonghi Magnifica comes with a patented cappuccino system frother. This automatically steams milk and creates the creamy froth for your favourite cappuccino or latte.

Together with the automatic bean-to-cup espresso making, this means you can make cappuccino automatically. All is needed to put in the coffee beans, make a few selections and voila, you get your cappuccino in your cup.

3. Easier to clean than typical super automatics

A super automatic espresso maker tends to have more parts and is harder to clean. This is not so with this Magnifica. It has a compact brew unit that is removable. This means you will find it easier to clean the nooks and crannies inside the machine, with the brew unit removed.

The coffee residues accumulated inside the coffee sprout can alter the coffee taste. Hence, it is a good habit to clean it regularly before each brew. Thankfully, Magnifica comes with an automatic rinsing cycle which runs hot water through the sprout during power down or standby mode.

As for the milk residues inside the milk sprout, you only need to press a button to rinse it.

Another useful feature is the descaling alert. Regular descaling helps to remove the calcium built up in the water tank and pipes during the heating of water. If left untouched, this calcium will cause inefficient heating. These impurities also affect the taste of the espresso.

With the descaling alert, this takes the away the hassle from you to track your descaling schedule.

Other typical features which helps in the cleaning includes removable water tank, drip tray, milk container and used coffee drawer. In addition, all part can be washed with dishwater.

4. Plenty of options to adjust

DeLonghi ESAM3500 Magnifica select coffee quantityWith Magnifica, the options don’t end with just espresso and cappuccino. You can also make Americano, tea or even hot cereal with the hot water sprout.

There are also 5 levels to vary your coffee intensity, from extra mild to extra strong. Besides that, you get 3 cup size choices, from the small ristretto to the large Americano.

You also can adjust the amount of frothed or steam milk for your cappuccino and lattes.

In the coffee grinder, there are 13 levels of grind sizes, allowing you to control how the coffee compounds dissolve in the water and ultimately the espresso taste.

The digital menu also allows you to program various settings. You can set the time for the machine to automatically start making your coffee and the time for it to shutdown automatically. The temperature of the coffee and water hardness can also be adjusted.

 

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Other Features of Delonghi ESAM3500

Dual boiler systems:  This system allows 2 different temperatures for steaming milk and extracting espresso to be maintained at the same time. This means that there is no wait time between making espresso and steaming milk. Few espresso machines have this feature in this price range.

Removable 25 ounces milk container: Typical cappuccino uses 2 ounces of milk. So you can effectively make 10 cups of cappuccino before a need to topup milk. You can easily remove it for cleaning or store milk leftovers in the fridge.

Removable 60 ounces water tank: Typical espresso uses about 2 ounces of water. The large capacity allows 30 cups of coffee to be made with each refill. You can also easily monitor the amount of water left with the level indicator.

Removable Used Coffee drawer: This drawer can store coffee waste for up to 14 cups of espresso, giving you the convenience for disposing the waste and cleaning at a more convenient time.

200gram bean container: A single shot espresso uses about 8 grams of coffee. So you can store enough coffee beans to make cup after cup of espresso before needing to top up again. Another convenient feature!

Ground coffee funnel: There may be times when you wish to try certain ground coffee brands, decaffeinated coffee or specialty coffee powder. The funnel allows bypassing of the grinder to do just that, giving you yet another option!

Hot water spout: You can make tea, hot chocolate or even hot cereals

Adjustable coffee sprouts: Can accommodate 12 ounces cups

Instant reheat: this allows Magnifica to maintain an ideal brewing temperature.

Cup Warming plate: Preheat your cups to reduce the temperature drop as espresso is poured from the sprout to cup. This will help to maintain the espresso quality.

Reasonably compact: with so many features, it only measures 13.39 by 17.32 by 18.11 inches

DeLonghi ESAM3500 Magnifica Super Automatic

DeLonghi ESAM3500 Magnifica Super Automatic

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Pros:

  • Integrated burr grinder to make freshest espresso
  • Automatic bean to cup espresso brewing
  • Automatic cappuccino automatically
  • Hot water sprout for Americano or hot tea
  • Able to use coffee beans or pre-ground coffee
  • Pretty compact
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to clean
  • Programmable auto brew start and shutdown
  • Large water tank of 60 ounces capacity
  • Large bean hopper of 200 grams capacity
  • Large used coffee drawer with 14 coffee pucks capacity
  • no wait time between making espresso and steaming milk

Cons:

  • Not able to use oily beans as it will clog the grinder and brew unit. But this common for most coffee grinders.

 

#4 Delonghi Dedica EC680M

Delonghi Dedica makes a great entry level semi-automatic espresso maker with integrated steam wand for aspiring Baristas. Here are some key benefits.

Delonghi EC680M DEDICA Espresso Machine designed in Italy

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Unique Selling points of Delonghi Dedica EC680M

1. Novice Friendly to espresso making

Consistent espresso extraction is difficult to master. Dedica lowers the learning curve for beginners by controlling the brew temperature and pressure, both which will affect the extraction. Its thermal block technology maintains the ideal brew temperature while its powerful 15 bar pump provides the optimum pressure. With these 2 factors taken care of, you can just put your mind on mastering the art of tamping coffee grounds.

But tamping is not easy to master. If done incorrectly, water will flow unevenly through the grounds and leads to a poor extraction. Fortunately, Dedica takes care of this aspect too with its pressurized portafilters. The result is a more evenly extracted espresso.

In other words, on a typical work day, you can still use Dedica conveniently to make a decent espresso. When time permits, you can spend time to hone your skill on the tamping process.

2. Easy to use

In addition to features to reduce the learning curve to making espresso, Dedica comes with other convenient features.

It is fast to use. With the ability to heat water in just 40 sec, you are able to get your espresso fast. Dedica’s rapid cappuccino system keeps the brew temperature at the ideal level so that there’s no need to wait before you make your next cup of espresso or cappuccino.

It also comes with an automatic flow stop feature which will stop dispensing espresso once the preset volume is reached. This means you can do your stuff once you press the start button.

Other Features of Delonghi EC680M

3-in-one filter holder: makes a single or double espresso shots. Also allows the use of easy-serve espresso (ESE) pod

Sleek and compact design: its stainless steel finish and compact footprint makes it easy to fit any tight countertop spaces.

35 ounces water tank: removable for easy refill and cleaning. Also dishwater safe. Water tank is transparent for easy viewing of the water level.

Removable drip tray: dishwasher safe for easy clean up

Manual milk frother: allows you to steam and froth milk for your latte and cappuccino.

Delonghi EC680M DEDICA Espresso Machine designed in Italy

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Pros:

  • Novice friendly to aspiring Barista
  • Easy to use
  • Elegant and compact design
  • Able to use preground coffee or ESE pods
  • Comes with manual milk frother

Cons:

  • Small water tank
  • Low cup height clearance

 

#5 Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine 

Rancilio Silvia is an Italian semi-automatic espresso maker that has stood the test of time with its classic linear design and commercial grade parts. Introduced over a decade ago, this is Rancilio’s only espresso machine model for the domestic market with 3 revisions being made over the years to this model.

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine

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Unique Selling Points of Rancilio Silvia

1. Made to last

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side PanelsWith Silvia, you can be rest assured to be able to use this traditional style semi-automatic espresso maker for many years. And why’s that? It is in terms of both its design and durability.

Silvia has a very classic design. Together with classy stainless steel panels, you get a timeless design which can easily fits well in any kitchen décor, especially one with plenty of stainless steel appliances.

Silvia is also made to last. It uses iron frame for its housing and rust-free stainless steel panels. Its parts are also commercial grade which we will cover shortly.

2. Makes great espresso

Rancilio has made Silvia based on its industrial espresso machine designs. Thus the espresso produced is really good. This is made possible through a combination of the various components.

The first is the chrome plated brass boiler and its 3 thermostats. The brass material is able to spread heat evenly. This allows the boiler to heat the water quickly and maintain the temperature for heavy use. The 3 thermostats will monitor the temperature in the espresso, steam and boiler to ensure the right temperature for espresso extraction every single brew.

Next is the commercial grade brass group head. In typical espresso machines, espresso extraction in the brew head experiences heat loss as hot water passes the coffee grounds. But Silvia’s commercial grade group head provides excellent heat stability during this process. And thus you get highly quality espresso extraction.

3. An ergonomic steam wand that makes silky microfoam milk

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine articulating steam wandSilvia comes with a steam wand that can rotate on a ball joint. This gives Latte lovers a wide range of motion to steam the milk. Its powerful steam boiler provide sufficient volume and velocity to roll 10 ounces of milk to create the perfect microfoamed milk for your latte. To top it up, the one-hole steam tip also makes it easy to control the milk steaming process.

4. Fast Recovery time between shots

Its Brass boiler has excellent heat distribution. So you don’t have to wait a long time for the water to heat up again in between shots.

5. Energy Efficient

The brass boiler is wrapped with a foam thermal insulator. This allows better heat retention and translates to savings in the energy consumption. In addition, the coffee machine shuts off automatically after 30 minutes of inactivity

Other Features of Rancilo Silvia

Ergonomic commercial grade portafilter: The ergonomic design allows you to lock it to the brew group head comfortably.

Removable 67 ounces water tank: The large capacity means lower topup frequency. When you need to refill, you can do that easily from the top or detach it to fill it from the sink.

Compact: Silvia’s linear design takes up a small countertop footprint. This allows a more efficient use of precious counter top.

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine

 

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Pros:

  • Classy design
  • Durable stainless steel housing with commercial grade components
  • Make excellent espresso
  • A ball-joint paranello wand, allowing wide range of motion
  • Fast recovery time between shots
  • Large water tank of 67 ounces
  • Energy efficient
  • Compact

 Cons

  • Shallow drip tray, requires emptying the drip tray more frequently.

 

Which is the Best Italian Espresso Machine to Buy?

If you are looking for an espresso machine made from Italy, these 3 Italian espresso machine brands are the go to brands. They have a long history of making espresso machines and have their respective technology know-how in making quality espresso machines.

For those who are just starting out their journey to becoming a Barista, you certainly can start with a cheaper Delonghi Dedica which is available under 300 dollars.

Related: Best Espresso Machine under $300

But if you are keen to use an espresso machine closer to the commercial ones, Gaggia Classic and Rancilio Silvia are definitely the best espresso machines with commercial grade features. And they are also likely to last longer.

If you just like to have a more convenient way of making cappuccino, Delonghi Magnifica ESAM3500 is definitely the best option.

Whichever you choose, making an espresso at home is definitely going to save your time from the long queues at the café, and significant amount of money over the long run. So investment in the best Italian espresso machine for home use is worthwhile!

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