The best Italian espresso machine offers better-tasting espresso at home, which can save you money in the long run if you make frequent stops at your local cafe. These machines are built with high-quality components and will last a long time while supplying more consistent pressure, water quality, and water temperature.
When it comes to what qualifies as the best Italian coffee maker, some of their key features include a sleek design, a pressure gauge so you know you’re getting the right bars of pressure for great cups of espresso, volumetric programming, integrated grinders, and many other additional features. It’s without a doubt one of the best coffee makers you can buy.
However, Italian espresso machines are also very expensive. They require a significant upfront investment and are meant for people who are serious about great espresso. It’s not a purchase anyone should take lightly.
Keep reading our buying guide to learn more about choosing the best Italian espresso machine for you.
Top Italian Espresso Machines
#1 Bialetti Moka Express Italian Espresso Machine and Coffee Maker
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has an excellent build quality that is likely to have remain in good condition for more than a decade. It is also pretty easy to clean, and the waste produced is 100% biodegradable.
- Great build quality
- Decent 9-cup capacity
- 100% biodegradable waste
- Some may find its cup size capacity to be small
The Bialetti Moka Express Espresso machine is an ideal option for users who would like to enjoy authentic Italian coffee. It is more of a stovetop espresso maker, and it has a decent 9-cup capacity. The coffee maker prides itself on being 100% eco-sustainable since all its waste is biodegradable. It also has pretty good build quality, as its manufacturers are confident that it’ll stay in relatively good condition for up to ten years. Still, some might not appreciate that its 9-cup capacity refers to espresso size servings, as they may find this to be relatively small.
The boiler is relatively easy to use, as all owners will have to do is fill the boiler up to the safety valve with ground coffee, close the pot and place it on the stovetop. Its polished aluminum construction makes it pretty easy to clean, as users will only have to use mild detergent and soft cloth. To ensure that the coffee maker is clean and ready to use, owners are advised to make and waste a minimum of three Mokas before drinking.
#2 Primula Stovepop Espresso and Coffee Maker
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is very easy to clean and has a non-drip spout. It is available in three different colors and has a temperature-resistant knob and handle for safe pouring.
- Great for durability thanks to cast aluminum casing
- Lid has a temperature resistant knob and handle
- Has a non-drip spout
- Handle might be small for some
The Primula Stovetop Espresso maker is a great pick for buyers who want to make Italian Espresso from the comfort of their homes. The stovetop can produce up to six servings of smooth espresso coffee and is also admired for its use of strong cast aluminum to guarantee long-lasting durability. It has a temperature-resistant knob and handle for safe pouring, and once disassembled, users will only have to rinse its parts with water for a good clean. Unfortunately, some have complained that the handle is just a bit small for them to use.
The Espresso maker is available in a red, black, or silver color and is certified to work on all ceramic and gas stovetops. Its no-drip spout makes for smooth pouring, and its silicone gasket is designed not to collect any odor. Using it involves a simple four-step process, and for best results, owners are advised to use a 6 to 1 water to coffee ratio. This translates to 3 oz for each tablespoon of coffee.
#3 Zulay Classic Stovepop Espresso Machine and Coffee Maker
Award: BEST FOR TRAVEL
WHY WE LIKE IT: Its compact size and lightweight material make it an ideal option for travelers. It is also pretty easy to clean and is available in various colors.
- Compact size and small footprint
- Available in a wide variety of colors
- Very easy to clean
- Might not heat as well as a stainless steel pot would
The Zulay Classic Stovetop Espresso maker is ideal for users who wish to prepare up to 8 cups of espresso at a go. It is available in up to 15 colors and has a built-in spout that allows smooth pouring. It also has somewhat of a modern design and comes with an ergonomic handle that is also heat resistant. Its fine filter funnel can strain and lift coffee, and its built-in valve also adjusts the pressure in the pot. The stove pot is compatible with gas, electric, camping stove, or induction plate converter. However, some have complained that its aluminum metal does not heat as well as a stainless steel pot would.
This Zulay stovetop will only need to be occasionally rinsed with clean water, though the manufacturer recommends that users refrain from using soap. This coffee maker also has a relatively small footprint. Since it is made of high-quality and lightweight materials, owners shouldn’t have any difficulty packing it with their other luggage and using it for travel.
#4 Grosche Milano Stovetop Espresso Machine and Coffee Maker
Award: BEST FOR HEAT RESISTANCE
WHY WE LIKE IT: Both the handle and knob are rubber coated and heat resistant. There’s also a non-toxic silicon gasket seal that prevents leaks and a safety valve that keeps its internal pressure from increasing to a dangerous point.
- Rubber coating on handles for increased heat resistance
- Italian made pressure valve
- High-quality silicone seals
- Not ideal for use with an induction stove
This Grosche Milano Stovetop is an aluminum stovetop that features high-quality silicone seals, as well as a handle and knob that is soft to the touch, rubber-coated, and heat resistant. It is available in five different color options, and unlike other alternatives, users can opt for options where the handle and top knob are made of a wood-like aesthetic. This particular stovetop has a 6-cup capacity and is made of food-grade aluminum. Still, it is not ideal for use with an induction stove.
The safety valve on this Moka pot has been made in Italy, and it also has an Italian safety valve that does an excellent job of preventing its internal pressure from increasing to a dangerous point. Its silicone gasket seal prevents leaks and maintains a good level of pressure in the boiler and can be used with an electric coil stove or a gas stove.
#5 Delonghi EMK6 Italian Espresso Machine and Coffee Maker
Award: BEST FOR FROTHING
WHY WE LIKE IT: Its frothing function makes it stand out among many other options, and since its top half is also transparent, users will be able to watch their coffee brew.
- Comes with a milk frother
- Detachable base allows for convenient placement when brewing
- Easy one button operation
- Plastic upper compartment may cause difference in taste
The Delonghi EMK6 Espresso maker is a more modern take on the traditional stovetop. Buyers can switch between making either three or six cups of coffee, and since the container is transparent, users will be able to keep an eye on the brewing process. Its handle is both ergonomic and heat resistant for stress-free serving. However, some previous users have complained about a difference in taste because of the plastic upper compartment.
The standout feature of this espresso machine is the inclusion of a milk frother. The milk frother gives users the option to make their frothiest drinks, and because of its one-button operation, using it is pretty easy. The coffee maker also comes with an automatic shut-off feature to prevent coffee from burning or spilling over and a convenient keep-warm function that’ll keep the coffee hot for up to 30 minutes.
#6 BonVivo Intenca Stovetop Espresso Machine and Coffee Maker
Award: BEST FOR GREAT DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is designed very well, and its stainless steel casing is great because it does not tamper with the coffee’s taste. It is also dishwasher safe and very easy to clean.
- Elegant design
- Very easy to clean
- Stainless steel casing allows for uniform heat distribution
- Hinge is mounted on to the body instead of the handle
The BonVivo Intenca Stovetop Espresso maker boasts a more premium design and can brew coffee that serves up to six cups. It is available in copper, chrome, or black colors and has a stainless steel casing that allows for even heat distribution and is easy to clean. The espresso maker can be placed on an induction cooker, a ceramic glass cooktop, an electric cooker, or a gas cooker, and it also comes with a drip-free spout for problem-free serving. Unfortunately, some previous users did not like that its hinge is mounted to the body rather than the handle.
The coffee maker is pretty easy to use, and the manufacturer recommends that it is cleaned after each use. Fortunately, the Moka pot can be washed in a dishwasher. Its handle is pretty long and heat resistant for problem-free serving and is guaranteed to have coffee ready in as little as ten to fifteen minutes.
Beginner’s Guide to Italian Espresso Machines
What is an Italian Espresso Machine
Italy is known for its espresso, so Italian espresso machines are some of the best. As you might have guessed, these coffee brewing appliances are made in Italy, where they’ve perfected the art of making this concentrated coffee drink. Italian espresso machines are very high quality, but can also be very expensive. Because they’re manufactured by well-known and well-respected brands, these espresso machines work better than almost any other.
Italian Espresso Machines vs Standard Espresso Machines
An Italian espresso machine is built with higher quality materials like stainless steel instead of plastic, and in many cases, more features than something made by another manufacturer. They are sturdy, durable, and made to last many years. Their performance is more consistent than a standard espresso machine because they offer 9 bars of pressure or more, along with the appropriate water temperature, and they do it nearly 100% of the time.
Even the most compact Italian espresso machine will offer more quality materials, customizations, and advanced features than its non-Italian counterpart. Side-by-side, Italian espresso machines may cost more, but they make a better tasting shot of espresso and an easier user experience. While they may take longer to master, they’re a much better investment overall.
How Does an Italian Espresso Machine Work
The brewing process for an Italian espresso machine works in much the same way as any other espresso machine. While most Italian espresso machines have built-in water reservoirs, some can be hooked up directly to a water line rather than pulling stale water from a removable water tank. Next, they draw water into the appropriate boiler and heat it to just the right temperature. They generally also include a water filter to ensure consistency in water source and quality. Although, if you experience your coffee maker brewing weak coffee, there might be something else going on with your coffee maker.
A pump creates at least 9 bars of pressure, but often more, which is then used to push the water through the compacted coffee grounds in the puck. This consistent pressure extracts more flavor and creates the best tasting espresso.
They use either a rotary pump or a vibratory pump to create consistent pressure. If they have a double boiler, they draw water into the correct boiler based on which task they’re performing. For brewing espresso, water is heated to 200 degrees and for steaming milk, the water is heated to 212 degrees. This allows even greater flexibility to do both things at the same time and do them well. With single boiler machines, the same boiler does both tasks, so you have to wait for the water to heat up or cool down in order to do what you need to do.
Because consistency in pressure, temperature, and water source is so important for great espresso, Italian espresso machines are built to supply this all-around consistency, which is why they’re built with better quality and cost more money.
Most Italian espresso machines use saturated group heads, which means they’re exposed directly to the boiler. They’re more expensive and harder to repair, but they last a lot longer than semi-saturated group heads and they provide more stable pressure, heat, and consistency.
Most Italian espresso machines also include a steam wand. These wands are fully articulated and positioned on the side of the machine, making it easy to steam milk while brewing espresso. This flexibility and versatility afford users a better experience, but it can also mean a steeper learning curve.
Italian espresso machines, no matter how many boilers or group heads, have ergonomic designs that make them much more efficient. This offers you a more user friendly experience than many other manufacturers.
Why should you buy an Italian Espresso Machine?
An Italian espresso machine offers great flavor, ease of use, and extreme consistency. This results in great tasting espresso that you can enjoy on its own or put in a cappuccino or a latte. On the contrary, you may be more interested in learning about the best iced coffee maker.
Is an Italian Espresso Machine Worth Buying?
- It’s easy to use: An Italian espresso machine offers more flexibility and versatility in terms of functions and capabilities. This makes it much easier to use because you can often do multiple tasks simultaneously with a more accurate water temperature.
- It offers more consistency: The use of a saturated group head, accurate temperature settings, the right amount of pressure, and clean water enables greater consistency for a great shot of espresso every time.
- It will last a long time: These machines are made with high quality materials and components, ensuring that they will last a very long time. For espresso and coffee lovers, this is an investment you don’t want to take lightly.
Why an Italian Espresso Machine May Not Be For You
- They’re expensive: Italian espresso machines often cost a lot more than other types of espresso machines. A machine of this caliber is meant for people who are looking to make a long-term investment in making espresso at home. While consumer machines may not cost as much as commercial machines, they’re still some of the most expensive.
How Long Will an Italian Espresso Machine Last?
An Italian espresso machine will last at least 10 years. They are often built to last even longer and you may find that your machine is still running smoothly after 20 years. With proper cleaning and maintenance, this machine is well worth the cost, because it will last a very long time. If you’re looking for some of the best specialty coffee makers, you should read more about the best Jura coffee maker.
How to Choose an Italian Espresso Machine
An Italian espresso machine is an investment, so there are some key considerations when choosing the right one for you. You should start with the features you want, followed by the level of automation and size.
Italian Espresso Machine Key Factors
1. What features do I need?
Italian espresso machines come with plenty of features like dual boilers, multiple group heads, LCD displays, PID controllers, articulated steam wands, water filters, and so much more. It’s important to understand how any option affects how you brew your espresso so that you know what will be beneficial to you and what won’t.
Dual boilers allow you to brew a shot of espresso and steam milk at the same time, by supplying water at just the right temperature for each task. However, They’re larger and more expensive than single boilers, and if you don’t need the ability to steam milk, they’re not worth the extra cost.
Multiple group heads allow you to brew more than one shot of espresso at once, which is convenient for multiple people or for creating double shots. Again, they’re larger and more expensive, so they’re only worth it for larger households or people who entertain.
Pay particular attention to the pressure an Italian espresso machine can supply. The minimum for great espresso is 9 bars, but more is generally better — to a point. At 15 bars of pressure, you’ll get a quality shot, but anything over and above that doesn’t make a noticeable difference. Paying money for a machine that advertises as much as 19 or 20 bars of pressure isn’t worth the extra cost.
Investing in an espresso machine with a grinder, like a ceramic burr grinder, can enhance your experience and help to create authentic espresso. It gives you complete control over the size of your grind, especially when the machine is equipped with this particular special feature.
From LCD displays to articulated steam wands, and water filters to a built-in grinder, you have to choose which other features will add to your experience and which are superfluous. If you don’t need something, it will likely just get in the way, take up room, and cost you money that you don’t need to spend.
2. What level of automation should I choose?
There are plenty of automation options, from a manual machine to a super-automatic machine. A manual espresso machine requires you to grind and tamp your own beans, apply your own pressure, and do all of the shot timing on your own. While these machines are simple in design, they require more knowledge about how to make espresso. However, they afford a lot of customization.
Semi-automatic Italian espresso machines still allow for a lot of user control but also require some skill. You’ll grind and tamp the beans yourself and determine your own shot timing, but they can be less expensive than fully automatic options.
A fully automatic Italian espresso machine takes over the shot timing for you and will stop the flow on its own. It takes away some of the customization abilities but doesn’t require as much prior experience.
A super automatic Italian espresso machine will do nearly everything for you. It can grind, tamp, and determine shot timing. Some even froth milk automatically. These machines are very expensive, but you can make espresso, cappuccino, and lattes with just the push of a button.
3. What size espresso machine do I need?
The size of the Italian espresso machine you choose depends on how much room you have and how much espresso you make. If you have a large household with plenty of space or you like to entertain often, a larger machine with a dual boiler design and multiple group heads could be beneficial.
On the other hand, if you live alone or you don’t have a very big kitchen, a compact single boiler machine will work much better for you.
Additionally, if you’re just looking for good beans to drink, you’ll want to check out our list of the leading Keurig coffee.