Attention all caffeine addicts, it’s time to take your love affair with coffee to the next level.
Say goodbye to bland, boring cups of kettle coffee and hello to the rich, creamy goodness that is a well-made espresso. And not just any old espresso.
You want the best of the best, the creme de la creme of espresso machines.
Well, you’ve come to the right place. As a self-appointed coffee connoisseur, I’ve scoured the internet to bring you the ultimate guide to the best espresso machines in the UK.
What Makes a Great Espresso Machine?
Step 1: Decide you want to buy an espresso machine. Tick. Step 2: Choose the best one. Not so easy.
With so many espresso machines on the market, it can be tough to know what to look for.
Fear not. Here’s what I look out for:
- Pressure: A great espresso machine needs to have enough pressure to properly extract the coffee’s oils and flavours. Yes, coffee has oils and flavours. We’re talking about enough pressure to power a rocket to the moon!
- Temperature Stability: This is crucial for a great espresso. You’re looking for an espresso machine that can maintain a consistent temperature and heat up quickly. We want it to go from 0 to 100 real fast.
- Milk Frothing Ability: If you love a latte or cappuccino (and who doesn’t?) your espresso machine should also have the ability to froth milk to the perfect consistency. No froth, no latte.
- Ease of Use: Let’s face it, no one wants to spend hours figuring out how to work a complicated machine. A great machine should be easy to use off the bat.
- Design: Lastly, a great espresso machine should look good in your kitchen. We’re talking sleek, stylish, and sophisticated — or at the very least not offensive to the eye.
With these criteria in mind, let’s dive into the world of espresso machines and find the best one for you!
What is The Best UK Espresso Machine?
1. Sage the Dual Boiler
Good for: Best all-rounder
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line espresso machine, then the Sage the Dual Boiler is the one. This machine is a real powerhouse, delivering perfectly brewed espresso with ease. With a dual boiler system, you’ll be able to control the temperature of both the water and the steam, ensuring that every shot is as good as the last.
It’s got an LCD display and programmable features that allow you to customise your drinks to your exact specifications, and its sleek stainless steel design is a real showstopper.
Basically, it’s fancy.
While the Sage the Dual Boiler is a top-of-the-line espresso machine, it does come with a hefty price tag. Additionally, a few coffee buffs on TikTok (yes, Coffee TikTok is a thing) have reported issues with the steam wand leaking or malfunctioning over time. I didn’t have any problems with my machine, but it’s something to bear in mind.
I’m giving it a solid 9 out of 10. It’s a top-of-the-line machine that’s perfect for serious espresso enthusiasts who demand the best.
2. Sage Barista Express
Good for: High quality budget option
Hold onto your hats, coffee lovers, because I’ve got a slightly more budget-friendly Sage option next. The Sage Barista Express is the perfect machine for those of us who are looking for barista quality, without the barista price tag.
Still expensive, but a budget-friendlier* option that delivers the goods when it comes to taste, functionality, and style.
It comes with a built-in conical burr grinder that allows you to grind fresh coffee beans on the spot. Plus, the machine’s pre-infusion function ensures that you get the most out of every single shot.
When it comes to filter effectiveness, the Barista Express doesn’t disappoint. Its 54mm portafilter and high-quality tamper ensure that your coffee grounds are evenly distributed and firmly packed. And thanks to the machine’s powerful steam wand, you can easily froth milk for lattes, cappuccinos, and more. Touch wood, there are no reports of the wand malfunctioning over time.
In terms of heat retention, the Barista Express is a champ. Its thermocoil heating system ensures that your coffee is brewed at the optimal temperature, and its warming tray keeps cups nice and toasty.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Barista Express does require a bit of a learning curve. While it’s not the most complicated espresso machine on the market, it does take some time to get used to all of its features and functions. Be prepared to study up.
3. Lelit Bianca V3 Dual Boiler
Good for: A professional espresso machine for home
Next up, the Rolls Royce of espresso machines! The Lelit Bianca V3 Dual Boiler will have you feeling like a true barista in your own home.
Dare I say it, this machine can deliver some of the smoothest and richest espresso you’ll ever taste. The filter effectiveness is top-notch too — you won’t find any stray grounds in your cup with this bad boy.
The capacity is perfect for both solo coffee drinkers and for those with friends who need a lot of coffee. And if you’re worried about it taking up too much counter space, fear not: the Lelit Bianca V3 is compact enough to fit in even the smallest of kitchens.
The downside? This machine comes with a hefty price tag. But if you’re willing to invest, it will pay off in spades — it’s a professional-grade machine that will last you for years to come.
Overall, I’m giving the Lelit Bianca V3 Dual Boiler a perfect 10/10. It’s the crème de la crème of espresso machines, and worth every penny if you’re able to splash the cash.
4. DeLonghi Dedica
Good for: Best espresso machine under £200
Calling all budget-conscious caffeine lovers, I’ve found your match made in heaven: the DeLonghi Dedica. This machine won’t break the bank, but it will make a mean coffee.
It has a 15 bar pressure pump, which is coffee-talk for ‘you’ll get a shot of espresso with a rich and creamy crema every time’. With a sleek and slim design, it also won’t take up all your counter space.
But let’s talk about the real highlight of the Dedica: its price tag. At under £200, you’ll have plenty of extra ££ to spend on your favourite coffee beans. Plus, with the option to use ground coffee or ESE pods, you’ll have all the flexibility you need.
Of course, there are some downsides to this budget option.
The water tank is a bit small, so you’ll have to refill it frequently. And the milk frothing wand isn’t the easiest to use, so you might need some practice to get that perfect microfoam.
Overall, I’m giving the DeLonghi Dedica a solid 7 out of 10 mainly for its affordability. It might not be the fanciest machine out there, but it’s a great choice for anyone looking for a budget-friendly espresso fix.
5. Melitta Avanza Series 600
Good for: A fully automatic option
Looking for your own personal barista, without the awkward small talk? Look no further than the Melitta Avanza Series 600.
This option is easy to use, with simple controls that let you customise your coffee just the way you like it. And with its built-in grinder, you can ensure that your beans are freshly ground every time, giving you the best possible flavour.
Of course, no machine is perfect, and the Melitta Avanza Series 600 does have a few minor flaws. For one, I found it a bit noisy, so if you’re looking for a machine that can operate in stealth mode, this may not be the one for you. Additionally, the frother isn’t the best, so you may want to consider purchasing a separate frother if you’re a latte or cappuccino lover.
Overall, I’ll still give the Melitta Avanza Series 600 a solid 6/10. It’s a solid option for anyone who wants a fully automatic espresso machine.
6. Nespresso Magimix Vertuo
Good for: Best coffee machine under £100
If you’re looking for a machine under £100, my go-to is the Nespresso Magimix Vertuo. This little guy may be small in size, but it packs a mighty punch.
This machine uses Nespresso pods, which means no need for a pesky filter. Just pop in your pod, press a button, and voila — coffee magic! The Nespresso pods are a thing of beauty, with a range of different blends and intensities to suit all taste buds. And the machine itself has an adjustable cup size, so you can choose whether you want a tiny shot of espresso or a big ol’ mug of coffee to get you through the day.
Heat retention? Check. Style? Double check. Plus, it’s so easy to use that you’ll feel like a pro barista in no time.
Sure, some coffee connoisseurs might turn their noses up at the idea of using Nespresso pods, but life’s too short to be a coffee snob. If you’re looking for a machine that delivers great coffee at an affordable price, go ahead and treat yourself to some Nespresso goodness!
The only downsides to this machine are that you have to buy Nespresso-compatible pods which is a bit of a pain in the bum and I’d also say that the Vertuo kind of produces a little bit too much foam although, fortunately, that doesn’t really detract from the taste.
So there you have it, my top picks for the best espresso machines in town.
Whether you’re a pro barista or a coffee enthusiast on a budget, there’s a machine out there for you. Remember, a good espresso machine is like a trusted ally in the morning. Why settle for mediocre coffee when you can have a delicious, perfectly brewed cup at your fingertips? As the French say, “Il n’y a pas de café sans plaisir” – there’s no coffee without pleasure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are more expensive espresso machines better?
Short answer, yes. More expensive espresso machines tend to offer better quality, durability, and features compared to budget options. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a more expensive machine will produce better espresso than a cheaper one. It ultimately comes down to personal preference, experience, and skill in using the machine.
That being said, if you’re serious about making high-quality espresso at home and have the budget to invest in a more expensive machine, it may be worth considering. Just be sure to do your research and read reviews before making a purchase to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.
What is the difference between espresso machines and other coffee machines?
Espresso machines are designed specifically to produce espresso shots, which are the base for popular coffee types such as Americano, Latte and Cappuccino. They do this by forcing hot water through tightly packed, finely ground coffee. Other coffee machines, such as drip coffee makers or French presses, work by steeping coffee grounds in hot water.
Espresso machines generally have more features and capabilities than other machines, such as the ability to control the temperature or pressure of the water, which can change the taste.
Is it worth getting a professional machine?
It depends on your needs. If you’re a coffee connoisseur who wants to replicate the quality of a cafe-style espresso at home, a professional machine might be worth the investment. However, if you’re simply looking for a quick and easy cup of coffee, a professional machine may be overkill. Luckily, there are some great budget options on the market.