Looking for the perfect gift for espresso? Whether you’re searching for a gift for a coffee-loving friend or adding these gift ideas to your list, check out these fresh picks for home brewer’s with an espresso machine. Bonus: We picked gift ideas that'll fit anyone's budget.
The Round Up
The holidays are here! Do you know what you’re giving to the coffee lover in your life? For someone who has it all, give them a gift they’ll remember—like one of these fresh ideas. We rounded up the top three gifts for coffee lovers!
If you’re unfamiliar with coffee, we made it easier with three gift ideas for every aficionados lifestyle. You can’t go wrong with 33 Books’ Around The World In 40 Cups Of Coffee Poster or Drift Magazine Volume 4: Stockholm. Both share enthusiast's passion for coffee while exploring international coffee cultures. And, we might add, both are beautifully illustrated! Lastly, for coffee lovers with an espresso machine, choose any Reg Barber tamper. With an assortment of tamper styles, it’s easy to personalize your gift!
The Round Up
Why should you use a scale to brew coffee? We’ve all eyeballed or heaped in a tablespoon of coffee and hoped for the best. We’ll let you in on a little secret: To enjoy sipping a consistently delicious cup of coffee, use a coffee scale to weigh your grounds and water.
Since the size and density of coffee beans vary, measuring by volume doesn’t ensure the same amount of coffee grounds per scoop—and we all know eyeballing just isn’t accurate. Different brew methods have ratios of ground coffee to water to achieve the desired cup. If you have more water than coffee, then your cup is too watery. If you have more coffee than water, then your cup is too strong. You could try different methods and be the Goldilocks of coffee or you could check out top three coffee scales: the Escali Pico Pocket Scale, Hario V60 Drip Scale and Acaia Lunar Scale.
The Round Up
We brought out the big machines for today’s top three double boiler espresso machines, the La Marzocco Linea Mini, Rocket Espresso R58 Dual Boiler and Breville Dual Boiler. Double boiler espresso machines are equipped with two boilers: a brew boiler and a steam boiler. While the steam boilers reach and hold pressure ideal for frothing milk, the other maintains consistent brewing temperature.
Chances are in your search for a high-quality espresso machine, you’ve read the debate between double boilers and heat exchange espresso machines. Coffee enthusiasts have long expressed their opinions about the pros and cons of each boiler type and we suspect it’ll continue on. One of the benefits dual boilers reap is temperature stability and the capability to brew more drinks back-to-back than a heat exchanger. Not to mention that, like a heat exchanger, you can brew and steam simultaneously. A double boiler machine is for someone who wants to brew multiple drinks back-to-back and requires a faster turnaround time.
In your morning quest for coffee, chances are you’ve encountered the La Marzocco Linea series powering your local café. Home baristas can now rejoice! The La Marzocco Linea Mini is your pint-sized commercial machine for home brewing. Well, not quite pint-sized, the Linea Mini is the largest machine on our list. It certainly puts a dent in the budget and counter, but for the right espresso lover, this espresso machine will impresses with an integrated brew group to maintain temperature stability and energy efficiency, and commercial-grade portafilter and steam wand.
Home brewers aren’t the only people who’d benefit from the Linea Mini. Built to commercial standards, the Linea Mini is NSF-rated, so homey cafés and small diners can bring espresso to their menu. And, hey, this large machine’s roomy cup warmer will ensure patrons can enjoy toasty cups with their coffee.
The Rocket Espresso R58 Dual Boiler was an easy pick to make our list. The craftsmanship of Rocket’s espresso machine continues to entice coffee enthusiasts. Equipped with a programmable PID and, of course, double boilers, espresso temperature is under control—your control that is. Best of all, the PID is removable to store when it’s not in use to preserve the clean, classic style Rocket is famous for.
The Rocket lineup is renowned for its commercial-quality build and the R58 is no exception. It’s build with the legendary E61 brew head that helps maintain temperature stability during brewing. And the R58 features a commercial-grade rotary pump that’s quiet—so the house can sleep in without sacrificing your morning espresso.
Designed with the consumer in mind, the Breville Dual Boiler is user-friendly and affordable—like really affordable. What we love about the Dual Boiler is its intuitive interface that creates an enjoyable experience for anyone ready to master espresso. Two programmable espresso buttons make it easy for you to focus on frothing the perfect latte milk while the Dual Boiler pulls your pre-programmed shot. And if you’re an experienced barista, switch to the manual brewing to operate on the fly.
Keeping true to their brand, Breville has designed this machine with extra goodies to fit anyone’s lifestyle. The Dual Boiler comes with two pressurized baskets for beginner baristas to practice their grind and two non-pressurized for experienced brewers. There is also a magnetic tamper conveniently attached to the machine and auto-on feature, so you can wake up to a pre-heated machine.
We’ve pulled out some of our top three double boiler espresso machine, the La Marzocco Linea Mini, Rocket Espresso R58 and Breville Dual Boiler. Equipped with dual boilers, these espresso machines create impressive steam pressure in one boiler while the other maintains the perfect brew temperature. What do you think of our choices? Share your favorite double boiler espresso machine in the comments below.
The Round Up
These espresso machines can do it all and they can do it on a budget. We compared our best superautomatic espresso machines under $1,000: the Saeco Xsmall, Saeco Intelia Deluxe and Jura Impressa C90.
Superautomatics are built to make grabbing a morning cup convenient: they grind, they tamp and they brew all at the touch of a button. Heck, even some machines froth for you! In this round, we choose machines with panarello-style steam wands and automatic milk frothers that require little to no technique involved (emphasis on the no). Each of these machines has different levels of brewing customization that is sure to please the casual coffee drinker.
Under $500: Saeco Xsmall
If you’re looking for an espresso machine under $500, it’s time you discovered the Saeco Xsmall. The Xsmall’s small footprint situates into any lifestyle from an apartment countertop to a cozy office setting. It’s also the simplest to learn how to brew, which means anyone learn to make coffee! It features two customizable time-based shots and a big front dial that brews, steams or dispenses hot water. That said, we’re missing brew temperature setting, which would have been nice for aiding our shot flavor. While it lacks some frills, it has an adjustable ceramic burr grinder that gives back some control over your brew. And there’s more control where that came from with the panarello-style steam wand. Froth milk for as long and foamy as you like!
Under $800: Saeco Intelia Deluxe
Exclusive to SCG, the Saeco Intelia Deluxe is an intelligent machine rocking a simple interface. Sleek and clean operation is the Intelia Deluxe’s namesake. The digital display makes it effortless to program the brew temperature, coffee strength or maintenance settings while buttons are quickly accessible. Like the Xsmall, the Intelia Deluxe has two programmable time-based shot buttons and a milk frothing button that you turn on or off manually. It’s easy to master in no time!
Bonus: The Intelia Deluxe comes with a cappuccinatore to instantly froth milk or can be replaced with a panarello attachment to froth milk yourself.
Under $1,000: Jura Impressa C60
Looking for the best superautomatic espresso machines under $1,000? How about this one: the Jura Impressa C60. The C60 is as close as you can get without maxing out your budget. Compared to our other picks, the C60 offers a lot of bang for your buck. Jura’s well-known for their strong shots and the C60 is no exception. You can customize the brew temperature or add more coffee to the shot on the fly! The C60 also features programmable shots and an auto-off function to save energy.
Jura’s Fine Foam Frother automatically froths milk straight into your awaiting cup. Like the Intelia Deluxe’s cappuccinatore, this frother does all the work for you, so you can sit back and enjoy your cup. While it’s not technically a one-touch machine, the attachment swings close enough to froth into your mug.
If you’re searching for the best superautomatic espresso machines under $1,000, then start here with these three totally different machines. The Saeco Xsmall features the simplest programming with a manual frother for more control while the other two bumps up in price and features. The Saeco Intelia Deluxe includes more customizable and more accessories with the interchangeable cappuccinatore and panarello. And lastly, the Jura Impressa C60 can be changed mid-brew to accommodate the last-minute coffee rush. With three great options under $1,000, which one will you choose?
Top Staff Picks
How We Pick Our Picks
Everyone has a favorite machine! We asked the Crew to share their favorite machines from espresso machines to grinders, so we can share them with you. And these staff picks are ones that we would recommend to our friends and family to curb their coffee cravings! Each Crew member picks their top three machines in each category and then we select the machines with the most votes to add to our final list. Once that’s squared away, we add a Staff Pick badge to the machine and let you choose your favorites!
It's about time that you meet the Crew and hear what they have to say about their favorite machines!
Recommended by Michele in Customer Service
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m probably the most laid back, easy going person you’ll meet.
What are your favorite features on the Oracle?
I love that the Oracle does most of the work for me. It grinds, tamps, all I need to do is dial in the grinder and brew!
Between the Oracle and the Rancilio Silvia, why would you take one home over the other?
I like the look of the Oracle more than the Silvia and enjoy how much the Oracle does the work for me.
If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Recommended by Sue in the Lynnwood Store
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’ve been drinking coffee for some decades. I started with cans of Vienna Cafe and over time I’ve weaned myself down to black.
What are your favorite features on the Silvia?
I like that it puts function before form. It’s still great looking though and it boasts endurance!
What’s your favorite coffee to brew with the Silvia?
I sing the praises of Sermon by Verve.
Between the Silvia and Breville Barista Express, why would you take one home over the other?
I would take home the Silvia over the Barista Express, even though I would have to purchase a grinder in addition. I like Rancilio’s background in the world of commercial espresso machines. I admire the Silvia’s reliability.
Where did you first over-caffeinate yourself?
Recommended by Miranda in Order Management
What are your favorite features on the Chemex?
You can customize it to the extreme! Want to brew a cup or two? Can do! Or for a larger amount besides just for yourself? Sure! Since it’s such a clean cup, you can also perfect that cup...dose, timing (grind size), pour technique, to affect your notes and results!
What are your must-haves to complete your setup?
Scale to measure, otherwise I always make it too h2 or too watery.
Gooseneck kettle, so that I don’t create a Grand Canyon on the grounds.
Simple grinder, to be able to play with the grind consistency depending on the beans I’m using!
Recommended by Josh in Marketing
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I'm SCG's resident product guru and reluctant video host! I dig interesting features, creative workarounds, and will research just about anything.
What are your favorite features on the Miele?
I always say that anything you use daily should feel good, not just look good or work well. My favorite feature on the Miele is its fit and finish! There are no mixed design elements, the machine is clean and brews well and feels rock solid. Even external features like the carafe and spouts are a matching steel, and the siphon even has a little slot to plug into the drip tray for cleaning. Respect the little things.
What’s your favorite coffee to brew with the Miele?
Verve 1950s. Very easy to dial in with a superautomatic and has a sweet caramel note.
What new things would you like to see in coffee?
Plumbable, PID-controlled hot water fonts with a flow restrictor. Why? On-demand Chemex pour overs! Install the font in your kitchen counter and you'll have hot water for coffee or tea without losing any precious counter space. Pre-weigh and store your beans in test tubes alongside a grinder set for single dosing = perfection.
Recommended by Vera in the Lynnwood Store
Tell us a bit about yourself!
An avid reader of thrillers and mysteries; what’s better with a cup of coffee?
What are your favorite features on the Mignon?
- Compact size
- Beautiful polished chrome finish or the sleek black matte finish
- Consistent grind especially for espresso brew
Between the Mignon and Breville Smart Grinder, why would you take one home over the other?
I already have the Smart Grinder at home! I would consider the Mignon an upgrade for espresso prep.
The Round Up
What’s do we mean by “not quite espresso makers?” As we know, a true espresso shot brews consistently at nine bars of pressure. There are a handful of coffee makers that brew at one to two bars of pressure creating a cup that’s rich, dark and full-bodied like espresso. For coffee lovers craving a stout cup, we rounded up the AeroPress Coffee Maker, Ilsa Express Espresso Stove Top and Wacaco Minipresso GR Portable Espresso Machine to get the job done!
First on our list is the beloved AeroPress. Simple, compact and affordable, the AeroPress easily finds its way into homes. It works similar to a French press by immersing grounds in water and then plunge, but the AeroPress brews directing into the bottom of a fresh cup. Not to mention, the pressure buildup is completely different. The AeroPress rubber plunger seals against the chamber and builds up one to two bars of pressure by hand. We’ve heard of some coffee lovers out there getting up to nine bars of pressure with the assistance of a lever device—still not quite espresso.
The Ilsa Express brews by steam power, it doesn’t extract at nine bars of pressure. So not quite espresso. That said, stovetop makes one mean cup of coffee! And by mean, we’re talking about a seriously stout and strong cup. If you enjoy sipping the rich flavors of espresso, the Ilsa Express can make that happen for you at a fraction of the cost of an espresso machine. The Ilsa Express has a 3, 6 and 10-cup option available and, better yet, the 6-cup has a divider that can cut your portion to 3 cups.
The Wacaco Minipresso Espresso Maker is the closest thing to espresso. It boasts eight bars of pressure and makes a single shot! Similar to a pressurized portafilter, it won’t release the coffee unless it reaches that eight bars of pressure. It’s designed like a mini espresso machine equipped with a brew basket, water reservoir and hand-driven pump system. At the end of the day, if you’re on the road the Minipresso is the perfect companion for a quick pick-me-up.
The true espresso coffee lovers crave brews with nine bars of pressure. Our makers don’t quite reach that mark, but they certainly make a strong cup of java! What did you think of our Top 3 “Not Quite” espresso makers? Share what you would have chosen in the comments below!
The Round Up
Making espresso you love at home has never been easier or more affordable with these top three picks! We rounded up our top three budget espresso machines, the DeLonghi EC155, DeLonghi Dedica and Breville Duo-Temp Pro.
When we picked our three budget machines, we were looking at the cost to features. It's no surprised that our machines featured pressurized portafilters and panarello-style steam wands since these are entry-level machines. That said, programmability and capability also helped us decide which machine made the cut! That goes for the Duo-Temp Pro too. Sure it's a little extra, but the price balanced the advanced features—we'll talk more about this machine below. Check out our top picks and let is know which one’s for you!
The DeLonghi EC155 is the smallest machine in the roundup but don't be fooled by its size. It features a one-liter water tank and a single boiler! Surprised? Sometimes great things come in small packages. This machine also has an amazing community dedicated to getting the most out of it. And it’s no wonder! This machine has a lot to offer for the price. The panarello-style steam wand is designed to froth for you, a perfect option for beginners! Not only that, but the pressurized portafilters ensure the espresso is extracted perfectly each time. This machine is designed to make delicious cappuccinos, no sweat.
That said, the EC155 has some weak spots. Since this is a single boiler, you have to temperature surf after steaming in order to brew. Don’t forget to always have a full reservoir so you don’t burn out the boiler, too. Also, some nit-picky cons are the plastic built-in tamper and clunky plastic steam tip. Overall, the EC155 is a great machine with an affordable price tag!
If getting espresso at the touch of a button sounds fantastic to you, then you need the DeLonghi Dedica! Built with two programmable espresso buttons and a pressurized portafilter, the Dedica brews espresso without any fuss. Plus, the panarello-style steam wand automatically incorporates air for you and makes fluffy foam perfect for cappuccino. Bonus: The Dedica comes with a single or double basket.
The Dedica requires more patience and maintenance. As with any machine with a shared boiler (or thermoblock), you have to steam and brew one at a time. But, if you want to lessen the wait time, we recommend using a technique called temperature surfing. Bonus: The Dedica protects the thermoblock by pausing after steaming and forces you to cool it down before brewing. This keeps your machine in tip-top shape!
Similar to other budget espresso machines, we weren’t a fan of the plastic accessories. And, while we adore the Dedica’s slim profile, it has a small drip tray to fills up quick. If you plan on temperature surfing, have a separate cup or the sink nearby to purge.
The Breville Duo-Temp Pro knocks it out of the park with advanced features! It's equipped with both non-pressurized and pressurized baskets, so home baristas can grow their skills with this machine. While this entry-level machine has a simple interface, the Duo-Temp Pro packs in pre-infusion and, our personal favorite, auto-purge. What’s auto-purge? Instead of temperature surfing, it purges hot water to cool the thermoblock to brewing temperature—saving you time!
While we adore Breville’s newest entry-level model, we miss the programmable shot times. And the Duo-Temp Pro is outfitted with a traditional steam wand, which could be a pro or con depending on your skill level. The thermoblock pressure builds slowly so baristas will either be a) happy because you get to practice your technique or b) frustrated because it requires more time and skill to froth. That said, we love what the Duo-Temp Pro has to offer home baristas!
While these machines are easy on the wallet, they certainly didn’t go easy on the features! The DeLonghi EC155 is the most affordable of our budget machines and is built with a single boiler—an amazing feature for the price! Our other DeLonghi, the Dedica, impressed us with its programmable espresso buttons. And, of course, if you want to grow with your machine, the Breville Duo-Temp Pro is equipped with the accessories to get the job done! What did you think of our top picks? Tell us your favorite machine in the comments below.