What are the best household espresso machines

Chrome jewels - espresso machines put to the test

Text: Kersten Wetenkamp



Like standing behind the hissing, fancy machine in a café and pouring fine frothed milk loosely onto the espresso. Both are ideally perfect: the milk with a silky, fine-pored consistency, the espresso with a thick, hazelnut-brown froth, the crema. Only with it does the espresso taste balanced and intensely nutty - not too sour, not too bitter. You can only get this classic cappuccino or espresso with a portafilter machine - but it doesn't have to be a Profitec for 1350 euros or even a La Marzocco Mini like the one from the bar in Milan for 4500 euros. The good news of our test of eight portafilter machines: Even small, compact machines for around 200 euros make good cappuccinos. Important: If you want to prepare coffee at home like in Italy, you cannot avoid a good grinder. A solid, professional espresso grinder like the Eureka Mignon is an important investment to avoid frustration. A massive tamper (press stamp) is an important accessory (noble from Motta), as well as a cut-off box (for example Joe Frex mini) and a milk jug for latte art (Tchibo).



Excellent device, initially a bit tricky when inserting the portafilter. But then there are outstanding
velvety espresso. The steam nozzle also works perfectly and foams the milk firmly. Plus points: digital displays for processing time and temperature. Easy to remove water tank. The school grade would be 1+.

22 x 33 x 42cm | 20kg | € 1,499 at www.espressotecnica.de




Profitec makes a wonderful espresso and nice firm milk foam. The displays are very convenient
in the display for temperature and processing time. With the adjustable steam nozzle, the milk froth is professional. School grade 1.

25.5 x 38.5 x 41.5 cm | 18 kilos

approx. € 1,350 at www.espressotecnica.de




Comfortable portafilter machine with built-in grinder. The degree of grinding is easy to read on the scale and easy to set. Good espresso. The steam nozzle is a bit short, but works well. The pressure gauge reliably shows the pressure on the portafilter, which helps optimize the coffee. Grade 2.

29 x 30 x 39.5cm | 8.3 kilos | € 585 at www.gastroback.de





The best of the small machines. Very stable thanks to the rubber studs on the floor. Compact, high-quality design made of stainless steel. Ease of use, makes good espresso and good milk foam, albeit a bit tedious. Ideal for beginners! Grade 2.

30.5 x 14 x 31cm | 4 kilos | € 219.99 at www.wmf.com




Small, simple, stylish design. You can't go wrong, the water tank is clearly visible and easy on and
take off. A rotary control for espresso (you have to stop yourself) and for steam, that's it. Makes good cappuccino!
Unfortunately not very stable, there is a risk of slipping away. It is best to place it on a mat. Grade 2 -.

28.5 x 14 x 28.5cm | 3.4 kilos | € 215 at www.graef.de



Very chic, but also very heavy machine like from the coffee bar. Pretty as a picture, makes perfect espresso and milk foam. Disadvantage: It is difficult to refill water behind the pulp container. Comfortable operation via the wide lever. For coffee fans with very high barista demands. Note 1 -.

37 x 35 x 45 cm | 30 kilos | € 4,576 at www.roastmarket.de







The classic household espresso machine. For relatively little money, the massive device brings plenty of pressure for good espresso and good milk foam. The drawback is the limited usability: For cappuccino, the boiler has to be switched over and over again to regulate the temperature. For espresso purists. Grade 2 -.

22 x 34 x 42 cm | 17 kilos | € 850 at www.stoll-espresso.de






Nice, but functionally disappointing despite the built-in grinder. Plus point: The milk foam is practically self-sufficient. Espresso takes a lot of attempts. Overall, a somewhat complicated device to deal with. The grinder could work finer for espresso with a good crema. Note 3 -.

44.5 x 38 x 37cm | 13 kilos | € 799 at www.delonghi.com




Practice makes the barista. Our test winners (Espressolo, Profitec, Gastroback) give the hobby barista convenient features to try their hand at espresso without losing their nerve. To do this, set the mill to the medium fineness and then gradually work your way towards "fine". Important: only ever use the same type of espresso, each roast requires a different grind. If you want to use the small, compact machines such as WMF Lumero or Graef Salita, you should at least purchase a timer that shows the seconds for the cycle. 25 seconds of flow for 25 milliliters of espresso at an ideal nine bar pump pressure are the measure of all things, as the Istituto Nazionale dell’Espresso Italiano has defined. If the coffee flows too quickly - as is usually the case at the beginning - it tastes too watery, thin and sour. If it flows for a long time, it becomes bitter and also too cold. Don't give up - it takes time to get the perfect result. Barista workshops at a coffee roaster
in your area will help!