Best Automatic Espresso Machines of 2021
You want to wake up every morning to the perfectly brewed, silky-smooth, flavour-bursting cup of coffee. But you don’t want to drive to the coffee shop every day to get it. You need the best automatic espresso machine. Not so easy, we know.
Choose the right one, and you start every day on the right foot – the perfect cup of coffee in hand. Choose the wrong one, and you’ll end up with watery, strange-tasting brown gloop, and a feeling of immense regret as you just blew $900+.
Below you’ll find a list of our picks for the best automatic espresso machines – no junk, no regrets. We also reveal a little-known secret that may help you avoid wasting hundreds, if not thousands of dollars when buying one.
Jura E8 (on sale)
The holy grail of automatic espresso machines. Swiss made, with a huge level of functionality. Make 12 types of coffee drinks by simply pushing a button. Currently discounted:
Delonghi Magnifica ( 4200.S)
The best selling machine right now: affordable, compact, and makes a good number drinks at the push of a button, while allowing a good level of variable control.
How To Choose The Right Machine For Your Needs
Because automatic espresso machines are so expensive, you need to read this next part carefully, or risk making the wrong choice and wasting a large sum of money.
So how do you select the best automatic espresso machine for you?
Here are a few things to look out for when pick the best automatic espresso machine, but note, we are not talking about Nespresso machines (they are not quality machines).
Programmability – How Much Do You Need?
This dictates how much control you have over the brewing process.
Although super automatic espresso machines do the work for you, many of them still let you choose from a range of settings or pre-programmed options. With super automatic espresso machines, you might want to control grind size, temperature, or shot strength. Some super automatic espresso machines let you adjust almost every detail, while others are mainly meant to run on a standard program: (1)
They take some of the work out of your hands… Select a program and press a button. It’s much harder to mess it up, but you’re still in control.
If you’re the type who likes customization, go for a super automatic espresso machine with a high level of programmability – so you still have a say in how your coffee is made.
Want to get a better sense of what home espresso making might actually look like? Check out our great video on espresso basics:
Brew Group – Built-In Or Not?
The brew group is one of the most vital parts of the espresso machine, as it’s where the actual brewing happens. It is the mechanism on the front of the espresso machine that carries hot pressurized water into the filter basket. On a semi-automatic or manual espresso machine, the brew group is the piece that you lock the portafilter into.
Some super automatic espresso makers have detachable brew groups, making them easy to clean or open up for inspection if something goes wrong. Other machines have a fixed, non-removable brew group (1). This built-in type is designed to be self-cleaning, which is handy.
If you like taking a hands-on approach to the care and maintenance of your coffee equipment, opt for one with a detachable brew group.
want your milk steamed automatically, or do it yourself?
Many super automatic espresso machines have automatic functions for steaming or frothing milk to make lattes, cappuccinos and the like (2). However, some of them don’t, requiring you to use a traditional steam wand instead.
If you’re short on time or just want the machine to do this part for you, go for a machine that has a built-in system for heating and frothing milk.
water tank and bean hopper Capacity
Automatic espresso makers vary in terms of their capacity: water tank size, milk carafe size, and bean hopper (that feed the whole bean coffee into the burr grinder). This impacts how much espresso they can churn out without needing to be refilled.
Choose based on your needs: If it’s just for your own enjoyment, a smaller one will do. But if you want to brew for your family or office, choose something with enough capacity. Some super automatic espresso machines can only handle a few shots at a time, while others will comfortably make at least a dozen shots in a row.
How is one machine different from the others?
There are a lot of things all super automatic espresso machines have in common. They are automatic (duh), so they already check the easy-to-use criterion, with ready-made programs available at your fingertips.
But the best automatic espresso machines have something special about them. It might be highly programmable, easy to maintain, or extremely well-designed. Depending on your personal style of coffee drinking, you can find an option that is best suited for you.
The Little-Known Secret To Save Lots Of Money When Shopping Around
Sure, making your own cup of coffee instead of getting one from a coffee shop already saves you money. But do you want to know how to save up to $500 when buying an automatic coffee machine? Below, you’ll notice that some of the machines have an option that says “SEE REFURBISHED PRICE.”
Why? Because we have found a few retailers that offer refurbished versions of these super automatic espresso machines. Click through to see if they have any machines available, or read our guide on refurbished espresso machine marketplaces.
Refurbished machines are not brand new although they do look and feel brand new.
This is your chance to save quite a bit of money, because refurbished machines are sold at a huge discount, plus they come with a warranty. This means that you save hundreds (or thousands) of dollars, and still get peace of mind knowing it’s going to work perfectly with a warranty to cover your ass.
Buying a refurbished machine is often a better decision than buying one brand new because:
- They have been serviced, returned and put through tests to make sure they are performing at peak levels.
- You save hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars, off the regular price.
You’re probably thinking: “Sounds good. But what’s the catch?” There is only a limited quantity available. Often times, you will click through and these machines will be out of stock. If this happens please don’t email us and complain – we have no control over the stock.
This means that you have three options right now:
- Buy a normal/regular espresso machine instead of a super automatic espresso machine. You’ll have to learn the ropes of making espresso, so you’ll have a learning curve to deal with each morning (for the first while, expect to spend 10-30 minutes each morning learning the skill + drinking poorly brewed coffee).
- Buy a super automatic espresso machine, brand new (be warned: they are expensive).
- Save some serious cash right now by buying a refurbished machine. Some of the companies below offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, meaning you can try a machine and if it’s not for you, return it within 30 days for a refund.
The 10 Best Automatic Espresso Machines of 2021
To help you find the espresso machine that can change your life (or at least vastly improve your mornings – saving time and money), we’ve compiled a list of super automatic espresso machine reviews.
The ENA Micro 1 is a stylish and streamlined espresso machine, and nothing more (we mean that in a good way).
What We Like: It can go from bean to cup in about 2 minutes. The built-in grinder is convenient and the auto descaling and cleaning programs make the ENA Micro 1 easy to maintain. You also have the option to select from 2 different espresso strength levels and 3 shot sizes.
What We Don’t Like: It’s streamlined and stripped down, so some users may feel it’s missing some features. For e.g., there’s no milk frothing system, but if you don’t need lattes, it’s not a deal-breaker.
If you love espressos and americanos, and are looking to buy an espresso machine, check out our review of the Jura ENA Micro 1.
2. Jura ENA Micro 9 One Touch – best compact machine
Milk Preparation System: Cappuccino frother
- Drinks you can make: Espresso, Americano, Macchiato, Cappuccino, Hot water, & Milk Foam
- Water tank capacity: 1.1 L
- Bean hopper capacity: 125 g
- Average heat up time: 78 s
- Brew group: Fixed
The Ena Micro 9 One Touch is the smallest one-touch cappuccino and macchiato machine in the world.
What We Like: This is a compact yet high-end espresso coffee machine that boasts a built-in milk frother (which takes only 30 seconds to heat up). It lets you customize the amount of both milk and coffee you want. The spout is also adjustable, allowing you to fit your favourite mug.
What We Don’t Like: Though the spout is adjustable, it may be too short to fit many travel mugs.
3. Jura Giga 5 – best for offices
Milk preparation system: Cappuccino frother with Fine Foam Technology
- Drinks you can make: latte macchiato, caffè latte, cappuccino, espresso macchiato, coffee, espresso, ristretto, milk, hot water
- Water tank capacity: 2.6 L
- Bean hopper capacity: 283 g x 2
- Average heat up time: 70 s
- Brew group: Fixed
The Jura Giga 5 is the perfect machine for an office, business, or just a very large and thirsty household. With not one but TWO integrated burr grinders, plus a bypass doser, it is by far the highest capacity brewer on this list.
The coolest part about the two grinders is what Jura calls “Beans a la Carte.” You can choose to add beans from both grinders to the same drink! Want to make your own custom blend or a half-caf? You can! In a situation with many coffee drinkers, this is a surefire way to satisfy everyone.
Along with the two grinders, the Giga 5 has two entirely separate brewing systems. So you can make two speciality drinks at the same time, and as with any Jura, you can do it quickly and quietly. It’s like having a four-handed barista on call.
There are a whopping 19 pre-programmed drink options, each customizable in temperature, strength, and milk texture via the intuitive full-colour LCD display. So you’re guaranteed exactly the drink you want. With advanced Pulse Extraction, Pre-infusion, and Fine Foam technologies, every shot is rich, flavourful, and topped with perfect silky microfoam.
Of course, the Giga 5 isn’t cheap, but in a high volume setting, its capacity and convenience are well worth the price.
The Jura E8 is all about programmability and getting the perfect espresso drink that you want. In the “Expert Mode,” you can control everything from shot temperature to amount of milk used. If you’d rather keep things simple, the Jura E8 also has 12 ready-made coffee drinks available at one touch.
What We Like: It’s customizable; it lets you be an espresso “expert” without the learning curve. It’s also super programmable, letting you dial in the settings you like via the simple-to-use TFT control panel. The grinder is high-quality and quiet as well, helping you get the best ground coffee for your brew. While the grinder works, the machine’s Thermoblock system makes quick hot water.
What We Don’t Like: Its milk carafe and frothing system could be better.
On the other end of the Jura spectrum from the Giga 5 is the A1, the smallest, simplest, and most affordable model in the line up. If you want a machine that just makes exceptional coffee or espresso at the touch of a button, this is the one for you. Keep in mind that it only has one spout, so you can only make one drink at a time, though Jura machines are so rapid, this is unlikely to be a problem.
Because of its basic functionality, this is the sleekest and most compact Jura machine, perfect in a small kitchen or on an office desk. That said, there is a surprising amount of technology packed inside this little brewer, even without a milk frothing system.
It features Jura’s newest grinder, the Aroma G3, which is twice as fast as previous models. It relies on the same Pulse Extraction technology as Jura’s more expensive machines, so you’re still getting top-of-the-line espresso quality.
With its small footprint, the A1 is remarkably energy efficient. It includes Jura’s patented Zero Energy switch and a programmable shut-off time.
6. De’Longhi 4200.S Magnifica Fully Automatic – Best value
Milk Preparation System: Manual Steam Wand
- Drinks you can make: Espresso (multi-length), Cappuccino, Latte, Hot Water, Americano
- Water tank capacity: 1.8 L
- Bean hopper capacity: 200 g
- Average heat up time: ≈55 sec
- Brew group: In-built
For those who like the convenience and quality of an automatic bean-to-cup machine but still want to retain a lot of control, the De’Longhi 4200.S Magnifica offers a great balance of both worlds. Like its close cousin, De’Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica, this Magnifica model is among the less automatic super automatic espresso machines when it comes to care and maintenance.
What We Like: It really makes excellent espresso – customize it as per the strength (5 settings) and volume (4 settings) you want. It’s an impressively compact machine, given the large capacity. It has a thermoblock boiler known for its rapid heating capabilities (2):
Water temperature has a direct impact on the rate of extraction, so inconsistency can throw off the taste of the shot.
What We Don’t Like: It does have a rinsing and de-calcification program, but the removable parts need to be detached and cleaned by hand every few days.
Sounds good so far? Read our full review of Magnifica ESAM3300 here.
Finding a more affordable bean-to-cup machine can be challenging. But don’t worry, it’s not impossible. Our favourite inexpensive option is the Krups Automatic Coffee Machine. It doesn’t have the same fancy technology as the Swiss-made Juras, but it can still deliver a coffee or espresso at just the touch of a button. And you won’t need to take out a second mortgage to buy it.
Aside from its reasonable price, the other selling point of the Krups machine is its compact size. Of course, it’s still a bean-to-cup machine, so it’s by no means tiny. But it’s definitely smaller than most, especially given that it includes dual spouts, a milk frothing system, and automatic cleaning protocols.
The intuitive interface uses buttons and a rotary knob to make it easy to select and customize your drink, with options for temperature, strength, and volume. With the 15 bar pump and stainless steel conical burr grinder, you’re guaranteed a flavourful and crema-topped brew, though we’d be lying if we said it was as good as those five times the price.
The Sage Oracle comes with the option to brew a single or double shot, and americano – all of which are programmable for strength and volume. You can even adjust the milk texture and temperature. Simplicity is rarely so delicious. Read our full review of the Oracle here.
What We Like: Lock the portafilter into the integrated conical burr grinder, and the Oracle Touch not only fills it (up to a 22g dose for more intense coffee flavour), it tamps it properly. PID temperature control ensures the water will be at the precise temperature for best extraction – of course, there’s low-pressure pre-infusion (also customizable). The steam wand automatically prepares milk to the programmed temperature and texture.
What We Don’t Like: If you’re addicted to Americanos, taller mugs and glasses might be a tight fit under the portafilter.
Milk preparation system: Automatic cappuccino system with LatteCrema technology or a manual steam wand
- Drinks you can make: Coffee, Americano, Espresso, Cappuccino, Caffe Latte, Latte Macchiato, Espresso Macchiato, Flat White, Milk, Hot Water
- Water tank capacity: 2 L
- Bean hopper capacity: 400 g
- Average heat up time: 60 s
- Brew group: Removable
De’Longhi is one of the most respected names in home coffee machines, and for a good reason. They’ve been making much-loved espresso machines for a very long time, the Eletta among them.
Perhaps the nicest thing about the Eletta is that it has both automatic and manual milk frothing options. On a bleary morning, you can get a cappuccino at the press of a button using the patented LatteCrema technology. But if you want to be a little more involved in the process, using the manual steam wand can yield even better results.
The Eletta offers a huge number of one-touch drinks, from popular favourites like espresso and latte macchiato to newer creations like the Flat White. Each drink can be customized by adjusting strength, temperature, and volume.
This model is a particularly nice balance between capacity and overall size. With a 2 L water reservoir, 400 g bean hopper, and 600 mL milk carafe, you can use it without constantly topping things up. But at the same time, it fits comfortably in a home kitchen without dominating the space. The aluminium casing, when compared with the plastic on many models, adds to the aesthetic appeal and makes it more durable.
10. DeLonghi ECAM22110SB Compact Automatic Machine – Best Compact
Milk Preparation System: Manual Steam Wand
- Drinks you can make: Espresso (multi-length), Cappuccino, Latte, Hot Water, Americano
- Water tank capacity: 1.8 L
- Bean hopper capacity: 250 g
- Average heat up time: ≈60 sec
- Brew group: In-built
With a 17 inch footprint, this DeLonghi model is small enough to fit in any part of your household. Yet, despite its size, this pretty little thing has five drink options, four of which are available at the touch of a button. On top of all, this model allows for great control over your drinks. It’s ideal for those who love experimenting.
What we like: Clearly, its size and power. We also love that ECAM22110SB is super-easy to use, which speaks of its convenience for an average coffee drinker.
What we don’t like: People have complained that its grinder stops working, and they have to push the beans into the grinder manually. The frothing wand is not long enough for larger mugs.
THE VERDICT: What’s The Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine?
While every one of the machines on this list put up a strong fight for the contender of best super automatic espresso machine, there is one that shines above the others: the Jura E8.
Check to see if there is a refurbished model available. You might be able to save about $500.
You can put any kind of coffee (that you like) in an espresso maker. But make sure to use a medium or dark roasted bean if you want your espresso to taste better. In terms of taste and strength, using an Italian or Espresso roast is considered best. Do NOT put oily beans in an automatic machine; it will cause clogs and problems.
Typically 9 BARs (equal to 9 times the amount of natural pressure at sea level) is a good amount of pressure for espresso (3). But, some espresso machines today have built-in pressure pumps operating at levels as high as 15 or 17 BARs.
You maintain an espresso machine with regular cleaning and descaling. If you’re using your machine on a daily basis, you should aim to clean it once a week. The weekly clean doesn’t need to be a high maintenance regime, a simple backflush with water will do the job. But, every 200 shots or so a more thorough backflush is necessary to keep your machine running smooth. That’s the time you should use the proper cleaning tablets or powder.
You should descale your espresso machine as often as recommended by the manufacturer. A lot of newer models come with an indicator that will let you know when it’s time to descale your espresso machine. Here are some more tips on descaling.
- Rossi, R. (2018, October 20). What You Need to Know Before Buying an Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2018/10/what-you-need-to-know-before-buying-an-espresso-machine/
- Prinsloo, M. (2018, November 17). How Do Espresso Machines Work? Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2018/11/how-do-espresso-machines-work/
- Espresso Recipes: Time. (2019, May 22). Retrieved from https://baristahustle.com/blog/espresso-recipes-time/