Italian Coffee Machine Guide
Welcome again from me, Paul.
I am here to help you to choose the best Italian coffee machine for your home, and to make you a true home barista with my Free Training, Online Guides and Premium Support.
This Buying Guide will help you to understand the ins and outs of coffee machines and it will answer many common questions. You will also see my Top 5 coffee machines for home.
Italian Coffee Machines v Appliances
Why choose an Italian coffee machine instead of an appliance? Firstly, very few appliances can make a decent coffee. Secondly, appliances are designed to fail to make sure that you head back for a replacement every 3-5 years. If you are chasing magnificent coffee from a simple to use, easy to maintain machine that will last 20+ years, choose an Italian coffee machine for your home. You can view my business case for a premium coffee machine by clicking here
Italian Coffee Machine Types
Single Boiler (SB) SB coffee machines have one small boiler that is set to brew temperature for pulling shots, then with a flick of a switch, the boiler temperature increases to get the coffee machine ready to steam milk. Of course, if you can stretch a little further I always recommend moving to an HX coffee machine for a quality home barista experience.
Heat Exchanger (HX) HX coffee machines have one large boiler that is set to steam temperature. For brewing, water is pumped through a heat exchanger to pick up heat on-the-run. HX coffee machines are a great choice for home as they let you brew and steam at the same time and most come with an E61 group for thermal stability along with gentle brew pressure ramp up.
Dual Boiler (DB) DB coffee machines have a small brew boiler and a large steam boiler. As with HX machines, you can brew and steam at the same time. The main reason to look at DB coffee machines is for brew temperature control. However, most “set and forget” so I generally recommend high end HX machines, as these cost less and are just as effective at brewing.
Best Coffee Machines for Home
To help you with choosing the best coffee machine for your home I have selected a handful at a number of price points. Here’s my list of the very best domestic coffee machines:
Gaggia Classic A great starter for the new home barista. A quality Italian coffee machine at an appliance price point.
Expobar Office A fantastic entry level heat exchanger machine. No fancy electronics. Just old school simplicity and reliability.
Lelit Mara This compact heat exchanger coffee machine is a little champion, featuring electronic temperature control, sprung valves, a stainless steel chassis and the legendary E61 group.
La Pavoni Cellini AU A thoroughbred Italian coffee machine from La Pavoni, Milan, est 1905. Engineering, build quality and performance are up with many machines near $3k so this one shines for value.
Profitec Pro 500 German engineering sets Profitec apart from the crowd. Watch in video reviews on my website to see why I highly recommend Profitec coffee machines if you are looking for the very best.
Choosing an Italian Coffee Machine
All coffee machines that I sell are very capable of producing magnificent coffee in the hands of a trained operator. By trained I mean “attended my free home barista training session” or “read my online guides and workflows” then followed the steps. The ease and simplicity of the manual coffee machine experience surprises almost everyone.
What is the best home coffee machine? There is no best coffee machine as "best" means different things to different people. When choosing an Italian coffee machine for home there are 3 factors to consider.
Coffee Machine Performance
Black coffee (espresso, long black)
Milky coffee (latte, cappuccino)
Coffee Machine Experience
Aesthetics and kinaesthetics
Joy of ownership and use
Coffee Machine Quality
Design, build quality & engineering precision
Coffee Machine performance is all about the results in your cup. For some this will be the key influencer when choosing a home coffee machine. Others will value coffee machine quality and the home barista experience. Who wants a perfect cup of coffee every day from a poor quality coffee machine without a great home espresso experience? Not me.
There’s another critical factor here for your Italian coffee machine choice and that’s your budget. If you have $4k you can have the very best, but you don’t need $4k. There are plenty of quality home espresso machines to choose from at a range of price points.
If you’re reading this now you are on the right track as this means that you are taking some time to do a little research. Well Done. With a little guidance you will soon find a great Italian coffee machine to help you rocket your way onto the home barista scene.
Links to Other Guides
FAQs - Coffee Machines
Are Italian coffee machines easy to use?
Why can’t automatic machines make great espresso?
Should I choose a heat exchanger coffee machine?
How much do I need to spend to get great coffee at home?
Why is it important to find an Aus Spec coffee machine?
What is the heat up time for an Italian coffee machine?
How useful is pre-wetting and pre-infusion?
Is high steam pressure important at home?
Should I choose a vibration pump or a rotary pump?
How effective is pressure profiling and flow profiling?
Are PIDs effective on heat exchanger coffee machines?
Are Italian coffee machines easy to maintain?
For answers to these FAQs click here