Italian Coffee Machines - Buying Guide
Welcome again from me, Paul, owner of K Bean Coffee Machines, Melbourne. Enjoy my Italian Coffee Machine Buying Guide.
Why Italian? Italy is the home of espresso and Italian coffee machines are the key to a quality home barista experience. I start every day with an espresso from and I just love the daily ritual. You are now just a step away from magnificent coffee at home.
Why K Bean Coffee Machines? Melbourne coffee machine locals get Free Training and customers from all over Australia get Free Shipping, Online Guides & Premium Support.
Italian Coffee Machines v Appliances
Why choose a manual Italian coffee machine instead of an appliance? Firstly, very few appliances can make a decent espresso and even fewer can make a decent latte. Secondly, appliance coffee machines are designed to fail to make sure that you end up back at a store for a replacement every 3-5 years. So appliances are bad for your palette, bad for your wallet and bad for the environment.
If you are chasing the very best coffee from a simple to use, easy to maintain coffee machine that will last many years, a manual Italian coffee machine is the best choice for your home.
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 the 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 the true home professional level with an HX coffee machine.
Heat Exchanger (HX) HX coffee machines have one large boiler that is set to steam temperature. For brewing, water is pumped through a tube in the boiler to pick up heat on-the-run so you can brew and steam at the same time. Most HX coffee machines come with an E61 group for thermal stability along with gentle brew pressure ramp up. HX espresso machines are an excellent choice.
Dual Boiler (DB) DB coffee machines have a small brew boiler and a large steam boiler. The main reason to look at DB coffee machines is if you are an espresso aficionado who feels the need to play with brew temperature. However. I generally recommend choosing a high end HX coffee machine, as these are just as effective at brewing, cheaper to buy and easier to maintain.
Best Italian 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 manual Italian coffee machines:
Best coffee machine under $1k: Gaggia Classic - A legendary domestic coffee machine and a common starter for the new home barista. A high quality Italian coffee machine at an appliance price point.
Best coffee machine under $2k: Lelit Victoria - A brilliant Italian coffee machine. It's just so well built, designed and most importantly, clever, with a PID to control brew temperature and programmed pre-infusion.
Best coffee machine under $2.5k: Lelit Mara - A little champion. Build quality and performance is fantastic and it features electronic temperature control, sprung valves and a full stainless steel chassis and body.
Best coffee machine under $3k: Profitec Pro 500 - German engineering and Italian prestige, sets Profitec apart in terms of engineering, build quality and performance. The PID control has taken it to a new level. For most there is no reason to spend more.
Best coffee machine under $5k: Profitec Pro 700 - The best of the best with all the bells and whistles. However, for many a DB is overkill so I generally recommend saving $1k and choosing a Profitec Pro 500 instead.
Choosing the Best Coffee Machine for Home
What is the best coffee machine for your home? This is a tricky question to answer.
All manual 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 training session” or “read my online home barista guides and workflows” then followed the steps. The ease and simplicity of the manual coffee machine experience surprises almost everyone.
Back to “what is the best Italian coffee machine for home?” Answer - There is no best coffee machine as "best" means different things to different people. When choosing a manual Italian coffee machine for home there are 3 factors to consider.
Coffee Machine Performance
Black beverage performance (espresso, long black, etc)
Milky beverage performance (latte, cappuccino, etc)
Coffee Machine Experience
Aesthetics and kin-aesthetics
Joy of ownership and use
Coffee Machine Quality
Chassis, body and component quality
Coffee Machine performance is all about the results in your cup. For some this will be the key influencer when choosing a 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 $3k you can have the very best, but you don’t need $3k. There are plenty of quality 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 the very best manual Italian coffee machine to rocket your way onto the home barista scene.
Links to Other Guides
FAQs - Italian Coffee Machines
Are Italian coffee machines easy to use?
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