How to Choose the Right Espresso Machine or the Coffee Maker? Expert's Blog.

How to Choose the Right Coffee Machine or the Right Coffee Maker?

My independent advices are based on 6 years of experience in coffee machines sales. 26 comments

Hi! You might want to start directly with my espresso machine reviews. Top 5 most popular articles are:

  1. De’Longhi Dedica Espresso Machine Review
  2. De’Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine Review
  3. Coffee Grinders Comparative Test
  4. Delonghi ECP series review: 31.21, 33.21, 35.31, 3220, 3420 and ECP3630
  5. 15 bar Pump Espresso Machines Comparative Test with Disassembly

When it comes to choosing a coffee maker or coffee machine for your home, it’s important to ask yourself ten main questions in order to make a smart buy. In my blog, I will try give a step-by-step guide and make detailed reviews of most popular models.

#1. The first question is do you a need coffee maker or machine in the first place?

The difference is that you don’t have to spend your time on bean-to-cup coffee machines to prepare your coffee, you just have to press the button. That’s why they are more expensive than coffeemakers, the cheapest and the simplest models such as Philips Xsmall HD8645 (HD8743 in England), Krups EA81 Pisa, or Delonghi ESAM 3300 Magnifica. That’s the lowest prices for automatically made black coffee. If you want an automated cappuccino, you should pay at least at least twice more.

Coffee makers will need your participation to prepare a cup: you are going to have to grind coffee beans, put it inside a maker, manually control the process, and then clean it. However, they are way cheaper:

  • Espresso machines for making espresso or cappuccino with a manual cappuccinator (called ‘pannarello’) such as Delonghi EC155 or Delonghi ECP3420 are the cheapest. More expensive models like Delonghi ECO311 or Gaggia Style are basically the same inside, only their design vary.  Those prices are for models with pumps to brew strong espresso. Models without a pump give only 2-3 bar pressure (comparing to 15-19 bar in the previous case) and cost even less (Delonghi EC5 is the example).
  • Drip coffee makers are even more cheaper and are ideal for those of you who love only US-style black coffee (long and not strong).
  • Cheapest option for espresso lovers is moka pots that could be bought for the price of drip coffee maker (original Bialetti Moka Express) or even less (chineese copies of Bialetti).

As a result, we have first estimates for you to make the right choice:

I’m ok with preparing black coffee manually, spending 5-10 minutes per cup I’m ok with preparing coffee manually, but I want cappuccino/latte also I want automated black coffee I want automated black coffee AND cappuccino/latte
Starting budget


for a moka pot or a drip coffee maker


for an espresso machine with a manual milk frother


for super-automatic coffee machines


for super-automatic coffee machines with one-touch cappuccino

Examples Drip coffer maker and moka pot by Bialetti

  • In US: Bialetti Moka Express. Cuisinart DCC-3200, BLACK+DECKER CM2035B, Mr. Coffee SK13.
  • In UK: Bialetti Moka Express. Delonghi ICM15210, Krups KM442D, Bosch TKA3A031.
Example photos icon of espresso machines

Coffee machine with panarello

Coffee machine with milk jar

  • In US: Saeco Philips Intelia Deluxe, DeLonghi ECAM23450SL, Jura Impressa S9, Krups Barista.
  • In UK: Philips Saeco Intelia Deluxe, DeLonghi ECAM25.462, Melitta Varianza CSP F57, Bosch Verocafe Latte.


Now let’s go further and ask ourselves the second important question.

#2. But isn’t it cheaper to buy a single serve coffeemaker/machine with coffee capsules?

It depends on how much coffee you drink. However, usually, it is not a smart buy, unless you want to make just one cup per day.

The standalone category is capsule coffee makers (or capsule machines, or single serve). And there is a reason why some sellers call it a ‘machine’, while others name it a ‘coffeemaker.’ From one point of view, it’s an automated machine since user has to press only one button. Nevertheless, one the other hand, it’s not so automated since you use coffee capsules, that is ground and packed in a factory.

Prices on capsule models vary. The budget is even under one hundred dollar. Examples of single serve machines are Legato Single Serve or original Nescafe Dolce Gusto (such as Genio EDG455T EX:1). Sometimes, single serve coffee makers could be 5 times more expansive, for example for the original Nespresso models that can also automatically froth the milk for your cappuccino (Latissima series).

Capsule machines are very simple to use and maintain, and they are usually very compact. However, the main disadvantage of those – is the cost of capsules. So, I can’t call it a smart choice if you or your family drinks more than 2 cups of coffee per day. Here’s why:

Cheapest $400 coffee machine: Cheapest $100 single serve maker:
~ 5,8 kg / 13 oz. of beans per year 730 capsules per year
x x
х $10 per pound (coffee beans) x $0.75 (coffeer capsules)
drawn equals sign drawn equals sign
Total = $130 Total = $547.5


As you can see, you will have to spend extra $400 for coffee capsules in just 1 year. In addition, since you are attached to a particular capsule system (e.g. you will have to buy only Tassimo pods for Bosch Tassimo capsule makers) you really have no choice of coffee. Moreover, of course, fresh ground good coffee is tastier than factory-made capsules. Finally, coffee pods are less environmentally friendly.

That takes us to the second conclusion

I drink less than 2 cups of black coffee a day I drink less than 2 cups of black coffee or cappuccino a day I drink two or more cups a day or I want really super fresh coffee
Starting budget


for an original capsule coffeemaker w/o milk frother


for an original capsule coffeemaker with an automated cappuccino system

Consider buying a real automated coffee machine or a manual coffee maker and continue reading further.


#3. Espresso or US long coffee?

Since my blog is international, I should consider that question. Because in Americas people usually prefer a big cup of not so strong coffee. In Europe, we call it ‘Americano’. Nevertheless, as for ourselves, we prefer espresso and espresso-based drinks which are stronger and come in smaller portions.

All major coffee machine producers such as Philips/Saeco/Gaggia (it’s the same company now), Delonghi, Jura, Melitta, and KRUPS are initially European. In addition, their primary aim was to design an espresso machine. Sure, you can add hot water from the steam wand to espresso and make a cup standard of US style coffee. That’s how Americano is classically prepared in Italy. However, the result is little bit different from traditional filter coffee.

Still there are models that have an additional function to imitate the process of brewing filter coffee on the European market. Usually, special mode is used. It reduces the pressure from standard 15 bar for espresso to 2-3 bars. Both Saeco/Philips (they call the needed function ‘coffee switch’) and DeLonghi (they call it ‘long’) have such models. In the UK, the price starts from £400 and examples are DeLonghi’s ETAM 29.510 Autentica or Philips 4000 series HD8847. In America, you can choose ESAM6900 PrimaDonna Exclusive or ESAM6700 PrimaDonna Avant by DeLonghi.

In addition, producers have special class of the so-called grind-and-brew coffee machines. Which are indeed automated machines (remember the criteria of one-touch and coffee beans use) and prepare traditional filter coffee exactly how it should be prepared. Examples are Philips Grind & Brew HD7766 or 7765, Cuisinart DGB-650BC, Black & Decker CM5000 Mill and Brew.

All of the above leads us to the next conclusion:

I drink only US style coffee and I want it to be automatically made from beans I drink only US style coffee and I’m ok with doing it manually I drink only US style coffee, but my significant other loves cappuccino. Both should be automated. No, I need an espresso and/or cappuccino
Starting budget


Your choice is grind&brew.


for a drip coffee maker. Plus extra money for a good burr grinder if you want your coffee fresh



for super-automatic coffee machines with both one-touch cappuccino and US style coffee functions

continue reading further


Ok. That’s enough for today. I will continue writing this article later.

I NEED you opinion. Please rate my review:

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Author: Dmitriy


Ask me!


  1. I’m thinking of buying a one-touch machine, though I can see the different functions and options from different brands and specific models, the problem, is that enough to have a good tasting coffee?

    and what do you recommend? the one-touch from Saeco GranBaristo Avanti Super-automatic or it’s equivalent from Delonghi “Primadonna Elite ECAM 650.75.MS”

    Abdulaziz Al-Shareedah

    20 Jan 18 at 8:40 am


    • I would try to briefly name main distinctions and key features.

      Saeco GranBaristo Avanti. This models is equipped with larger brewing unit (all other machines by Saeco, Gaggia and Philips have identical unit, gran baristo is an only exception). It can use up to 16 gramms of coffee per drinks. Delonghi – 14 gramms. The taste of espresso on Saeco is a bit more acidic, then on Delonghi.

      Both have an app for iOS/Android to control the machine, both “know” many recipes (Delonghi 14, Saeco 20), both have special mode for americano/caffe crema (brewing unit can reduce the pressure to imitate filter coffee).

      But! Delonghi can also: 1) make hot chocolate 2) make the cappuccino by original recipe (adding milk foam to espresso, not vice versa like Saeco Granbaristo do). It also have to milk frothers of two different types: manual one (if you would like to practice latte art) and automatic milk frother with foam regulator (you can set it to make higher foam or less foam). Saeco has only one frother (automatic with out foam regulator).

      To sum up, the Delonghi ECAM 650.75 is definitely more functional if compared with Granbaristo, and for the same price I would choose it.


      20 Jan 18 at 5:01 pm


  2. Hi there,

    I have had a concern for a while with moka pots like Bialetti ones. They are mainly made of aluminium and as you well know aluminium is bad for your health. Do you have any knowledge on how safe these pots are?



    26 Mar 18 at 7:16 pm


    • They have stanless steel models also, look for Venus, Musa and Kitty Nero series. However even aluminium moka pots are covered with protective layer/surface (that’s why it’s not recommended to wash it with with abrasive сleaners) and meet all the european standards for food grade aluminum, which I believe are strict enough.


      27 Mar 18 at 1:43 pm


  3. hi which one of theese machines you recommend.

    Siemens TI303203RW
    Delonghi ECAM 22110
    DeLonghi ESAM 3500
    Krups EA815070
    Gaggia RI9305


    11 Jul 18 at 10:31 pm


    • Gaggia RI9305 is a manual espresso maker, while others are automatic beans-to-cup machine. Anyway, generally Delonghi ECAM 22110 is the best choice among these models.


      12 Jul 18 at 8:28 am


  4. Dmitriy, you are amazing.
    Can you please put a function to here to follow you by email.
    When you write something new (topic or answer) I want to receive an email.

    Is it possible?

    David C

    1 Dec 18 at 4:44 am


  5. Hi,
    I currently have a Tassimo machine which is nearing the end of it’s life.
    I like to drink the Colombian coffee (not an expert but I would describe it as an Americano with a nice crema) from their range and would like to replicate something similar in an ESE or other pod type machine. The ability to also create with a capsule on the same machine would be an advantage but not essential.
    Can you recommend a machine that is available in the UK?

    Ian Adkin

    6 Dec 18 at 2:45 pm


    • Hi, Ian!

      I’m not very familiar with Tassimo’s Colombian blend, so can’t suggest something similar in other pod/capsule formats.

      However, generally I think that ESE pods are less suitable for Americano (if correctly understood you) than your current Tassimo. Simply because they are barely enough (in terms of intensity, amount of coffee inside) for a classic 30ml shot of espresso (and last comments under my article about ESE pods prooves it). If you will try to make long coffee on it it will be too much watery and over extracted (bitterness).

      Tassimo, by the way way, is the best for americanos/long coffees among capsule systems because it uses lower pressure. Thus, the taste is not overextracted. If you consider other capsule machine, then new Nespresso format (called Virtuo – check it on UK’s amazon: ) would be perfect. New machines that support both old and new capusels have two different modes: for classic espresso and for long coffee.

      Other options I know, but unsure if to recommend some of them:
      1) Senseo pods and Senseo machine are also designed to brew something like americano, but I don’t like the taste, almost no pressure, almost no extraction:
      2) The only machine I know on the European market, which can brew ground coffee, ESE pods and capsules is Graef. Some of its machines are eqiupped with a third filter basket which is made for Nespresso capsules. Here is an example (didn’t found of UK’s amazon, so here is a link for german one:


      6 Dec 18 at 9:18 pm


      • Hi Dmitriy,

        Thank you for the great reply.

        What are your thoughts on the Dualit 3 in 1 coffee machines?
        Would you know if I could make long coffee drinks with this machine?


        Ian Adkin

        9 Dec 18 at 1:15 pm


        • Hi, I had never personally tested it. However, based on the manual – no, it has no any special modes for americano. But you can add hot water to espresso to get americano – the way they do it in coffee shops.


          11 Dec 18 at 2:30 pm


  6. Can you help me to recognize the differences between Delonghi ESAM4000 and Delonghi ESAM 03.120.S ?


    3 Jan 19 at 4:05 am


  7. Hi! I’m seeing that in LATAM Oster is distributing the equivalent of the Sunbean Barista Max (under Oster 7300 Barista Max). Have you reviewed the equivalent of it in US or Europe? Do you have any opinion of it?


    10 Feb 19 at 4:13 pm


    • Hi, Dario. An interesting machine, however, no, I didn’t test it – there is no equivavalent in Europe as far as I know. And I can’t give any opinion before I see it 🙁


      12 Feb 19 at 8:57 am


  8. Do you have any experience with/recommendations on the
    Philips EP3360/14 3100 Series? Worth the money for a 1 latte/day drinker?

    Paul Zilligen

    1 Mar 19 at 4:19 am


    • Based on the model code you gave I assume you are from Canada, right? If so, yes, it’s the best option I see now in Canada for fully automatic latte.

      In other situation I would advice to consider the Delonghi ECAM23260, which is the main competitor of this Philips, it has 1) better quality of body panels (doesn’t affect taste, just looks better) 2) can make bigger portions of latte 3) can make hotter coffee (if you get used to it) 4) a bit wider adjustments.

      However, price difference (I compare it on, I don’t know maybe in other shops it costs less now) is too big – doesn’t worth it. So, yes, Philips EP3360 seems to be the optimal choice for you.


      1 Mar 19 at 9:12 am


  9. I would like to ask which one to choose or Philips „Series 2200 EP2221/40″ or Melitta „E957-103 Solo Perfect Milk“? Ore maybe you can offer something else? Thank you for your time


    23 Apr 19 at 8:48 am


    • Hi, Raimis. Didn’t touch the new Series 2200. Already ordered it, will test and write a review in several weeks. Provisionally, if they didn’t change the internals much, then I like the taste of Melitta more, but Philips is more reliable.


      24 Apr 19 at 6:25 am


      • Thanks for reply. I Think i’ll try Philips too.


        24 Apr 19 at 7:00 am


  10. Greetings from Texas,
    Thank you for your blog! I enjoyed the De’Longhi La Specialista article because all of the reviews I could find on line were paid reviews- not helpful! Though, based on my needs, it still seems to have the best features.

    I’m looking for a model:
    – Make one café au lait a day, but a big one (16-20 oz)
    – $400- $700
    – Semi-automatic, but speedy heat up. I like the dual heating options so I don’t have to wait for the steamer.

    When it comes to the Specialist, I like the Americano feature, the controlled tamping and the frother heating up at the same time, but worry I’m overpaying. It’s still at $750.

    Your review took me back to the Breville Barista Express, but I’m wondering if there isn’t a better model to meet all of my needs.

    Also, I’m leaning toward a separate grinder, so I have more options there. I’m open to ideas on getting an espresso machine and buying a grinder separately.

    At this point, I’m so dizzy with the options and unreliable reviews that any help would be greatly appreciated!


    Katherine L Murphy

    6 Aug 19 at 1:07 am


    • Hi, Katherine. I totally suport the idea of the separate grinder and espresso machine. And yes, you can afford a decent setup for $700 (not a professional, but higher level than delonghi/breville). This would be for example something like Ascaso Dream or Gaggia Classic or Lelit Anna (but this one is a bit above the budget) plus Baratza Virtuoso

      However, there is one problem. This class of devices (call it prosumer class or semiprofessional) for these prices usually have no automatisation, double boilers for fast switching between steam and coffee etc. These feautures on professional machines will cost $1000+ example Nuova Simonelli Oscar II

      So the choice is between an automated home machine (a combo device) which has _some_ advanced functionality, but generally gives the same espresso as any other espresso maker for home use. Or you go up, get a heavy solid grouphead with professional diameter, get the OPV, get the PID (real PID, not just an adjutable thermoblock), but loose in automatisation.


      6 Aug 19 at 11:52 am


  11. bonjour je suis un grossiste de cafe en capsule en algerie et je suis tres intereset de vos produits et j ai besoin des echantillons pour examiner os produits et pour presenter vos produits a mes clients comme les super marches et les grossistes de cafe et puis je fait une commande j attend votre reponce merci

    meloua nasreddine

    7 Aug 19 at 7:23 pm


    • I don’t sell capsules, Meloua.


      8 Aug 19 at 9:09 am


  12. I have an old Starbucks Barista which is made by Saeco. I am hankering for a new machine but in your opinion- what would be a great option to move to – the new Breville or De Longhi units- or would my unit still hold up well.

    Jason Schoepfer

    15 Sep 19 at 3:24 pm


    • Hi, Jason. If you choosing in $400-$500 budget I would stick to Saeco/Gaggia (=Barista) machines since you get used to it. And indeed it makes the best espresso among home espresso machines. Also read comments by Sasha here he was not fully satisfied after swtiching from Starbucks machine to Delonghi.

      The best price/functions option would be Saeco Poemia/Gaggia Viva, however, they don’t sell it now on North American market. But there is Gaggia Garrezza I would recommend to consider this option. More pricey Gaggia Classic (Classic Pro or older model) is even a better choice, but only if you are planning to brew with unpressurized baskets (requires more skills and a good grinder). That’s because Classic doesn’t have this “magic” crema-filter in the portafilter, which is installed on your current Starbucks Barista, on Poemia and on Carrezza.


      16 Sep 19 at 9:44 am


  13. Have some doubts which model to choose? Ask me!