It feels like everyone has discovered coffee. So many brands, so many terms, cold brew, single-origin, kopi luwak (coffee made from cherries ingested and ejected by civet cats) etc. etc. But we’re going to go out on a limb and say that the coffee-drinker and the espresso-drinker are often mutually exclusive. Not everyone who adores coffee equally adores espresso. The espresso, you might say, is the child of a greater god. It is not easy or chill, it doesn’t ask to be loved, or even liked. An espresso is complex and—given the smallness of the espresso cup—sadistic even. But if you have an inclination for this next-level obsession then check out our list of the best espresso machines and supporting cast of equipment in the market.
Before you get into the list, we’d like to share some advice we’ve taken from amateur experts (intentional use of the oxymoron), since that’s what you’ll be when you’ve mastered the art of the espresso.
a. Coffee powder for espresso should be of a fine grind texture.
b. An espresso shouldn’t be under extracted, or the coffee will taste weak and sour.
c. An espresso shouldn’t be over extracted, or the coffee will taste bitter, muddy and burnt (due to hot water running through it for a long time).
Now, our list:
1. Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine, Solid, Brushed Stainless Steel
Ideal for a beginner, this machine is semi-automatic and easy to use. It has three button controls that suggest basic functions, making the process less complicated. The dual heating system gets the boiler and the steaming wand ready to go in almost no time. The main feature that caught our eye is the huge water reservoir, which isn’t common for most machines in the market. However, if space is your priority, this isn’t the best option. Also, there is very little space under the coffee spout, so make sure to use smaller sized cups instead of coffee mugs.
Price: Rs. 38,241
2. Breville BES870BSXL The Barista Express Espresso Coffee Machine, Black Sesame
Power packed with high quality parts, this machine comes with all the basic tools you will need to make a great cup of espresso. Currently, this one is a consumer favourite and is an all-in-one kind of machine. Its in-built grinder serves you grounds in less than a minute thus maintaining the freshness of the coffee from bean to cup. Being a semi-automatic machine, it has volumetric presets for single or double shots of espresso, but you can re-programme these as per your preferences. It also offers two types of filters, single wall filter for beginners and dual wall filters for experts. Features like these make this machine suitable for all levels of expertise. This machine requires a lot of regular cleaning though and has an inbuilt ‘clean-me’ system which will remind you to initiate the process.
Price: Rs. 50,943
3. DeLonghi EC685.R 1350-Watt Espresso Coffee Machine (Red)
Compact and easy to use, this machine offers a decent cup of espresso. It has an automatic shut off in case of no use and this is a feature you may not find easily. This machine also excels in creating froth, so that works great for a cappuccino or in case you want to get into coffee art. This machine gives you a few more features like a cup warmer and removable drip tray. The only drawback is that you need to buy the additional tools separately.
Price: Rs. 22,499
4. Nuova Simonelli Espresso Machine Musica
This espresso machine has some great features. Musica can steam milk and brew at the same time, which you won’t find on other single-boiler machines. This is a heat exchanger machine, so once you set the temperature as per your preference it remains consistent for every cup of espresso. Another great feature is that it has an adapter kit that helps you switch from the portafilter to a POD compatible machine. Again, this machine is big in size and is suitable only if you have enough space on your counter. The water reservoir isn’t the most convenient to clean but does a decent job.
Price: Rs. 1,45,376
5. Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
This machine comes with an eco-friendly boiler, which has a thermal insulator that absorbs high amount of heat. This helps save a lot of energy when the machine is switched on. It also has a big area to warm up to 6 cups on the top of the machine. The downside of this machine is that it doesn’t have an inbuilt grinder. It also doesn’t have any programming capabilities, so you can’t set everything to your preference.
Price: Rs. 54,999
6. De'Longhi ECP 31.21 1100-Watt Pump Coffee Machine
Light on the pocket and compact in size, this is a great option if you are looking for a basic coffee machine. Even though it is compact, it possesses a professional level 15 bar pressure that promises great extraction each time. In a single brewing cycle, you could get up to 2 cups of coffee depending on your cup’s size. It is easy to use and mess and noise free. A thing to note is that the boiler tends to get hot quickly especially after you use it a few times. Let the hot water exit through the steam wand to cool it down and then continue.
Price: Rs. 18,382
7. Gaggia Milano Brera Super - Automatic Espresso Coffee Maker
No time in the morning to get crafty with your coffee? Or you are not too choosy about the details… This is a fully automatic espresso machine that makes it quick and easy for you. It allows you to choose between 3 different brew strengths and you can set your preferences based on how strong you want your coffee. Once you do that, it will replicate this setting each time. It is also compact and should fit on most counters.
Price: Rs. 57,499
We Also Thought Of Some Essentials That You Might Need To Go Along With Your Freshly Brewed Coffee:
1. Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters Baratza Sette 30 Conical Burr Grinder
Being particular about how you want your coffee beans, whether it is fine or coarse is a coffee lover’s concern. Here’s a grinder that helps you work on your drink’s consistency.
Price: Rs. 19,949
2. Coffee Espresso Cups
You can’t have a great shot of espresso that’s sunk at the bottom of a vast cup. That sort of thing will spoil the experience of this drink. This set of six cups are simple, elegant, and perfectly proportioned for espresso.
Price: Rs. 5,487
For those who prefer their shot with a few drips of milk. This pitcher has a sharp beak that is also perfect for latte art, should you take that up as a creative practice.
Price: Rs. 419
A scale lets you know exactly how much coffee and water you are using and if the ratios are working. You got to nail the ratios in order to achieve the perfect cup of coffee.
Price: Rs. 4,999
The tamper helps pack the grounds evenly for a good shot so that there are no inconsistencies in your drink.
Price: Rs. 1,904