For lots of people, owning a machine from the birthplace of espresso is the only way to go. With that in mind, I've put together this guide to the best Italian espresso machines. I'm fully aware that everyone has different wants and needs, so I've compiled an eclectic list of machines.
For lots of people, owning a machine from the birthplace of espresso is the only way to go. With that in mind, I’ve put together this guide to the best Italian espresso machines. I’m fully aware that everyone has different wants and needs, so I’ve compiled an eclectic list of machines.
You’ll find everything from drool-worthy prosumers to budget-friendly super automatics. And because I only want the best for each and every one of you, I’ve also included a few things to consider before buying.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right into my guide to the best Italian espresso machines!
Table of Contents
- Why an Italian Espresso Machine?
- 8 Best Italian Espresso MachinesGaggia Classic ProDeLonghi Dinamica PlusNuova Simonelli Oscar IIDeLonghi Magnifica EvoGaggia BreraRancilio Silvia Pro XDeLonghi La Specialista MaestroGaggia Cadorna Prestige
- How to ChooseBudgetSize and DesignSemi-Automatic vs Fully AutomaticFeaturesMilk SystemMaintenance
- Decision Time
Best Italian Espresso Machines at a Glance
Here’s an initial look at the Italian espresso machines I’ll be talking about today:
Why Choose an Italian Espresso Machine?
As we all know, the Italians invented espresso, and for that we should all be eternally grateful. I mean, try to imagine a world without the wonderful concentrated elixir that is espresso. On the other hand, don’t think about that – it’s just too awful to contemplate.
What you might not know is that the very first espresso machine was invented by Angelo Moriondo in 1884. Of course, things were later improved upon, most notably by Luigi Bezzera in 1901 and Achille Gaggia in the 1930s. Incidentally, espresso wouldn’t have its characteristic crema if it weren’t for Gaggia’s brilliant mind, so he deserves a special grazie mille.
These days, of course, home espresso machines are produced all over the world. In fact, some of the best espresso machines are produced by Australian, Swiss and North American manufacturers. With that in mind, why should you consider buying an Italian espresso machine?
Well, for starters, the Italians are fiercely proud of their espresso machine heritage. This motivates many manufacturers to continue producing machines to the highest quality possible. In fact, it isn’t at all unusual to encounter Italian espresso machines that have been hand-made in Italy.
Not only that, Italians are known for producing things that are both functional and beautiful. Just take a look at their cars if you don’t believe me. Heck, even the humble moka pot – which is how most Italians prepare coffee at home – represents the perfect balance between form and function.
The best Italian espresso machines are no different – they’re beautiful to behold while able to produce exceptional espresso. I guess there’s still something unique and special about Italian espresso machines after all these years.
The 8 Best Italian Espresso Machines
Of course, the very best Italian espresso machines are big, expensive commercial models. Still, there are plenty of wonderful options for home baristas, ranging from affordable super automatic machines to high-end prosumer models.
Gaggia Classic Pro
It’s hard to think of another home espresso machine that I love more than the Gaggia Classic Pro. This compact little beauty has become a cult classic among home baristas, and for good reason. Plus, at just $402.71, the Classic Pro is an affordable option for most people.
Sure, the Gaggia Classic Pro is far from perfect – there are plenty of other more sophisticated options out there. Still, this machine just has so much personality. Maybe it comes down to the fact that you really need to learn the Gaggia’s idiosyncrasies to get the best out of it.
For example, you’ll need to figure out temperature surfing when it comes to switching between steaming milk and making coffee. However, once you’ve got things dialed, the Classic Pro is capable of making excellent espresso and milk foam.
Unlike other machines at this price point, the Gaggia comes with a professional 58 millimeter portafilter. What’s more, this little machine has a ton of steam power. Add in the fact that the thing not only looks really cool but feels practically indestructible and you know you’re onto a winner.
See Also: Gaggia Classic Pro hands-On Review 2023
DeLonghi Dinamica Plus
The DeLonghi Dinamica Plus is another Italian espresso machine that’s achieved legendary status here at Coffeeness. In fact, the Dinamica Plus has become my go-to comparison device whenever I review a new mid-range super automatic.
The DeLonghi Dinamica Plus costs $1,299.95, which is definitely a substantial investment. However, when you take all the machine’s features and functionality into account, you’re looking at a real bargain. Plus, the DeLonghi can more than hold its own when compared to much more expensive Jura coffee machines.
To be honest, the Dinamica Plus has everything you could want in an automatic coffee maker. There’s a color touchscreen display, conical burr grinder with 13 adjustment levels and a wonderful LatteCrema milk system.
As far as specialty drinks go, the Dinamica Plus offers everything from latte macchiato to cappuccino. Plus, you’re able to tweak a variety of settings to get exactly what you want. Most importantly, this machine is capable of producing excellent espresso, which is what you’d expect from one of the best Italian espresso machines around!
See Also: DeLonghi Dinamica Plus Hands-On Review 2023
Nuova Simonelli Oscar II
These days, more and more home baristas are considering so-called prosumer espresso machines. As the name suggests, prosumer machines are aimed toward the home market while incorporating high-end components from professional espresso machines. Essentially, if you’re serious about upping your barista game, a prosumer machine is the way to go.
Costing $1,495.00, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is actually one of the more affordable prosumer machines around. I just love the way this machine looks – it’s got shiny stainless steel housing and a distinct retro-futuristic vibe.
Under the hood, there’s a powerful heat exchanger boiler, so maintaining consistent temperature is no problem. As you’d expect, the Oscar II comes with a 58 millimeter portafilter and a powerful steam wand. There’s also a cool control panel for programming shot times.
It almost goes without saying that the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II can produce sublime espresso; if you’re looking for an option that’s as close to commercial as possible, this is the Italian espresso machine for you.
Related: Best Prosumer Espresso Machines 2023
DeLonghi Magnifica Evo
When it comes to the best Italian espresso machines, it’s safe to say that DeLonghi has cornered the market for mid-range fully automatics.
One of the manufacturer’s more recent additions, the DeLonghi Magnifica Evo is a case in point. In fact, I’d go so far as to say this could be considered a budget machine at just $865.00. Either way, the Magnifica Evo won me over during my testing.
First things first this is an extremely approachable machine. The user interface is easy to navigate and does away with endless menu options. Still, you’ve got plenty of adjustable settings to dial in your espresso and milk foam.
Speaking of milk foam, the Magnifica Evo’s automatic frother is a marvel. I’m used to DeLonghi’s LatteCrema system, but this takes things further by adding an on-demand feature. Essentially, the machine will use the exact amount of milk you’ve added to the flask, cutting down on waste. That might sound straightforward, but it’s not something you see on many automatic machines!
See Also: DeLonghi Magnifica Evo Hands-On Review 2023
As I was compiling my list of the best Italian espresso machines, the Gaggia Brera seemed like the obvious choice for best budget option.
Sure, $449.00 is still a sizable chunk of change, but it’s a fraction of what you’d spend on many other super automatics. Plus, the Gaggia Brera is packed with features that make it stand out as a great investment.
Heck, not only does the Brera feature stainless steel construction, it’s also equipped with a ceramic burr grinder. Now that’s not something you’ll find on many budget espresso machines. Add in the fact that this Gaggia includes a pre-infusion function, adjustable coffee strength and a powerful manual steam wand, and the price seems even more reasonable.
As an added bonus, the Gaggia Brera features a sleek and streamlined design – I wouldn’t expect anything less from the Italians. What’s more, you won’t have any trouble finding a spot for this compact machine in your kitchen.
See Also: Gaggia Brera Review 2023
Rancilio Silvia Pro X
Another prosumer espresso machine, the Rancilio Silvia Pro X is about as good as it gets in my opinion.
Building on the success of the beloved original Rancilio Silvia, the Pro X takes things to a whole new level. With that said, you’ll have to pay $1,940.00 for this Italian espresso machine. So, unless you’re a dedicated home barista, the price tag might seem a little too steep.
The Rancilio Silvia Pro X is equipped with dual boilers, meaning you can make espresso and steam milk simultaneously. What’s more, dual PID controllers ensure supreme temperature stability. Other standout features include a shot timer, the ability to adjust temperatures to-the-degree and an adjustable soft pre-infusion setting.
Ultimately, we’re looking at an Italian espresso machine that’s been designed to get the very best out of your coffee beans. Still, you’ll also need a suitable burr coffee grinder to achieve true perfection!
Related: Rancilio Silvia Hands-On Review 2023
DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro
When it comes to hybrid machines – those with on-board grinders and automatic functions – most people think of Breville espresso machines. However, one of my all-time favorite hybrids comes in the form of the DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect from this Italian espresso machine. However, during my testing the La Specialista Maestro won me over with its features and functionality. Plus, at just $1,399.95, this DeLonghi espresso machine represents really good value for the money.
For starters, I love the way the La Specialista Maestro looks – it’s unashamedly big, bulky and beautiful! And that prominent pressure gauge on the front of the machine isn’t just for show. It really helps you dial in your shots.
There are tons of adjustable settings to play with, and the automatic dosing and tamping functions work really well. Not only that, you can choose between manual and automatic milk systems, which is a real bonus. Overall, the La Specialista Maestro is an excellent choice for experienced or novice home baristas. Everyone will enjoy using this machine.
See Also: DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro Hands-On Review 2023
Gaggia Cadorna Prestige
For the most part, Gaggia has moved its focus away from manual espresso machines, concentrating instead on super automatics. That said, the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige proves that the Italian manufacturer still prioritizes espresso quality over everything else.
Thanks to its many customizable settings and high-end ceramic burr grinder, the Cadorna Prestige is able to produce espresso of the highest quality. Moreover, the machine’s wonderful automatic milk system means you’ll enjoy fabulous specialty drinks. Oh, and there are 14 specialty drinks to choose from, so you won’t get bored!
As you’d expect from Gaggia, the Cadorna Prestige really looks the part. Featuring graceful curves and a sleek silhouette, this machine is only going to enhance the vibe of your kitchen.
Lastly, the Gaggia Cadorna Prestige is a joy to operate, thanks to its huge color display. Plus, its four user profiles makes it ideal for coffee loving families. The Gaggia Cadorna Prestige is available on Amazon for $849.00.
See Also: Gaggia Cadorna Prestige Review 2023
How to Choose the Best Italian Espresso Machine
By now you should have a better idea of what’s out there. As we’ve seen, Italian espresso machines are available in a range of different styles and sizes, all with different features and prices. Still, when it comes to choosing the very best Italian espresso machine for your needs, there are a few things to consider.
There’s just no getting around it – how much money you have to spend will seriously impact which espresso machine you’ll choose. Of course, there are those for whom money is no object, but most of us mere mortals have to be careful. After all, it can be tempting to use a credit card to live beyond your means, but it’ll come back to bite you!
With that said, owning an espresso machine can save you a lot of money in the long run, and be worth the initial investment. For example, if you’re dropping five bucks a day at your local cafe, think about all the money you could save over the course of a month by making coffee at home!
Size and Design
Depending on the size of your kitchen, you’ll need to take the size of your preferred Italian espresso machine into account. Don’t forget that you’ll need to access the water reservoir, so overhead cabinets could get in the way. Another thing to remember is that you may need space for a grinder, depending on which type of machine you’re interested in.
As far as the overall design goes, everyone has different preferences. With that said, you don’t necessarily want your espresso machine to stick out like a sore thumb. Some people won’t appreciate the design of the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II, for example, while others will feel it’s perfect for their Jetsons-themed kitchen. Different strokes for different folks!
Semi-Automatic vs Fully Automatic
Choosing between a fully automatic and semi-automatic machine really comes down to how much control you want. Aspiring home baristas who want to really get to grips with espresso and milk foam preparation are best advised to go with a semi-automatic.
On the other hand, a fully automatic or super automatic espresso machine is ideal for those who want specialty drinks at the touch of a button. Of course, a hybrid machine like the DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro offers somewhat of a middle ground. However, you’ll still have to put work in to get good results.
Obviously, the more features that are packed into an espresso machine, the more likely it’ll be on the expensive side. With that in mind, you should think about what it is you really want. Do you just drink straight espresso or is a milk frothing system important? Do you want a machine with a built-in grinder or do you already have one?
Likewise, you should think about how involved you want to get in the intricacies of espresso preparation. If you’re planning on geeking out to the max, an adjustable PID controller and built-in shot timer might be essentials. However, if you want a simple, no fuss experience, a super automatic will likely seem more attractive.
Any professional barista will tell you that learning how to steam milk manually takes time and patience. I can tell you from personal experience that it’s a long and frustrating road to achieving consistently silky microfoam.
If that sounds like something you’d rather avoid, automatic milk systems can do a pretty great job. However, you’ll never get the exquisite foam from a fully automatic machine that you’ll eventually be able to create by hand using a steam wand.
I always make sure to stress the importance of regular cleaning and descaling during my espresso machine reviews. After all, you’re spending a lot of money on a coffee maker and it won’t clean itself!
The long and the short of it is that any espresso machine – whether semi-automatic or fully automatic – will start to struggle without regular maintenance. For a semi-automatic, the process is pretty simple, but a super automatic machine requires more work. You’ll need to thoroughly clean the milk system and brew group at the end of each day, as well as perform regular deep cleaning.
As we’ve seen, there are plenty of options when it comes to choosing the best Italian espresso machine. Plus, manufacturers like Gaggia and DeLonghi really know what they’re doing when it comes to producing some of the best coffee makers around.
Whether you prefer the convenience of a fully automatic espresso machine, or want to hone your barista skills on a semi-automatic, it’s hard to beat an Italian made model. So, now that I’ve armed you with all the information you need, only you can make the decision on your future espresso machine!
Best Italian Espresso Machines FAQ
It’s impossible to say who makes the best quality espresso machine. However, Italian manufacturers like Gaggia, DeLonghi and La Marzocco produce some of the best espresso machines in the world.
At home, the majority of Italians use a moka pot to prepare espresso.
Seeing as there’s such a long tradition of espresso machine production in Italy, many people feel like Italian coffee machines are the best around.
Both Gaggia and DeLonghi produce exceptional coffee makers, and it’s impossible to say one is better than the other.