I'm fully aware that lots of my Coffeeness readers are ready to take their home espresso game to the next level. If you've outgrown your entry-level machine, this guide to the best prosumer espresso machines is for you.
I’m fully aware that lots of my Coffeeness readers are ready to take their home espresso game to the next level. If you’ve outgrown your entry-level machine, this guide to the best prosumer espresso machines is for you.
I’ve compiled a list of awesome machines, all of which are capable of producing the best espresso possible. As a bonus I’ll also give you a few pointers on what to look for in a prosumer espresso machine.
So, if you’re hankering after the ultimate home barista setup, sit back, relax and let me take you on a journey through the wonderful world of prosumer espresso machines!
Table of Contents
- What’s a Prosumer Espresso Machine?
- How to ChooseBoilerPID vs PressurestatGroup HeadOther Considerations
- 10 Best Prosumer Espresso MachinesRancilio Silvia Pro XAscaso Steel UNO PIDRocket Cronometro VNuova Simonelli Oscar IILa Pavoni ProfessionalDiletta BelloRocket AppartamentoNuova Simonelli MusicaBreville Dual BoilerDiletta Mio
- Decision Time
Best Prosumer Espresso Machines at a Glance
Here’s a quick look at the best prosumer espresso machines we’ll be looking at today:
What Is a Prosumer Espresso Machine?
In case you haven’t already figured it out, the word “prosumer” is a mashup of “professional” and “consumer.” Essentially, prosumer machines use components commonly found in commercial espresso machines, while still being aimed toward the home espresso market.
I guess you could say switching from an appliance-grade machine to a prosumer model would be like upgrading from coach to business class. In short, a prosumer espresso machine will allow you to produce cafe-quality espresso and milk foam.
Rather than relying on a single boiler or thermoblock, a prosumer machine often gets its super powers from dual boilers or a heat exchanger boiler. This means you’ll be able to brew espresso and steam milk simultaneously. Plus, you’ll be guaranteed better performance and temperature stability, which means you’ll be able to brew back-to-back shots with more consistency.
Sounds pretty great, right? Well, if you’re serious about honing your espresso skills, a prosumer espresso machine is the way to go. However, you’ll need to spend a decent chunk of cash to get into one of these machines. Not only that, without a burr coffee grinder that’s good enough for espresso, you might as well forget it.
How to Choose a Prosumer Espresso Machine
Now that you know what a prosumer espresso machine is, the questions about what to look for are likely coming thick and fast. Well, fear not – I’m out ahead of you! Let’s take a gander at a few things to consider as you start to narrow down your search.
For the most part, the best prosumer espresso machines are equipped with either a heat exchanger or dual boilers. By the way, you’re going to get excellent results with either option.
A heat exchanger boiler features a small isolated section inside that constantly circulates water out and around the group head. This cools the water to the right temperature for brewing. Meanwhile, the rest of the boiler’s water is kept at the right temperature for steaming milk.
Although that means you can brew and steam at the same time, heat exchangers do have disadvantages. The biggest downside is that the overall temperature will increase over time. Still, a simple cooling flush will take care of that issue.
Having dual boilers is your best bet. Seeing as there are dedicated boilers for steam and brewing, you’ll never have to perform a cooling flush. Plus, you can often control the temperature of each boiler independently. Still, dual boiler espresso machines are usually much more expensive.
PID vs Pressurestat
You may have heard of PID controllers – they’re actually quite common on appliance-grade machines. Incidentally, PID stands for Proportional Integral Derivative. There. Now you know. Anyway, a PID controller is a super accurate way of adjusting and maintaining temperature, although it can make an espresso machine more expensive.
On the other hand, a pressurestat is a simpler, more old school device that turns off the heating element once it reaches a certain threshold. When the temperature drops, the pressurestat kicks the element back on. As you might imagine, this can lead to some inconsistencies, although an E61 group head will smooth these out.
Speaking of the E61 group head, let’s take a moment to appreciate its ingenious design. There’s a reason this type of exposed group head is so popular in heat exchanger and dual boiler espresso machines. In fact, it’s kind of the gold standard.
Thanks to its chrome plated brass construction and unique design, pressure builds up gradually, allowing for natural pre infusion. Plus, temperature inside remains incredibly stable because water is constantly flowing between the group head and boiler.
Other group heads can work just as well, with a shorter heating time. Still, the E61 is kind of where it’s at in my opinion!
While I’ve just covered the main things to look for in a prosumer espresso machine, there are a few other considerations to take into account.
Budget: As I mentioned at the start of this guide, a prosumer espresso machine is going to involve a substantial financial outlay. Plus, if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right. That means investing in a good grinder, espresso tamper, espresso knock box … the list goes on!
Pump: Prosumer espresso machines come equipped with either a vibration or rotary pump. While both are effective, a rotary pump is quieter and more powerful. Still, you’ll usually only find this kind of pump on really expensive espresso machines.
Preheat Time: If you’re set on a machine with an E61 group head, you’ll need to be prepared for prolonged heating times. I’m talking 20 minutes or more. On the flip side, a machine with a saturated group head – essentially an extension of the boiler – will be ready to go in less than 10 minutes.
Design: Personally, I love espresso machines with exposed group heads, fancy knobs and tons of polished metal. Still, that look isn’t for everyone. However, if clean lines and a more understated vibe are what you’re after, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding your dream machine.
Features: Just because an espresso machine is fully loaded with fancy functions doesn’t mean you need them. For example, ask yourself whether you’ll really need a shot timer and volumetric control. Maybe you’d be fine with your phone’s timer function and stopping the shot manually.
The 10 Best Prosumer Espresso Machines
Now that you’ve got a clearer idea of what to look for in a prosumer espresso machine, let’s get down to business. Oh, and I’m sticking to the rule I set for myself in my home espresso machine guide 2023. Namely, that there has to be some kind of price ceiling involved.
So, none of the best prosumer espresso machines on my list cost more than $3,000. Anything more than that is just silly money, and out of the range of most people.
Rancilio Silvia Pro X
The original Rancilio Silvia has to be one of my all time favorite espresso machines. Still, getting to grips with it involves a lot of time and patience.
Enter the Rancilio Silvia Pro X, which takes the cult classic to new heights. Sure, you’ll have to shell out a whopping $1,940.00 for the Pro X model, but what you get is truly impressive.
For starters, this is a dual boiler machine, so you can pull a shot and steam milk at the same time. What’s more, there are dual PID controllers for maintaining accurate temperature. These can be adjusted to-the-degree via a digital display. Incidentally, the display doubles as a shot timer which is a nice touch.
The Rancilio Silvia Pro X also features a pressure gauge, which I always like to see. Best of all, Rancilio has equipped the Silvia Pro X with a pre-infusion function that can be switched on or off. To round things out, the Rancilio Silvia Pro X has a wake up function, so you can program the thing to start heating at a predetermined time. I can see that being very convenient, and I’m definitely thinking of upgrading to this version!
Related: Rancilio Silvia Hands-On Review 2023
Ascaso Steel UNO PID
Spanish manufacturer Ascaso has been in the espresso machine business for a long time. The Ascaso Steel UNO PID really highlights the quality and attention to detail that has brought the company so much success. Plus, for $1,435.00, this prosumer espresso machine represents true value for money.
Featuring solid stainless steel construction and a satisfyingly boxy design, the Steel UNO PID is going to look great in any kitchen. I also love the walnut handle on the 58 millimeter portafilter.
As far as performance goes, this machine features a single PID-controlled thermoblock. Seeing as you’re able to control the temperatures, switching between brewing and steaming is a breeze. Best of all, the machine allows you to program a range of parameters, including pre infusion and shot times. Heck, you can even manually change pump pressure via an adjustable OPV valve screw.
Ultimately, the Ascaso Steel UNO PID is an affordable and high-performing machine that’s ideal for espresso experimentation.
Rocket Cronometro V
Milan-based Rocket Espresso has made a name for itself by producing a range of stunningly beautiful, high-performing espresso machines. Available for $2,400.00, the Rocket Cronometro V is no exception.
There are two different body styles on offer – Mozzafiato and Giotto – each equipped with heat exchanger digital PID temperature control. The Cronometro V also offers soft pre infusion, which is essential to achieving a well balanced extraction.
As you might expect, you’re able to adjust the boiler temperature on the fly, and a small timer allows you to keep an eye on your shot’s progress. Add in the fact that there are pressure gauges for the boiler and the pump, and you know you’re in complete control.
The Rocket Cronometro V is simply gorgeous to look at – featuring all the hallmarks of the manufacturer’s design aesthetic. I’m personally in love with the integrated cup rail on top of the machine – little touches like that really make my day!
Nuova Simonelli Oscar II
Costing just $1,495.00, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is one of the most affordable options on this best prosumer espresso machines list.
Personally, I just love how this machine looks, though I imagine not everyone will love its retro futuristic vibe. Still, what’s important is that the shiny stainless steel housing makes this a durable workhorse.
The Oscar II is equipped with a 68 ounce (2 liter) heat exchanger boiler, and eschews the famous E61 in favor of a thermosiphon group head. Fortunately, this style is just as effective at maintaining consistent temperature.
Interestingly, the Oscar II uses timed dosing, which is programmed using buttons on the control panel. Frustratingly, there’s no manual mode, though an easy workaround is just to set the time to 60 seconds and stop the shot manually.
Although this Nuova Simonelli beauty has no hot water outlet, the steam wand is powerful and effective. I happen to love the ergonomic steam lever, which makes operating the frothing wand very straightforward.
See Also: Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Review 2023
La Pavoni Professional
Let’s just say that the La Pavoni PC-16 isn’t for everyone. However, if you’re the type of home barista who relishes a challenge, this prosumer espresso machine might be for you. And let’s not gloss over the fact that the La Pavoni Professional is a gorgeous work of art; if anything is going to impress your friends it’s this manual lever machine.
Looks aside, the La Pavoni Professional is capable of producing sublime espresso. Still, you’ll need to invest a lot of time learning the intricacies of how different factors affect your shot’s outcome. What’s more, you’ll have to invest $1,172.20 for the privilege.
Fortunately, the pressure gauge really helps when it comes to dialing in. Plus, the 38 ounce (1.1 liter) boiler means you’ll have plenty of room to maneuver. With that said, the La Pavoni Professional tends to overheat quickly, so it’s not ideal for pumping out coffee for a crowd.
During my testing of the La Pavoni I was impressed by the steam power this thing can generate. The steam wand’s three-hole tip is ideal for creating microfoam, although there’s an automatic frother attachment if you need it.
Check Out: La Pavoni Professional Hands-On Review 2023
A relatively new player in the prosumer espresso machine sector, Diletta is a collaboration between Seattle Coffee Gear and Milan-based Quick Mill. In my opinion, $1,699.00 is a steal for the Diletta Bello.
I mean, each one of these beautiful espresso machines is hand-made in Italy, using high-grade commercial components. Heck, the stainless steel boiler is even wrapped in a blanket! Speaking of the boiler, this is a heat exchanger machine with an E61 group head. That means you can brew espresso and steam milk simultaneously. Plus, you’ll have consistent temperature the whole time thanks to the pressurestat.
Although the Diletta Bello’s prominent pressure gauge enhances the machine’s overall vibe, it’s also very useful. You can monitor pressure in both the boiler and at the group head, making it easier to dial in your shots.
As for steaming milk, you’ve got oodles of pressure on board for whipping up a cappuccino or latte macchiato. Incidentally, both the steam wand and hot water outlet are double wall insulated, so you won’t burn your fingers. That’s a win!
See Also: Diletta Bello Review 2023
If you feel like the Rocket Appartamento bears more than a passing resemblance to the aforementioned Diletta Bello, you’re not alone. I mean, at $1,850.00, the Appartamento even has an almost identical price tag.
Listen, I’m not sure which came first, but I’m just glad we get to choose between two superb machines. Because, like the Bello, the Rocket Appartamento is superb.
Another machine with a heat exchanger boiler and an E61 group head, the Appartamento is capable of producing outstanding espresso and milk foam. What’s more, this machine is quite compact, so you won’t have to redesign your kitchen around it.
Still, the Rocket Appartamento might make everything else in your kitchen look a little tired. After all, this is a stunning machine – its retro-industrial vibe and highly polished surfaces really float my boat!
See Also: Rocket Appartamento Review 2023
Nuova Simonelli Musica
Although similar in many ways to the Oscar II, the Nuova Simonelli Musica represents a step up in terms of features and functionality. With that said, you’ll have to shell out a not inconsiderable $2,495.00 for this espresso machine.
The Musica is another heat exchanger espresso machine with a thermosiphon group head. Overall, the machine does a great job of maintaining temperature stability, although you’ll need to get used to performing cooling flushes. Still, there isn’t much of a learning curve with this prosumer espresso machine.
Aside from sophisticated programmable volumetric controls, the Musica features Nuova Simonelli’s awesome soft pre infusion. This really helps even out your extraction, regardless of tamping inconsistencies. It’s great to see that the manufacturer has included a dedicated hot water outlet, as well as a powerful and ergonomic steam wand.
Breville Dual Boiler
Equipped with a 58 millimeter portafilter and commercial grade components, this awesome machine is definitely worthy of consideration. However, its hefty $1,598.45 price tag represents a serious investment. With that said, the Breville Dual Boiler is extremely impressive.
As the name suggests, there’s a pair of boilers on board. However, Breville has taken things further by including PID control in the boiler and at the group head. Add in the fact that the machine has two pumps and you know you’re in business.
As you’d expect from Breville, the machine is very user friendly, with tons of adjustable settings and a clear pressure gauge. All in all, this might be the best bet for inexperienced baristas who want to improve their skills on a high-end dual boiler machine.
See Also: Breville Dual Boiler Review 2023
The most inexpensive prosumer espresso machine on my list, the Diletta Mio costs just $1,299.00. Considering how well-conceived this compact machine is, I’d say that’s a great price. Plus, the Diletta Mio is, perhaps, the most approachable option for inexperienced home baristas.
Equipped with a small PID-controlled brew boiler, the Diletta Mio heats up really quickly. In addition, there’s a dedicated thermoblock for the steam circuit, so brewing and steaming simultaneously is no problem. What’s awesome for a machine at this price point is the settings menu, which allows you to make temperature adjustments.
Aside from stylish good looks, the Diletta Mio offers eco-friendly features to feel good about. There’s a short path from the boiler to the group, ensuring minimal heat loss. Plus, the boiler itself is well insulated. I also appreciate the optional eco mode, which helps cut down on energy use when the machine isn’t brewing.
As we’ve seen, when it comes to choosing the best prosumer espresso machine, there are quite a few factors to bear in mind. At the end of the day, though, you really can’t go wrong with any of the prosumer machines I’ve discussed.
Depending on your budget and design preferences, you should be able to find a machine that’ll help you to up your espresso game in a big way. Who knows? Maybe there’s a barista championship medal in your future!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide to the best prosumer espresso machines. Is there a machine you feel should be included? I look forward to your comments!
Best Prosumer Espresso Machines FAQ
If you’re attached to the idea of taking your espresso and milk steaming game to the next level, a prosumer espresso machine is more than worth it.
A prosumer espresso machine is aimed toward the domestic market, but includes components and design features from a commercial espresso machine.
There are dozens of manufacturers producing top-notch espresso machines, including La Marzocco, Rancilio, Nuova Simonelli and Rocket Espresso.
Paying more for an espresso machine will pay off in the long run because you’ll have higher quality components and more advanced features.