Every single coffee lover knows that Italy is renowned for its espresso and barista culture. With this in mind, it is no surprise to see that the best Italian coffee machine always features an espresso feature and could easily be used in an Italian bar.
The best Italian coffee machines always look great and they produce an espresso shot with a thick crema. At the same time, they are easy to use and include useful features like a steam wand and a removable portafilter.
Choosing the best machine for you might be an overwhelming experience but after comparing features and learning what to look at, some models stand out.
Our Top Recommended Italian Coffee Machine
Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine
How To Choose An Italian Coffee Machine
Italian coffee machines are considered to be the best for the home user because they bring the barista experience to the kitchen. Also, they are always built to last. You can expect them to last even over 20 years if you properly take care of them, of course. However, choosing the best one is a personal experience.
A big problem with picking a perfect Italian coffee machine is that there are so many on the market that it can be difficult to find the best one for the individual user. This is why you should always consider the following factors to make the best choice for you.
Coffee Machine Type
There are 4 types of Italian coffee machines:
These are vintage, restored models, or replicas of the machines used in the past. They should only be considered by those that want to completely control every single part of the espresso brewing process.
Electric pumps were introduced to coffee makers in 1938 thanks to the patent by Achilles Gaggia. This led to semi-auto espresso makers. They have automated boiler temperature controls but you choose when the pump is turned on.
These include an electronic nanny in order to regulate how much water goes through the espresso. Some redundant semi-automatic controls might be present in these machines.
These are the espresso machines that include the most features and extra gadgets that make brewing coffee as simple as possible for the home user. They have to be considered by those that do not want to worry a lot about how to brew a great shot of espresso and the various steps needed. However, the authentic espresso brewing experience is compromised.
This refers to in-the-cup brewing results. To put it as simple as possible, you need to choose an Italian coffee machine that is capable of brewing the drinks that you want.
Just because a machine is labeled as being designed for espresso brewing does not mean it cannot include features that are tailored for other drinks. Look for extra features like the common milk frother or technology included to brew other drinks, like iced coffee.
As already mentioned, a quality coffee machine can last for years. However, this is only possible if the build quality is as high as it should be.
Pay close attention to the materials used and the quality of every part, from the frother to the drip tray.
For Italians, brewing espresso is an experience in itself. That’s why you should choose a machine that is visually appealing for you and that matches the environment where it will be placed. You can find coffee makers with very modern design or a traditional aesthetic approach, and everything in between.
Your budget will dictate what you can afford and what you cannot. With Italian coffee machines, you should expect the price tag to be higher than with alternatives because of how important it is for the unit to be of high quality for Italians. Even so, you should not blindly opt for the most expensive machine you can afford and consider it the best.
When analyzing price, look at what you get for the money you paid. Is the price justified based on the features included or is the machine overpriced?
The Best Italian Coffee Machine on the Market of 2020
1. Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine (Our Top Recommended)
The Gaggia Classic Pro is the upgraded version of the semi-automatic entry-level Gaggia Classic. Its design is both classic and modern at the same time, featuring rocker switch buttons and industry-standard aluminum parts. The frame is completely made out of stainless steel and water reservoir access is very simple from the top of the unit.
An important selling point for the Gaggia Classic Pro is that it includes several components that are regularly present in commercial espresso machines. For instance, the commercial steam wand offers full frothing and steaming control. It is responsible for producing microfoam that is very tight and can easily be used for latte art or other espresso-based drinks.
Gaggia Classic Pro heats up fast thanks to the presence of dual heating elements. As a result, the machine is ready to brew in 5 minutes and ready to steam in 30 seconds.
The coffee machine features a pressurized basket so shot quality is always consistent, with a suitable layer of crema. With the included filter baskets, you can use the coffee you grind and expect a high-quality espresso shot.
- High-quality commercial-grade parts included in a coffee maker designed for home use.
- Very easy-to-use rocker switch controls.
- Stainless steel frame.
- Easy access to the water reservoir.
- Small counter footprint.
- High capacity water tank – 2.1 liters.
- Needs descaling through the group head and the steam wand but the manual only mentions the wand.
- The area under the portafilter is very tight so you cannot use larger cups.
2. Breville The Barista Express Espresso Machine
The Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine was designed for people that want the best possible espresso at home. Due to this, it features digital temperature control technology. This allows a precise water temperature control for balanced coffee extraction. Also, the extraction process is handled at a very high pressure thanks to a 15 bar Italian pump. You can thus expect a very rich espresso shot.
One thing that instantly stands out with the Italian coffee machine is that it includes a grinder, which is not common with most home units. You can control both the grind and the quantity so you can obtain the exact espresso consistency desired, regardless of the bean type used. Thick crema is always guaranteed by the pressure-control technology used.
Those that want to use the espresso machine for more than coffee can use the dedicated hot water dispenser, which is perfect for tea or Americano, among others. As expected, the steam wand is perfect when you want a cappuccino or other milk-based coffee drinks.
- Complete dose control grinding thanks to an integrated conical burr.
- Highly precise espresso extraction with PID technology.
- You can grind directly into the port filter because of the addition of an innovative grinding cradle.
- Manual override available for automatic features for complete brewing control.
- Includes extra tools for cleaning and dosing.
- The coffee machine requires more counter space than most other units (a counter with a width of at least 34 inches is needed).
- Complicated to use and you need to follow the owner’s manual.
3. De’Longhi ESAM3300 Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine
The De’Longhi ESAM3300 is an affordable automatic espresso machine that is instantly attractive for those that want to quickly brew their coffee without having to worry about complex settings. Also, it includes a patented “Cappuccino System” frother. This is responsible for mixing milk and steam without any hassles to create a creamy, rich froth.
The unit’s control panel is very easy to use with various programmable menu settings. The beans container capacity is 8.8 ounces and the maximum cup height you can use is 4.25 inches.
Because the coffee maker is automated, you can design your personal cappuccino and espresso experience. You do this by programming your preferences. Then, the machine remembers your choices, ranging from espresso strength to the preferred beverage size. Adjustable settings for coffee strength, cup size, and water temperature are available.
When it is time to clean the ESAM3300, the removable water tank and bean container make the task easy. You can actually empty the grounds and fill the water tank without having to move the unit. This is not a common feature with such coffee machines.
- Very easy-to-use control panel with intuitive buttons.
- The beans-to-brew system makes it easy to get a delicious espresso with freshly ground coffee.
- Easy cleaning due to the presence of removable parts.
- Integrated burr grinder set up for optimal espresso grind.
- Patented Cappuccino System that rotates the frother 180 degrees to accommodate milk containers of all sizes.
- If you do not properly clean the grinder, beans can end up stuck.
- The coffee maker is louder than expected.
4. Saeco Incanto Carafe Super Automatic Espresso Machine
Saeco is a brand that is renowned in Italy for the high-quality offered and the commitment to constantly innovate technology. These are clearly visible in the Incanto Carafe Super Automatic Espresso Machine, which stands out on the counter because of the high-quality workmanship. This is a very elegant Italian coffee machine built with the use of the best possible materials.
One of the interesting features is the addition of the AquaClean Filter. This guarantees that you can enjoy up to 5,000 cups of coffee before you have to replace it. At the same time, the filter removes the need to descale the machine, which is mandatory with most espresso machines.
The design of the Incanto Carafe Super Automatic Espresso Machine is very compact but you get a larger capacity than expected. As an example, the bean container is 8.8 ounces.
Incanto’s front face is striking and based on stainless steel as the material of choice. As a result, there is a balance between elegance and utility. Use the controls to brew a hot cup of coffee fast thanks to the heating boiler technology used. It allows immediate brewing, without having to wait for the water to heat after one cup is done.
- High-quality workmanship with ceramic grinders and stainless steel frame.
- Very fast water heating for quick brewing.
- Included Powder Option for when you want a cup of decaffeinated coffee.
- A removable brewing group for easy cleaning.
- The espresso machine is expensive because of the use of the high-quality materials.
- The water reservoir can be considered small by some users.
5. De’Longhi Dinamica Automatic Coffee & Espresso Machine
De’Longhi’s Dinamica Automatic Coffee & Espresso Machine stands out because of different reasons. An important one is the addition of True Brew, which means full-bodied Iced Coffee is quickly offered by brewing with the use of low water temperature. Coffee is infused over ice so you can be sure it is not watered down.
Besides True Brew, the control panel is an important part of the coffee machine. It helps you to quickly control different settings, including drink strength. There are 5 settings available, ranging from extra-strong to extra-mild. Also, drink size can be programmed based on your preferences.
With the Dinamica, brew various coffee-based drinks, including milk-based ones since there is an adjustable manual frother present. You can use it to customize foam and steam levels. In addition, the included adjustable steel burr grinder features 13 settings. You can easily get the grind you want for your cup of coffee.
It needs to be added that the factory settings of the machine brew a very strong cup of coffee, which is not preferred by everyone. However, this can be customized. Then, after you choose and program the desired settings, you can expect coffee to be brewed fast, exactly as you want it. The water heats up in under 40 seconds and the coffee is always fresh thanks to the bean to cup system used.
- Very attractive compact design.
- True Brew allows easy iced coffee brewing.
- Numerous customization options are possible.
- Very easy to clean thanks to the removable brew unit and drip tray. The tray is dishwasher-safe.
- Small water container. Three cups are brewed before you need to add water.
- Poorly written owner’s manual.
6. Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine
The Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine has to be mentioned on the list of best Italian coffee machines because it is highly compact and fully automatic. At the same time, it allows you to make practically anything from espresso shots to cappuccino.
The espresso machine includes a Pannarello wand. It was designed for really fast foaming and steaming for milk-based coffee drinks. You can use this to make anything from hot cocoa to lattes and the best part about it is that the wand heats up to the appropriate steam temperature in just around 10 seconds.
After brewing several cups, it is time to clean the coffee machine. This is made really easy thanks to the dreg box and water reservoir being front-loaded. You can easily remove them for washing purposes.
Speaking about the front panel, it also features the unit’s control panel. It has a simple interface with an LED screen and some dedicated buttons. However, this does not mean you do not have access to enough customization options for most possible users.
The last thing that has to be mentioned is that the coffee maker lets you brew with pre-ground coffee or whole bean coffee. If you choose the second option, you use a ceramic burr grinder in combination with a bypass doser.
- Intuitive, user-friendly control panel with LED screen.
- You can use both whole beans or pre-ground coffee to brew directly into cups with a height of 3.25 to 4.5 inches.
- Pannarello frothing wand for lattes, cappuccinos, and more.
- The machine is small, holding just 20 ounces of water and 5 pucks of coffee.
- You have to pay for shipping costs to repair the machine, even if in warranty.
7. De’Longhi EC680M Dedica 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine
The last machine on the list is the most compact one. Although it has a width of just 6 inches, the De’Longhi EC680M Dedica has to be presented because of the inclusion of the 15-bar pump. It allows you to get a high-quality espresso every single time you use the unit.
This coffee maker can be used to brew different drinks, including single espresso, double espresso, latte, and cappuccino. All of these are brewed at the expected Italian barista quality.
If you want to brew a milk-based coffee drink, you can use the manual frother included. It makes it really easy to mix milk with steam to create a creamy, rich froth for a drink that has an even texture.
To make the machine even more appropriate for home use, it includes a customizable bottom tray unit. You can adjust it or completely remove it so that taller cups can be utilized. Besides the removable drip tray, you can also remove the water reservoir so cleaning the machine is a breeze.
- High-quality brewing experience up to the standards of a barista thanks to the pressure pump used.
- Very compact, space-saving design.
- Taller cups can be accommodated.
- High-quality manual milk frother.
- After turning on the coffee machine, it takes around 30 seconds for the water to heat up, which is longer than some might expect given the size.
- The power button can get stuck if you apply too much force when using it.
To sum up, the overall best Italian coffee machine is the Gaggia Classic Pro. The modern/classic design is attractive for many coffee enthusiasts and you can expect your espresso shot to always be as it needs to be due to the inclusion of several commercial-grade parts.
The Gaggia Classic Pro heats up fast and it features a rather large water capacity so you can easily brew coffee for several guests in one sitting. Size-wise, it is perfect for most home users but you might also want to consider the other Italian coffee machines mentioned since the choice process is a highly subjective one.