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Espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos are some of the most popular specialty coffees available at high-end coffee shops, but the cost adds up incredibly quickly when you’re purchasing them every day. Plus, it can be annoying to have to get dressed and head out to a separate location to enjoy an espresso. Instead, you can buy an espresso machine to make custom specialty coffees right in your own kitchen.
Why trust us?
To provide a reliable source for your espresso machine search, we spent 17 hours researching these machines and choosing the best models on the market to review. They have been analyzed on more than a dozen factors determining quality, user-friendliness, and the quality of results achieved.
Best espresso machines in Canada
- Best Overall: Breville BES870XL Barista Express
- Best for Beginners: Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro
- Best for Simplicity: Philips 2200 Series Fully Automatic
Best Overall: Breville BES870XL Barista Express espresso machine
The Breville Barista Express espresso machine is one of the top espresso machines for the home. It uses advanced technology to deliver outstanding results even if you’ve never made an espresso yourself before. This machine is equipped with a 15-bar Italian pump with a 1600-watt Thermo coil heating system that applies the exact right pressure with the exact right water temperature for the optimal flavour extraction from your coffee beans. This machine even adjusts its water temperature after steam for the best extraction. To achieve the best taste possible in your espresso, a conical bur grinder with adjustable ground size allows you to grind fresh beans quickly and easily each morning.
This espresso machine has a large 2L removable water tank so you can make as much espresso as you need to properly function in the morning. The Breville Barista express can be set to make one-shot or two, for one cup or two. You have a visible pressure gauge as well as indicator lights for hot water steam and for when the machine needs to be cleaned. You can also select automatic or manual functioning depending on your skill level making espressos. The machine has a tamper and milk frother built-in for your fancier coffee types. The entire machine is durable stainless steel with high-quality parts all the way through. A low-pressure pre-infusion ensures optimal extraction of all beans.
What sets the Breville BES870XL Barista Express espresso machine apart?
The Breville Barista Express espresso machine is a commercial-grade espresso machine designed for home use. It has the perfect balance of user-friendly features with commercial technology to produce world-class espressos in your kitchen. It includes every piece of equipment you need for a variety of specialty coffee drinks, including a grinder and a milk frothing wand built right in. It also offers incredible customizability that not many espresso makers can offer.
The technology used in this espresso maker also sets it apart since it can automatically adjust the water temperature, indicate when it needs to be cleaned, and more that make it a high-quality piece of equipment.
What could be improved on?
We have no suggestions for improvements with the Breville Barista Express espresso machine. It is easy to use, is incredibly well-made, and has all the features you need to make outstanding, commercial-quality espressos right in your own kitchen.
Performance of the Breville BES870XL Barista Express espresso machine
The Breville Barista Express allows for single or double shots of espresso to offer more variety to users. It also provides manual and automatic settings that allow you to go with a preset or manually customize your espresso. Plus, the included milk wand makes it easy to create lattes or cappuccinos as well.
Ease of use
The Breville Barista Express is very easy to use even though it is a high-end and more complex machine. Though it offers many areas for customization, once you set your preferences it will make consistent, delicious espresso without much interference. The high-quality materials and intuitive design make achieving the perfect espresso easy for anyone to accomplish.
The conical grinder included on the Breville Barista Express espresso machine is fully adjustable, so your beans can be ground extremely fine, coarse, or any minute difference between the two. With no preset settings, you have unlimited options and excellent customizability of the size of the grounds used for your espresso.
Best for Beginners: Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro espresso machine
The Gaggia Classic Pro espresso machine is a beginner-friendly, easy-to-use machine. All parts are easily removable for thorough cleaning to ensure optimal performance. The stainless-steel parts are durable and attractive, so it won’t matter so much if the espresso machine must make your counter its permanent home. A commercial-grade steam wand with rotating movement is included so you can perform all the froth art you want at home. The controls use rocker switches with helpful indicator lights for brewing and steaming.
The wattage is a bit lower at 1425, but it is still powerful enough to heat perfectly for the ideal extraction of favour from your coffee grounds. The espresso machine can make two cups at once with dual nozzles and semi-automatic functioning. The portafilter is a commercial-style 58mm model with optional single and double shot baskets for ease of portioning. You can also use ESE pods with the pressurized basket if you prefer pods over grounds. The pump mounts have been designed for quieter-than-average brewing as well. Though this is an entry-level espresso machine, its commercial-grade features and simplicity make it a great choice for beginners just learning how to make espresso and other specialty coffee at home.
What sets the Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro espresso machine apart?
One of the best features of the Gaggia Classic Pro espresso machine is the 3-way Solenoid valve that makes it incredibly easy to discard used beans since it creates a dry puck that doesn’t stick. The overall design of this espresso machine is what sets it apart from the competition though. The controls are incredibly simple with indicator lights when the machine is one, brewing, and ready to steam. This design makes it incredibly user-friendly since it is obvious when the appliance is ready for certain steps in the specialty-coffee-making process.
What could be improved on?
Since this espresso machine is beginner-friendly, it doesn’t have as many features or advanced technologies as some higher-end options. We would like to see separate controls for making a single vs. double shot since this would make it that much easier to use. The milk frother isn’t as effective as we would like, so improvements to its design or functioning would be ideal. Digital controls might also be a beneficial improvement in the future.
Performance of the Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro espresso machine
The Gaggia Classic Pro espresso machine can make single and double shots, but the milk frother included isn’t as effective as some of the higher-end models out there, and making the perfect cappuccino or latte isn’t as easy as it would be with another machine. Without advanced controls, it is also more difficult to precisely customize your espresso as well.
Ease of use
Due to the simple design of this entry-level espresso machine, ease of use is fairly high. The machine alerts users to the brewing and steaming cycles for an easier time learning how to make espresso, and the machine is designed with semi-automatic operation for less manual guesswork.
The Gaggia does not have a grinder built into the machine, so your bean options are determined by the grounds you buy or your ownership of a separate bean grinder. However, you can also choose to use pods with the pressurized basket which opens up more possibilities.
Best for Simplicity: Philips 2200 Series Fully Automatic espresso machine
The Philips 2200 Series fully automatic espresso machine is our top pick for simplicity, and for good reason. It is entirely automatic, so you won’t have to do more than press a few buttons and add your ingredients (coffee beans and milk) to achieve delicious, commercial-quality espressos, lattes, cappuccinos, and americanos. It is easy to customize your drinks with 3 aroma strength settings, adjustable coffee ground sizes, 3 temperature settings, and adjustable serving sizes. This is one of the easiest espresso makers to clean, in part due to the Lattego for milk and froth since it can be taken apart and cleaned in about 15 seconds since it doesn’t use tubes like most milk frothing wands.
The touch screen display is easy to learn and it only takes a single touch to adjust your settings depending on your preferences. The machine cleans itself and can make up to 5000 cups without needing descaling. There is a water filter built right into the machine that does require replacement, but it keeps your water healthy and clean without any extra steps. The bean container holds 9.7 ounces of beans and has 12 steps of adjustment from coarse to powdery-fine grounds. The espresso maker even has indicator lights when the filter needs to be changed and descaling is required, so you’ll always have optimal performance from the Philips espresso maker.
What sets the Philips 2200 Series Fully Automatic espresso machine apart?
The Philips 2200 series espresso machine is fully automatic, and that truly sets this model apart from the competition. The digital controls are incredibly easy to use and you won’t have to do anything beyond supply the ingredients to achieve 5-star espressos at home. The design of the Lattego milk canister is also very unique. Another great feature of this fully automatic espresso maker by Philips is the ability to adjust your flavour and dosage with digital controls rather than doing so manually. The ease of use with this Philips espresso machine is truly outstanding, especially since it is easier to maintain than most others since it tells you when cleaning is needed and there are no tubes involved with adding milk or froth to your specialty coffee beverages. It can also make Americanos and is compatible with tall glasses for additional specialty coffee drinks, which very few espresso makers have.
What could be improved on?
We have no suggestions for improvement with the Philips fully automatic espresso machine. It is made of high-quality materials, is incredibly easy to use, works flawlessly, and produces delicious espresso, latte, and cappuccino drinks.
Performance of the Philips 2200 Series Fully Automatic espresso machine
This Philips fully automatic espresso machine makes it incredibly easy to enjoy all three specialty coffee drinks including espresso, latte, and cappuccino, as well as ordinary coffee and Americanos. The digital controls allow for precise control over your flavour and aroma to ensure that your coffee is personalized for you with unlimited adjustments possible.
Ease of use
The simplicity of operating this Philips espresso machine is what makes this appliance great. Not only is it easier to maintain, but all of the controls are also digital for an easier time making adjustments to your settings. It does all the work for you and is very easy to learn.
Since the Philips espresso machine has a built-in grinder for your coffee beans, you can customize your ground size from extremely fine to coarse. There are 12 different levels so you can opt for any level of powdered or coarse beans and achieve consistency with every cup.
How to choose an espresso machine in Canada
Given the complexity of espresso machines, it’s no surprise that they’re a little pricey. Some commercial models can cost thousands of dollars, so looking at home models seems a bit more reasonable. Your budget will play a large role in the machine you end up choosing since price determines everything from the type of espresso machine to its features and technology. You should also consider a possible need for a coffee grinder when setting your budget if you don’t choose an espresso machine that has one built-in since this is a necessary step in the espresso-making process.
Espresso machines are available in large and small sizes, so you’ll need to consider your available counter space when making your purchase decision. These machines are often bulky, but there are markable differences in sizes depending on the type of espresso machine you choose and its built-in features like milk frothers and coffee grinders, so consider your need for accessories when determining how big of an espresso machine your kitchen can handle.
Bean options/Built-in grinder
For optimal flavour and aroma, you’ll want freshly ground beans each time you make espresso. A built-in grinder will do the hard work for you and eliminate the extra time and financial cost of a separate grinder. Most espresso machines have fairly large hoppers that will dispense the perfect portions for your single or double shots. If you do want a built-in grinder, make sure you check the number of size options for your coffee beans to be sure that you can customize them to your liking for flavour.
Ease of use
Making espresso manually is very complicated since you need the right pressure, time, and water temperature, so espresso machines are automatically much easier to use than manual pieces of equipment. That being said, some espresso machines are easier to use than others with certain features and design elements that can make a world of difference, particularly for beginners. Fully automatic espresso machines with digital settings are the easiest to use since you can customize your drink with a few presses of your finger and the machine does all the work for you. Semi-automatic machines often require you to pull the bar yourself and are more difficult to use if customizing your drink to any degree. When determining ease of use, you must also consider your own skill level since different people will find certain features more helpful than others.
Ease of cleaning
Ease of cleaning is important to pay attention to when shopping for an espresso maker. Some models require cleaning after every use while others can go for thousands of servings before needing descaling. Some espresso machines can even rinse themselves to make it that much easier to maintain the machine, so watch out for these features when browsing. Even without these automatic cleaning settings, easily removable, dishwasher-safe parts are incredibly convenient when you do want to perform a thorough cleaning. You must also consider the complexity of parts when assessing how difficult your espresso machine will be to maintain since small and complicated pieces can be a hassle to clean effectively – such as milk frothing wands.
When choosing an espresso machine, you most likely won’t only want to use it for espressos. Most machines can also make lattes and cappuccinos, along with plain coffee or hot water, but some machines have more settings for other fancy coffees like macchiatos or americanos. If you want more variety, you’ll need a higher-end machine. You’ll also want to consider the size and shot options available to you, as well as any customizable settings for the strength of flavour or aroma since these can drastically change your experience.
Single vs. double boiler
Depending on the espresso machine, it will either have a single boiler or double boiler. A double boiler is a huge selling point since it can brew your coffee and steam your milk at the same time, while a single boiler has to perform each task separately. With a single boiler, you’ll have to leave time in the morning for it to heat up twice if adding any kind of steamed milk or froth, so it can be frustrating on busy mornings. Especially if you’ll be making multiple cups in the morning, a double boiler is the way to go.