Espresso Machine Buying Guide for 2020. Doesn’t the ability to offer an espresso or cappuccino to a guest sound so much more luxurious than the usual question of coffee or tea? Owning an espresso coffee machine may seem like an indulgence to some, but if you are the type of host who loves to offer only the best to your guests, or if you are an espresso drink junkie who cannot live without a daily fix of java, an espresso machine may be the perfect addition to your kitchen.
The Jura-Capresso Impressa F7 espresso maker has a clean, uncluttered and user-friendly layout with an LED display that shows if you brew mild, regular, or strong coffee and displays the cup size while the machine is brewing. Six settings allow you to adjust the fineness for all kinds of beans—from light to dark roasts. Water is held in the 64 oz. the removable water container, good for 40 espressos at a time.
Espresso Machine Buying Guide
In addition to producing coffee and espresso, many machines also offer hot water features so that you can make soups, tea, or other hot drinks. The chefs at Gourmet Gatherings had the highly enjoyable experience of testing three espresso machines—the Saeco Incanto Sirius, the Bosch Benvenuto B30, and the Jura-Capresso Impressa F7—to see how each machine rated in the categories of appearance, ease of use, quality of espresso drink, speed of production, clean-up, and price.
The three machines did not vary in terms of available colors. Each was a sleek combination of black and stainless steel. The Jura-Capresso machine has the simplest face, with two silver knobs flanking a few flat buttons in the center. The whole machine measures 13.6 inches in height, 11 inches in width, and 17.1 inches in length with a weight of 23 pounds. In many ways, the Jura-Capresso looks like a stylish modern stereo system.
The Bosch machine has a busier front with seven buttons and dials on each side of the brewing system. It also has a boxy shape like the Jura-Capresso with measurements of 16 inches in height, 14 inches in width, 22.8 inches, in-depth, and weighs 28 pounds.
The Saeco machine has digital control buttons that run across the top front of the machine. Some of the features such as the coffee dispenser have more “curves” than in the Bosch and Jura-Capresso machines. The black detailing on this machine is covered by a thin layer of plastic so it is not matte like the other two machines. The Saeco measures 15 3/4-inches tall, 11 3/4-inches wide and 15-inches deep with a weight of almost 26 pounds.
Ease of Use
Unless you have previous experience using an espresso machine, these machines do require some quick reading of the instruction manuals to get started. Once we learned the function of each of the parts and the idiosyncrasies of each machine, we were impressed with how easy it is to begin brewing.
Both the Bosch and Jura-Capresso machines have the water tanks on the side of the machine, while the Saeco tank is in the rear. This may be important to you, depending on where you plan to store the machine. For any of these machines, it may be difficult to place on a covered countertop, because you would need to move the machine each time you need to refill the tank. The same applies to each time you need to add coffee beans. All three machines have top-loading coffee bean grinders. Also keep in mind that the Bosch and Saeco machines have cup warmers on top. The Jura-Capresso model does not have this feature.
The Saeco machine has the most maneuverable frothing nozzle, making it easy to fit the nozzle into all types of cups and mugs. It also featured a swivel base, so that you can turn the machine easily from side to side. One feature that we did not like about the Saeco is that its coffee bean grinder was the noisiest of the three machines. It was difficult to carry on a conversation while we grinded beans.
On the Bosch machine, we liked the quiet grinder as well as the adjustable coffee temperature. We preferred to have hotter coffee for our milk drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos. The Jura-Capresso and the Bosch both have an automatic-on timer feature that is nice for early morning drinks, although none of the machines took more than 2 minutes to warm up.
Quality and Speed of Production
With each machine, our chefs made espresso, lattes, and cappuccinos using the “regular” setting on each machine (there are also “mild” and “strong” coffee settings). The Jura-Capresso produced 2 ounces of espresso in 31 seconds. The espresso drink had a light caramel-colored crema (slight foam layer on top) with white stripes. Of the three machines, the Jura-Capresso’s espresso had the mildest flavor. The Bosch espresso had a dark ecru cream with smaller white striping. Its flavor was the most intense of the machines. The Saeco espresso was ready in 26 seconds, had the thinnest crema, and had a slight bitterness to the liquid. (The same type of espresso beans were used in each machine). The Saeco espresso was very hot when it came out of the machine, and kept its heat for the longest amount of time. The Bosch machine also created an espresso that held its heat well.
For the lattes (espresso and steamed milk), we preferred the Saeco machine. It had the best flavor balance between the milk and the espresso. We liked how the milk and espresso were both very hot. Each frothing/steaming device was tested for 60 seconds. On the Saeco machine, this was too much time, since we ended up with too much froth. Both the Jura-Capresso and the Bosch machines made very mild lattes, and we preferred more espresso flavor to come through.
The Bosch was the winner in the cappuccino (espresso and frothed milk) contest, though. The froth was thick after 20 seconds, and the balance between espresso and milk was terrific. The Jura-Capresso frother has an adjustable timer, so that you can froth from between 3 to 120 seconds. This machine’s froth was the lightest and the drink was again the mildest. The flavor balance of the Saeco cappuccino was mediocre, and the drink was too hot to consume directly after the output.
Even after all of the caffeine, what we dreaded most about the machine testing was the cleanup. However, we were pleasantly surprised that we did not have to dig too far into the bellies of the beasts to clean the machines. The Jura-Capresso machine had a steaming foaming nozzle that was easy to remove and take apart. All it needs is a quick soak in some hot soapy water. The pull-out trays that hold excess water were also easy to clean. Since the Jura-Capresso had the smoothest outer surface, it was the easiest to wipe down.
The foaming nozzle on the Bosch machine was slightly more complicated to remove, but also easy to clean with a quick soap water soak. The removable water trays were very easy to clean. Due to the multiple knobs on the face of the Bosch, it was trickier to clean in and around the machine.
The Saeco machine had the most parts to remove, which made it more time-consuming to clean than the Bosch or Jura-Capresso models.
Every machine had a place where the coffee grounds were stored. The Saeco grounds seemed to emerge with the least amount of water, making it easy to dump the dregs right into the garbage or the compost bin. The Bosch and Jura-Capresso machines both required a quick rinse to remove all of the grounds.
The price differentials on the three machines are fairly negligible. Both the Saeco and Jura-Capresso machines have an estimated MSRP of $1,499, while the Bosch machine retails for about $1,299.99. The decision you make on which machine to purchase will probably be based on factors other than price.
While each machine had some terrific unique features, we were most impressed with the Bosch Benvenuto B30. Its sleek design coupled with the cup warmer, adjustable coffee temperature, and ability to produce intensely flavored espresso won us over.
See this Espresso Machine bestseller list
Also, see this article: small kitchen appliances Buying Guide