The 8 Best Single Cup Espresso Machines (Helpful Guide)

Last Updated on April 3, 2022 by John Moretti

A single-serve espresso machine allows you to prepare one espresso at a time, precisely how you like it. Not all single-serve espresso machines, however, are made equal. I love to have a single shot of espresso from time to time, and I regularly test the best machines available; that said, here are eight of the best offered today.

If you’re tired of drip coffee’s speed and flavor, you might want to consider investing in an espresso machine. While these machines require a larger initial investment, the ideal ones can allow you to make barista-quality coffee beverages without spending $5 a day at your local coffee shop. So, what makes them the best?

8 Of The Best Single Cup Espresso Machines

Espresso has a certain allure that no other coffee style can match. However, making it at home might be difficult without a commercial espresso machine. Worse, if you don’t do your research, you can purchase a subpar espresso machine that produces below-average beverages. 

Adding to the confusion, many coffee makers marketed as home espresso machines aren’t essentially espresso machines. Don’t worry. I’ll walk you through the most popular options. 

A home espresso machine should include a sophisticated brewing process and valuable extras like a double portafilter basket for double-shot beverages or a milk frother and steam wand for cappuccinos and lattes. 

A decent automated espresso machine, on the other hand, isn’t cheap, and you should budget at least $500 for one that makes a true cafe-caliber espresso drink (or just an espresso shot, if that’s your thing). When in doubt, think about how much money you’ll save on cappuccinos, lattes, and double shots at the specialty coffee shop.

One of life’s great joys is brewing a warm pot of coffee to drink gently on a lazy Sunday. However, downing a short cup to start a hectic workday morning is just as important. So, starting with the famed Breville’s Bambino Plus, here’s what you could be looking forward to with your next shot of quality espresso.

1. Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine

Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
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The Breville Bambino Plus easily deserves its spot as one of the finest espresso machines since it’s simple to operate while allowing you to customize your brew to perfection.

This espresso machine, often marketed as Sage rather than Breville, makes a smooth, robust espresso and heats up quickly. It can also froth milk and has three different milk temperature settings and three different texture options, allowing you to customize your beverage to your liking.

Despite being small enough to fit on your counters, this machine comes equipped with practically everything you need to make barista-style coffee. Furthermore, it can only brew one shot at a time and requires thorough cleaning after each use; still, making it one of the best single cup espresso machines available today.

Despite being not the cheapest machine on the market, this Breville model performed admirably in my tests, and I believe it is well worth the money.

2. Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee And Espresso Maker

Nespresso Vertuo Plus Coffee and Espresso Maker by De'Longhi, Grey
$129.00
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09/24/2022 10:50 am GMT

With the touch of a button, the Nespresso VertuoPlus coffee and espresso machine makes five single-serve cup sizes. In addition, each machine comes with a free welcome package that comprises a variety of Nespresso Vertuo capsules with distinct scent characteristics. 

Breville’s Nespresso Vertuo Plus Coffee and Espresso Machine has dual capsules that you may use to make espresso or coffee using Centrifusion technology. The Nespresso VertuoPlus is an excellent choice if you value convenience above all else. 

Many baristas I know claim that this machine is one of their favorites since you have complete control over your coffee, and it doesn’t need much effort. 

You must purchase Nespresso capsules directly from the company to operate this machine. If your chosen espresso includes a frother, you’ll need to purchase it individually or as part of a package.

3. Smeg ECF01 Espresso Maker

Smeg Espresso Machine Black ECF01 BLUS
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With the Smeg ECF01 Espresso Maker, you will have fantastic coffee that will look great on your counters. The machine consistently produces an excellent crema every time during testing, and it can be used with ground coffee or Easy Serve Espresso pods, giving you a variety of options.

It’s not a machine for beginners since perfecting the brew that’s ideal for you takes time, but once you’ve perfected it, you’ll never be without fantastic coffee again. It’s also pricey compared to the competition, but it’s a worthwhile investment if you want to improve your barista abilities.

I was especially delighted by its capacity to froth milk to the perfect amount of silkiness and the fact that it just takes 40 seconds to heat up.

4. Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine

This single-serve espresso machine is only 3.3 inches wide and 12.9 inches deep, making it ideal for compact locations. One Amazon customer comments, “I just discovered the perfect workhorse for my espresso requirements,” praising the machine’s clean appearance and simple settings. 

“We can schedule the espresso shots according to our personal preferences, which means I can have a deeper espresso texture. It’s tiny, which means more counter space, ideal for me in my small city loft. The aesthetic aspects are attractive and straightforward, which are two words I don’t typically identify with one other.”

While it falls short on some of the more costly models’ more advanced capabilities, critics say it has all you need for a perfect brew and is miles better than most pod machines on the market. 

One reviewer commented, “I felt it was time to increase quality and flavor when my third Keurig died.” Furthermore, adding, “I’d used Nespresso machines in hotels in Europe and knew they made fantastic espresso.” 

“Without any additional frills, this model accomplishes what I need it to do. So far, I’m a big fan of the machine. The coffees have a fantastic taste. So far more flavorful than anything I’ve ever had from a Keurig.”

5. Cuisinart EM-100 Espresso Machine

The Cuisinart EM-100 has a lot going for it when it comes to creating espresso, cappuccino, or latte, despite the lack of a coffee grinder. This inexpensive espresso machine has a small footprint but is strong enough to produce finely ground coffee.

Imagine the scent of a hot, rich, robust, and tasty cup of your favorite espresso beverage. With the stainless steel Cuisinart Espresso Maker, you can now turn your dreams into reality. First, press an espresso, and then use the stainless steam nozzle and frothing cup to make a latte or cappuccino. 

It also produces tasty espresso shots that are both high in quality and strength. The machine has a built-in cup warmer heating element and a lengthy stainless-steel frother for steaming milk. It is an excellent espresso machine that costs roughly a third of what the Breville does.

6. Nespresso Pixi Espresso Machine

Nespresso Pixie Coffee and Espresso Machine by DeLonghi, Aluminum
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The Nespresso Pixie is a higher-end single-serve model that uses a high-pressure pump to properly extract the taste of the coffee beans, resulting in a barista-style outcome. It is a fantastic espresso machine, and it has made its way to many top Nespresso lists.

Pamper in a rich cup of coffeehouse-style Lungo or espresso with this Nespresso Pixie espresso machine from DeLonghi with a compact, avant-garde design that combines elegance and functionality. You’ll be drinking a great cup of coffee in no time, thanks to the quick 30 second preheating time and high-pressure pump.

For the extra investment, what else do you get? It’s easy to program a single-serve machine to dispense the strength and volume of coffee you want – if you can’t get to your local barista and you’re looking for an alternative that is simple and fast, this is one of your best options.

7. Wacaco Nanopresso Machine

The Wacaco Nanopresso is a small coffee machine that can brew espresso using a hand pump. There is no battery or charging: everything is done by hand-pumping up to 18 bars of pressure, and the ultimate product is equivalent to what you’d get in a cafe.

The Nanopresso is small and light, with a built-in espresso cup and a light casing sculpted to fit the device properly. It provided smooth, strong coffee in my tests, as long as you had a supply of boiling water.

It takes a bit of effort to figure out what’s happening if you’ve never used an outdoor espresso machine before, especially when putting everything back together. Still, it gets a lot easier after the first few usages. 

It isn’t a machine to use for the first time at 7 am on a workday, but it’s perfect for bringing high-quality espresso with you wherever you go.

8. Phillips EP4347/94 Espresso Machine

Philips Kitchen Appliances EP4347/94 Espresso Machine, One Size, Black
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With its innovative user interface, the Philips EP4347/97 fully automatic espresso machine with LatteGo offers café-quality coffee into the household, with up to 8 distinct coffee drinks available at the touch of a button. 

The machine is constructed with sturdy ceramic grinders. It incorporates the easy-to-clean LatteGo milk frothing system and the Aroma Extract brewing technology, which smoothly handles the whole process from bean to brew. 

A circular frothing chamber combines air and milk at high speed, then adds a splash-free, creamy milk foam coating to your cup at precisely the right temperature.

With icons, aromatic coffee from freshly ground beans will be easy to prepare with the TFT display. With two user profiles that preserve your unique recipes, you can enjoy your favorite coffee in the same manner, every time. 

Due to an extra guest profile, your guests can enjoy a cup of coffee the way they like it without having to change your own. 

Last but not least, Aroma Extract technology ensures optimum aroma extraction and brewing temperature by automatically adjusting water flow and temperature between 90 and 98 degrees Celsius.

The Best Single Cup Espresso Machines: What To Consider

Espresso machines are composed of various components that control your coffee’s temperature, taste profile, intensity, and consistency. The following are some of the features to look for when looking for an espresso machine:

1. The Size Of The Portafilter

Portafilter

The coffee grounds are held in the portafilter, which looks like a spoon. If you upgrade your portafilter and its basket to 58 millimeters, you will be able to obtain attachments like distribution tools and tamps much more easily.

2. The Number Of Boilers The Machine Has

steam wand

A single boiler or multiple boilers are used in most espresso machines. However, getting an espresso machine with dual boilers – where the steam wand and the group head each have their own boiler – is quite beneficial since you won’t have to wait for the machine to catch up while drawing espresso shots boiling milk at the same time.

These devices with two boilers are usually more costly. On the other hand, single boiler machines utilize the same boiler for the steam wand and the group head, so you’ll have to wait for the machine to build pressure before steaming milk after pulling a shot of espresso.

3. The Temperature Control Of The Machine

An excellent espresso machine will maintain a consistent temperature. PIDs (Proportional, Integral, Derivative controls) are used in many higher-end espresso machines to allow you to regulate the temperature of your espresso down to the degree. 

It is a valuable function because it keeps your water at a constant temperature instead of letting it vary. I would recommend keeping the temperature between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit if you have this choice.

4. Does The Machine Have A Built-In Grinder?

grinder

Some of the best espresso machines (like Cuisinart EM-100 mentioned above) don’t always come with grinders. However, some models are just paperweight without one. The quality of your grinder will limit the quality of your espresso setup. 

You should search for an espresso grinder with a “step-less” grind adjustment that allows you to make tiny adjustments to your grind size. In addition, built-in grinders are available on several valuable machines.

Conclusion

An espresso machine is a significant financial commitment, particularly if you want one with all the bells and whistles. 

Various espresso machines are accessible to the home barista, including manual, semi-automatic, automated, super-automatic, and pod machines, so choosing the one best suits, your needs is crucial.

When you are in a hurry and need to get your hands on the best, you can’t go wrong with our list mentioned above list of the best single-cup espresso machines.