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Best Automatic Espresso Machine

An automatic espresso machine is like having a personal barista. Your machine-barista makes delicious cappuccinos and macchiatos at your command. Pretty amazing, right? Still, buying one of these premium espresso machines is a significant investment. Hell, yes, you want to get your money’s worth.

That’s where we jump in. This review has everything you need to know about choosing the best automatic espresso machine. Plus, it offers our top ten for 2021, all guaranteed to satisfy.

At A Glance:

How to Choose the Right Automatic Espresso Machine

Automatic espresso machines are expensive, so you want to make sure you choose the one that suits your lifestyle. This buyer’s guide will walk you through some essential features to consider.

Product Details Button
Best Overall Jura Z8 Jura Z8
  • 81 oz water tank
  • Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Fine foam technology
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Best for a Latte De’Longhi Eletta De’Longhi Eletta
  • 67 oz water tank
  • Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Automatic with LatteCrema and steam wand
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Saeco PicoBaristo Saeco PicoBaristo
  • 60 oz water tank
  • Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Automatic
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Best for Espresso Breville Oracle Breville Oracle One Touch
  • 67 oz water tank
  • Whole beans
  • Programmable steam wand
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Best Value Gaggia Brera Gaggia Brera
  • 40.6 oz water tank
  • Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Panarello wand
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Best for a Cappuccino De’Longhi Magnifica De’Longhi Magnifica
  • 60 oz water tank
  • Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Cappuccino system
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Best Compact Machine 81Y4upiniaL._AC_SL1500_-2 Jura ENA Micro 90
  • 36.8 oz water tank
  • Whole beans and ground coffee
  • Fine foam technology
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Gaggia Babila Gaggia Babila
  • 70 oz water tank
  • Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Automatic and steam wand
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91b+8wlFFmL._AC_SL1500_-2 Gaggia Anima Prestige
  • 60 oz water tank
  • Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Carafe
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z6-black_1 Jura Z6
  • 81 oz water tank
  • Whole beans and ground coffee
  • Fine foam technology
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Jura Z8
Best Overall Jura Z8
  • 81 oz water tank
  • Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Fine foam technology
De’Longhi Eletta
Best for a Latte De’Longhi Eletta
  • 67 oz water tank
  • Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Automatic with LatteCrema and steam wand
Saeco PicoBaristo
Saeco PicoBaristo
  • 60 oz water tank
  • Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Automatic
Breville Oracle One Touch
Best for Espresso Breville Oracle
  • 67 oz water tank
  • Whole beans
  • Programmable steam wand
Gaggia Brera
Best Value Gaggia Brera
  • 40.6 oz water tank
  • Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Panarello wand
De’Longhi Magnifica
Best for a Cappuccino De’Longhi Magnifica
  • 60 oz water tank
  • Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Cappuccino system
Jura ENA Micro 90
Best Compact Machine 81Y4upiniaL._AC_SL1500_-2
  • 36.8 oz water tank
  • Whole beans and ground coffee
  • Fine foam technology
Gaggia Babila
Gaggia Babila
  • 70 oz water tank
  • Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Automatic and steam wand
Gaggia Anima Prestige
91b+8wlFFmL._AC_SL1500_-2
  • 60 oz water tank
  • Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Carafe
Jura Z6
z6-black_1
  • 81 oz water tank
  • Whole beans and ground coffee
  • Fine foam technology

What do you like to drink?

If you’re here, you like to drink espresso. But do you prefer a shot enhanced only by a rich layer of crema, a creamy latte, or foamy cappuccino? Answering these questions will help you decide if you want an espresso maker with a top-of-the-line milk texturing system or one that prioritizes the best quality espresso. If you regularly drink milky drinks, you may want to look for a machine that offers them at the touch of a button.

How do you like to froth?

Regarding milk frothing, most coffee machines offer either an automatic frother or a steam wand. An automatic frother provides the option of one-touch milky drinks and takes user error out of the equation. On the other hand, the wand takes more time to master, but you have more control over the milk texture and can use it for latte art.

How much control do you want?

Fully-automatic espresso machines take manual control out of the hands of the user. But they reintroduce it via programmability and adjustable features. With many machines, you can still design a drink to your liking. You do this by customizing brewing temperature and strength, and milk temperature and texture.

I would venture to say that a properly programmed and maintained super auto can yield a higher quality cup of coffee than the average barista can in a busy café setting.

Marcos Iglesias, Parlor Coffee

Still, you maybe want to have control of a manual machine. But you also wish for the convenience of a super automatic espresso package? Then, look for a machine with a high degree of programmability.

How much capacity do you need?

The size and capacity of an espresso machine often depend on the size of the machine’s water reservoir. If you’re a heavy coffee drinker or a member of a large household or office, buying a coffee maker with a sizable water reservoir is worthwhile. It will save you from constant refilling, even if it takes up a little more space on the counter. In a similar vein, look for a machine with a large bean hopper to avoid the need for constant top-ups.

Also, take into account how many drinks you can brew at a time. Most machines offer dual spouts so you can pull two shots of espresso at a time. Additionally, some high-end machines can even brew a jug of coffee.

If you’re short on space or you value portability, you may want to consider one from our best travel espresso makers list.

best super automatic espresso machine

Consider the cost

While there is no such thing as a genuinely cheap automatic espresso maker, there is a massive range of prices in this category. From a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. When you set out to buy one, first make a note of your budget. Then think for which features you’re willing to pay extra. This is immense help towards narrowing your search.

Lastly, a few other things can have a significant effect on the overall cost. For example, the presence or absence of a milk frother. Also, you want to see if the machine features a single or dual boiler, what are its construction materials, and the degree of programmability.

For some of our favorites from every category, check out our list of top-rated espresso machines. Our list breaks down into great espresso machines you can buy for $500 or less, higher-end espresso machine models, and inexpensive espresso machines you can avail for $200 or less.

convenience of automatic espresso machines

Don’t forget about maintenance

A fully automatic espresso machine is an advanced piece of technology. Thus, it requires care to maintain peak operation. Though not as fun as drinking coffee, many manufacturers are adopting innovative technology to make maintenance as straightforward as possible.

Look for user-friendly options like removable brew heads, one-touch cleaning cycles, and automatic milk system sterilization. Machines with built-in water filtration and softening systems mean you’ll get purer water for your coffee and have to descale less often, if ever. 

The 10 Best Automatic Espresso Machines in 2021

Now that you know what to look for, here are our ten favorites for this year. Whether you want a great latte, a one-touch cappuccino or the best shot of espresso, one of these automatic or super automatic coffee and espresso makers is guaranteed to deliver.

1. Jura Z8 – Best Overall

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 12.6 x 15.0 x 17.7 inches

  • Reservoir size: 81 ounces
  • Cleaning: Super-Easy
  • Brews with: Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Milk frother: Fine foam technology

Jura Z8 is one of the most technologically advanced models from a company that prides itself on the integration of novel technologies. Therefore, be prepared to pay a pretty penny for it. For a full rundown of Jura’s line-up of tech-heavy machines, check out our Jura coffee machine reviews.

The Z8 offers Bluetooth connectivity, allowing it to sync with Jura’s J.O.E. app. This gives the user access to more drink options, maintenance instructions and videos, customer support, and more. It also allows you to link the machine with other smart devices, like Jura’s Cool Control 1 milk cooler.

Furthermore, there are three new one-touch drinks, an Americano, a Caffe barista, and a jug of coffee. All are prepared using a novel method that mixes hot water into the coffee during extraction. This produces a rich and full-bodied beverage.

Coffee drinks, along with 18 other specialties, can be programmed and customized using a best-in-class 4.3-inch high-resolution touch screen color display. You grind the beans in the fast and quiet Aroma G3 grinder, and the patented pulsed extraction process guarantees ideal extraction. The automatic milk frother includes Fine Foam technology for sweet and long-standing microfoam.

Perhaps the coolest thing about the Z8 is that it self-cleans when you power it on. The water reservoir houses Jura’s CLEARYL filters and intelligent water system, which uses RFID technology to simplify the maintenance process. Just follow the machine’s guidance, and you should never need to descale.

2. Gaggia Anima Prestige – Best Mid-Range machine

Gaggia Anima

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 13.4 x 8.7 x 16.9 inches

  • Reservoir size: 60 ounces
  • Cleaning: Easy
  • Brews with: Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Milk frother: Carafe

Gaggia’s Anima line sits somewhere between their entry-level Brera and the high-tech Babila, and at the top is the Prestige model. It’s great for anyone who wants a bit more automation (especially when it comes to milk) but doesn’t need endless customization or drink options.

From the control panel, you’ll have access to four one-touch drinks, all of which can be customized through the menu on the LCD display. For the coffee, there are five strength settings, but you can also choose from three temperatures, select your shot length and save your preferences. The built-in ceramic grinder offers five grind settings for further customization.

It’s the milk frother that sets the Prestige part from the other Anima models. Here you’ll find a fully automatic carafe rather than a wand or cappuccinatore. The carafe is stored in the fridge and simply attached when needed. Then it’s simply a matter of pressing a button and the machine will create your silky latte or airy cappuccino. To keep things hygienic, the Prestige does a quick clean of the milk circuit after any milk-based drinks. The rest of the machine is simple to clean too, with easy access to the water reservoir and a removable brew group.

3. De’Longhi Eletta – Best for a Latte

De'Longhi ECAM45760B Digital Super Automatic Espresso Machine

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 18.4 x 10.2 x 14.2 inches

  • Reservoir size: 67 ounces
  • Cleaning: Not so easy
  • Brews with: Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Milk frother: Automatic with LatteCrema and steam wand

The De’Longhi Eletta offers everything you’d expect from a super automatic espresso machine. Yet, there are some special touches that make it our best automatic latte machine for home. 

The bean hopper is a notably large 14 ounces, and the built-in burr grinder has 13 grind settings. Eleven pre-programmed drink options, from latte macchiato to flat white, can be customized by temperature, brew strength, and milk to espresso ratio. The Eletta even offers regular coffee, using a lower brewing pressure to produce a drip-style java.

Undoubtedly, a great latte is as much about the milk as the espresso. So, this is where the Eletta shines, with De’Longhi’s innovative LatteCrema automatic frothing system. LatteCrema yields creamy and long-lasting milk foam from the removable milk container. Moreover, if automatic frothing doesn’t appeal, the water dispenser doubles as a wand for steaming. This feature produces dense microfoam for latte art. Lastly, after frothing, you can clean the system with the turn of a dial.

The Eletta features dual thermoblock heaters, which allow the coffee and milk systems to heat separately to their ideal temperatures. Dual heaters guarantee optimum temperature for both and faster lattes.

4. Saeco PicoBaristo – Best with Built-in Grinder

Saeco HD8927/47 PicoBaristo Super Automatic Espresso Machine

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 16.8 x 8.4 x 12.9 inches

  • Reservoir size: 60 ounces
  • Cleaning: Easy
  • Brews with: Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Milk frother: Automatic

Italy-based Seaco was the first company to introduce super automatic espresso machines. Clearly, their expertise in the field is unmatched. The PicoBaristo is a mid-priced model in their line-up. It features everything the home barista needs.

The built-in ceramic burr grinder has ten grind settings, and a bypass doser is available for pre-ground coffee beans. The PicoBaristo offers eight preset drinks at the touch of a button. Each drink can be customized by size, brew strength, and temperature. You control it by a user-friendly LCD screen, which also keeps you apprised of necessary maintenance and lets you know if the water or beans need refilling.

Moreover, the maintenance of this super automatic espresso machine is among the easiest in its class. Thanks to its Aquaclean filtration system, the PicoBaristo only needs descaling every 5,000 cups. You sterilize the entire milk system automatically with hot steam after each use. Also, the brew head is easily removable for a rinse. Finally, the automatic milk frother produces a creamy microfoam, and the removable milk carafe can be stored in the fridge when not in use.

5. Breville Oracle – Best for Espresso

Breville BES980XL Oracle Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 12.0 x 11.0 x 13.5 inches

  • Reservoir size: 67 ounces
  • Cleaning: Not so easy
  • Brews with: Whole beans
  • Milk frother: Programmable steam wand

The Breville Oracle falls between a semi-automatic and fully automatic design. This espresso maker will still grind, dose, tamp and pull the shot for you. But you will have to move the portafilter from the grinder to the brew head. To clarify, this intentional design decision lets you visually inspect the puck. This is particularly useful when you’re trying new beans. It also offers the option of manual tamping.

The Oracle has both dual boilers and dual pumps. For sure, a rare inclusion that allows you to pull a shot and froth milk at the same time, without worrying about temperature variations in either process. Not only that, but the brew head temperature is also digitally controlled and can be precisely set between 190 and 205 ℉ for a perfectly balanced extraction.

The built-in, conical burr grinder has a whopping 40 settings, as well as 19 to 22 grams dosing for a creamy double shot. A low-pressure pre-infusion step precedes pulling the shot, performed with an industry-standard 15 bar pump. The Oracle even offers the rare one-touch Americano, which adds water to the shot via a dedicated water spout.

The steam wand is fully automatic, with user-selected options for milk temperature and texture. But because this machine is all about giving the user more control, you can also use the wand manually.

6. Gaggia Brera – Best Value

Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine in Black

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 10 x 15.5 x 11.5 inches

  • Reservoir size: 40.6 ounces
  • Cleaning: Not so easy
  • Brews with: Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Milk frother: Panarello wand

The Gaggia Brera super automatic espresso machine is one of the company’s entry-level models. Still, this renowned Italian manufacturer couldn’t make a low-quality espresso machine if they tried. Therefore, the Brera is an incredible value.

Its iconic Italian style has a retro feel and a durable stainless steel casing. Nevertheless, its functionality is modern, controlled by an LCD screen. At only 12 inches tall, it fits comfortably under low-hanging cupboards, and the bean hopper and water reservoir are accessible from the front.

Furthermore, the flat ceramic grinder (1) has five grind settings. A pre-infusion cycle readies the grounds for optimum extraction, and the 15 bar pump ensures plenty of pressure for real crema-topped espresso. Additionally, Gaggia’s Opti Aroma technology allows you to choose between 3 coffee strengths, and hot water is available on demand for an Americano.

Finally, a Panarello style wand froths milk for a latte or cappuccino. It offers a bit more control than an automatic frother, albeit with a small learning curve. Thanks to rapid steam technology, the wand heats in under 10 seconds.

Here’s a more in-depth Gaggia Brera review.

7. De’Longhi Magnifica – Best for a Cappuccino

Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine in Black

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 15.2 x 11 x 14.4 inches

  • Reservoir size: 60 ounces
  • Cleaning: Tricky
  • Brews with: Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Milk frother: Cappuccino system

The Magnifica is De’Longhi’s entry-level model in this category. Therefore, an affordable choice that still offers plenty of functionality. This machine is relatively compact. It has a small footprint, short stature and space-saving features like a front-removable water reservoir.

A 9-ounce bean hopper funnels into a built-in stainless steel conical burr grinder (2) with seven grind settings, or a bypass chute for pre-ground coffee is available. A volume dial lets you dispense between 0.5 and 6 ounces at a time. Moreover, brew strength dial controls the amount of ground coffee distributed for intimate control over the size and strength of your espresso.

Despite being a budget offering, this machine still features dual boilers, so you can make drinks faster and have both your espresso and milk at the perfect temperature. The steam wand features De’Longhi’s patented Cappuccino system, which mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth.

Unfortunately, one issue with the Magnifica is that the water reservoir is not compatible with a filter. This machine will therefore require more frequent descaling.

8. Jura Ena Micro 90 – Best Compact Machine

Jura ENA Micro 9 One Touch Automatic Coffee Machine

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 17.5 x 9.1 x 12.7 inches

  • Reservoir size: 36.8 ounces
  • Cleaning: Super-easy
  • Brews with: Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Milk frother: Fine foam technology

Jura’s ENA line of compact super automatics has proved a success, with some models already getting upgrades. The Micro 90 replaces the Micro 9, with improvements all-round, including some great new tech that’s specific to Jura machines.

The Micro 90 is the world’s first one-cup machine to feature PEP, or pulse extraction process, previously only found on their more expensive machines. This uses multiple short bursts of water (rather than one long one) to get a greater depth of flavor, particularly with espressos or ristrettos. Combine this with the 10 strength settings available and you’re going to get a great coffee, whatever your tastes.

Another new addition is the Aroma G3 grinder, which the company claims is twice as fast, but also quieter and more consistent than in previous machines. There are six grind settings available, plus a bypass doser for ground coffee – great for the occasional decaf.

Six one-touch drinks are available from the control panel, including a stand-alone portion of milk foam. All of these are customizable using the intuitive rotary dial, with the option to program drinks in ounces or milliliters, and with two available temperature settings.

9. Gaggia Babila – Most Customizable Drinks

Gaggia RI9700/64 Babila Espresso Machine

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 16.5 x 9.6 x 14.2 inches|

  • Reservoir size: 70 ounces
  • Cleaning: Easy
  • Brews with: Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Milk frother: Automatic and steam wand

The Italian-made Gaggia Babila combines an incredible amount of beverage personalization with Gaggia’s reputation for consistently great espresso. As such, it guarantees satisfaction for users of any taste. This slim machine with retro styling will fit nicely in any kitchen, and its stainless steel housing ensures its longevity.

The built-in grinder has 15 settings. There are eight options for pre-programmed one-touch drinks, including ristretto, flat white, and macchiato. Each is customizable by strength, volume, temperature, and taste. Additionally, dual boilers ensure that both espresso and milk are at the perfect temperature. A flow knob adjusts extraction levels for precise strength control, and you can even modify pre-infusion time.

Gaggia Babila offers both automatic frothing and a wand for steaming, depending on how much control you want over the milk texturing process. The latter also doubles as a water dispenser, for making tea or Americanos.

Lastly, its brew group is removable for easy rinsing. Also, the milk carafe is auto cleaned after each use, and using the included Aquaclean filter means you rarely need to descale. The Babila even ships with a water hardness test strip.

Here’s a more detailed review of the Gaggia Babila.

10. Jura Z6 – Most Versatile

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 17.7 x 12.6 x 14.8 inches

  • Reservoir size: 81 ounces|
  • Cleaning: Super-easy
  • Brews with: Whole beans, ground coffee
  • Milk frother: Fine foam technology

Jura’s Z line is one of their most advanced, showcasing all the bells and whistles. The Z6 features an award-winning (3) compact design, encased in a stylish and durable aluminum.

This machine includes the fast and quiet Aroma G3 burr grinder, fed by a 9.5 ounce sealed bean hopper. It offers both Jura’s P.E.P. and pre-infusion technologies, so you can trust that a high-quality espresso will form the basis of any drink. Additionally, there are 13 pre-programmed beverage options, which you can customize to your heart’s content. You can choose one of ten coffee strengths, three brewing temperatures, and even two water temperatures for making tea. Amazing, indeed.

There are also ten temperature settings for steamed and foamed milk. As if that wasn’t enough, the innovative milk nozzle automatically switches from steam to foam depending on drink selection. The only downside is that you don’t get a milk carafe included. Certainly, a surprising thing for such an expensive machine.

The extra-large water reservoir, which is accessible from the front, is paired with Jura’s new Intelligent Water System. To clarify further, the IWS uses RFID enabled smart filters to monitor your water supply. So, this fine system effectively takes the guesswork out of water quality and maintenance.

The Verdict

Buying a super-automatic automatic espresso machine is a big investment. But if you get the right one for you, it pays for itself in convenience and satisfaction. With this article, you now know just what to look for when purchasing your own. And, we recommend Jura Z8 for the best automatic espresso machine. It’s the best balance of quality, functionality, and value.

Jura Z8

FAQs

The difference between an espresso machine and a coffee machine is that an espresso machine brews using high pressure of at least 9 bars. In contrast, a coffee machine relies on the pressure of the atmosphere, which is about 1 bar (4).

In a single espresso shot there usually is between 6 and 10 g. Thus, a double shot varies between 15 and 21 g (5).

A Pannarello steam wand attaches to the steam arm of an espresso machine. It makes it easier to achieve perfect froth. Pannarello wand comes in plastic, metal, or a combination of both.

References
  1. Rodriguez, A. (2016, September 23). Conical Versus Flat Burrs? Tasters Decide in Compak Workshop. Retrieved from https://www.baristamagazine.com/conical-versus-flat-burrs-tasters-decide-compak-workshop/
  2. Guerrero, X. (2012, September 17). Steel vs Ceramic burrs and heat generation – the lowdown. Retrieved from https://baratza.com/steel-vs-ceramic-burrs-and-heat-generation-the-lowdown/
  3. n.d. (2016, February 2). IF-Design-Award for the Z6. Retrieved from https://www.jura.com/en/about-jura/News/2016/20160202-if-design-award-z6
  4. Coffee Machine vs Espresso Machine. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nespresso.com/au/en/news/coffee-machine-vs-espresso-machine
  5. Blake, B. and Callender, S. (2014, October 24). Brew Ratios Around the World. Retrieved from https://home.lamarzoccousa.com/brew-ratios-around-world/

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