Comparing Espresso Machines

With so many different kinds of espresso machines on the market, researching which is the best for you can sometimes feel like popping open a big ol’ can of worms. Superautomatic or semi-automatic? Single boiler, heat exchange or double boiler? Is the E61 brew group really that great?

Our goal here at Seattle Coffee Gear is to provide as complete of a picture as we can about as many machines as possible. We read through user reviews to develop general pros and cons, have our techs test out the machines, experiment with different grinders to see how they perform with different machines and, ultimately, drink way more coffee than we should. All of this informs our YouTube videos, the writing we do here, our product descriptions and — one of the best resources we have — our Selecting an Espresso Machine Video.

If you’re just learning about espresso machines and aren’t sure what will meet your needs and budget, this video is a great place to start. We’ve organized the different machine classes by price range and compared their performance against each other, so you can see technical facts like how hot they brew or which type of pump they have and more subjective assessments such as the ease of use or quality of shot.

We’re constantly updating and adding machines, so definitely check out updated Crew Review videos once you hone in on the right machine for you.

4 comments for “Comparing Espresso Machines

  1. April 3, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Thanks for this! Very useful.
    I’m curious where you guys would rank the Alex machines. I watched your run-through on Youtube, but it doesn’t look like you guys are selling them(yet?). Gail seemed to damn them with faint praise, so to speak, when she described the espresso shot as “very hot.”

  2. Kat Oak
    April 3, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Hi John!
    Yes – we are selling the Izzo and the Duetto, but we got them in after our first push on this comparison tool. We’ll be doing an update over the next couple of weeks and will definitely be including these machines in that update. I’ll post it up here when we’ve finished the next round of comparisons.
    Tech specs aside, we do dig the Alex’s ability to switch from main line to reservoir line plumbing. It’s definitely a little more on the bulky side and we’re generally fans of heat exchange over double boilers in home applications, so the Izzo is preferred over the Duetto.

  3. April 7, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Hi Kat,
    I noticed the Rocket seems to be the default machine in your videos (if you’re not reviewing a specific machine, I mean). Is the Rocket “the” favourite, or did it just sort of happen that way? And if it is the fave, what pushes it over the top?
    I’m leaning towards the Rocket these days, but I find from the pics, at least, that the Quick Mill Andreja Premium is a little more aesthetically pleasing…
    Cheers. John

  4. Kat Oak
    April 8, 2009 at 7:09 am

    Hey John -
    We definitely love the Giotto, I think for some minor differences with the Quick Mill line — some functional, like the reservoir design or the fact that it maintains steam pressure longer — and others because we dig that aesthetic design, which is clearly just subjective preference. Coffee-wise, I think you’d be hard pressed to tell much of a difference between the shots produced by the Anita or Andreja and the Giotto.
    We just got the Rocket Cellini in yesterday and it’s more of a smooth cased design, without the quasi-diamond styling. I’ll be putting up a video on YouTube later this week and you can take a look at how it compares to the Giotto’s design — functionally, they’re identical.
    I kind of feel that you can’t go wrong if you select a machine with heat exchange and e61; a lot of the comparisons between the models in that class are minute at best and can often reflect the vendor’s desire to push one machine over the other. I try not to do that very much but probably fail simply because I think the Giotto is so sexy! :)

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