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Whether or not it’s your very first one, you need an upgrade, or you just want to impress the hell out of your favorite coffee geek (by giving them the gift of their dreams…not just talking about it). The endless array of espresso machines on the market at any given moment can be overwhelming. We break it down for you, which means less tedious research on your end.

The Gaggia Baby is pure professional quality in a petite size. This classic, manual twin espresso machine is made from durable stainless steel with a dual spout portafilter, and features a chromed brass filter holder allowing for consistent temperature for each shot.This appatatus requires very little space, has a double boiler for faster delivery, and a solenoid valve for quick and easy cleanup (this valve releases pressure instantly after prep, drying out the used portafilter cup of espresso grounds). The 15 bars of pressure will guarantee excellent tasting espresso with a luscious layer of crema on top every time. *simple to use
Around $820

The La Marzocco Linea Mini, inspired by the Linea Classic comes with dual boilers and an integrated brew group that allows the machine to achieve the temperature stability of a professional model. Indicator lights provide user feedback on heating and water level, and a convenient hot water spout is included for brewing tea and rinsing portafilters between shots.
This energy efficient workhorse is handmade with professional grade components to ensure consistent durability. With user friendly features such as led lighting, and an integrated 2.5 liter water tank, making plumbing optional, this is an ideal apparatus for a personal work space, tiny portable homes, and off-grid living. It also comes with an optional 1 second pre-infusion mode. *super easy to use
Around $4,500

The La Pavoni Europiccola designed in 1950, has maintained its iconic status in the history of Italian design due to a combination of style, quality, and reliability. With lever machines, the espresso grinds are completely utilized. The hydraulic pre-infusion and extraction pressure allow the most flavor extraction from each particle, which results in an intensely fragrant, complex brew. Constructed mostly of cast brass, this machine is super durable and built to last. The large boiler ensures minimal accumulation of limescale deposits which means less maintenance/expense for the owner. Not only does the machine allow the operator to be autonomous, creating a truly handcrafted espresso, just as desired, it also has a new “Cappuccino Automatic” attachment, ensuring the perfect cappuccino every time. This model delivers 8 cups of espresso continuously, making it ideal for families, small businesses, and B&B’s. *requires a little experimentation, but then easy to use and clean
Around $770

*If you’re interested in manual lever operated espresso machines, there is an excellent side by comparison of the La Pavoni Europiccola vs the Elektra Microcasa a leva here.