This coffee machine buying guide looks at some of the finest espresso machines for the home user, including brands from Sage and La Marzocco. Whether you’re looking to buy your first espresso machine, or considering an upgrade of your existing home brew set-up, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by choice, specifications, and features. That’s why we’ve done the work for you, researching and testing some of the best coffee machines on the market, so you can choose the right machine for your needs.
Here’s our no-nonsense guide to home espresso and pod machines designed with ease, consistency, and style in mind, focusing on bringing the ritual of making an exceptional, barista quality coffee, from home.
While we all love the experience of going to a coffee shop for our daily takeaway, or catching up with friends, there’s an undeniable pleasure in carving out some time at home, receiving the latest single orgin coffee through your letterbox with our easy subscription service, and making a brew in your own space, enjoying the ritual from start to finish. From bean-to-cup, on-screen guidance, quick heat-up times, and dual boilers–there’s a lot of spec talk to consider. Whether you’re after a consistent long black in the morning, or a flat white mid-afternoon, we’ve selected three of the best, without the convoluted sales pitch.
LA MARZOCCO LINEA MINI
When it comes to style and skill, there are few machines more iconic than the Linea Mini for some seriously smart home brewing. There’s no shying away from the obvious here: purchasing a Linea Mini is a big investment–but one that we think is thoroughly worth the price. Here’s why.
Based on the outstanding style and skill of the much-loved Linea Classic, the Mini is designed with the same exceptional brewing capabilities in mind, in - you guessed it - a more compact form. Handmade with the same components used in La Marzocco’s well-respected commercial machines, you can expect a matched level of durability that makes the brand an internationally recognised name. The Mini’s neat design makes it a winning choice for any kitchen space, and its selection of colours adds an extra level of personalisation that steps outside the conventional options.
Looks aside, the Linea Mini is a smart piece of brewing equipment. You’ll find dual boilers, and an integrated brew group that allows the machine to achieve optimal temperature stability and energy efficiency of the saturated brew group, in a reduced footprint. The coffee machine covers all your home brew needs, with a 2.5 litre water reservoir that makes plumbing optional; hot water spout for rinsing and tea; steam wand for barista-level latte art practice on hand; as well as smart LED lighting, and much more.
La Marzocco goes above and beyond, as standard. That’s why they’ve come up with the La Marzocco Home phone app. The built-in technology enables you to schedule weekly on and off times, pre-heat your machine remotely, and accurately control boiler temperature.
If you’re looking for a classic design, smart engineering, and an incredible home brewing experience, then the La Marzocco is worth the premium price tag.
Shop Linea Mini - here (also available in black and white)
SAGE BARISTA PRO
Tailored around convenience and consistency, the Sage Barista Pro is the perfect all-in-one home espresso machine. The built-in grinder isn’t just a practical solution for saving counter space at home, but with an auto grind and dose, integrated conical burr grinder with 30 grind settings, it’s smart set-up is designed to ensure you brew the perfect espresso. From bean to cup, this home espresso machine is seamless and efficient. The ThermoJet heating system provides the optimal water temperature in just three seconds, while the low-pressure pre-infusion, followed by 9 bars of high pressure delivers a precise extraction.
This is a smart espresso machine that keeps things simple. A clear interface provides key information to guide you through the perfect single or double shot, while giving you the option to tailor your espresso each time. Every step of your home brewing experience is considered. The powerful steam wand creates fast, silky microfoam, ideal for your latte art flair.
The Sage Barista Pro looks as good as it performs. The smart, professional design is classic yet contemporary in a chic black or stainless steel–sleek in any kitchen. While it’s still on a higher price point than some espresso machines, the built-in grinder saves a separate spend on further equipment, making it a clever choice for any keen home barista.
Shop Sage Barista Pro - here (also available in black)
SAGE BAMBINO PLUS
The Sage Bambino Plus is a great investment for those looking to start or further their home brewing experience. The simple, smart, and easy to use design gives you control over your brew while ensuring the staples of a great espresso, and milk for your morning latte.
This compact home brewing model won’t take over your kitchen space, yet delivers the same impeccable quality of many larger espresso machines. You’ll find a ThermoJet heating system, providing the optimum extraction temperature in just three seconds, manual and automatic options for steaming your milk, and a surprisingly spacious 1.9 litre water tank neatly into the neat design.
This Sage Bambino Plus is great value for money, and with a whole host of accessories included in the box, including a stainless steel milk jug, tamper, and single and double wall filter baskets, offering a professional set up to get you brewing in no time.
Shop Sage Bambino Pro - here (also available in black)
OTHER NOTEWORTHY HOME ESPRESSO MACHINES
We’re also big fans of the Sage Dual Boiler, and their newest home espresso machine addition, the Sage Express Impress. Both offer the same exceptional level of quality, with every step of the brewing process considered to ensure a great home brewing experience.
Once, coffee pods had a bit of a dirty reputation–not only for their impact on the environment (which is why our coffee pods are compostable, chemical-free, and carbon neutral), but also snubbed in terms of quality. Brewing coffee in capsule form has come a long way–in part thanks to the developments in brewing equipment. Designed for speciality coffee, these coffee machines consider every element of brewing, just as an espresso machine would - with water temperature, weight, water, and extraction time central to their design, making them firm favourites with us.
MORNING COFFEE MACHINE
The Morning Machine has changed the future of home brewing with coffee capsules. The sleek, award-winning design not only looks great, but houses some seriously clever tech, too. The brains behind the Morning Machine - both with decades’ worth of speciality coffee experience - have taken their time to consider and perfect every detail, from water quality monitoring through to a built in bloom in order to present an effortless and consistent, delicious brew, every time.
Taking features from professional coffee equipment, you’ll find built in scales, PID temperature, and pressure profile–all designed with precision brewing in mind. The OLED screen and simple interactive dial make the Morning Machine a simple pleasure to use. Alongside its modern, clean aesthetics, you’ll enjoy ten default brew modes while you enjoy building up your own library of recipes on the downloadable Morning App. Set the temperature, pressure, and water input, tailoring each brew with ease. Compatible with Nespresso capsules, this home coffee machine is a worthy investment for those who appreciate quality, style, and simplicity.
Shop Morning Coffee Machine - here
Slim, smart, and affordable, the OPAL One makes for a great home brewing addition. Developed in collaboration with Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood, three-time UK Baristas champion, this compact piece of brewing equipment has been designed specifically for speciality coffee pods. Boasting high pressure and high temperature capabilities with an intelligent flow rate and a silicon brew chamber that eliminates unwanted dilution, your coffee capsule gets the respect it deserves, to bring you a beautiful brew. Customisable settings mean you’re in control of the temperature and weight of your shot, and you’ll find plenty of useful video guidance from the makers, online.
Shop OPAL Pod Machine - here (also available in white)