Recreate your favorite coffee drinks at home with a barista-grade espresso maker

How to make delicious espresso drinks in your own kitchen

If you can’t start the day without a hot cup of coffee, you’re probably your favorite local coffee shop on a fairly regular basis. With all their sophisticated equipment, they can make impressive and delicious coffee drinks.

If you invest in a professional-grade espresso machine, you can recreate many of your favorite espresso and coffee drinks in your own kitchen. Check out these tips for making some of the most popular espresso drinks at home.

In this article: Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine, Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine and Calphalon espresso machine

What to look for in an espresso machine

If you want barista quality espresso machine for your kitchen, knowing what features to look for is essential.

Start by deciding whether you want a semi-automatic or super-automatic espresso machine:

  • Semi-automatic model: With a semi-automatic model, you have to grind the beans, tamp the grounds, and steam the milk manually.
  • Super automatic espresso machine: A super automatic espresso machine does all the work for you, so it’s pretty much foolproof. However, they cost more than semi-automatic machines.

The best espresso machines have a water reservoir large enough to hold enough water for all the drinks you will make in a day. Many tanks are even removable for quick and easy fills, and some also have a filter to ensure there are no toxins or impurities in the water.

Another important factor is the time it takes for the machine to reach the correct brewing temperature. Professional-grade machines can often reach their maximum temperature in 10 minutes or less. Low-end models generally require additional heating time.

You will also want to determine if the espresso machine has a burr grinder to produce the ultra-fine grind you need to make espresso. If your machine does not have its own grinder, you will need to purchase one separately.

Most espresso machines come with a built-in milk frother or steam wand, which is necessary for making many espresso drinks. The frother or wand heats the milk and gives it a frothy texture which you can then stir into espresso or use to garnish your drinks. You can buy a milk frother or wand separately if your machine doesn’t have a built-in frother.

How to make popular coffee drinks at home

With a high-end espresso machine in your kitchen, you can make almost any espresso or coffee-based drink that you usually order at your favorite cafe.

American: An Americano is basically a diluted espresso. Add a single or double shot of espresso to 6 ounces of hot water. You can adjust the amount of water depending on the strength of your drink.

Macchiato: A macchiato is a shot of espresso with a dollop of frothed milk on top. Start with a shot of espresso in an espresso cup and fill it to the top with steamed milk. You can add as much or as little milk as you want, but it’s traditionally meant to be equal parts espresso and milk. Finish the drink by adding a dollop of milk froth on top.

Cappuccino: A cappuccino is a balanced drink made up of equal parts espresso, milk and foam. Pull a shot of espresso into a cup, which is usually 1 ounce. Then add 1 ounce of steamed milk and 1 ounce of frothed milk. You can increase the amount of espresso to two shots, but you also need to increase the amount of milk and froth.

Latte: A latte is similar to a cappuccino, so it starts with a single or double shot of espresso. Then pour 4-8 ounces of steamed milk down the side of the mug, so it mixes with the espresso for an almost swirled look. You can then add a thin layer of microfoam on top. For a flavored latte, add the syrup of your choice to the milk before steaming.

Mocha coffee: A cafe mocha combines espresso with chocolate and steamed milk. Start with a single or double espresso and add 1-2 tablespoons of syrup or chocolate powder. Then add frothed milk until the cup is full. You can then top your drink with whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.

Barista-Quality Espresso Machines for the Home

Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine

This professional-grade espresso machine features an integrated coffee grinder that grinds directly into the portafilter. It delivers optimal water pressure to extract the best flavor from ground beans. It also has a powerful steam nozzle ideal for preparing cappuccinos, lattes and other coffee drinks.

Sold by Amazon

Best Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine

Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine

If you’re new to espresso brewing, this user-friendly machine is for you. It has a clear digital touchscreen that lets you brew espresso, coffee, and other espresso-based drinks with the press of a single button. It also has an integrated ceramic grinder and milk frother and is extremely easy to clean.

Sold by Amazon and On the table

Best Calphalon Espresso Machine

Calphalon espresso machine

Thanks to its precise heating technology, this espresso machine delivers even heat that extracts the perfect flavor from your espresso. It also features a steam wand for cappuccinos, lattes, and other cafe-inspired beverages. The hinged removable water tank is also easy to fill.

Sold by Amazon

Best GE Profile Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

GE Profile semi-automatic espresso machine

This Wi-Fi connected espresso machine is equipped with a 15 bar Italian pump that provides just the right pressure to get the best taste from your espresso. It also has an integrated conical grinder with 15 grinding levels. The Wi-Fi connection allows you to customize your drink preferences via the smartHQ app.

Sold by Home deposit

Best Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine

Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine

This premium espresso machine comes pre-programmed with a coffee beverage menu that lets you brew a wide range of beverages at the touch of a button. It also heats up in seconds and offers automatic milk texturing for your beverages. Best of all, it doesn’t take up much space on your counter.

Sold by Amazon

Best Gaggia Classic Pro Espresso Machine

Gaggia Classic Pro espresso machine

This semi-automatic espresso machine is great for beginners but still features commercial-grade components. It uses two heating elements to heat up in just five minutes and a durable chrome-plated brass portafilter similar in size and design to coffee machines. It also features a commercial grade steam wand.

Sold by Amazon

Best Cuisinart EM-200 Programmable Espresso Machine

Cuisinart EM-200 Programmable Espresso Maker

With a 15-bar pump, this espresso maker brews rich-tasting espresso that can make cafe-quality drinks. It features an easy-to-fill 69-ounce removable water reservoir, and the stainless steel steam wand lets you brew delicious lattes and cappuccinos. It also has a warming tray on top.

Sold by Macy’s, Amazon and Wayfair

Best Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker Capresso 116.04

Capresso 116.04 Pump espresso and cappuccino machine

This espresso machine is perfect for anyone who wants to prepare espressos, cappuccinos and lattes. It comes with two filters, one that can be used with ground coffee and one for espresso pods. It also features a swivel frother that steams and froths milk and a removable water reservoir for easy refills.

Sold by Amazon

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Jennifer Blair written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

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