The best manual espresso machine you can buy
1. De’Longhi Dedica Style – The Best Under PS200
Are you looking for more here about the espresso machine that costs less than PS200? The De’Longhi Dedica Style has taken the top spot. The machine is simple and has very few frills. However, its slimline design allows it to fit into any kitchen. It also makes decent espresso. Although it has seen a slight increase in its price, which is now around PS140 to the current PS190, it is still very affordable.
It is perfect. It is not perfect. No. You can’t go wrong with spending more if you are serious about espresso.
The Dedica is easy to use. The Dedica can be used to grind your own coffee, or you can use a coffee grinder from a supermarket. It also has pressurised baskets that allow for adjustments if your grind is not right or too coarse. However, the results can be inconsistent so we recommend spending more if you want to get the best from single-origin coffees.
2. Sage Bambino Plus: Compact machine with automatic milk frothering
Sage’s entry-level manual coffee machine is more expensive than others, but it delivers excellent results. The machine’s sleek brushed metal exterior and plastic exterior make it look great. It is also compact and sturdy, so it can be easily integrated into small kitchens.
The automatic milk texturing is also a plus. The Bambino can steam milk with dense, creamy microfoam, even if you don’t know what you are doing. The only problem is that the Bambino Plus doesn’t extract the best flavour from premium coffee. We tasted it alongside other machines and found it to be less flavorful. The Gaggia Classic, for example (reviewed below), is simply in another league.
The Bambino Plus is a much more affordable machine than cheaper ones. It’s an excellent choice if you are looking for a compact, simple-to-use, and cost-effective espresso machine.
3. Gaggia Classic: The best under £500
You used to have two options at the PS400 mark: Sage’s exceptional Barista Express or Gaggia’s fantastic Classic. This has all changed due to the global pandemic. The prices of Sage machines have skyrocketed, so the Barista Express is closer to PS600 then it is to PS400. The Gaggia Classic is now the undisputed leader in the sub-PS500 category.
Although the Classic does not have the Sage’s integrated burr grinder, it produces much better coffee. Although it may take more work to get the best from the Classic, at its best it is unbeatable value for money and can make coffee that rivals or even betters machines much higher up.
This machine is for you if you want to extract the best possible coffee beans. This espresso machine is a dream machine with its simple engineering, metal exterior and clunk-click buttons.
4. Sage Barista Pro: The best under £750
The Barista Pro is the best all-in-one manual espresso maker. The Barista Pro can extract every ounce of flavor from the best coffee beans, unlike cheaper machines.
It is also more reliable than other machines. The integrated burr grinder delivers exactly the same amount each time. The volumetric sensor pushes the exact same amount water through the coffee to make a perfect cup of espresso.
The Pro is manual, unlike some other Sage models. However, it is worth the effort to get the right settings. You won’t have to wait around with the thermojet technology, which takes only 3 seconds to heat up.
5. Sage Dual Boiler: The best high-end manual espresso machine
The Sage Dual Boiler by Heston Blumenthal is a serious machine that’s aimed at those who want to have a full coffee shop experience at their home. It is extremely well-made, features high-quality components, and has dual boilers that allow you to steam milk and make espresso simultaneously. It makes amazing coffee. Although it is expensive, the best coffee maker for serious enthusiasts is the one that comes with it. Sage’s Oracle Touch is a great alternative if you need more help but still want to make the best espresso. It has the same capabilities as the Dual Boiler but also features a touchscreen that allows you to create the perfect cup every time.
6. Sage Oracle Touch: A high-end manual machine with an automatic twist
The Oracle Touch is a great option for those who find Sage’s Dual Boiler daunting. The Dual Boiler is a skillful machine, but the standard Oracle overwhelms you with buttons and LCD displays. The Oracle Touch replaces all of that with a friendly, bright and colourful touchscreen. You can choose from a variety of drink options and the Oracle Touch will guide you from the coffee bean to the delicious cappuccino, latte or flat white without confusing you.
This is the Sage Dual Boiler at its core. It has a friendlier face. The dual boiler design allows you to simultaneously steam milk and make espresso. It is also very user-friendly. The simplicity of the use is what makes the difference. The Oracle Touch automatically grinds coffee, tamps it down, then warms and froths milk to the perfect temperature. The on-screen settings allow you to tweak and perfect any recipe, while manual control is available. Once you have mastered your recipe, the Oracle Touch can save it as a preset drink that you can easily recreate with a touch of a button.
The Oracle Touch is a great machine if you’re looking for superior coffee than any automatic bean to cup machine – and no, not even the PS2,800 De’Longhi Maestosa can match – We don’t blame you if the Oracle Touch leads to full-blown manual espresso obsession.
1. Gaggia Naviglio: The most affordable bean-to–cup machine
The Naviglio is a great choice if you are looking for a high-quality bean to cup machine at a low price. It’s relatively inexpensive, produces great espresso, and doesn’t require too much tweaking. You can make great milk-based drinks like cappuccino or latte with a manual steamer wand. It’s a great deal at this price. However, you will need to spend more money to get better results.
2. De’Longhi Magnifica S Smart: Quick, tasty espresso from a super-stylish machine
You may not find a bean-to cup machine that has smart Wi-Fi connectivity at a price below PS500. This coffee machine’s smart title does not refer to the most recent in smart home technology. It’s still a smart purchase due to its overall excellence.
The machine’s build quality and design are superior to similar-priced competitors. It feels solid and well-built. The water tank, drip tray, and used coffee grounds bin are all easy to use and leave a satisfying thunk. It has a 1.8 litre water tank that can make several coffees. The included water filter reduces limescale buildup and ensures that your coffee tastes great.
We weren’t impressed with the machine out of the box. You’ll need to adjust the settings. A simple dial on the machine’s front allows you to adjust the amount of coffee ground for each cup. The results were greatly improved by dialing down the grind size and cranking up the coffee taste dial. Although the design of the manual milk-frothing wand is not for everyone, it will be appreciated by all.
3. Gaggia Anima: The best mid-range bean-to-cup machine
Many bean-to-cup machines go for the PS1,000 mark but Gaggia’s Anima is a more affordable option. The Anima doesn’t offer a one-touch cappuccino option (although you will need to increase your budget if you want that), but it can make a decent espresso lungo. You’ll also be able to use the steam wand to improve your milk frothing skills. Although there are some issues with the espresso, we prefer the Gaggia’s built-in grinder to provide a better grind.
4. Melitta Caffeo Barista TS Smart: The best high-end bean-to-cup machine
Since our first test, the Melitta Caffeo TS has been our favorite fully-automatic coffee machine. The Smart version is only a step up. The machine produces espresso-based drinks almost as good as manual machines. It almost is.
The machine is extremely well-equipped, and it has two bean hoppers that allow you to make a variety coffees. The touch panel at the front allows you to create a wide range of drinks. The current Smart version is the same price but adds Bluetooth. This allows you to control everything from the temperature to how the elements are delivered to your cup.
You can also download new recipes, and you can even follow the machine’s maintenance steps directly from your smartphone. The Melitta Caffeo Barista TS or TS Smart automatic coffee machines are the kings: they make great coffee and are incredibly simple to use and maintain.
5. De’Longhi PrimaDonna Soul: A refined, versatile machine with a huge range of talents
Although not everyone can afford to buy a coffee-to-cup machine, the PrimaDonna Soul is well worth the price. The machine can make a wide range of beverages – 21 in fact – and with the milk carafe, it only takes one touch of the touchscreen to make a cup of coffee or a latte. The Bean Adapt feature is what sets it apart from other cheaper machines. This allows you to extract more flavor from each type of coffee bean than an average automatic machine.
Although it is still a cuboid, it is a handsome lump. The machine feels sturdy and well-built thanks to the curved silver side panels. You can make many coffees with the machine’s 2.2-litre tank capacity.
It is both easy-to-use and high-quality. The touchscreen interface is 4.3in and works flawlessly. User profiles automatically prioritize each user’s favorite drinks so they are just a tap away. You can adjust the interface to your liking, but it is also possible to do it in one touch. The PrimaDonna Soul makes good coffee available to everyone.