The best espresso machines in Canada 2023
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The best espresso machines in Canada 2023

Apr 08, 2023

Avoid the daily trip to your favourite cafe with at-home coffee that's just as good

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Whether a necessary step in your morning wake-up routine or a daily ritual of enjoyment and pause, coffee — particularly, espresso — holds a lot of meaning for many and the keys to a functional day for some. While the daily hop to your favourite cafe can satisfy your caffeine and community needs, the cost ($3.50 to $8.00+ per cup) can sure add up.

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A simple solution that brings the experience of that first hot sip right into your home and saves you money in the long run? A home espresso maker suited for your kitchen or lifestyle, and tailored to your coffee cravings. And nope: you don't have to have aspirations of winning the World Barista Championships to own one of these. That being said, and as there's a learning curve with pulling both espresso shots and frothed milk, with a few short YouTube searches and a touch of practice, you can find yourself proud of your skills — and surprising your guests with how good home espresso can be.

Like all things, there's no ‘one solution’ for every espresso lover. And, if we’re getting technical, not all of these solutions classify as traditional espresso; some options we chose don't expose the espresso to the same kind of pressure others do. We included them to keep options for what suits you best open. We rounded up some of the best espresso makers that make a strong shot accessible at an array of price points, and across an accessory spectrum; from the bare bones up to a fully automated cup.

You may not know — yet — what a tamper, a portafilter, a grinder, or pump pressure is or what it means for you and your home espresso future. Don't let the learning curve scare you: with ample resources online and user manuals aplenty, you’ll find your cafe-level confidence in a few pours. Settle in with your cafe-bought cappuccino and consider how some home-brewed delights from one of these barista-worthy units could make a difference in your day.

Overall: Breville Bambino PlusBudget: De’Longhi Stilosa Manual Espresso MachineOn the go: Aeropress (Travel Kit)Stovetop: Bialetti 6 Cup Moka PotPod: Nespresso by Breville Essenza MiniBuilt-in grinder: Breville Barista ExpressSemi-pro: Rocket Apartamento

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Why we love it: Compact with ample counter-appeal, newbie to expert baristas have fallen for the simplicity and ease of using the Breville Bambino Plus. While its size makes for an easy fit in most kitchens, its been thoughtfully designed to accommodate most small to large mugs under the portafilter and has a sizeable water tank considering the machine's overall footprint. A surprisingly adored feature? The automatic milk frother is another way the Bambino Plus makes mornings really, really easy.

WIth 1200+ ratings on Amazon (and a 4.4-star average rating) and backed up by Breville's much-respected customer service, the machine's got counter credibility. Coming with everything you need to start pulling shots right out of the box (other than the coffee itself) you can start your journey to home espresso expert the minute you unbox the Bambino Plus.

Extras: Includes portafilter, tamper, multiple filter baskets, and cleaning accessories.Fine print: Expect a learning curve to determine best grind, volume of coffee and sufficient tamping to support adequate pressure and proper brew. Grinder not included.Price: $649.00Where to buy: Amazon | Best Buy

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Why we love it: Want to talk barista-quality bang for your buck? At less than $150.00 CAD, this manual* espresso machine surprises users with its quality; both in build and the espresso shots it crafts. With a 15-bar pump, this cafe-quality machine keeps making and cleaning up from every expresso encounter simple and easy.

*Why bother starring ‘manual’? Because it's worth noting that this espresso pulling isn't press-it-and-forget-it. You’ll need to stay close by and tuned into how your cup is filling to avoid overflow and a super-weak cup of coffee. That may not suit some, however, there's something romantic (at least to this enthusiast) about being that much more connected to the espresso-making experience.

Extras: Comes with a tamper.Fine print: Be sure to read the instructions thoroughly. No espresso cups or frothers included, and the plastic tamper could use to be replaced by something more sturdy.Price: $120.25Where to buy: Amazon

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Why we love it: From camping trips to road trips or any on-the-move lifestyle, the Aeropress makes a quality cup of coffee anywhere you are (and anywhere you can get your hands on boiling water). True, the Aeropress may not hit the mark on ‘traditional’ espresso (maxing out at .75 bars of pressure) when it comes to the process of pouring a shot, yet its versatility in where you can craft your perfect cup is worth landing on this list.

The Aeropress uses human-applied pressure to move the water through the grinds, pressing the coffee out through a filter and into your cup of choice. Clean up? Simple. Unscrew the filter head and pop the pressed puck of grinds out. With a quick rinse, you’re clean! This is as no-bells-and-whistles as it comes, so if adventure and good espresso are calling you, the Aeropress can be your partner in crime.

Extras: Comes with scoop, stirrer and paper filters. Some bundles can include travel cup and lid.Fine print: Access to boiling water necessary to use the Aeropress; those parts not included as part of travel kit.Price: $54.95Where to buy: Aeropress, Amazon

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Why we love it: Coffee/espresso like the Italians do? Yes, please. Since the 30s the Moka pot (or stovetop espresso maker) has been a staple in Italian coffee culture and has grown in popularity across Europe, Latin America and beyond. When it comes to a coffee/espresso ritual, the process (the grinding, setting up the pot, and listening to the pot percolating as it brews) may just be one of the most sensory-pleasing ways to start the day.

Like the Aeropress, the Bialetti Moka Pot doesn't ‘technically’ brew espresso as it doesn't use high pressure (max 1 to 2 bars) as part of its process, nor create the crema an espresso shot is known (and lusted) for. That being said, it's hit the list because of its long-stay reputation in coffee culture, and espresso-parallel quality of coffee it brews. Top off a shot with some steamed or frothed milk (parts sold separately) and you’ve got a ‘Buongiorno!’ on your hands.

Extras: Comes in multiple sizes to accommodate larger brews.Fine print: Handle is known to get hot from being exposed to stovetop flames. Handle with caution! Rubber seal and filters require periodic replacement.Price: $47.99Where to buy: Amazon

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Why we love it: With a tiny footprint and big, 19-bar pressure turns this pod-based espresso maker into a powerhouse machine that pours a quality cup. So, with all the options for espresso making at home, why do some folks turn to the pod life? Ease, convenience and consistency. No need to dial in grinds or volume, or figure out the perfect approach to tamping. When your life's full and you’re on the move, learning less and managing one less process (especially in the morning) means getting a quality, consistent cup — fast.

Featuring rapid heat-up, the choice of pouring espresso (40ml) or luongo (110ml) cups, built-in energy saving (flips to eco-mode in three minutes and shuts off in nine), plus the Nespresso quality coffee and customer service, along with recyclable pods (a complimentary Nespresso service). Pair it with a milk frother (can be bundled through Nespresso site) to create a full café experience at home.

Extras: Complimentary recycling program for pods, capsule testing pack included with unit.Fine print: It may take a few pods to find your perfect flavour profile; try all the capsules in the testing pack provided before investing.Price: $209.00 – 224.99Where to buy: Nespresso, Amazon

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Why we love it: Go from full bean to a full cup in mere minutes with this grinder-integrated, one-stop shop for espresso-based drinks. Whether you’re an Americano fan or love a milk-based beverage, the Breville Barista Express can take you there. With dose-control grinding, optimal water pressure, precision espresso extraction and manual microfoam milk texturing, the whole machine is intentionally designed to make cafe-quality drinks accessible from any home.

Like most machines, whether you’re new to making your own espresso or simply new to the machine itself, there's a learning curve to find the right settings to get your perfect cup dialled in. From the best grind (through the integrated burr grinder with 16 consistent grind settings) for your beans to knowing which filter basket offers you the amount of espresso/water you want in your cup, some trial and error is part of this home-espresso process.

Extras: Comes complete with dose trimming tool, coffee scoop, integrated (magnetic) tamper, 54mm stainless steel portafilter, optional filter baskets for one or two cups/single and dual wall, stainless steel milk jug, cleaning tools and tablets, water filter + filter holder.Fine print: Make sure the water doesn't run out; doing so can cause lasting damage to the machine.Price: $799.99-999.999Where to buy: Amazon, Breville (currently on sale for $799.99)

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Why we love it: Let it be known: this writer was a non-barista when the Rocket landed on her kitchen counter. While daunting at first, the hands-on grind, tamp, pour + steam process has become one of my favourite morning moments. If you want to up your game on espresso making, or if you’re simply looking for a design-forward machine with quality parts and a lot of counter appeal, the Rocket Apartamento is an incredibly satisfying direction to take your espresso-making journey.

With no need to plumb a new water line into your kitchen, this Rocket model is as close to a cafe-level espresso machine as you can get without giving up ample counter space Keeping it compact without skimping on quality components, this unit has the same impressive boiler and 15 bar pump more robust Rocket machines possess. Considered a ‘prosumer’ (professional consumer) machine, the Apartamento features zero buttons or touchscreens; get ready to get hands on, managing water flow through your portafilter or into your mug, and steam as you warm your milk (which you can do at the same time as you prepare your espresso) all with manually-controlled handles and knobs.

With a highly detailed and easy-to-follow instruction manual (both in the book and on the USB), a great grinder and a touch of time to understand the manual process, you’ll be a confident Rocket user in no time. It's high touch and high experience, and a cafe-quality machine to continue your espresso pouring journey with.

Extras: Included in the box: single portafilter (1x), double portafilter (1x), blind portafilter basket for backwashing (1x), Rocket microfibre cloth, Rocket hand tamper, group head cleaning brush, ground coffee scooper, instruction manual, additional information and instructions on USB drive.Fine print: Water tank requires frequent refilling and takes time to heat up (switch it on with ample time before you want your espresso pulled)Price: $2595.00Where to buy: ECS Coffee

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included Overall: Budget: On the go: Stovetop: Pod: Built-in grinder: Semi-pro: Overall: Budget: On the go: Stovetop: Pod: Built-In grinder: Semi-pro: