Have you ever noticed how most espresso machines—especially the high-end models—are getting bigger?
Big toys are almost always cool, but if we were to take a close look at and compare the best big espresso machines to the best small espresso machines, does size really matter?
As far as we’re concerned, size doesn’t have much to do with the quality or the performance of an espresso machine for home models.
If you’d trace the history of technological progress, most machines were first made big but later on were made smaller and smaller as they were improved. If this hadn’t been the case, we’d still have cellphones as big and similar in shape to shoeboxes.
I’m an equal-opporuntiy espresso machine lover and I think both big and small machines can produce excellent, flavorful espresso, but to debunk the myth that small machines just can’t go toe to toe with the big guys, I’ve put together a list of 3 of the best small espresso machines currently available in the market.
If you’re looking for a compact, top-notch, and easy-to-use espresso machine that streamlines the brewing process while still producing a strong, flavorful beverage, the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker is the one for you. Coming in at a very light 8 lbs and 12.8” x 4.3” x 9.2” in size, this espresso machine is definitely petite and was designed using chrome and matte-black plastic, giving it an edgy, modern, sophisticated look.
The Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker is fast – promising to make each cup in less than a minute. Not only does this espresso machine come with programmable buttons for espresso and lungo, which enables you to make coffee at a push of a button, it can also make a shot of espresso in less than 30 seconds.
The rest of this espresso machine’s features include: backlight indicators, which enable you to monitor the brewing process easily; water level detection, which lets you check whether you poured enough water into the tank by just looking at it; auto power-off, which makes preparing coffee require even less thought; convenient power cord storage; used capsule container; and 24 oz water tank.
If you’re looking to make lattes and cappuccinos, make sure you add on the Aeroccino milk frother, which can be paired with any of Nespresso’s products.
Despite how convenient the Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker makes preparing espresso at home, users have a few minor complaints about the water tank, mainly that it is pretty small and tricky to remove. When looking for a small machine, water reservoir capacity will be the big compromise every time. There really isn’t a way to get around it.
The Pixie received a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on Amazon. It is also one of the best selling units for super-automatic espresso machines.
A great place to buy is on Amazon and here is why:
Weighing in at a petite 6.3 lbs and 4.3″ x 12.8″ x 8.1″ in dimensions, the Nespresso Essenza Espresso Machine is the smallest and lightest espresso machine on this list, and is the embodiment of the old adage, “good things come in small packages.” This little powerhouse comes equipped with just as many features as its larger counterparts and is a great home brewing machine. For starters it comes with manual volume control, backlit coffee buttons, and easy insertion of capsules and ejection of used capsules, all of which make using the espresso machine itself easy and straightforward to use.
The rest of the Nespresso Essenza Espresso Machine features include: a 19-bar pressure pump and thermoblock heating element, both of which ensure the water needed for brewing is heated to the appropriate temperature; a 0.9 L removable water tank, which makes cleaning the espresso machine itself a cinch; and a removable drip tray, which ensures no mess is left after each round of brewing.
Consumers do have a few small critiques of the Essenza, a few finding that the machine’s spout is too close to the cup tray, limiting the sizes of cups it can accommodate. The cost of the cartridges has also been noted as a drawback.
The Essenza has received a stellar rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.
Designed relatively compact at 9 lbs and 8” x 11” x 10” in size, the De’Longhi 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is the largest on our list but will still fit cozily on your kitchen countertop, island, or coffee bar, and is another great option for kitchens with limited counter space.
The De’Longhi 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker comes with several features that not only make brewing coffee at home remarkably easy for you, but also give you a lot of control over how your coffee comes out. For example: If you’re sensitive to hot coffee, the espresso and cappuccino maker lets you brew using 2 separate thermostats, enabling you to enjoy espressos or cappuccinos at the temperature you’re happiest with. If you prefer espresso, the espresso and cappuccino maker lets you brew easily and with no fuss using De’Longhi’s easy-serving espresso (ESE) pods and the unique, patented, dual-filter holder allows you to switch to ground coffee at your convenience. If you prefer cappuccino, the De’Longhi comes with an easy-to-use swivel jet frother, which ensures each cup of cappuccino it prepares comes topped with foamy steamed milk every time.
The other features we like that this machine comes equipped with are: self-priming operation, which makes the start-up preparation quick; a durable, high-quality, stainless-steel boiler with 15-bar pump pressure; a removable drip tray with 35 oz. removable water tank with indicator light, both of which can be cleaned easily; and a cup warmer, which lets you leave your cup of coffee sitting for several minutes without worrying that it will get cold.
Despite all of the De’Longhi 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker’s useful features, some customers say there are some downsides to using it. One of them has complained about the frothing wand, the grounds basket, and the built-in tamper, though most reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
Nonetheless, the espresso and cappuccino maker received a solid rating of 4 stars out of 5 on Amazon, making it the best espresso machine under $100.
Quality doesn’t always come in a large package. As shown by the aforementioned coffee makers, the best can appear in a small form. Having reviewed each one, we hope to help you find the best small espresso machine for you, beginning with them.
Do you know of other small espresso machines that can blow their bigger counterparts out of the water? Share them with us. We would love to hear from you.
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I am a die-hard espresso fan. I love every form of the drink from straight espresso shots to lattes and cappuccinos. I currently use a Breville BES870XL Barista, it is an awesome machine. BUT, my dream machine is definitely an Italian Quickmill Andreja. Those bad boys make badass espresso. I love answering your questions, leave a comment or question below!