Monday, May 29, 2023

The Best Espresso Makers in 2018 – Reviewed & Compared

Best Espresso Makers in 2016- Reviews & Comparisons

Espresso is becoming a huge hit, challenging coffee for the traditional beverage that joins the morning breakfast. Espresso machines are becoming more and more popular, and are almost beginning to rival coffee makers in terms of popularity and the sheer number of brands. Espresso has a higher caffeine content, giving you that extra morning rush.

Steam driven espresso machines were the first type of espresso machines, and are still used today.  Some machines can even create “crema” – the sweet, tasty vanilla-y foam that floats on top of the cup of espresso.

Pump-driven espresso machines use an electric pump to force water through coffee grounds, instead of relying on steam. Due to the increased efficiency, the usual espresso taste is associated with pump driven espresso machines. These tend to be a bit more expensive due to more sophisticated engineering, but if price is no issue then you almost have to get a pump-driven espresso machine to taste real espresso.

In this review, four brands of espresso machines will be covered – the De’Longhi EC155, the Mr. Coffee ECM160, the Nespresso Inissia, and the Bella 13683 Espresso maker.

De’Longhi EC155


The De’Longhi EC155 Espresso is a pump-driven espresso maker. It supports either ground coffee beans, or E.S.E pods (think Keurig, but yet another individual patent exclusive to De’Longhi machines). The EC155 allows for the user to make either capucino or espresso, and even includes a swivel jet frother, allowing a user to create delicious crema froth that can then be added to their drink. The EC155 has a dual function filter holder, which supports normal ground coffee beans or the previously-mentioned E.S.E pods.

The EC155 also boasts a self-priming feature, which allows a user to program a time for the espresso machine to turn on at a certain time so the user doesn’t have to wait to get their coffee. The EC155 has a removable 35 ounce water tank, equipped with indicator lights, that allows for easy cleaning. Also included with the EC155 are instructions on how to make the best possible cup of espresso, with some tips from Italian baristas. I was able to find the EC155 online for prices ranging from $90 up to $100, which isn’t a bad deal since the original launching price was $140.

Mr Coffee ECM160


The Mr. Coffee ECM160 is a much more simple, smaller machine. The ECM160 is pump-driven. It doesn’t take up nearly as much space as the other espresso machines, preferring a much lower-profile design. Mr. Coffee is a brand synonymous with great, inexpensive products, and the ECM160 is a continuation. The ECM160 has most features required to create a nice cup of espresso, including a milk frother and steamer. However, the ECM160 is available for $40, and the age-old adage of “you get what you pay for” holds true. Several people were unhappy with their Mr. Coffee ECM160 purchases, finding that the machine would fault out or produce less high-quality espresso with increased use. But for someone who loves espresso but has to remain on a budget, or for someone trying to figure out what espresso is all about and why it’s the new thing, a $40 investment isn’t a big gamble. The ECM160 does not include support for Mr. Coffee Pods, and only holds 4 cups of water – which should be up to 20 oz of espresso, which ranges from 3 to 5 cups.

Nespresso Inissia


The Inissia is Nespresso’s take on a multi-functional espresso maker; like the De’Longhi EC155, it allows for custom pods to be used (yet another patent similar to Keurig – “Nespresso Capsules”) as well as traditional coffee grounds, on top of grounds meant for espresso. Like most modern espresso machines, the Nespresso Inissia is also pump-driven. Nespresso is a brand famous for their quality of espresso makers, and this model is a testament to that. The Inissia can be considered the budget Nespresso machine (other Nespresso machines range up to $300 and way beyond that), and the quality is reflected in the espresso it makes as well as the quality of the machine itself.
The Inissia has a very simple design, unlike most espresso machines – there is no stray handle for forcing grounds, and the milk frother is actually built into the dispensing head itself. The overall design of the Inissia is extremely sleek and modern looking, and proves to not be an eye sore like some espresso machines can be. The Nespresso Inissia is available for around $125, based on internet prices.

Bella 13683

BELLA 13683

The Bella 13683 is very similar to the Mr. Coffee ECM160 – it’s rather inexpensive and gets the job done, but the Bella 13683 might get it done better. The Bella 13683 is actually steam-driven, which allows for certain parts to be stainless steel and hard plastic, meaning that some of the parts can actually be washed in the dishwasher (less cleanup!). However, as with the Mr. Coffee ECM160, due to the inexpensive nature of the machine, it can be a given that it will die before you want it to. I was able to find the Bella 13683 as cheap as $35 and as expensive as $40.

The Verdict

Well, if you’re spending money on an espresso machine, odds are it’s a luxury instead of a necessity. If that’s your individual case, then you have to get the Nespresso Inissia – Nespresso is a brand becoming synonymous with home brewing espresso, sort of like what Keurig did for gourmet flavors of coffee. On top of that, the build quality is very high and Nespresso boasts an impressive 5-year warranty straight out of the box. On top of the espresso brewing, the Inissia also allows for cups of coffee to brew, so there is no need to have both a coffee maker and an espresso maker on the same shelf – just use the one device.
The second strong contender, in my opinion, is the De’Longhi EC155. The EC155 seems like an all-around great machine for the price. The EC155 also has the important self-priming feature, which means as you wake up, you won’t have to start the espresso maker and go about your morning routine and return – instead, you can wake up and start brewing right away to get your espresso as soon as you can.

If you’re a novice to espresso, like me, then the inexpensive Bella 13683 or the Mr. Coffee ECM160 should be your choice of purchase until you better understand exactly what goes into a good cup of espresso.'
Bridget Rogers
Bridget Rogers is an independent freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Bridget's work can be found on a variety of sources in both online and print media.


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