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Best Prosumer Espresso Machine

Best Prosumer Espresso Machine

This year, my selections for Best Prosumer Espresso Machine are centered around renowned brands such as La Marzocco, Slayer, and Rocket. Without a doubt, these nine top-of-the-line prosumer espresso machines are truly worth prioritizing over calculus.

Every prosumer espresso machine featured on this list excels at producing exceptional espresso and perfectly steamed milk. Therefore, the optimal choice for you will depend on factors such as your personal style, budget, and the available space in your kitchen.

1. La Marzocco Linea Mini

The La Marzocco Linea Mini is a prosumer espresso machine that offers exceptional performance and quality. It features a dual boiler system, with dimensions of 15″ x 14″ x 21″, and is equipped with a rotary pump. The Linea Mini is a semi-automatic paddle-operated machine that brings the renowned quality of La Marzocco’s commercial espresso machines to the home market.

Handmade using commercial-grade components, including two stainless steel boilers, the Linea Mini is built to last. However, it is important to note that it is quite heavy, weighing over 70 pounds. One notable innovation is the integrated brew group, which is a more compact version of the original Linea’s saturated brew group. It offers impressive temperature stability and accuracy, with minimal variation in tests.

The Linea Mini’s milk steaming capabilities are considered best-in-class and rival those of top-of-the-line La Marzocco machines. It may take some practice to control its powerful steam pressure, but once mastered, it can steam milk for a latte in under 30 seconds, making it the quickest among the machines tested.

While the Linea Mini features a paddle on the group, it is important to note that it functions solely as an on/off switch and does not offer flow control or manual pre-infusion capabilities. However, in terms of quality, the Linea Mini leaves nothing to be desired. It boasts impeccable Italian styling, available in seven colors, and includes built-in barista lights that add a touch of elegance to the espresso-making process.

Despite the recent release of the smaller Linea Micra, the Linea Mini remains a top choice unless space is a significant constraint.

In summary, the La Marzocco Linea Mini is a highly regarded prosumer espresso machine that offers exceptional performance and quality. Its temperature stability, milk steaming capabilities, and Italian styling make it a standout choice for coffee enthusiasts.

2. Lelit Bianca

The Lelit Bianca is a prosumer espresso machine that offers impressive functionality, even though it may not have the same level of brand recognition and flashy style as the Linea Mini. One of its standout features is the flow control capability, allowing you to adjust the water flow through the E61 group head during extraction. This feature enables you to extract new and unique flavors from your coffees, even ones you thought you were familiar with.

The Bianca is equipped with dual stainless steel boilers, each with independent PID temperature control, and a rotary vane pump. It also features no-burn hot water and steam wands. In terms of aesthetics, the Bianca has a classy and warm look, with wooden accents and a shiny stainless casing. It is available in eye-catching black and white options, and the water reservoir can be mounted on either side, allowing for versatile placement in your kitchen.

One notable inclusion with the Lelit Bianca is the bottomless portafilter, in addition to the standard dual-spout. This allows for a quick assessment of the quality of your puck preparation and provides the opportunity to capture captivating shots in action for social media.

In summary, the Lelit Bianca offers excellent value for money and functionality, rivaling higher-priced machines. Its flow control feature, dual-boiler system with PID temperature control, and appealing aesthetics make it a compelling choice for coffee enthusiasts. It’s worth noting that while Lelit may be a less well-established brand, the Bianca’s performance and features speak for themselves. The only minor drawbacks are the finicky removal of the full drip tray and the brand’s lower recognition compared to others in the market.

3. Rancilio Silvia

The Rancilio Silvia is a semi-professional espresso machine that offers exceptional quality and performance at a comparable price point to many entry-level machines. It provides incredible value that will be appreciated by both novices and experienced espresso enthusiasts.

One of the reasons for its affordability is that the Silvia is a single boiler machine, meaning you cannot steam milk while pulling an espresso shot. While this may affect the quality of milk-based drinks, it is not overly noticeable unless you have a particularly sensitive palate. For those interested in a double-boiler version, the Silvia Pro is an outstanding option worth considering.

The Silvia is highly regarded for its impressive steam power, which allows for the creation of high-quality microfoam suitable for latte art. This is quite rare for a machine in this price range, and it is a testament to Rancilio’s expertise in building commercial espresso machines.

The build quality of the Silvia is also noteworthy, with a steel frame and stainless steel exterior, ensuring durability that can last for decades. The attention to detail is evident, with impeccable fit and finish throughout. Although it may not be the most visually appealing machine, it is certainly built to last.

In terms of operation, once you become familiar with the timing required for switching between brewing and steaming, the Silvia is straightforward to use. Simple rocker switches control power, brewing, water, and steam functions.

In summary, the Rancilio Silvia offers excellent steam pressure, a durable build, and remarkable value for money. While it lacks the ability to brew and steam simultaneously and does not include a pressure gauge, its overall performance and quality make it a highly recommended choice for espresso enthusiasts.

4. Stone Plus Espresso Machine

The Stone Plus Espresso Machine is a new offering from the Stone brand, which is a low-cost spinoff of the renowned Rocket brand. Designed to cater to a younger generation and individuals with lower incomes and limited space, the Stone Espresso Machine still prioritizes quality espresso. However, it is worth noting that this definition of appeal can extend to older coffee lovers as well.

This machine features a heat exchange boiler, but its dual-element heating design ensures easy plug-and-play operation and excellent temperature stability. Unlike other machines where timing cooling flushes is necessary to achieve the right brew temperature, the Stone Espresso Machine eliminates this concern. From the very first shot pulled, I was impressed, and the quality only improved as I fine-tuned the grind and dose.

The inclusion of a second in-group heater also contributes to a speedy warm-up time. I was able to pull shots and steam milk in as little as 15 minutes after powering up the machine.

Manufactured in the Rocket factory by skilled craftsmen, the Stone Espresso Machine offers the same engineering and attention to detail as more expensive models. The machine has an appealing look, with removable side panels that allow for customization at an approachable price point.

To keep costs low and maintain a small footprint, some compromises have been made, such as the use of plastic for the drip tray and side panels, a small water tank, and the absence of a PID. The plastic paddle used to start extraction was a disappointment, as it appeared and felt cheap. Similar to the Linea Mini, the paddle does not provide control over flow rate or pre-infusion. However, considering the significantly lower cost compared to the Mini, this drawback is more forgivable.

The Stone Espresso Machine is available in several versions with alternate finishes, and even the most expensive option remains comfortably under $2000.

In summary, the Stone Plus Espresso Machine offers an easy-to-use design, excellent temperature stability, and premium build quality at an affordable price. While it lacks controllable pre-infusion and has a small water tank, its overall performance and value make it a compelling choice for those seeking quality espresso without breaking the bank.

5. Rocket Giotto Evoluzione R

The Rocket Giotto Evoluzione R is a heat exchanger espresso machine that offers the convenience of being able to pull a shot and steam milk simultaneously, making it a cost-effective option. It stands out as my top choice for the best heat exchanger espresso machine available this year, delivering all the features I desire in a high-quality espresso machine without unnecessary cost-increasing extras. This includes a reliable E61 group, PID temperature control, and an easily adjustable OPV.

One notable feature of the Giotto Evoluzione R is its use of a rotary pump, which is uncommon in heat exchanger machines. This feature brings several advantages, such as the option to directly plumb the machine or rely on the sizable 98-ounce water reservoir. Additionally, the rotary pump contributes to the machine’s quiet operation, setting it apart from other heat exchangers I have tested.

Rocket espresso machines are known for their commitment to aesthetics, and the Giotto Evoluzione R is no exception. Handmade in Milan, Italy, it exudes an old-school vibe with elegant styling. One unique design choice is the placement of the PID controller behind the drip tray, adding to the machine’s visual appeal. However, this design can become tiresome for those who frequently adjust the temperature.

In summary, the Rocket Giotto Evoluzione R stands out as a versatile and high-quality heat exchanger espresso machine. Its quiet rotary pump, PID temperature control, and elegant aesthetic make it a compelling choice for espresso enthusiasts. It is important to note that accessing the PID requires removing the drip tray, and the machine’s large size and higher price point may be considerations for some.

6. Izzo Alex Duetto IV Plus

The Izzo Alex Duetto IV Plus is my top choice for a dual boiler espresso machine this year. It boasts two copper boilers that provide exceptional temperature stability and accuracy. One of the standout features is the ability to control the boilers independently. This means that when I’m in the mood for straight espresso, I can power on the brew boiler only, significantly reducing heat-up time to less than 10 minutes and saving energy.

In terms of noise level, the Alex Duetto IV Plus is one of the quietest prosumer espresso machines available, surpassing even the Rocket Giotto. Izzo has taken great care to configure the interior in a way that minimizes noise from the rotary pump. They have even added magnets to the drip tray to reduce vibrations. This allows me to confidently make coffee early in the morning without worrying about disturbing my neighbors. The Alex Duetto features the well-known E61 grouphead, which includes automatic low-pressure pre-infusion. The latest model also offers more space under the grouphead for larger mugs and an improved PID with a shot timer.

The build quality of the Alex Duetto IV Plus is exceptional, with the frame, outer casing, and most components made from stainless steel. Unlike some manufacturers who may use cheaper materials for less noticeable parts, Izzo ensures that stainless steel is used throughout, even in the hidden areas.

In summary, the Izzo Alex Duetto IV Plus stands out as an outstanding dual boiler espresso machine. With its two independent boilers, ultra-quiet design, and excellent build quality, it offers exceptional performance and durability. It is worth noting that the machine is large and heavy, and the mirror finish may show dirt and scratches more prominently.

7. La Pavoni Professional 16-Cup

The La Pavoni Professional 16-Cup is a manual lever espresso machine that provides a unique and satisfying espresso-making experience for those who appreciate control. While it may not be as user-friendly as a semi-automatic machine, mastering the art of using it is part of the enjoyment.

Lever espresso machines have gained popularity recently, and there are numerous new models on the market. However, my loyalty remains with the classic La Pavoni. The Professional model is an upgraded version of the popular Europiccola, featuring a pressure gauge and double the capacity. This larger size is beneficial for households with higher demand, and the pressure gauge allows for consistent extraction and experimentation with pressure profiling.

Being a single boiler espresso machine, there is a short wait time between pulling espresso shots and steaming milk. However, the machine heats up in just around 5 minutes, minimizing the waiting period.

The La Pavoni Professional comes with both single and double-shot baskets, although they have a smaller-than-standard 52 mm diameter. This can be a drawback, making it more challenging to find compatible accessories and limiting the dose to about 14 g.

For milk steaming, the Professional offers two options that can be easily swapped. It features a traditional steam wand with a 3-hole tip and an auto-frothing attachment. While the auto-frother is handy for cappuccinos, mastering the steam wand is necessary for creating latte art.

La Pavoni manual espresso machines, handmade in Italy, are not only functional appliances but also works of art. They embody a cool steampunk aesthetic that has remained true to the original design over the years. It is important to note that these machines require extra height to accommodate the lever, so proper planning for the espresso bar is necessary.

In summary, the La Pavoni Professional 16-Cup is a classic lever espresso machine that offers a manual and rewarding espresso-making experience. With its fast heat-up time and compact footprint, it is a convenient choice for espresso enthusiasts. However, the small filter basket size and the inability to brew and steam simultaneously are notable limitations to consider.

8. Slayer Single Group

The Slayer Single Group espresso machine is a top-of-the-line option for those who value both exceptional performance and stunning aesthetics. While it comes with a hefty price tag, its quality and beauty make it worth considering for those who can afford it. Testing this machine was a bittersweet experience, knowing that I couldn’t keep it permanently due to its cost.

Slayer’s mission is to create the absolute best espresso machine, regardless of time, cost, or effort, and they have certainly succeeded. However, it is important to note that it is nearly double the price of the Linea Mini, the next most expensive machine on our list, making it a choice that may not be suitable for everyone.

What makes the Slayer Single Group stand out are its unique features. The most exciting among them is Slayer’s patented needle-valve technology, which provides complete control over water flow during extraction. This allows for precise optimization of variables in pursuit of the best flavor in the cup, making it particularly valuable for those who purchase specialty coffee beans.

The machine is equipped with two stainless steel boilers, a rotary pump, and a commercial-grade electronic grouphead. It delivers exceptional temperature stability, surpassing any home machine I have tested so far. The inclusion of an SSR circuit board and a PID controller adjustable in 0.1-degree increments ensures precise temperature control. Navigating the machine’s features is made easy with the LCD touchscreen display, although a larger screen would be a welcome addition.

The Slayer’s iconic design is a standout feature. The X-shaped side panels and elegant wood accents contribute to its distinctive appearance. The craftsmanship and choice of materials are of the highest quality, as expected at this price point. The latest model even includes higher-grade internal components for improved longevity. It’s worth noting that since this machine was originally designed for commercial use, it does not come with a water reservoir. You will need to either connect it directly to a water line or set up an external water tank.

In summary, the Slayer Single Group espresso machine offers exceptional performance and a visually striking design. Its patented needle-valve technology, dual boilers, rotary pump, and commercial-grade electronic grouphead provide outstanding temperature stability and control. While the price may be a deterrent for some, those who prioritize both functionality and aesthetics will find the Slayer Single Group to be a remarkable choice.

9. Rocket Appartamento

The Rocket Appartamento is a compact espresso machine designed specifically to fit in small urban dwellings, as indicated by its name, which means “apartment” in Italian. As someone living in an apartment, I can confidently report that this machine performs exceptionally well in small kitchen spaces.

Despite its small size and relatively affordable price, the Rocket Appartamento offers everything needed to create high-quality espresso at home. The heat exchange boiler is a smart choice, allowing for simultaneous brewing and milk steaming while occupying less space compared to a similar capacity dual boiler. It is paired with the classic E61 brew group, which features mechanical pre-infusion for optimal extraction.

Like all Rocket machines, the Appartamento is meticulously handcrafted in Italy, adhering to rigorous standards. Personally, I find the design of the Appartamento even more appealing than other Rocket models. It maintains the polished steel aesthetic and iconic R-labeled knob, while adding circular side panel cut-outs available in various colors to suit any decor.

Despite its small size, I was pleasantly surprised to find a generously sized 61-ounce steam boiler in the Appartamento. This provides ample steam power for creating velvety microfoam and allows for the preparation of multiple lattes in a row without needing to wait for the boiler to recover. The addition of a dedicated hot water tap is also noteworthy, as this feature is often sacrificed in compact machines.

Are there any drawbacks to this lower-cost option? The vibratory pump does produce some noise, but Rocket has made efforts to reduce the sound and dampen vibrations, resulting in a tolerable experience. While it may not be as quiet as models with rotary pumps, I found it manageable even in the early morning. The Appartamento also features a relatively small drip tray, which may require more frequent emptying. However, this is a minor inconvenience, and regular rinsing of the drip tray is good practice anyway.

In summary, the Rocket Appartamento impresses with its gorgeous and compact design, making it an ideal choice for smaller spaces. The large steam boiler ensures excellent steam pressure, and the reliable E61 group with pre-infusion control guarantees optimal extraction. While the machine has a small drip tray and low clearance under the spout, these minor drawbacks do not overshadow its overall performance and appeal.

How I Tested These Machines

To evaluate these machines, I employed a comprehensive testing approach, recognizing that prosumer espresso machines require a more in-depth assessment compared to standard home espresso machines. These machines typically involve a learning curve and are not plug-and-play designs.

Objective tests were conducted to establish a baseline for each model. This involved measuring heat-up time, brew water temperature accuracy and stability, the number of shots that could be pulled before the boiler required recovery, and the time required to steam 8 ounces of milk.

Taste testing presented a more challenging aspect, as it necessitated time to dial in each machine. This process involved spending sufficient time with each machine to master its features and idiosyncrasies, ensuring the best possible espresso quality. Subsequently, other team members were recruited to participate in taste testing and provide qualitative feedback. We utilized a medium-dark roast espresso blend as a benchmark and experimented with lighter roast single origins, evaluating both straight shots and milk-based drinks.

Furthermore, each machine was scored based on intangible factors such as the setup and usability experience. This encompassed considerations such as the intuitiveness of controls, visibility of the pressure gauge during brewing, the presence of features like a hot water tap or accessible OPV, and an assessment of the included features in relation to the price.

In summary, the testing process involved a combination of objective measurements and subjective evaluations to comprehensively assess the performance, usability, and overall quality of each prosumer espresso machine.

Here is a Full List Of Prosumer Espresso Brands

– 969.Coffee
– Ascaso
– Bezzera
– Dalla Corte
– Decent Espresso
– Elektra Espresso
– Faema
– Isomac
– Izzo Alex Duetto
– Kees van der Westen
– La Cimbali
– La Marzocco
– La Spaziale
– Lelit
– M&V Coffee
– Profitec
– Quick Mill
– Rocket Espresso
– Slayer Espresso
– Stone Espresso
– Unic Mira
– VBM Vibiemme

These brands offer a wide range of prosumer espresso machines, each with its own unique features and capabilities. Whether you are a home barista or a professional, these brands provide options to suit various needs and preferences.

Choosing the right prosumer espresso machine from this selection of top-rated options is a significant decision. Unlike trying a new coffee brand or selecting a beginner-friendly espresso machine, purchasing a prosumer machine requires careful consideration due to the higher investment involved. To ensure that you make an informed choice, it’s crucial to understand your preferences and the type of machine you are considering.

Manual, Semi-Automatic, or Automatic?

Most prosumer espresso machines fall into the semi-automatic category, striking a balance between convenience and control.

In a semi-automatic machine, a pump generates the necessary 9 bars of pressure to extract an espresso shot, while the barista is responsible for other variables like grind size, dosing weight, tamping pressure, and shot timing. Some semi-automatic machines incorporate an automatic pre-infusion step, while others leave this aspect in the hands of the barista.

Manual espresso machines require the barista to control all the aforementioned steps as well as manually generate the water pressure, typically through a pump or lever.

Automatic espresso machines, often referred to as volumetric in the prosumer segment, remove control of shot timing from the barista. Instead, the pressure automatically stops once a specific volume of water has passed through the coffee puck.

The Heart of Your Espresso Machine: Vibratory vs. Rotary Pumps

Prosumer espresso machines are equipped with either electromagnetic vibratory pumps or mechanical rotary pumps. Vibratory pumps are commonly found in home espresso machines, while commercial-grade machines rely on rotary pumps. Prosumer machines can incorporate either type.

Vibratory pumps offer advantages such as smaller size, lower cost, and easier repair and replacement. However, they have a shorter lifespan and tend to be louder during operation, although noise can be minimized through good design principles. On the other hand, rotary pumps are quieter and more durable, but they are larger and more expensive.

It is essential to note that these pump types do not have a measurable impact on the quality of the espresso itself.

Direct Plumbing

Another advantage of espresso machines with rotary pumps is the option to directly connect them to a water line, known as direct-line plumbing. In contrast, vibratory pumps can only draw water from a reservoir. While direct plumbing is typically necessary in commercial settings, it can also be advantageous for home use. If you can handle the plumbing logistics, direct plumbing eliminates concerns about the reservoir running dry and allows for proper low-pressure pre-infusion.

Choosing a Boiler: Design and Materials

Most prosumer espresso machines enable simultaneous extraction and milk steaming. This can be achieved either through two boilers or a heat exchanger system within a single boiler. Let’s explore the pros and cons of each system in more detail.

In a Heat Exchange (HX) Boiler

An espresso machine with a heat exchange (HX) boiler operates by pulling brew water from a pipe that runs through the boiler, while the steam and hot water come directly from the boiler. The design of the pipe ensures optimal brewing temperature.

HX machines are more affordable compared to dual-boiler machines because they have lower material costs and a smaller footprint with only one boiler. However, they may offer less precise temperature control and consistency in high-volume situations, such as coffee shops.

Dual boiler machines, on the other hand, have two separate boilers for steam/hot water and brew water. This allows both boilers to be ready and at the perfect temperature at all times, which is beneficial for home brewers and essential in busy coffee shops. However, dual boiler machines tend to be larger and more expensive.

The least expensive prosumer machines, usually priced under $1000, typically feature a single boiler without a heat exchange system. With these machines, you will need to wait for the boiler to adjust its temperature between brewing coffee and steaming milk. While single-boiler machines are more affordable and have a smaller footprint, they may not deliver the same level of coffee shop-quality latte.

Boiler Materials

When considering a boiler style, it’s important to also take into account the impact of the materials used. The most common boiler materials encountered are stainless steel, copper, brass, and aluminum, each offering its own advantages.

Aluminum is typically found in small, inexpensive espresso machines but is not commonly used in prosumer machines due to its relatively low thermal conductivity.

Copper is the most expensive material but offers the highest thermal conductivity, making it popular in high-end cookware. Copper boilers often have brass endplates to facilitate the attachment of other components.

Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, is less thermally conductive than copper alone but is more affordable and easier to manufacture. Many brass boilers are nickel-plated to enhance resistance to corrosion.

Stainless steel is a popular choice due to its relative affordability, ease of workability, and durability. While it may take slightly longer to heat up compared to copper, it offers excellent longevity.

Measure Twice, Buy Once

Prosumer espresso machines tend to be larger than the average domestic machines. Therefore, it is crucial to measure your available space carefully before selecting a model. If space is limited, consider a machine with a heat exchange boiler instead of dual boilers and a vibratory pump rather than a rotary pump.

Additionally, take into consideration the clearance between the group head and the drip tray. This factor is particularly important if you prefer larger drinks and is often overlooked. However, if you only drink straight espresso shots, this may not be a significant concern.

Grouphead Designs

While a steady boiler temperature is important, a well-designed grouphead is vital for maintaining the ideal water temperature during the espresso extraction process. There are two well-known group designs, with slight variations among different brands.

The classic E61 grouphead has long been popular and continues to be widely used, especially in home settings. The E61 grouphead constantly circulates hot water between the grouphead and the boiler, ensuring excellent temperature stability when combined with double boilers.

The saturated grouphead offers even better temperature stability. In this design, the grouphead is directly connected to the brew boiler, allowing hot water to flow from the boiler to the group.

Some machines feature an electronic grouphead with a built-in heating element. Although rare in the home market, these groupheads offer the most control but come at a higher cost.

Milk Steaming

Entry-level espresso machines often come with various milk frothing options designed to simplify the process. These may include froth enhancers, Pannarello steam wands, automatic milk frothing, frothing carafes, and more.

However, when choosing among top prosumer espresso machines, expect to require a bit of expertise. Most prosumer machines are equipped with commercial-style steam wands, which may require practice but offer the best route to achieving silky-smooth microfoam.

Consider factors such as the range of motion, size of the steam boiler, heat retention of the wand during use, and the presence of a separate hot water wand. The importance of these factors will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you prioritize latte art, opt for a fully articulated steam wand and a larger steam boiler, even if it means a larger machine. A larger steam boiler provides better steam power and temperature stability, especially when making multiple milk-based drinks in succession.

Best Prosumer Espresso Machine

Machine Boiler Material Brew Boiler Size Steam Boiler Size Group Head Type of Pump Direct Plumbing Water Reservoir Size
La Marzocco Linea Mini Stainless Steel 6 ounces 101.4 ounces Integrated Rotary 67.6 ounces 67.6 ounces
Slayer Single Group Stainless Steel 37.2 ounces 111.6 ounces Electronic V3 Rotary None None
Rancilio Silvia V6 Brass 12 ounces n/a Commercial grade Vibratory n/a 67 ounces
Rocket Giotto Evoluzione R Nickel-plated copper 60.9 ounces E61 Rotary 98 ounces
Izzo Alex Duetto IV T.E.A.-plated copper 27 ounces 60.9 ounces E61 Rotary 77.8 ounces


Final Thoughts

Each of the machines reviewed here is highly deserving of a spot in the home of any espresso enthusiast. However, our top pick this year is the La Marzocco Linea Mini. It truly shines with its compact design, commercial-grade components, exceptional milk steaming capabilities, and eye-catching retro style. Adding the La Marzocco Linea Mini to your home espresso bar will undoubtedly be a decision you won’t regret.


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