Here is the Best Espresso Machine with Grinder of 2017

Finding the best espresso machine with grinder isn't an easy task, something I've experienced myself when I was looking for a new device. It depends on how you approach this fun, but extensive search. To cover every angle, I divided the article in a number of categories, each covering a variation of an espresso machine with grinder. So in this article, I will take a look at:

  • The overall best espresso machine with grinder.
  • The best espresso machine with built-in grinder.
  • The best semi-automatic espresso machine with grinder.
    (Don't worry, these three categories all have the same winner, which is explained in the article).
  • The best budget espresso machine under $200 with grinder.
  • The best super-automatic espresso machine with grinder.
  • The best manual espresso machine with grinder.

So, from a manual espresso machine to a super-automatic one, it's all in here.

Best Choice:
Breville Barista Express
BES870XL

Breville Espresso Machine

And don't worry, all the differences between these types of espresso machines are explained in this article. Some devices come with a built-in grinder, where others require a separate grinder. In the end, I make sure you end up with the best equipment for your needs.

In this article, you will find the best espresso machine with grinder in each category. Also, all of the standalone machines and machine/grinder combinations won't cost you more than $1,000, some even a lot less. Whether you're looking for the convenience of a super-automatic espresso machine, or prefer to do all of the labor yourself with a manual espresso machine with grinder, we got you covered.

Overview of the Best Espresso Machine with Grinder for 2017


I divided this article in three main categories, each covering a different espresso machine with grinder. In each of the categories you will find the overall best machine, the best choice when you're on a budget, and the best choice if money is not an issue. Below you will find each category winner, and you can jump to its section right away, in case you're not interested in the other categories.

Super-Automatic:
De'Longhi
Magnifica S
DeLonghi ECAM23460S

Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine with Built-in Grinder

High-end

  • One-Touch operations
  • Consistent espressos
  • Good durability
  • Learning curve
  • Large footprint

Price:

$$$$$

Semi-Automatic:
Breville
Barista Express
Breville Barista Express BES870XL Best Choice

Best Choice for Overall Best Espresso Machine with Grinder

Prosumer

  • Perfect price point
  • Good heat management
  • Small footprint
  • Bit messy
  • Quite noisy

Price:

$$$

Manual:
La Pavoni 
Europiccola EPC-8
La Pavoni Europiccola

Best Manual Espresso Machine with Grinder

Prosumer

  • Full control over process
  • Amazing durability
  • Quickly heats up
  • Risk of overheating
  • High learning curve

Price:

$$$$$


This article can be found under:

First published: 2/19/2017
Last update: 2/19/2017


How did I research the Best Espresso Machines with Grinder?

The goal of each of the reviews on Let's Grind Some Coffee is to do an insane amount of research, so you don't have to anymore. We work with a number of talented and experienced writers, who know what they're talking about. Each writer is responsible for conducting his/her own research, so there's no miscommunication possible. When doing this article I owned the Breville Barista Express BES870XL. For the other products I used product reviews, customers comments, and instruction videos and manuals.

Click to learn more about our review process


What is the Best Espresso Machine with Grinder?

Let's first define what exactly an espresso machine with grinder is. To me, that's a specialized coffee maker capable of making at least (sometimes even only) espressos, combined with a built-in grinder. An all-in-one device, just like an ordinary coffee maker with grinder is for your regular cup of joe.

But it also could be an espresso machine with a separate grinder, so you get two specialized devices dedicated to performing one task perfectly. This is the definition I used for the "Best Espresso Machine under $200 with Grinder" in this category, and the "Best Manual Espresso Machine with Grinder" in the category further on in the article.
Learn more about the differences: Espresso Machine vs. Coffee Maker

Manual espresso machine:
This type of machine requires the most manual labor from you. You have to fill the portafilter with ground coffee, place it in the group head, and slowly pull down a lever to apply the required pressure while running water through the portafilter. If you want to make a cappuccino, you need to steam the milk yourself.

Breville Barista Express BES870XL

Semi-automatic espresso machine:
With this device, you still have to fill your portafilter with ground coffee, but after you put it in the group head, your machine will take care of the pressure part. The semi-automatic applies to the extraction process, which is thus handled by your machine. You still need to steam the milk yourself if you want a cappuccino.

Coffee 101:
Manual, Semi Automatic or Super Automatic Espresso machines?

These terms are applied to show the amount of labor involved when making coffee. A manual espresso machine requires the most effort, where the super-automatic is fully hands-off.

DeLonghi ECAM23460S

Super-automatic espresso machine:
These are the all-in-one devices where you just need to put your cup under the coffee outlet and hit a button. Most of these devices allow you to make several varieties of coffee, as well as being able to adjust the strength. These are also known as bean-to-cup espresso machines, and are known for their one-touch button functionality. 

In general, the more automatic is gets, the less control you have over the quality of your espresso. But with more control, like with a manual espresso machine), comes more practice and risk of failure. The semi-automatic is a good compromise of a well enough amount of control vs. a high-quality result.

So if a semi-automatic is our definition of an espresso machine, and we're looking for a built-in grinder, what do we get?

The Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine with Grinder for 2017


  • # The Best Overall Espresso Machine with Grinder.
  • # The Best Espresso Machine under $200 with grinder.
  • # What is the Best Espresso Machine with Grinder if money is not an issue?
Best Choice Overall:
Breville Barista Express
Breville Barista Express BES870XL

Overall Best Choice for Best Espresso Machine with Grinder.

Prosumer

  • Built-in grinder
  • Good heat management
  • Small footprint
  • Bit messy
  • Quite noisy

Price:

$$$

Best Budget Choice:
Mr. Coffee Café Barista
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista

Best Budget Choice for Best Espresso Machine with Grinder.

Entry-level

  • Very low price
  • One-touch cappuccino
  • Tiny footprint
  • Inconsistent heat
  • Questionable durability

Price:

$

Best Choice No Budget:
Breville Oracle
Breville Oracle BES980XL

Best Choice for Best Espresso Machine with Grinder Without Budget.

High-end

  • Fully automated semi-auto
  • Excellent consistency
  • Dual boilers and pumps
  • Descaling issues
  • Build quality varies

Price:

$$$$$$


Overall Best Choice | Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine BES870XL

The Barista Express is one of the few semi-automatic espresso machines with built-in grinder available on the market. It is Breville's most popular espresso machine, and also the one I bought myself after reading many espresso machine reviews. You can read about my search in my article about the best Breville espresso machine.

I choose a semi-automatic espresso machine with built-in grinder to be the definition of "best espresso machine with grinder," and the Barista Express definitely deserves that title. Being a semi-auto, it also holds the title of best semi-automatic espresso machine with grinder (luckily we're not handing out awards, as this would require a big trophy).

You may argue that my definition of the best espresso machine being a semi-automatic is the wrong decision. Some consider manual espresso machines to be the only ones capable of producing a high-quality espresso.

Others are looking for the convenience of a super-automatic, of which the higher-end models are producing excellent espressos as well. As I mentioned above, I believe a semi-automatic espresso machine hits the sweet spot for people looking for a espresso machine with grinder. The fact that the Barista Express, besides being a semi-automatic, also has an built-in coffee grinder is a what makes is the best overall device to me.

Okay, let's dive into the specifics of the Breville Barista Express. It features an integrated conical burr grinder, capable of producing coffee grind fine enough for making espresso.

Coffee 101:
What is an Americano coffee?

An Americano is basically a dilluted espresso, to make it less stronger. It consists of 2/5 espresso, and 3/5 hot water.


It comes with pre-defined shot times for both a single and double espresso. It has a convenient steam wand for making cappuccinos and lattes. It also has a hot water pipe, for making Americanos, which is a diluted espresso with 2/5 of espresso and 3/5 of hot water. It comes with a pressure gauge to help you achieve the so-called "espresso range", which is the optimal pressure for making espresso.

The Barista Express has some excellent features, some of which are only seen on far more expensive devices. It does have some minor flaws, none of which are serious enough to prevent it from being the best espresso machine with grinder.

Pros & Cons

  • The built-in coffee grinder, which saves you space, as well as the need to buy a separately capable grinder (easily costing you another $200+).
  • PID temperature control, for a consistent heat distribution throughout the device.
  • Pre-infusion, which is a few seconds of soaking the coffee grind in the portafilter, for a slightly better taste.
  • A pressure gauge, to help you achieve the right pressure for the perfect espresso.
  • Hot water pipe for making Americanos, in case you or your guests are not in the mood for an espresso, but still want a great coffee.
  • Pre-defined extraction times, with the option to specify your own preferred extraction times, including pre-infusion time, for fire-and-forget espresso.
  • The built-in grinder is a bit messy, with coffee grind spilling over the portafilter during grinding.
  • It is quite loud, as all steps of the process come with quite a bit of noise.
  • Its pressure gauge doesn't have numbers, only an espresso range, but its margin is a bit too wide (Tip: Stay on the right of the range).

If you want to learn more about the Barista Express, please read my extensive Breville Barista Express review. In this review, you will also learn more about PID temperature control and pre-infusion for example, and why this is important.


Best Budget Choice | Mr. Coffee Café Barista ECMP1000

- The Best Espresso Machine under $200 with Grinder -

You won't get any built-in grinder for this price, but I did find the best espresso machine under $200. In fact, it is so cheap that there's even room left for a separate grinder.So if you're just getting started in the world of espresso making, or simply don't want to spend too much money, we've got you covered.

Keep in mind, though, you won't get anything fancy like the Barista Express for this budget, and it's quite possible that both devices break within a couple of years. However, that's long enough for you to know if you like making espressos and want to upgrade your gear eventually.

The Mr. Coffee Café Barista is a cheap, but very popular entry-level espresso maker.

What I like about it is the fact that it comes with an Automatic Milk Frother, which you can use to make cappuccinos and lattes. Most cheap espresso machines come with a simple steam wand, which isn't very convenient for making milk foam easily. In comparison, the steam wand of the Barista Express is generally known for its ease of use, as it has a highly optimized design.With the Café Barista, you won't have to worry about that, which is a big plus.

This tiny device has a huge number of positive reviews, and it is considered to be the best Mr Coffee espresso maker. Also, since it only costs about $145, there's some room for a decent coffee grinder. Never buy pre-ground coffee, as this won't get you a good espresso.

Cuisinart DBM-8


The Cuisinart DBM-8 is a popular cheap coffee grinder, capable of producing the fine espresso grinds. As with most cheaper products, money was saved on build materials. This results in getting inconsistent grinds sometimes, and now and then your grind isn't fine enough for espresso.

However, for a price of around $45 that is easily forgotten (check out the latest price), and it probably lasts as long as your espresso machine. If you decide you want to spend a bit more to get a better, have a look at our coffee grinder reviews.

For its low price tag, the Café Barista is quite impressive. As you would expect, though, it does have some flaws which correlates to its low price.

Pros & Cons

  • Tiny footprint, yet large enough to even fit a travel cup (something which many small espresso machines are not).
  • One Touch Control for making espresso, cappuccino, and latte.
  • It makes a good espresso! You would be surprised to know how many espresso machines can't actually make a decent espresso.
  • As this is a much simpler design than the Barista Express, expect heating issues to occur, as being inconsistent and/or not high enough. Make sure to properly pre-heat.
  • No hot water pipe, so you can't make Americanos with it. This is something most cheaper devices lack, though.
  • Plastic tamper: It comes with a plastic tamper. But, since you need to apply quite some pressure for tamping, this is prone to break. Luckily, even after buying the grinder, there's some budget for a decent tamper (check it out).
  • Durability: As you can expect from devices in this price range, the machine could break within a few years. Espresso making is a complex technique, and many manufacturers in this price class save on material quality to keep the price low.
  • Integrated milk frother requires thorough cleaning, or else you're stuck with left-over milk.

We'll be doing a more in-depth into the details of this handy little espresso maker in the neat future.


Best "If-money-is-no-issue" Choice | Breville Oracle BES970XL

As I previously defined a semi-automatic espresso machine with built-in grinder to be the best fit for this category, what device would be the best if you don't need to stick to a budget?

Well, that's easy: The Breville Oracle. I like to call it the world's first automated semi-automatic espresso machine. This beast of a machine does still count as a semi-automatic, due to its open design and the fact that you're still needed to move the portafilter.

However, there's no need for tamping anymore, since the Oracle automatically grinds, doses, and tamps the coffee in the portafilter.

It also makes the milk foam just how you want it, without you needing to froth the milk yourself. You are only required to move the portafilter from the grind section on the left into the group head in the middle.


Costing almost four times as much as the Barista Express and with no direct competitors around, the Breville Oracle is in a class of its own. But that's what is possible when money is not an issue. Please note though; this machine is more than worth its money.

Pros & Cons

  • Built-in grinder along with a built-in doser and tamper.
  • Dual boilers and pumps with PID allow for optimal heat management and consistent temperatures.
  • Same hot water pipe as the Barista Express, but the Oracle, of course, has a One-Touch button to make it straight away.
  • Automated milk frothing with programmable texture so that you can choose between cappuccino or latte.
  • The whole design allows for consistent espressos and cappuccinos since the automation makes sure there is little room for error.
  • Descaling issues: Even though this seems more of an issue with older models, starting the descaling process can also start errors and malfunction to occur. Just make sure to use the recommended filters, and be very cautious when buying a used product.
  • Durability: This seems to be hit and miss, as some customers have no problems at all, where others are seeing problems within 6-12 months. The level of automation is quite complicated, which unfortunately is more prone to breaking. Just so you know, it comes with one year warranty.

You can probably guess by now that I am a big fan of this machine, but it's out of my price range for now. If you want to learn more about this magnificent device, make sure to read the full Breville Oracle Review.


What is the Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine with Grinder?

If you're more a hands-off person, then you will probably prefer a super-automatic espresso machine over a semi-auto. These devices are also known as a bean to cup espresso machines. This means you insert the beans in the bean reservoir, put a cup under the group head, select the type of coffee you want to make, and wait till it's done. No moving around with a portafilter, and no need to apply any pressure yourself.

On the other hand, having your machine take care of all the work, means you have less control over the brewing process. If you looking for the perfect espresso, and you love tinkling with even the finest settings for improving your shot, a super-automatic won't be a good match for you. However, having a machine that makes one good and consistent espresso after another can be a blessing. Especially when all you have to do is push a button. I previously had a super-automatic before I switched to a semi-automatic (the Barista Express), so I know what I am talking about ;-)

You should know that super-automatic espresso machines capable of producing a good espresso aren't cheap. In general, the more complex a machine gets, the more expensive it is. Super-automatics are no exception, which is why this category Budget Winner is a whole lot pricier than the Overall Budget Winner, the Mr. Coffee Café Barista (which is a simple device). I made sure that all super-automatic espresso machines listed here are well worth your money, though.

So let's have a look at the best super-automatic espresso machine with built-in grinder. In this category you will find:

The Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine with Grinder for 2017


  • # The Best Overall Super-Automatic Espresso Machine with Grinder.
  • # The Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine under $1,000.
  • # What is the Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine if money is not an issue?
Best Choice Overall:
De'Longhi Magnifica S
DeLonghi ECAM23460S

Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine with Grinder.

Prosumer

  • One-Touch operations
  • Consistent espresso
  • Good durability
  • Learning curve
  • Large footprint

Price:

$$$$

Best Budget Choice:
Jura ENA Micro 1
Jura ENA Micro 1

The Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine under $1,000.

Prosumer

  • Ability to make ristrettos
  • Consistent espressos
  • Good durability
  • Sensor issues
  • No steam wand

Price:

$$

Best Choice No Budget:
Jura Giga 5
Jura Giga 5

Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine with Grinder Without Budget

High-end

  • Dual grinder and pumps
  • High-quality consistency
  • Totally hands-off
  • Non-removable brewgroup
  • Questionable durability

Price:

$$$$$$


Best Choice: De'Longhi Magnifica S Cappuccino ECAM 23.460.S

Finding the best super-automatic espresso machine wasn't an easy task. The main concern with each of these machines is the durability. With lots of moving parts, things are bound to break, especially on the cheaper models where lots of plastics are used.

But after carefully curating many espresso machine reviews, I have found the best super-automatic espresso machine.

The De'Longhi Magnifica S is a higher-end model within the popular De'Longhi Magnifica espresso machine line. Not only does it have a built-in grinder, but it also comes with a built-in milk frother for making cappuccinos and lattes.

This truly is a super-automatic, with one-touch functionality for making various drinks. You don't need to foam the milk yourself, and this machine is perfectly capable of making excellent foam.

I had a similar machine myself, but it was a lower-end model, and the technique for making foam then wasn't always that great. However, this is something De'Longhi really improved on, and I would certainly get this one should I switch back to a super-automatic espresso machine.

All of its current users are amazed by the high-quality espresso and cappuccino is making. Where many machines, even at this price level, are prone to leaking and breaking, this device seems to operate flawlessly. 

Pros & Cons

  • It has a clock, so you can have it warm up in advance, which is very important for making a good espresso. I haven't seen this on many devices.
  • ​One-touch button for making cappuccinos.
  • Lots of programming options so you can customize your coffee to your liking.
  • Consistent espressos and cappuccinos, which isn't as common as you might think for these high priced espresso machines.
  • Its durability is better than most competitors, even at high use.
  • It doesn't do well with too oily beans, as these often get stuck, meaning you have to steer them a bit.
  • ​It cleans itself a lot, which is a good thing of course, but it's a bit unpredictable, which can be inconvenient when it's spitting out hot steam while you're still around. Be sure to keep an eye on this.
  • ​It is a large machine (9.4 x 13.4 x 16.9 inches) which means it might not fit under your cupboard.
  • Because of all its programming settings, it has a higher learning curve than most other machines. The manual has it all covered, though, and once you're done programming, it is fire-and-forget.

If you want to learn more about this machine, don't forget to read our full review which will be ready in a few weeks.


Budget Choice: Jura Ena Micro 1

- The Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine under $1,000 with Built-in Grinder -

Finding a capable espresso machine under $1,000 isn't an easy task. Many machines either don't achieve the right pressure or temperature (or both) for making an espresso. As an espresso is a delicate type of coffee, it all needs to be perfect. As I mentioned above, you might expect at these prices that manufacturers have enough budget to make a decent machine. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.

en Jura, which has an excellent reputation for building espresso machines, doesn't always get it right. Luckily, the Jura Ena Micro 1 hits the sweet spot or temperature and pressure.

It's even capable of producing ristrettos, the most delicious of all coffees, but due to its strength not easily achieved by most espresso machines. In fact, even many semi-automatics are capable of making a ristretto, as it is not just a matter of making an espresso and stopping it halfway in the process.

The Jura Ena Micro 1 is a one-cup espresso machine with a tiny footprint. You can pre-define the amount of coffee for three buttons; you can pre-set a ristretto, espresso, and regular coffee. There's also a 2-cup version (the Jura Eno Micro 5), in case you're drinking coffee with a soulmate who likes the same settings as you do. The Jura Ena Micro 1 is a simple device, yet excellently capable of doing what it's supposed to do.

Coffee 101:
What is a ristretto?

A ristretto is an even stronger coffee than espresso, which uses only 15ml of water (vs. 30ml for an espresso), but with the same amount of ground coffee used.

Pros & Cons

  • Ristretto capability, which is wat even far more expensive machines are lacking.
  • High temperature and pressure, ensuring perfect espressos. Again, even at this price level, that's not always the case.
  • ​Its durability and build quality are high, allowing this machine to operate for years. The excellent Jura customer service is worth mentioning, by the way, in case your device does brake down.
  • Its water and waste sensors are sometimes a bit off, meaning you can start brewing even though there's not enough water, and it requires you to empty the waste container even when it's nearly empty.
  • Jura is a premium brand, which means its maintenance supplies like water filters and cleaning tables are a bit more expensive than cheaper brands.
  • No steam wand, which is something that keeps its size down, but requires you to buy a separate milk frother should you want to make cappuccinos (my advice: Epica Milk Frother).

We'll be doing a dedicated review on the Jura Ena Micro 1 in the near future, but if you're looking for a perfect espresso machine under $1,000 with built-in grinder, this is your best bet.


Best "If-money-is-no-issue" Choice | Jura Giga 5 Automatic Coffee Machine

The Jura Giga 5 is probably the most expensive device listed on this site, coming in at a $5,000+ price tag. And while you might think this is something you would find in a coffee café, it's not. In fact, it is not even allowed in a commercial setting as it is only home-rated, which means that you could get insurance issues when using it in a commercial setting and it causes a fire.

The Jura Giga 5 is, therefore, the ultimate home espresso machine, for those looking for only the best of the best. So why is the Giga 5 so expensive? Well, it features dual everything for starts.

Dual high-quality grinder, dual boilers, and dual pumps, allowing for making two different drinks at the same time. This machine basically consists of two separate espresso machines, packed in one large casing. The added benefit of having two grinders is that you can use them for different beans, like espresso beans and decaf coffee beans.

The Jura Giga has all gimmicks needed to brew your coffee at the right temperature and pressure with optimized taste and also cleans up after itself. Besides making anything from ristretto to latte, it also comes with a guide function to help you create coffee drinks with added liquor or cacao, like a Marocchino (with cacao) or a Red Cool (with Campari). Don't worry; I haven't heard of these drinks before either.

It is hard to say if this machine is worth its price tag. It is an extraordinary espresso machine, but it is in a league of its own when it comes to home espresso machines. I guess its main competition is buying a cheap car and drive to your local Starbucks each day for a whole year for the same amount of money. However, if you're a looking for the perfect companion for your expensive mansion, this is your new best friend.

Pros & Cons

  • Dual grinder, boilers, and pumps, allowing for preparing two separate drinks at a time, even with blended coffee beans from both hoppers.
  • Consistent, high-quality drinks, including ristretto.
  • Hands-off approach with one-touch functionality and auto-cleaning.
  • Programmable strength, aroma and water levels.
  • A small water tank, without proper water level indicator, causing interruptions if it runs dry while brewing. Self-cleaning machines always use a lot of water to rinse everything.
  • Its brew group is not removable, which means you have to send in the whole machine to a Jura service station to have it cleaned.
  • Only a 2-year warranty, which isn't too long, considering this machine is built so well that problems probably won't occur in this period.

If you want to see some delicious coffee making videos, please have a look at Jura's sales page. We'll be also doing a more in-depth review soon.


What is the Best Manual Espresso Machine with Grinder?

If you want to have full control over the brewing process and don't mind a lot of trial-and-error, then a manual espresso machine is a perfect fit for you. 

Also called a lever espresso machine, these instruments of precision rely on you to achieve the right pressure for extracting coffee. As these are the least automatic machines of all espresso makers, they come with the highest margin of error as you have to get it right each and every time. But if you have the time, dedication, and patience to learn the proper technique for the so-called "God shot" (seriously, that's how it is called: God shot), please buy a lever espresso machine and go make us all proud!

It's a fantastic system to watch, and the sheer beauty of a level espresso machine could warrant it's price tag. Especially in shiny chrome and or brass, these devices are discussion starters, as these look amazing in your kitchen.

Coffee 101:
What is a lever espresso machine?

A lever espresso machine don't has a on/off switch like regular machines. You need to pull a lever to get the extraction going, which allows you to control the pressure.


A level espresso machine is no easy picknick, and you can expect to throw away a lot of failed espressos before getting it right. Even when you feel like you mastered the technique, it will still be hit-and-miss sometimes. This is a very sensitive way of making espresso, so make sure your grind, tamping pressure, temperature, and the amount of pressure is right.

It's time to have a look at the various manual espresso machines. These are the machines I will be covering.

The Best Manual Espresso Machine with Grinder for 2017


  • # The Best Overall Manual Espresso Machine with Grinder.
  • # The Best Manual Espresso Machine under $500 with Grinder.
  • # What is the Best Manual Espresso Machine if money is not an issue?
Best Choice Overall:
La Pavoni Europiccola
La Pavoni Europiccola

Best Manual Espresso Machine with Grinder.

Prosumer

  • Full control over process
  • Amazing durability
  • Quickly heats up
  • Risk of overheating
  • High learning curve

Price:

$$$

Best Budget Choice:
ROK Presso
ROK Presso

The Best Manual Espresso Machine under $500 with Grinder

Entry-level

  • Low cost learning tool
  • No electricity needed
  • Minimal labor required
  • No heat management
  • Low quality accessories

Price:

$

Best Choice No Budget:
Elektra Microcasa a Leva
Elektra Microcasa a Leva Espresso Machine

Best Manual Espresso Machine with Grinder Without Budget

High-end

  • Beautiful design
  • User-friendly handling
  • Excellent steam wand
  • High learning curve
  • -

Price:

$$$$$$


Best Choice | La Pavoni Europiccola EPC-8

The La Pavoni Europiccola is their entry-level lever espresso machine, and a good start if you are a beginner in this segment. It is considered to be the best lever espresso machine under $1,000, as most other devices are above that. This is a sturdy device, featuring an all-metal design under heavy chrome plating. You won't easily break something, that's for sure.

You would expect it to be heavier, though, but it only weights 14 pounds. It durable build does allow it to be around for many years to come if you maintain it properly.

It heats up pretty quick (in about 5 minutes), but after making a few espressos it heats up too much, and you have to wait for it to cool down. This is, unfortunately, something most home espresso machines are affected by, so you can't really blame La Pavoni. Also, it is not regulated by a PID, so you have to keep an eye on this yourself (also known as temperature surfing, meaning you have to balance the heat in between shots).

The Europiccola also has a steam wand for making milk foam for cappuccinos. However, it doesn't swivel, and it situated close to the boiler, so you have to be careful when using it. Other users recommend to get a deep milk frother, so you have a bit of working space without harming yourself. It does have enough steam pressure to make a decent amount of steam.

Coffee 101:
PID Temperature Control?

PID temperature control allows you to specify the brew temperature of the espresso machine. Learn more:
PID Controlled Espresso Machine

Pros & Cons

  • ​Full control over every step in the extraction process.
  • ​Small footprint, as long as you leave enough space overhead for the lever.
  • ​Solid, all metal construction allowing for a durability longer than many other espresso machines.
  • ​Quickly heats up, but no with PID, keep an eye on the temperature when in use.
  • Amazing durability, with some older machines going on for tens of years.
  • ​Tends to overheat after 4-5 cups, meaning you have to wait for it to cool down.
  • ​The location of the steam wand, close to the hot boiler and without a swivel is a design flaw.
  • It's quite light, so make sure it doesn't fall over when applying pressure.
  • Its learning curve is steep, yet very rewarding in the end if you get it right.

As for the grinder, you'll be looking at a high-end espresso grinder. The grinder needs to deliver a consistent, fine espresso grind. Without the proper grind, you simply won't get the right espresso, no matter what you do further in the process.

I can recommend these three grinders. All are capable of providing fine espresso grinds, with all of them being fairly to really consistent, the latter depending on your budget:

Rancilio Rocky Espresso Grinder

Best Choice | Rancilio Rocky:
The Rocky is an electric burr coffee grinder, which easily makes consistent, fine espresso grind. It has an excellent price vs. quality, and would be the best choice if you want espresso grinds without breaking the bank. Read more in the full review.

Porlex JP-30 Espresso Grinder

Budget Choice | Porlex JP-30 Manual Grinder:
If you want to keep your process fully manual, the Porlex JP-30 is an excellent choice. Its consistency can swing a bit due to the lower quality materials used. A bit better is the ROK Coffee Grinder, which is discussed below in the budget section.

Mazzer Mini Espresso Grinder

No-Budget Choice | Mazzer Mini:
If you want to the absolute best espresso grinder, the Mazzer Mini is your best bet. Capable of producing only fine espresso grinds, this is as close as you can get to a commercial coffee grinder. Being almost as expensive at the La Pavoni itself, you would have to consider if it is worth the difference to the Rancilio Rocky.

We will be doing a more detailed review of the La Pavoni espresso machines in the near future.


Best Choice | ROK Presso with ROK Coffee Grinder

- The Best Manual Espresso Machine under $500 with Grinder -

Because most manual espresso machines are far above the $500 mark, it's not difficult to get the best manual espresso under $500 label. In fact, it is so low priced that it even qualifies as the best manual espresso machine under $200. However, as it's only competing with a few small hand-pressed espresso makers, the price alone isn't a justification of its placement on this list.

Its results are what warrants its position. The ROK crew made a pretty decent manual espresso machine at a very competitive price, in a design that's almost all metal.

Even though it is technically a lever espresso machine, it has a unique approach to an old technique but using two levers on the left and right. You fill the water container with hot water, move the levers up, wait a few seconds, and then move it down in about 15-20 seconds.

This is a no-frill manual espresso machine; it doesn't even use any electricity. You have to boil the water outside the machine and fill the water reservoir (which is just one of the very few plastic elements). As the water starts to cool down right away, you all have to time it really well. If your water is too cold you will end up with a sour espresso.

It doesn't have a steam wand. However, a manual milk frother is included. To be honest, this looks really stupid and won't give you proper milk foam. I would advise using an electric milk frother (Epica Milk Frother). The included measuring scoop also serves as a make-shift tamper, but as it is plastic you could easily break it, so you better buy a metal 50 mm tamper like this one.

If $200 is all you want to spend on a manual espresso machine, the ROK Presso is your best (and only) choice. Just realize that this is a stripped-down experience from the La Pavoni espresso machines, but it is only about 1/3 of the costs.

Pros & Cons

  • ​Low-cost method for learning the ropes of manual espresso making.
  • ​10-year warranty on all metal parts.
  • ​No electricity needed, so you can use this one in case of a power outage (if you can boil your water on fire of course).
  • Two lever design allows for a minimal amount of manual labor required.
  • ​No heat management, you need to use boiled water.
  • ​The included milk frother is not very convenient, so you have to spend extra money on a milk frother if you want to make cappuccinos.
  • ​Same goes for the included "tamper," thus there's the need for a solid metal tamper.
  • The portafilter is a low-quality metal, which could cause it to break pretty violently. Also, at 50 mm it isn't a standard size (like 54 or 58 mm), so it's harder to replace (it does fall within the warranty the first ten years).

ROK Coffee Grinder

As with all the other manual espresso machines, you're going to need a separate espresso coffee grinder to go along. You could, of course, use any of the recommended coffee grinders listed above. But, ROK also made a coffee grinder which mimics the design of the ROK Presso and works essentially in the same way.

It is called the ROK Coffee Grinder and costs about as much as the ROK Presso. It is a perfect grinder to go along with the Presso, not only because it looks alike, but also because it is a good grinder at a competitive price. You can check out our ROK Coffee Grinder review if you want to learn more.

The combination of the ROK Presso and ROK Coffee Grinder makes this the best manual espresso machine under $500 with grinder, just make sure you understand the limitations this price tag brings to the device.


Best "If-money-is-no-issue" Choice | Elektra Microcasa a Leva Espresso Machine

This is one of the most beautiful espresso machines I have ever seen. The Elektra Microcasa is a lever espresso machine with a chrome and brass finish, looking absolutely stunning. Besides its looks, this is also a very excellent lever espresso machine. It is considered being more user-friendly than the La Pavoni espresso machines, but you can't go wrong with any of them.

It's added feature compared to the La Pavoni Europiccola is a pressure gauge, shows you the pressure inside the boiler and indicated the optimal time to brew your espresso.

It also has a built-in thermostat for safety reasons (in case your water runs dry), as well as a better heat regulator inside. Elektra crafted the boiler in such a way that it delivers pretty dry steam (you don't want too much water in your milk), allowing you to make perfect foam for a delicious cappuccino.

As the technique used is much comparable to the La Pavoni, I will stick to highlighting the differences:

Pros & Cons

  • ​Beautiful design, I can't emphasize this enough.
  • ​A bit more user-friendly design, allowing for fewer hit-and-misses during extraction.
  • ​Better heat management, along with a pressure gauge to help you time your shots.
  • Perfect steam for making cappuccinos, which help you in improving your latte art (in case you're into that as well).
  • Did I mention it is absolutely gorgeous?
  • -

Except for its learning curve (like any manual espresso machine), there aren't any real downsides. You have to decide if the minor upgrade in functionality is worth almost double the money of a La Pavoni Europiccola. If I were buying a lever espresso machine, this would definitely be the one, if it only was for the design.


Rounding up

Thank you for reading the full article on the best espresso machine with grinder. It's an extensive list, and then to think that I just scratched the surface of most devices. Since it is such a broad topic, I wanted to make sure to cover every angle of it. Of course, this article is never really done, as there is so much to say about any of these espresso machines. So feel free to add anything relevant in the comment section, including any questions you might have.

Again, thank you for reading and good luck on your purchase. I hope my article helped you in your decision (if so, please let me know as well :-).
Jacco, Chief Grinder