Best Home Coffee Machine In Australia [The Ultimate Guide]

Because great coffee matters.

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(61 votes, average: 4.7 out of 5)

best coffee machine australia
Steven McConnell
22 min read

August 15, 2021

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Ah, coffee. If you’re an Australian who works from home, you probably consider it fuel. I know I do. But I don’t always have the time – or the desire – to grab a long black from the local cafe before my 8 am team Zoom meeting. As an ex-professional barista, I refuse to drink rubbish coffee, so I found myself searching for the best home coffee machine in Australia. Which one did I choose?

Best Coffee Machines: Quick Summary.

  • DO NOT buy the Breville Oracle or Oracle Touch
  • DO NOT buy the Breville Barista Express or Pro
  • DO NOT buy any home coffee machine with an integrated grinder
  • DO NOT spend less than $800 on your home coffee setup

Controversial, I know. Most reviews of home coffee machines in Australia instruct you to do the exact opposite. But it’s also true that most of those reviews are written by staff content writers who don’t know anything about coffee.

I’m different. I’m not a staff content writer. Hell, I’m not even a writer. I’m an entrepreneur who now works from home – and who, back in the day, became one of the top baristas around Sydney while studying at uni.

To learn more about me, and to understand how my philosophy on home coffee machines differs from others, scroll down to chapters below titled The #1 Piece Of Gear You Need For Great Coffee and Why Should You Listen To Me?.

But first, I present you with the best home coffee machines in Australia. Drum roll, please.

1. Breville Dual Boiler™ / DynamicDuo™.

Best home coffee machine in Australia.

the best home coffee machine in australia

Shown in photo: Breville Dual Boiler™ home coffee machine in brushed stainless steel. Also available in black sesame (below).

Pros.

The Breville Dual Boiler has taken the #1 spot in my review of the best home coffee machines in Australia because, from a features perspective, it crushes the competition.

You can buy it as a standalone unit or as a “Dynamic Duo” bundle that includes Breville’s coffee grinder at a steep discount.

This home coffee machine can do the same things that prosumer-grade coffee machines can, without their $3,000+ price tag – and without intimidating you.

Despite what coffee machine manufacturers would like you to believe, this is the only machine on the Australian market that fully caters to two types of people. Which one are you?

  • Type 1: coffee lovers who want consistently good coffee at home, but don’t want to make it into a hobby
  • Type 2: amateur hobby baristas who want to experiment and chase that perfect shot every time

If you are Type 1, the machine’s PID temperature controls and dual boilers will provide you with an invisible, but ever-present safety net, preventing you from ruining your morning shot by automatically keeping temperatures and pressures in the optimal range.

If you are Type 2, the Breville Dual Boiler / DynamicDuo will patiently allow you to experiment with shot volumes, shot temperatures, grind settings and pressures – without biting your head off if you make a mistake.

best-home-coffee-machine-australia-2021

Shown in photo: Breville Dual Boiler™ home coffee machine in very smart-looking colour that Breville calls ‘black sesame’.

You may start as Type 1, then at some point develop more passion for coffee-making and become a Type 2. The machine will grow with you.

If you stay as Type 1 forever, that’s perfectly fine, too – you’ll have a polite, stylish, high-performance coffee machine that will serve you great morning coffee at home for years to come.

Finally, you may be Type 1, but your partner may be Type 2. Very common scenario.

No problem. The Breville Dual Boiler’s dual personality works not unlike that of a Porsche 911, which can switch from a friendly, stylish Sunday town cruiser into a purebred racetrack weapon at the push of a button.

best electric coffee machine

Shown in photo: Breville Dual Boiler™ home coffee machine is as stylish as it is understated.

The machine’s auto-on / auto-off feature allows you to pre-heat your coffee machine on a timer, so it is ready to rock by the time you’ve finished brushing your teeth in the morning.

The water filler is – cleverly – located at the front of the machine, which means you don’t have to wrestle it every time you fill it up.

You’ve probably noticed by now that the Breville Dual Boiler doesn’t have a built-in grinder. This is, in fact, the machine’s most important feature.

If you remember anything from my review, remember this.

Your choice of coffee grinder will have a far greater impact on your coffee than the choice of your coffee machine.

You cannot escape the GIGO principle. Garbage in, garbage out.

Breville’s Smart Grinder Pro, which is part of the Dynamic Duo bundle, is pretty good. It’s perfect if you’re new to making coffee at home, and will provide you with a gentle learning curve while giving you the flexibility to experiment.

If you’re a Type 1 coffee lover, your best option is the Dynamic Duo bundle that includes the Dual Boiler coffee machine and the Smart Grinder Pro.

If you’re a Type 2 coffee lover, I recommend that you opt for a standalone Breville Dual Boiler machine and an upgraded grinder that will give you more freedom and better results (see my #1 recommendation at the bottom of this article).

Cons.

The cup warmer on top of the machine isn’t as hot as I would like it to be. If you leave your cups there, they will warm up, but they won’t be toasty.

This can be solved by draping a clean kitchen towel over the top of your coffee cups to trap the heat (as many baristas do, even in commercial cafes) but still, it’d be nice not to have to do this.

breville dual boiler home coffee machine

Shown in photo: the Breville Dual Boiler, paired with a Eureca Mignon Specialita grinder. This grinder is excellent, but an overkill in 90% of home applications. The Baratza Sette (see below) is cheaper, easier to use and more stylish.

This is very much a consumer appliance, and it looks like one.

While stylish and well-built, it doesn’t have the same ‘built like a tank’ vibe of classic prosumer grade Italian coffee machines like the Lilet Bianca V2 (reviewed below, in #3 spot) that I will drool over shortly.

Speaking of drooling, looks-wise, the Breville Dual Boiler / DynamicDuo is a handsome, stylish addition to your kitchen or your home office, but it’s not a status symbol. If you want to quadruple your status points overnight, go for the Lelit Bianca V2 (see below).

The abundance of brushed stainless steel on the machine’s body is nice, though the decision to use plastic on buttons and levers is less so. Again, this is typical build quality for a consumer-grade appliance.

Not oozing ‘bespoke’, not screaming ‘cheap’. Just normal, understated.

Size-wise, be mindful of the machine’s decent (64.6 x 46.1 x 47.6 cm) footprint. If you’re very tight on bench space, it may not be for you, as you’ll also need to set aside space for a freestanding coffee grinder.

The brew boiler of the machine is relatively small, at only 0.3 litres.

It’s OK for making coffee for 2 people without any delays, but if you’re caffeinating a 4 pax+ family, you’ll need to wait a little between shots. If this is unacceptable to you, consider the Lelit Bianca V2 (below) with its massive 2.5L main boiler.

Overall.

The Breville Dual Boiler / DynamicDuo is my #1 recommended home coffee machine because it destroys everything else on the market. You won’t see so many essential features packed into a coffee machine at this price point.

It’s a wolf that’s been taught house manners and dressed in a dinner suit.

The machine has prosumer-grade features, but it looks decidedly consumer. A friendly interface and a great price point seal the deal.

The Breville’s dual boilers provide you with a fast, efficient workflow, which becomes even more important if you regularly make long blacks, or milky drinks for more than 2 people. Most importantly, the dual boiler configuration ensures that your brew temperature doesn’t get affected by your steaming activities.

Overall, this home coffee machine is unique because it caters to beginners and experienced baristas alike. Get it as part of a DynamicDuo deal if you’re a Type 1 barista who wants the best home coffee machine or as a standalone unit + advanced grinder if you’re a Type 2 barista who is ready for a challenge.

Nothing else on the market will enable you to up your espresso game as this big boy. Similarly, nothing else will have your back as much if you just leave it in auto mode and let it do its thing.

Watch the video to see the Breville Dual Boiler coffee machine in situ and learn more about each feature.

While I do wish that it had a rotary pump and a commercial-grade E61 portafilter, I also realise that it’s an unreasonable, boyish request. It’s already a lot of coffee machine for the money. If you want a user-friendly, high-performance coffee machine, check out the Breville Dual Boiler / DynamicDuo now.

Essential Features Checklist:

✔ Dual boilers
✔ PID
✔ Pressurised and unpressurised baskets included
✔ Dedicated hot water spout
✔ Pre-infusion
✔ 3 holes in the steam wand
✔ Programmable shot volume & temperature
✔ 58mm portafilter
✔ Overpressure valve
✘ No rotary pump
✘ No E61 portafilter

Price.

The Breville Dual Boiler / DynamicDuo is well-priced – and the amount of value you get for your money is outstanding.

While it’s not the cheapest home coffee machine on the market, remember that ‘classic’ Italian machines with the exact same specs sell for $3,000 – $3,5000 – and no one blinks an eyelid.

Specifications.

➤ Water Tank Capacity: 2.5 L
➤ Construction Materials: Brushed Stainless Steel
➤ Dimensions: 64.6 x 46.1 x 47.6 cm
➤ Power: 2200 Watts
➤ Portafilter: 54mm
➤ Max Pump Pressure: 15 bar (with overpressure valve)
➤ Weight: 15.8 kg

2. Breville Bambino Plus.

Best home coffee machine if you’re on a budget.

the best budget coffee machine for the home

Shown in photo: the Bambino Plus in brushed stainless steel. Cute and compact.

Pros.

The Breville Bambino Plus is the smallest of home coffee machines that I shortlisted for review, but it packs a surprising punch.

The machine’s tiny footprint will appeal to people with limited bench space. That being said, it’s a full-featured machine – and will allow you to play around with things like pre-infusion and shot volume.

A PID is included and is almost unheard of at this price point. Nice work, Breville. Consider my eyebrow raised – for all the right reasons,

The milk frother is easy to use and its performance is very strong.

A total of 4 holes in the steam wand provide plenty of violence to stir your milk into silky perfection. You can stretch milk, roll it around and not at all be intimidated by the process. It’s a great machine to learn frothing on.

best budget coffee machine australia

Shown in photo: the Breville Bambino Plus in my personal favourite Black Sesame colour. Very smart.

If you don’t have the time or the desire to learn how to froth milk, the Bambino Plus has an automatic frothing function. Just stick the milk jug in and press play. It will do everything and cut steam off before the milk gets too hot.

Robots are taking over, isn’t that what we’ve been told? If the coffee machines end up enslaving the human race, it will be the ultimate in “didn’t see that coming”.

Even though the machine doesn’t have two boilers, the Bambino Plus makes the switch between brewing and frothing very quickly – and surprisingly, more quickly than the more expensive Breville Barista Express. Another reason to choose it over its chunkier cousin.

The water tank is easily removed and contains a handy built-in handle.

Because of the machine’s diminutive size, it’s on the smaller size at 1.9 litres, but that’s enough to make a few coffees back-to-back without a refill.

top home coffee machine in australia

Shown in photo: the Breville Bambino Plus in Sea Salt colour.

Cons.

The Breville Bambino Plus is quite lightweight. It may move around when you’re working with the portafilter – and you may have to practice your technique before you’re able to lock the handle in without pushing the machine.

Speaking of the portafilter handle, it is cheap and plasticky. Breville was clearly looking for areas to save costs, and they zeroed in on this spot.

choosing a portafilter

Shown in photo: the portafilter is your main point of interaction with the machine. Bambino’s leaves a lot to be desired.

In fact, this is the machine’s main Achilles heel – and not at all the “commercial-style 54mm portafilter” that Breville promises in its marketing. There’s nothing commercial about it.

It is poorly made, doesn’t feel nice to touch and comes included only with Breville’s pressurised baskets.

If you buy this machine, I recommend that you upgrade to non-pressurised baskets immediately (buy here directly from Breville for about $10). Or upgrade the entire portafilter assembly (see below).

While I understand that the pressurised baskets exist for people who want an easier life and are happy to sacrifice coffee quality to get it, this review is not for those people.

If you’d like to enjoy your coffee, consider pressurised baskets worthless. ‘Nuff said.

But I haven’t finished hammering the Bambino’s portafilter yet. When you pull out the basket, you’ll notice a black plastic insert in the base of the assembly.

breville basket

Shown in photo: the black plastic portafilter insert. WTF, Breville.

I really don’t like the idea of ingesting water that’s been poured over plastic at near-boiling temperatures.

Thankfully, you can remove the insert in 2 minutes without affecting your brew. Just unscrew the spouts and stick a screwdriver into the hole from the other side to push out the plastic.

For the ultimate solution to the portafilter dilemma, replace the baskets and the portafilter itself with this gorgeous, high-performance aftermarket model from Amazon.

It will add about $60-70 to your total bill, but will improve your coffee by 30%. Thank me later.

replacement portafilter for breville home coffee machine

Shown in photo: the upgrade to the naked-style, stylish portafilter with unpressurised baskets is well worth the $60-70 investment.

The Breville Bambino Plus’ final weak point Bambino Plus is the absence of a dedicated hot water tap. If you’re a heavy drinker of long blacks, you’ll need to either boil your water separately or fill it via the steam wand. Not the smoothest experience.

Overall.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this little home coffee machine. As a coffee snob and an ex-barista, I almost didn’t include it on the initial shortlist, but I’m very glad that I did.

The machine punches well above its entry-level price point.

Now, it’s not a perfect machine – mainly because it doesn’t feel as tough as the others. It is not as solid or hefty, but that’s because Breville’s design decision was to spend money on features, not build.

All things considered, this is a small frustration.

breville barista bambino plus

Shown in photo: the Bambino Plus has a lot of potential. It needs a different portafilter to realise it in full.

You’ll enjoy consistently great coffee at home if you pair the Bambino Plus with my recommended grinder (see below).

I also strongly recommend that you replace the included pressurised portafilter baskets with unpressurised ones from Breville (buy here for about $10) or replacing the entire portafilter assembly for about $60-$70.

Overall, the Breville Bambino Plus packs in a tonne of features in a budget package and is best for a person who wants good short blacks, great milk drinks and who doesn’t want to become a hobbyist barista.

It’s a perfect home coffee machine for someone who wants an enjoyable coffee-making experience but doesn’t want to invest too much of their own time or funds into the affair.

A strong frothing wand and the absence of a dedicated hot water spout makes this machine ideal for lovers of milky drinks or short blacks.

Lovers of long blacks will be better served by Breville’s Dual Boiler home coffee machine.

The Bambino Plus’ small size limits the amount of onboard water storage. It’s plenty for one or two people, but larger families will benefit from an upgrade to the Breville Dual Boiler, as well.

Essential Features Checklist:

✔ Pre-infusion
✔ 4 holes in the steam wand
✔ Programmable shot volume (not temperature)
✔ PID
✘ Dual boilers
✘ Pressurised and unpressurised baskets included
✘ Dedicated hot water spout
✘ 58mm portafilter
✘ Overpressure valve
✘ Rotary pump
✘ E61 group head

Price.

The Breville Bambino Plus is not expensive, but you will need to set aside a budget for a standalone coffee grinder:

Your total investment will come in at around $800-$1100, largely depending on your choice of a grinder.

Specifications.

➤ Water Tank Capacity: 1.9 L
➤ Construction Materials: Brushed Stainless Steel
➤ Dimensions: 19.5 x 32 x 31 cm
➤ Power: 1600 Watts
➤ Portafilter: 54mm

3. Lelit Bianca V2.

Best if you want the best money can buy.

top coffee machine for the home

Shown in photo: The Lelit Bianca V2 is a gorgeous premium dual boiler home coffee machine that borders on kitchen art.

Pros.

A conversation about the best home coffee machines in Australia isn’t complete without a mention of the Lelit Bianca V2.

Say goodbye to weak, watered-down coffee and say hello to a real cup of joe. The machine gives your coffee an opulent, chocolaty, creamy flavour at the push of a (very precisely engineered) lever.

First impressions are important – and Bianca makes a great one.

Everything about this home coffee machine exudes quality.

Walnut accents add warmth and style to parts of the machine that you’ll be working with, and looking at, the most.

The machine’s outer case is made from curved polished stainless steel, and it’s accentuated by the mechanical beauty of the E61 group head.

Both of its boilers are temperature-controlled by a PID, which is controlled from a display on the face of the machine. This gives you precise control over brew temperature, allowing you to experiment with extraction and to dial in any roast level.

the best value home coffee machine

Shown in photo: the dream team. Lelit Bianca V2, the best prosumer home coffee machine in Australia – paired with the best home coffee grinder for Type 2 home baristas, the Baratza Sette 270.

Bianca’s most interesting feature, however, is flow profiling. (What is flow profiling?)

Until now, flow profiling has been available only on a select few, very high-end, $7,000+ home coffee machines. The Lelit Bianca V2 has changed that.

Built with the passionate home barista in mind, it brings this technology within reach of mere mortals.

Turn the stylish hardwood paddle to the left and you’ll get slowest flow; push it to the right and you’ll see extraction at max speed. Together with a readout of pressure at the puck, this feature gives you a surgical level of control over extraction.

(Its operation is comparable to the La Marzocco GS3 MP (see notable mentions below), which runs at twice the price).

Cons.

Despite all of Bianca’s prestige, the stock Lelit portafilter baskets are substandard. You’ll need to set aside another $50 or so to buy a good 20g VST basket.

It’s not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but is also not something you expect when shelling out a few grand on a home coffee machine.

Speaking of quality, even though the build quality of the Bianca V2 is superb – especially when compared with consumer-grade home coffee machines like the Breville Dual Boiler – it’s a little behind rivals like the German-made Profitec Pro 6000.

which home coffee machine should I buy

Shown in photo: a very hipster home coffee setup, featuring the Lelit Bianca V2 and a Niche grinder.

The latter has a tank-like, logical, precise quality about it that screams “German engineering”, while the Bianca V2 is unmistakably Italian in character. Its sheet metal is less thick and its seams are less tight – and yet, I find myself not caring about it – because the machine looks and feels like an instrument designed to elicit an emotional response, rather than be precisely robotic in its nature.

Whether this is an issue for you is a matter of personal preference. Again, comparing to cars, it’s the difference between a Porsche 911 GT2 and a Ferrari 812. Both are fast, both incredible, but their cultural differences are easily noticed behind the wheel.

Overall.

The Lelit Bianca V2 is a stunner. As a PID-controller, dual-boiler home coffee machine with an E61 group head and a rotary pump, it’s hard not to love.

However, this is not a home coffee machine for someone who has zero interest in coffee. While the Bianca V2 will not demand weeks of study before you’re able to pour a drinkable shot, it will present you with a learning curve that you’ll need to overcome.

It’s not a “set and forget” type of appliance. If that’s what you’re after, you’ll be much better served by the more forgiving and automated Breville Dynamic Duo or the Breville Bambino Plus + Smart Grinder Pro.

The Bianca is perfect for someone who makes a few morning coffees, likes to entertain guests in the evening and steam lots of milk drinks while also make amazing black coffees.

It can be your first – and last – home coffee machine.

You can reasonably expect 15+ years of service from it, with only minimal maintenance costs and fixes. Because it’s built to prosumer space, it’s heavy-duty and built with commercial-grade parts that are designed to be serviced or replaced.

In the short term, it’s expensive. In the long term, it’s also your most cost-effective option.

Essential Features Checklist:

✔ Pre-infusion
✔ 4 holes in the steam wand
✔ Programmable shot volume and temperature
✔ PID
✔ Dual boilers
✔ Pressurised baskets included
✔ Dedicated hot water spout
✔ 58mm portafilter
✔ Overpressure valve
✔ Rotary pump
✔ E61 group head

Price.

The Lilet Bianca V2 is not cheap, but does represent offer a huge amount of value for your investment. Check prices here.

Specifications.

➤ Water Tank Capacity: 2.5 L
➤ Construction Materials: Solid Stainless Steel
➤ Dimensions: 129 x 50 x 38 cm
➤ Power: 2200 Watts
➤ Portafilter: 58mm in E61 Group
➤ Weight: 26.5kg

Second Best Home Coffee Machines In Australia.

While these machines didn’t make it in the top 3, they are worth your attention. Why?

Some of them are fascinating because they’re such marvels of engineering (I’m winking at you, GS3).

Others narrowly missed out on being the best home coffee machine in Australia and, by understanding what let them down, you’ll be in a better position to make the right choice.

Let’s roll.

1. La Marzocco GS3 Manual Paddle.

la marzocco coffee machine for your home

Shown in photo: hipster chic meets industrial pizzaz. Visuall, the GS3 is a show-stopper.

This is a professional-grade espresso machine for your home. We’re talking, coffee chain-worthy. In fact, it’s a chopped down version of La Marzocco’s $27,000 Strada commercial coffee machine.

This sucker includes a preheating system, digital PID controller, a saturated group, dual-boiler system, and digital display.

It has quick touch keys that set the temperature in the brew and steam boiler to .3ºC. These features do most of the heavy lifting, so all you have to do is grind, dose, and tamp, oh my! Cost? You’ll get very little change from $10,000. Yep, oh my.

This is why I love the Lilet Bianca V2 – it does everything that the GS3 does, at 40% of the price.

2. Rancilio Silvia V6 PID.

best value home coffee machine 2021 2022

Shown in photo: the Silvia’s design is a bit plain and its boxyness is not for everyone.

This classic Silvia is a legend in home espresso and the Rancilio company itself is a household name in commercial-grade coffee machines.

Silvia’s build is great. It’s heavy and solid, which means it won’t move when you’re pulling shots. The machine is very well-made. The design, however, is pretty plain. It’s not a home coffee machine that guests will fawn over.

This is a single boiler home coffee machine, so you will be waiting between steaming and extracting if you’re making coffees back to back.

Be sure to spec yours with the PID and pre-infusion. They’re optional – and will add a few hundred dollars to your bill – but are well worth it.

The Silvia is an iconic, reliable single-boiler home coffee machine that’s packed full of commercial-grade features. It’s available in stainless steel and now in black, which used to be a limited edition only. I really like the latter.

For me, the lack of a dedicated water dispenser is a deal-breaker, as I mostly drink long blacks. If you’re the same, the Breville Dual Boiler does a lot more, for far less money.

3. Lelit Mara X.

lelit cofffe machine for home barista

Shown in photo: very pretty and compact, the Lelit Mara X is unmistakably Italian.

The Bianca V2’s smaller cousin, the Mara X is an oddball.

This home coffee machine is really quite good, but it sits at an uncomfortable price point – at about $2,400 it’s not cheap, but not expensive either.

To give you (yet another) car analogy, it’s a bit like a BMW 3 Series with an “M” performance pack. It’s not an M3, but it’s not a capable, but somewhat pedestrian 325i, either.

Some people call it “best of both worlds”. I’m the kind of person who likes to commit to a certain direction, so I call it a “slightly expensive, slightly boring, mostly good, home coffee machine”.

I feel that you either need to decide to spend more, and get a Bianca V2 (aka BMW M3), or save some cash and get the more Breville Dual Boiler / DynamicDuo (aka BWM 325).

The #1 Piece Of Gear You Need For Great Coffee.

best home coffee grinder

Shown in photo: Baratza Sette 270 coffee grinder – the best grinder on the market for Type 2 home baristas.

Here’s the brutal, uncomfortable truth.

Your choice of coffee machine is not as essential as the choice of your grinder.

In fact, your choice of coffee grinder will have a far greater impact on your coffee than the choice of your coffee machine.

This is particularly important if you drink espresso shots or long blacks, as milk tends to obscure a lot of imperfections.

For this reason, I suggest you stay away from home coffee machines with a built-in grinder, like the popular Breville Barista Express or Breville Oracle.

The grinders in those machines have a very limited range of grind sizes, preventing you from ever having the flexibility to make pour-overs and French press coffee.

which coffee grinder should I buy

Shown in photo: Breville Smart Grinder Pro is the best coffee grinder for Type 1 home baristas.

Furthermore, they create an artificial ceiling for your coffee-making skills by wedding you to that grinder forever.

Which Coffee Grinder Is Best For Home Use?

The answer to this question is worthy of an article all to itself (stay tuned!), which is why I have saved you hours of research by narrowing down the field to two best option.

The Baratza Sette 270 is the best espresso grinder on the market in Australia for Type 2 home baristas.

It is modern and compact, with the front display width being only 17cm wide.

The coolest feature is zero grind retention, made possible by its straight-through design. It means that unlike in most grinders, you won’t have 2-3 shots of ground shots of coffee stuck in the neck, or hanging in the hopper, aging and slowly becoming stale.

the best home coffee grinder

Shown in photo: close-ups of the Baratza Sette 270 coffee grinder.

This saves on wastage, too. Cleaning is easy due to an easily removable burr design.

The Sette 270 typically costs around $590. If you’re a Type 2 home barista, this grinder should be your no-brainer option.

But if you’re firmly in Type 1 camp, then Breville’s Smart Grinder Pro will provide you with the best balance of features for your money.

choosing the best coffee grinder for home

Shown in photo: Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a user-friendly, stylish addition to your home coffee setup.

11 Essential Features Of A Great Home Coffee Machine.

Now that you’ve chosen your coffee grinder, I’d like to equip you with the knowledge you’ll need to choose the best home coffee machine for you.

Rule #1 – don’t buy into the propaganda peddled by coffee machine manufacturers.

They love seducing you with cheesy marketing hyperbole “premium barista experience for coffee connoisseurs” and (I’m looking at you, Delonghi) – “coffee symphony crafted in science” while propping up their claims with buzzwords such as “scientifically engineered”.

If only their product innovation teams worked as hard as their marketing departments.

Ignore all of their claims – and pay attention only to the 11 features below.

These features are critical because they have a direct, tangible on the taste of your brew and your home coffee-making experience. A few things to keep in mind:

  • They are listed in their order of priority (a rotary pump, although nice to have, isn’t as important as a PID).
  • The price of the home coffee machine to go up with each additional feature.

This list of features enables you to assess the machine’s value for money. For example, only the $4,000-ish Lelit Bianca V2 ticks 11/11 of the boxes on this list. However, the $499-ish Breville Bambino Plus ticks 4/11 of the boxes, and the most important ones at that!

1. Unpressurised Baskets.

Pressurised baskets are a crutch. They allow you to build pressure in your portafilter even when your grind is not fine enough or your tamp is terrible. However, they will also prevent you from ever achieving a good to great coffee.

For optimal results, get a coffee machine with unpressurised baskets, and practice your grinding + tamping until you get it right. If your coffee machine doesn’t include unpressurised baskets, you can buy them online for less than $20. It will be the best $20 you’ll spend on your coffee machine.

Consumer-oriented manufacturers like Breville typically include both types of baskets with their home coffee machines (Bambino Plus notwithstanding, which – sadly – includes only pressurised baskets).

Prosumer-oriented machines always include unpressurised baskets only.

2. Dual Boilers.

Espresso is very exacting: your brew temperature has to be nearly perfect. If you’re off by a few degrees, your drink will be acceptable, but not great.

Separate boilers ensure thermal stability by separating brewing and steam production.

You get strong steam pressure for silky froth and consistent brew temperature for top-notch espresso.

3. PID Temperature Control.

Built-in digital temperature controller that provides better coffee, more consistently.

Works just like cruise control in your car – you set the desired temperature, and the controller gets to work monitoring and adjusting dozens of other parameters to ensure constant output.

4. Overpressure Valve.

Your coffee needs to be extracted at 9 bars of pressure. Not more, not less. This is more difficult to achieve than you think, as steam is an imprecise instrument that can be affected by environmental and mechanical variables.

Unfortunately, most coffee machines – including expensive Italian models – are notorious for running excessive pressures. The solution is a simple overpressure valve that bleeds off excessive pressure as soon as it is detected, keeping your brew pressure within the desired range and your coffee without sour overtones.

5. Pre-Infusion.

A feature that soaks the coffee grounds before the extraction begins.

Then, it gradually increases the water pressure to achieve even extraction, resulting in less water channelling through the coffee puck. If your tamping isn’t on point, it will provide you with a safety net.

6. 3+ Holes In The Steam Wand.

Cheaper coffee machines – especially those with single boilers – typically offer 1 hole, which is far from ideal. They don’t offer enough violence to stretch the milk.

7. Hot Water Spout.

First, a separate hot water spout is very convenient when making teas, long blacks and rinsing portafilters between shots.

Second, it helps you make better-tasting coffee because it is plumbed to the second (steam) boiler, which means the temperature of your brew important boiler doesn’t fluctuate when you use hot water. Thermal stability and all that.

8. Programmable Shot Volume & Temperature.

You’ll need this feature if you’re a Type 2 home barista who wants to experiment and get the most out of your shots.

9. 58mm Portafilter.

Compared with the cheaper 54mm portafilter, the larger 58mm model allows you to dose more coffee into each shot, providing a richer flavour.

Also, its larger size provides a higher level of thermal stability, which ensures greater coffee consistency.

10. E61 Brew Group.

First of all, it’s very stylish. I just love how it looks.

Second, it always circulates hot water through itself to sync its temperature with that of the water inside the boiler, ultimately leading to – you guessed it – better thermal stability. This feature is typically only found on top prosumer coffee machines.

11. Rotary Pump.

A rotary pump is much quieter. It also has a more refined sound – more of a smooth “whirr”, rather than a rackety “brrrr”.

Unfortunately, vibration pumps that sound like old, rackety, cheap diesel engines and the industry standard and are found in just about every coffee machine that cost less than $3,000.

How Much Should You Spend On A Home Coffee Machine?

The Australian market is saturated with home coffee machines. The ones worth considering start at $500 and top out at above $6,000.

You could spend less, but the quality of your home coffee brew will be nothing to write home about.

You could spend a lot more, but most of your funds will be spent on social signalling, rather than the taste of coffee in your cup.

I believe that you will get the most bang for your buck by spending between $1,000 and $4,500 on your home brew setup, with the absolute sweet spot being around the $2,500 mark.

Why Should You Listen To Me?

I’m a heavy coffee drinker, but more importantly, at some point, I was one of the better baristas around Sydney. Like many young people, I made became a barista to pay bills while I was at uni.

Not satisfied with just being another guy who ‘makes coffee’, I set out to learn from the very best. I did stints at Allpress Espresso roastery in Rosebery and a few other notable coffee institutions of that time.

I approached coffee with the same mindset that I tend to approach everything – if I do something, I tend to take it to the extreme (case in point, this article is now over 6000 words long).

This review of the best home coffee machines in Australia took about 2 weeks to write. I’m not kidding.

In addition to leveraging my professional barista experience, I joined a number of home barista Facebook groups, including the Breville Dual Boiler group (there is such a thing!) and the Lilet Bianca group. I wanted to talk directly to the owners of these home coffee machines and understand what they loved and disliked about their choices.

Finally, I spend over 2 days watching home coffee machine reviews on YouTube.

I hope you enjoy the fruits of my labour.
 
– Steven
 

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