Avid espresso drinkers and latte makers ready to take their art into the home should step up to the big leagues by investing in a double boiler espresso machine. Double boiler espresso machines allow you to pull a shot of espresso while boiling water in another chamber for the purpose of steaming milk or creating cappuccino foam. Commercial kitchens all over the world use double boiler espresso machines, and if you’re interested in making professional lattes and cappuccinos at home, it’s a must-have. Which is the best double boiler espresso machine for home is hotly contested, but having conducted ample research, we feel that the Breville BES990 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine, Oracle Touch stands above the rest.
The Breville BES990 is one of the cleanest looking and best options among espresso machines on the market today. It has a touch screen that allows you to select temperature, quantity, and more coffee-making variables. It also has a built-in burr grinder and a built-in tamper, and sets up your espresso grounds exactly as needed for your shot. It even has hands-free milk steaming. This is a very user-friendly machine: the only thing the user has to do is put the right components in the right place (IE grounds go here, milk goes there), press a free buttons on the touch-screen, and wait for amazing coffee. The biggest downside to this product is its expense: compared to others we reviewed, it’s one of the more expensive in-home espresso machines you can buy. Reviewers also note that it’s rather delicate – several have had to send components of the machine back to the manufacturer for repairs. But in terms of the ease-of-use and the quality of the coffee produced, purchasing this particular espresso machine is a no-brainer.
The Breville BES920XL doesn’t pack quite the punch of the Oracle Touch, but it comes in at about half the price (which is a very big deal). The mechanical components of this machine are not all that different from the Oracle Touch Breville: what it lacks is the automated, electronic components (IE the touch screen). This doesn’t sound like a huge loss, but the lack of automation means you have to know what you’re doing and how to use the machine – no one-touch button pushing is going to make your espresso for you. Reviewers note that some of the components of this machine feel a little cheaply made, and need replacement or repair after only a short amount of time. Components are also a little illogical – plastic components are positioned near heating elements, valves are illogical sizes. It’s as though the product were not thought-through entirely. Despite these shortcomings, reviewers report that excellent coffee and easy milk-steaming occurs with this in-home espresso machine.
The La Marzocco Linea Mini Home Espresso Machine is very high-quality, which is reflected in its price point. This is a machine found in knowledgeable, experienced coffee shops around the world – it’s absolutely an investment, and a good one. The quality of coffee produced is second-to-none and the ease-of-use is also very good. That said, nothing on this machine is digital (like on the Breville Oracle Touch): that includes the pressure gauges, temperature settings, volume settings, etc. It also weighs 200 lbs, so you need to know where you are going to put it, and then leave it be (don’t expect to move this machine easily from one place to another). You’ll also need to invest in a good quality burr grinder for this product: it doesn’t come with one, but is finnicky enough that grinding very fine coffee for espresso is a must. That said, the coffee produced by this very expensive, very high-quality machine is exemplary, and if used correctly, could produce the best espresso shot or latte you’ve ever had.
Your decision in choosing an in-home espresso machine may very well come down to the price point, and who could blame you? Prices vary drastically, but even at the low end, this appliance is a luxury and an investment (you’re not buying a microwave here). Choosing to go big and purchase the La Marzocco Linea Mini Home Espresso Coffee Machine Stainless is a good choice for the truly committed espresso enthusiast. For the majority of coffee drinkers, though, it’s probably not worth the investment. For a solid product that produces very high-quality coffee, is incredibly user-friendly, and won’t cost an arm and a leg (just an arm), the Breville BES990 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine, Oracle Touch is probably the best bet.
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