Editor’s Picks: Today’s Best Espresso Machines

Breville BES860XL Barista Express Espresso Machine with Grinder

So you’ve researched and purchased a top of the line coffee maker. But now you want a latte…and you actually want it to be good. The world of high-end espresso machines can be overwhelming to the uninitiated. And, as with anything, a high price tag doesn’t always translate to high value. To help you in your quest for the perfect espresso drink, we’ve put together a list of some of the best espresso machines on the market.

Rancilio Silvia Version 3 ($630). This sturdy stainless steel beauty is one of the most popular sellers today. Made with all commercial or semi-commercial grade parts, the built-to-last machine is sure to keep you caffeinated for a very long time. New users will appreciate the simplicity of its functions, while experienced users will dig its 15 bar, heavy-duty pump, which extracts full flavor from the beans. A commercial grade, chrome-plated steam wand serves equally well for churning out quick foam or hot tea alike. One downside of the Silvia is that you’ll need to invest in a high end grinder to get the most out of your beans–which may mean shelling out an additional $250 or more.

Breville BES860XL Barista Express Espresso Machine with Grinder ($570). The cheaper of the Brevilles that we’ll review here, the Barista Express with an integrated burr grinder will take you from fresh ground beans to the perfect shot in about a minute. It’s a great machine for beginners to grow into, as it comes with two dual-wall, pressurized filters that regulate pressure and help optimize extraction without too much mental effort on your part. For more experienced espresso makers, it includes two single-wall, non-pressurized filters that give more room to experiment with different grind sizes, grind amounts, and tamping pressure.

Breville BES900XL Dual Boiler Semi Automatic Espresso Machine ($1,082). The priciest we’ll review here, this espresso machine really does have it all. Dual stainless steel boilers provide simultaneous milk texturing and espresso extraction, ensuring that your espresso arrives in its cup with the optimum flavor. Plus this guy is totally programmable, including an auto start time so your shot is ready when you get out of bed in the morning. The only hitch is you’ll need to buy a good grinder if you don’t already have one—adding another $250 plus to the price tag.

Nespresso CitiZ Automatic Espresso Maker and Milk Frother ($298). This sleek machine turns out a fine espresso, while only taking up about a foot of precious counter space. You’ll have to use Nespresso capsules, which, depending on your slant can be a good thing or a bad thing. But they come in many flavors, and the pod formulas are calibrated the same way every time, making it a definite win for consistency lovers.

No matter which espresso machine you choose, we hope you enjoy your new status as a domestic rockstar barista. It’s a whole new world!

Love Rich, Non-Bitter Coffee? Behold, the Aeropress Coffee Maker

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker

Invented in 2005 by Alan Adler – who also holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s farthest throw (1,333 feet, in case you’re wondering) – the AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker is a strong gift contender this year. Priced under $30, this space-saving coffee maker combines total immersion and gentle pressure to produce rich coffee with low acidity.

Not to be confused with a French Press, the AeroPress coffee maker uses a microfilter process to obtain a pure, particle-free brew. It’s also easier to clean than a clogged French press filter—a 10-second rinse of the AeroPress plunger is all it takes.

It’s worth noting that some reviewers blame the micro-filter for removing the espresso oils—which are part of what makes good espresso. We recommend experimenting a little on water temps and times to get the perfect, personalized cup.

One last perk: This contraption can hook you up with a fresh cup of espresso in under a minute.

10 Things We’re Thankful For In the World of Coffee

As Thanksgiving rolls around, it’s important to take stock. Here at Brew of the Moment, we’re feeling pretty thankful for the opportunity to have spent the last year sharing the latest news and reviews, history, and fun facts with you, our likeminded, coffee-obsessed readers.

For everyone else looking to pay homage to our beloved bean, here are a few of our top coffee-related reasons to be thankful.

1. The Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi, without whom none of us would be here today. This guy decided to try some red berries after noticing that his goats got a sudden burst of energy after eating them – essentially introducing coffee to thankful humans the world over. Read more about the history of coffee here.

2. The ultimate morning kickstart. Mondays (and all those other days, actually) are instantly improved with a good cup of coffee. How can something that tastes so good also deliver such an effective kick start to the day? Who knows, but we’ll take it.

3. Tis the season…for whatever you want. Love ‘em or loathe them, there’s no denying that seasonal coffee blends have become a big part of the holiday season. Right now, anything pumpkin flavored is a winner in our book.

4. Speaking of deliciousness, we’re thankful for this moist and flavorful Pumpkin Spice Coffee Bread recipe, and highly recommend you make it right now.

5. Expert artistry. Cheers to all the baristas who have mastered the skill of foam art.  Every random design makes a difference in making your customer feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Thank you.

6. 24/7 access. Home coffee makers, portable coffee makers, and coffee shops together add up to the ultimate combo: a fix you can get anytime, anywhere.

7. Antioxidants, brain boosters, and other disease fighting attributes have been linked to drinking coffee – that’s right! You should probably have another cup…

8. Nasal delight…Yeah, we weren’t sure about that one either. But there’s no denying that the smell of a fresh pot of coffee, or even a freshly opened bag of beans, is one of life’s greatest aromas.

9. Versatility. Want your coffee iced? The magic touch of coffee ice cubes in your iced coffee will make sure your cooling beverage doesn’t get diluted on those hot summer days. Want to take your coffee camping? Get a cool camping coffee pot. The list of ways that coffee can be made to suit is pretty endless.

10. Coffee obsessors unite! Most of all, we’re thankful for you, fellow coffee lover, for reading our blog.

Happy Thanksgiving – and bottoms up.

Feeling Thankful for Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend

Thanksgiving day requires major planning. You have to get up early to start cooking, figure out what channel you want to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on, and make sure there’s enough coffee to stay sane as the relatives arrive. Our pick for the job: Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend.

Introduced in 2010, many fans call this the best Starbucks has to offer. The full-bodied blend comes from Guatemala and Sumatra and is brewed with hints of fine herbs, spices, and cocoa – all meant to compliment your Thanksgiving dinner (and leftovers).

One word to the wise…as a seasonal blend, this often sells out before Thanksgiving, so stock up now. Trust us, you don’t want to eat your pumpkin pie without it.