The Ultimate Espresso Machine Showdown

We taste-tested five of the most popular espresso machines on the market. Find out which ones earned the caffeine lovers’ seal of approval and which ones flunked.

Ah, the espresso machine: the almighty guardian angel of the office kitchen that keeps everyone awake and friendly, soothing mood swings, preventing interdepartmental wars and ensuring that all deadlines are met with a little jolt of caffeine. Its bold liquid makes the world a happier place, both at work and at home, and as sad as it is to admit, most of us really don’t know how to survive without our morning shot of espresso. Or two. (Or three.)

In this time-crunched, caffeine-addicted age, most of us either own or want to own an automatic espresso machine. While a true connoisseur may claim that these never beat the commercial grade, most of us don’t have the time or the funds to spend on a more complex coffee-oozing mechanism, so automatic is the way to go. But which one, of the dozens on the market, gives us the most value?

The City Life team, ever a crowd of espresso romancers, wanted the answer to this question. We found it by putting five of the most popular machines to the test, inviting 25 anonymous Vaughan coffee lovers to taste and grade each one’s performance. The results were as surprising as they were enlightening. Check them out to discover which popular model lives up to its hype and which ones aren’t worth your cash.

Find the Nespresso — er, espresso machine you’ve always De’Longhi — um, longed for. We tested the most popular machines to find out which ones Saeco — sucked, and which ones were Breville — er, better! Here’s what the Jura — er, jury had to say (Jeez, can someone get us a coffee?)

1. De’Longhi Magnifica S Cappuccino ECAM 25.462.S $1,999
With nine votes out of 25, the De’Longhi wowed most of our testers with its frothy, creamy espresso. Proof that you get what you pay for, this machine is definitely an investment, but a worthy one if you value barista-quality espresso in your own office or home. While only its regular espresso was taste-tested, the De’Longhi can also craft more complex drinks like cappuccinos and lattes, making it your own personal café.

2. Nespresso VertuoLine Evoluo $279
Perhaps the most well-known brand on the market, Nespresso still impressed our taste-testers with its classic taste, earning seven votes out of 25. Its espresso is lighter, less bitter, making it the ideal machine for people who love modernized, easy-to-drink espresso-based concoctions without the edgy taste of traditional espresso. Considering it’s over a thousand dollars cheaper than the De’Longhi but was still super popular among our participants, the Evoluo proved to be a great choice for those of us who don’t have a grand to spend on our source of daily java.

3. Saeco Intelia Cappuccino $1,499
With four votes out of 25, Saeco’s Intelia Cappuccino machine turned out to be unworthy of its hefty price tag. Its espresso didn’t disappoint — in fact it was quite good — but taste-testers claimed that much cheaper machines could make even better espresso.

4. Breville Barista Express $799
The Breville Barista Express earned three votes, with taste-testers remarking that of all five machines, this one served up the strongest taste. Bitterness is a classic element of espresso, but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so this machine is a better choice for those who love their java with more of a kick.

5. Jura ENA 9 $1,950
And last but not least (OK, maybe least), the Jura ENA 9. Unfortunately for this machine, rich consistency is an important element of good espresso, and our testers complained this stuff was too thin. Earning only two votes, this machine proved to be unworthy of its high price.


Special thanks to Nespresso (nespresso.com), Acura 2000 (policaroacura.ca) and Anthony’s Espresso Equipment (anthonysespresso.com). Based in the GTA but with roots in Italy, Anthony’s Espresso was founded in 2000 and has since provided high-quality products and services to coffee lovers across Canada.

Prices are as listed at time of publication and are subject to change

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Amanda Storey

Amanda Storey