The best espresso machine to buy

July 30th, 2009

sunbeam semi automatic espresso machine em5900The Weekend Australian recently had some experts review the 5 best selling, entry level machines under $500 and gave their biggest ticks to 2 of them:

1. Sunbeam Artista EM5900 @ $499

The winner by a whisker. The Artista pre-infuses (allowing the “cake” to moisten and expand before extraction) and purges post-espression. “The thing that impressed us most is that it wouldn’t allow us to extract coffee if the machine was too hot — and that self-purging function,” says Mark Dundon (bean importer, roaster and international coffee judge). It made good shots consistently and produced good steam quickly, using a simple wand that assumed you didn’t need the help of an auto-frother … and, unlike the others in this test, the Arista allows manual adjustment of both water and steam temperature, should the pre-set levels be found wanting.

2. Breville 800ED @ $450

The all-metal shell suggests quality and for the price this machine performs extremely well. Like the Arista, the 800ES pre-infuses and purges — both valuable aids to the uninitiated. However we found it slightly less consistent over the course of four shots; we didn’t like the auto-frother (which is easily removed) and there is no manual override for water/steam temperature.  “Still, I’d call this the quiet achiever,” says Dundon. “I’d be happy to have this in my home.”

6 Responses to “The best espresso machine to buy”

  1. Rozon 12 Aug 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Marilyn, I have a Bezzera machine – its the smallest one that bars and tiny cafes buy, it is commercial. It has no bells and whistles, is not computerised and has lasted for over 12 years with 2 services. If people want to know how to make real coffee I suggest they cannot go wrong with one of these. You can opt to plumb it in but we have not so it can travel if necessary. Roz

  2. Marilynon 17 Aug 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Hi Roz — I don’t doubt the performance of your older machine, but I wonder whether the new model bears any resemblance. I have found that when old favourites go to heaven, buying the same brand now is a highly unreliable guide to performance.

    As per my previous post on buy espresso machines, I recommend seeing the people at Merlos (Valley and Bowen Hills) for their advice.

  3. ???on 26 Jun 2011 at 12:05 am

    I found the water come out from em5900 is way too cold to make a decent coffee even setting it manually. Will definite contact sunbeam for this issue.

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