The 11 Best Coffee Machines for Barista Coffee at Home

Ditch the café coffee and make delicious barista-quality coffee at home (and put the savings back in your pocket!) with our buying guide and list of the best coffee machines money can buy in Australia.

best coffee machine australia

Australians love a good coffee. That’s why we’re pretty picky about where it comes from, and why home coffee machines are sometimes given the cold shoulder.

There are so many excellent home coffee machines on the market, but the sheer variety of brands, types, features and quality available can be overwhelming: espresso, pod and capsule machines; fully automatic, semi-automatic, manual machines, drip coffee - but how do you know which one is right for you? Which ones are the best value for money? For the expense and confusion trying to choose the perfect home coffee machine, many of us would simply take the easy option and head out to our local café.

Of course, doing this every day (or several times a day!) gets expensive - thankfully, you don’t need your cafe barista to make excellent quality and delicious coffee, nor does buying a coffee machine need to be a kitchen nightmare!

Most home coffee machines are easy-to-use and won’t break the bank - and by making your barista-quality coffee at home, you’ll save money for the things you really want. Our simple guide will list the best coffee machines in Australia and help you decide on which is right for you and your needs.

DeLonghi Dinamica ECAM

1. De’Longhi Dinamica ECAM

Intelligence and simplicity in one beautiful machine

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Fully automatic with a focus on simplicity and personal preferences, the De’Longhi Dinamica ECAM is  perfectly optimised for making delicious barista-style coffee just the way you like it. Despite its high price, it’s well worth the outlay for this amazing automatic coffee machine, especially if you're trying to save time in the morning.

With the ability to customise each recipe’s settings to your liking via the intelligent My Menu functionality, and the capacity for up to three separate user profiles for the different coffee drinkers in your home, everyone can make their favourite cups of coffee at the perfect temperature, strength and style, all by pressing a single button. The machine will grind exactly the right amount without wastage and steam the milk to exactly the right temperature and texture according to your personal settings.

The Dinamica ECAM sports a built-in grinder and a crisp LCD screen with easy-to-learn, easy-to-understand prompts and images, making this the simplest and best fully automatic espresso machine in the market for those who don’t want to go to the trouble of learning those hallowed barista skills. And when you’re done, all you need to do is press a single button and the machine’s fully automatic cleaning kicks in, washing every component so it’s ready to use without you needing to do a thing!

Compact and lightweight with a sleek design, the De’Longhi Dinamica ECAM is a dream for the busy go-getters rushing to get their day started with a minimum of hassle.

Breville The Barista Pro

2. Breville The Barista Pro

Speed and efficiency without compromising on perfection

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One of the best home espresso machines in Australia and, quite simply, the next best thing to going to a café, is the Breville Barista Pro, with none of the waiting in line for the barista to call out your name.

This espresso coffee machine is ultra-fast, boasting an incredible 3-second start-up time with its ThermoJet heating system, during both the brewing and steaming cycles, which can be switched without missing a beat.

Its fully adjustable, built-in grinder allows for fresh, full-flavoured coffee whenever you want it, depending on your preferred strength and the number of beverages being made. A clear, easy-to-read LCD screen allows you to monitor your settings and brewing progress.

Although heavy, its brushed steel design makes for a sleek and attractive feature in any kitchen, and comes in a wide variety of colours to match your decor.

The downside is having to steam your own milk, which is not difficult to learn or master, but can be intimidating for first-timers. There’s also the fact that you have to clean the machine yourself, but that’s a small price to pay for this great home coffee machine.

Breville The Barista Express

3. Breville The Barista Express

The people’s favourite and the best coffee machine under $1000 in Australia

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It’s easy to see why Breville’s Barista Express machine is perhaps the mostly highly rated and loved coffee machine in Australia. Brother of the Barista Pro, the Barista Express compromises on its price tag while retaining almost all the features of its sportier higher-end sibling.

Great for beginners and pros alike, the machine can be operated in both semi-automatic and manual capacities.

In the semi-automatic setting, the coffee will automatically cease flow from the group head based on a preset volume; the manual setting, conversely, gives the user more control over the dosage and volume of the coffee poured.

Like the Barista Pro, it comes with an in-built hopper and adjustable grinder, allowing for coffee-house freshness every time, and a steam wand for heating and texturing milk to your desired style and temperature. The machine’s display is a bit more old school, with analogue dials and gauges, but still intuitive with a lovely, classic aesthetic.

Unlike the Barista Pro, however, the Barista Express only has a single boiler, and thus you cannot steam your milk until the coffee has finished pouring. The steam wand also takes a bit longer to heat the milk while the boiler reheats to build the necessary pressure for the wand to steam effectively.

The official product page promises “bean to cup in under a minute”, and even though this is a bit of an exaggeration, it still produces fast, high-quality coffee, and with the middling price tag, it is certainly the most popular and best coffee machine under $1000 in Australia.

Gaggia New Classic

4. Gaggia New Classic

No fancy gizmos or gimmicks, just good old school barista coffee

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Speaking of old school, there’s no school quite like it and the Gaggia New Classic is the headmaster. Don’t let the “new” in its name fool you—this is pure, classic coffee at its finest.

Designed and made in Italy, the Gaggia New Classic is compact, minimalist and elegant, with none of the fancy LCD screens or automated options of many modern automatic or semi-automatic machines. This one is entirely manual, so while there is a bit of a learning curve involved, but if you’re a purist—or someone that just really digs their coffee—there’s just nothing else quite like a manual coffee machine.

The machine uses a three-button interface, indicating their function with simple, easily understood graphics: one for power, one for coffee, and one for steam. The steam wand is controlled with a knob on the side, but temperature will have to be monitored manually, either by hand or a thermostat.

Like most things artisanal, this espresso maker does take time to prepare its beverages, so it’s probably not suited to people rushing around getting ready for their daily commute.

You have to grind the coffee yourself (with a separate grinder, as one is not in-built), or buy ground coffee; you need to time your coffee pours yourself (which itself requires you to understand the best time for extraction, for best flavour and dosage); and then steam the milk yourself.

But it’s totally worth it, if you have the time and patience, to get things exactly the way you like them by hand, especially with the thick, golden crema produced by the machine’s 15 bar pump system. It really does make the Gaggia New Classic one of the most affordable and best manual coffee machines available.

Breville The Infuser

5. Breville The Infuser

Maximum focus on flavour

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This is a no-frills, affordable option that doesn’t do everything other machines do, but what it does, it does well. This small, unassuming machine is a fine way to class up your kitchen and your social gatherings at home.

A moderately priced option, The Breville Infuser really sets itself apart from other semi-automatic machines on account of its pre-infusion process: a slow, controlled infusion with the coffee grounds inside the group before extraction, giving time for the flavours to rise before the actual extraction into the cup. The result is a more balanced, flavoursome cup, and all still done relatively quickly.

The Infuser can be set for one or two cups, with the volume of coffee extracted fully controllable to exactly the amount of espresso you like for that perfect full-bodied coffee. A high-power 1700w heating element rapidly heats and alternates between steam and extraction functions, giving the right pump pressure and temperature for each task with little waiting time. The steam wand in particular makes excellent micro-foam, perfect for silky, beautiful coffee art (if you want to show off your fancy skills and wow your guests!).

Breville The Bambino Plus

6. Breville The Bambino Plus

Economic on time and space

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Sporting the same ThermoJet technology as its bigger brother (the Breville Barista Pro) the Bambino Plus saves both time and space, heating up within 3 seconds without hogging bench space, making it a great espresso maker for smaller kitchens.

Low pressure pre-infusion before extraction into the cup makes for a focus on flavour, producing excellent tawny crema and a dark full body.

Milk steaming is fully automated in this pint-sized beauty, with three pre-set temperature and pressure options to choose from, all by simply pressing one of the two corresponding buttons. The Bambino Pro can switch between extraction and steaming modes instantly without missing a beat, making it the fastest fully-automatic option out there.

Don’t let the size of the machine fool you, though: with a water tank capacity of 1.9L, you’ll be able to get many cups of coffee out of it before you need to refill. Cleaning is a breeze as well, with the steam wand’s auto-purge function, once the wand is returned to its starting position.

It’s not the nicest looking espresso coffee machine available, but for the economy on space, and the best features and functionality of several of the higher-end Breville models, it’s hard to fault the Bambino Plus, especially with its reasonable price.

Sunbeam Barista Max Espresso Machine

7. Sunbeam Barista Max Espresso Machine

Superior function over form, best bang for buck

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Our favourite of the Sunbeam Café series, the Sunbeam Barista Max Espresso Machine’s plastic frame and button panel may not look as nice as other machines on the market, but its solid functionality outweighs its more basic appearance. Its combination of features from several higher-end brands and models into one affordable, do-it-all machine make this probably the best value coffee machine currently available, great for everyday use.

Using its own version of pre-infusion technology, called Temp IQ Shot Control, the Barista Max manages the flow and temperature of the water in three different phases during extraction, evoking a more fully realised flavour from every cup. Each “shot” can be automatically ground via a button press, for one or two cups, pouring exactly the right amount of coffee with the boldest and most balanced flavour. But if you want a bit more control over the volume, you can also run your shots manually.

The addition of the hopper and adjustable grinder in a budget model is a nice touch, leaving more space free in the kitchen and less time mucking about with different devices, as well as giving you extra value for money. The fact that it has 30 grind settings seems a little excessive and you’re probably going to have very little use for most of them, as coarse grinds are generally not optimal for espresso coffee, but it’s nice to have options.

Nespresso Vertuo Plus

8. Nespresso Vertuo Plus

Convenience never tasted so good with this coffee maker

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If you’re looking for the fastest and most convenient, easy-to-use way of getting your daily caffeine dose with half a foot already out the door, the Vertuo Plus is fast and efficient and can get you on your way without mess or fuss.

The Vertuo Plus uses CentriFusion technology in its brewing process, spinning the pod up to 7000 times to pull the best flavour from the ground beans before extracting. It can make up to four different cup sizes, all with a single button, so it is incredibly user-friendly. The machine is small and compact and comes in an array of vibrant and sleek colours. (Cherry Red looks particularly nice!)

The Vertuo also has a wide variety of coffee pods on the market, and even comes with a welcome set of twelve different pods out of the box to get you started—however, you can only use pods specifically made for the Nespresso Vertuo, no other brands. The pods are now recyclable, and while it still isn’t the most eco-friendly coffee machine on the planet (as the pods tend to be a little hard to recycle correctly), this may alleviate some of those concerns for environmentally conscious buyers.

The other con of the Nespresso Vertuo - like most pod machines - is that pod coffee packs tend to be expensive, and when the cost is broken down, each cup works out to be more costly than a machine using whole bean coffee.

All in all, if the benefits of speed and convenience outweigh the wastage and cost, then this is the machine for you.

De’Longhi Dedica Pump Espresso

9. De’Longhi Dedica Pump Espresso

Versatility with espresso level class

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The best small coffee machine in our list is the De’Longhi Dedica Pump Espresso. It has all the attributes of a classic espresso machine in terms of functionality, product and aesthetic, while retaining all the convenience and efficiency of a pod machine.

The machine itself looks fantastic and screams class and elegance with its solid metal body in any of its four available colours. It’s also small and lightweight, at a tiny 15cm wide, perfect for kitchens with limited bench space.

The Dedica Pump Espresso’s strongest selling point is its versatility: it can use both powdered or ground coffee, like an espresso machine, or coffee pods (and not just one particular brand, like many pod machines).

You can switch up how you want to make your coffee every time depending on your needs and desires. Whether you choose powder or pod, it doesn’t really matter, because the machine heats up and starts brewing within 40 seconds—that’s not as fast as some machines on the market, but what it lacks in relative speed it makes up for with the options it allows its owners.

Its Cappuccino System milk-frothing capability is fully automatic and adjustable depending on the kind of drink you want. This function isn’t going to allow for a lot of personalisation, but if you’re after the basic coffee types with minimal middle ground—cappuccino, latte, flat white—with a minimum of fuss and a whole lot of brewing options, this is the best small coffee machine for you.

Sunbeam Mini Barista Espresso Machine

10. Sunbeam Mini Barista Espresso Machine

Simple, effective and beloved by Australians

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A ProductReview.com.au award-winner and the best budget coffee machine right now is the Sunbeam Mini Barista Espresso Machine, a triumph in simple, functional design beloved by Australian coffee drinkers.

The user interface is incredibly easy-to-use and intuitive: a power button, and a dial for selecting the desired function. Coffee volume is pre-set to two settings: single or double shot, to allow for one to two cups of coffees at once, or a stronger single coffee.

The steam wand is also controlled seamlessly through the dial, allowing you to focus on foaming your own milk to your desired consistency and texture. It may not have all the bells and whistles, but if simple, honest coffee is what you’re after, this is a great value choice.

Despite its small size, the Mini Barista packs a 2L water tank, which is larger than many of the higher-end machines available and will save you time having to constantly refill between cups. It also comes with a 58mm cafe-sized group handle for better extraction and flavour.  The machine’s design is unpretentious but attractive, looking very nice for the accompanying price tag.

Sunbeam Café Espresso II

11. Sunbeam Café Espresso II

The most affordable option optimised for beginners

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The Sunbeam Café Espresso lacks any pretensions: it is simply a good, easy-to-use, cheap machine, probably the best coffee machine under $200 you can buy. It delivers exactly what it promises, nothing more, nothing less: great coffee, done easily by anyone.

Its design is even more humble than Sunbeam’s Mini Barista model: while it retains the unassuming dial and single button aesthetic of the other Sunbeam cafe series, the Café Espresso II simplifies it even further with only two functions on the dial: coffee, and steam.

There is no distinct option for one or two coffees, and while you could probably still get two coffees out of a single extraction, it’s not likely to be an optimal amount in each cup. But for single cups, it will do quite well. The downside to this is the machine’s very small size prevents larger coffee cups and mugs from fitting beneath the group head.

This coffee machine is not pretending to do anything more than it does, and that is a welcome change. It delivers on its intended function and produces solid coffee without intimidating beginner users. It won’t satisfy pros or connoisseurs, but you could do a lot worse than this machine.

Types of coffee machines for home use and how to choose

With so many options out there, it’s hard to know which coffee machine type and which models are going to be best for you. The simplest way is to take a quick look at which machines cater to which general need and how your personal needs (e.g. your lifestyle, your preferred beverage and types of coffee, etc) compare.

Fully Automatic

With the ability to brew coffee and often steam/foam your milk as well, automatic coffee machines are usually one-touch and self-cleaning, making them extremely easy-to-use and time-saving. While many higher-end models have personalisation options built into the machine, some people might feel limited by the options they can program.
Automatic espresso machines are really targeted at busy people who have limited time and desire to do the work themselves. They often have the added benefit of including a in-built hopper and coffee grinder, reducing the amount of separate appliances in one’s kitchen.

Although an automatic machine might not be able to tailor every little thing about your coffee to your exact specifications, it will be able to get pretty close if not perfect. Automatic espresso tastes excellent and the final product is almost as good as a handmade barista coffee.

Semi-Automatic

Aimed at coffee initiates, a semi-automatic machine offers options that neither automatic or manual machines can deliver by themselves: you can brew your coffee shots to a pre-set volume for a set number of cups, or you can start and cut the flow manually. You also need to steam your own milk, which beginners might find intimidating at first, though it is not difficult to master. Semi-automatic machines also usually have a built-in hopper and coffee grinder, and some other automatic features, depending on the brand and model.

Semi-automatic coffee machines allow you to take more control and tailor your coffee experience in more detail, without throwing you completely in the dark. They are generally cheaper than fully automatic machines and are suitable for everyone, provided you have the will to do more of the work yourself.

Manual

Manual is the best option for coffee connoisseurs, discriminating coffee lovers and baristas moonlighting as everyday coffee drinkers at home. Everything is DIY but the user interfaces are simple and intuitive, and the coffee produced is generally much better, as long as you know what you’re doing. These machines usually look the classiest too, with sleek metallic designs drawing on professional espresso machines and classic minimalist elegance.

The fact that you need to own a coffee grinder (unless you decide to buy already ground coffee), and the ongoing cleaning and maintenance, can both be potential turn-offs, but if you’re a pro, a connoisseur, or a wannabe café barista patient enough to learn, a manual machine is an option you’ll never regret. There’s nothing else quite like it.

Pod/Capsule Machines

Convenient and easy-to-use, pod and capsule machines have taken the coffee world by storm. The quality of the coffee they produce is comparable to some of the best espresso out there, so it’s a good option for people wanting a higher quality of beverage than instant freeze-dried coffee. They’re usually small and require minimal cleaning, with drawers to capture used pods before they need to be disposed of.

The downside of pod/capsule machines lies in the expense to both your wallet and the environment: good pod coffees aren’t cheap and they can be extremely wasteful. If you’re concerned about your finances or environmental footprint, you probably should steer clear of these machines. If you’re busy and chasing convenience, however, these are a great option.