Whether your morning ritual begins with a home-brewed cup of instant coffee or a mad rush out the door to grab a coffee from your local barista on your commute — there’s a good chance you start your day with a coffee one way or another.
With almost all Aussies working from home this year, it’s easy to see why a great coffee machine might be on the cards. They’re the only surefire way to compete with your barista and blow instant coffee out of the water.
All that said, coffee brewed freshly at home should certainly be possible for everyone, and with a top tier espresso machine or coffee machine, you’ll be just a few button presses away from a barista-level flat white.
Below we’ll take a look at all of the best coffee machines on offer for Aussies, and why you should definitely consider one this year. Our coffee machines are judged based on ease of use, ease of cleaning and of course, the output of fantastic coffee.
Off the top, the two best coffee machines for Australians include the Barista Express by Breville and the Mini Barista by Sunbeam. Both of these coffee machines feature automatic or semi-automatic modes to make brewing effortless and being relatively compact; you’ll undoubtedly find a place for these machines in the kitchen.
Sunbeam Mini Barista
Coming in at just under $300, the Mini Barista is one of the most straightforward espresso machines on the market. You’ll find an easy-to-use dial and two shot sizes to choose from, as well as an excellent steam wand. That said, getting an invigorating, well-brewed coffee and great frothy milk top won’t be too tricky at all.
The Breville Barista Express
A little more costly than the Mini Barista, the Barista Express by Breville is your semi-automatic and manual option that comes with everything from a built-in coffee grinder, steam wand, custom coffee options and more. If you’re looking to get creative, and want the best cafe-style cup of coffee each morning, the Barista Express is for you. At just under $1,000, the machine is a little more costly than most though.
For our readers with smaller kitchens and less complex requirements, the Bambino Plus is here to deliver a fantastic coffee each morning, without taking up too much counter space. It’s a small, reliable machine that allows you to change milk temperature, choose froth levels as well as features an automatic steam wand.
The Selection Process
If not you’re already aware, Australians love their coffee, and the review statistics are there to prove it. Thousands of coffee machine reviews land on consumers websites each year, and advocacy groups test hundreds of machines annually to make sure that Aussies have the chance to get the best home brews possible.
That said, we began our search for the best coffee machine on review websites and with professional testing in mind. With that in mind, we were able to find the machines that not only satisfied customers but also passed lab testing and won’t be likely to fail any time soon.
Once we’d found a few of the best machines, Product Review helped us cut down the list further and give us some insight from customers who have actually invested in and used their machines for months or even years. It’s good to note that not a whole bunch of machines had hundreds of reviews to look through, which helped us in narrowing down the best machines a little faster.
With all of the information above under our belt, and in our notebooks, we began selecting the machines that were designed to be easy to use, fast to clean and didn’t take up too much space in the kitchen.
Of course, unique features and plenty of brewing types were a big must-have for us, so these were considered in or final selections too.
All of that said, we were able to narrow down Australia’s most popular coffee machines to the seven best models that we’re sure you will love.
Our Shortlist 7 Coffee Machines
Overall Winner — Sunbeam Mini Barista
Runner-up — Breville the Barista Express
Second Runner-up — Breville the Bambino Plus
Breville the Oracle Touch Automatic
Sunbeam Piccolo Espresso EM2800, Manual
Sunbeam Café Series EM7000
The Little Guy Home Barista Kit
The Best Coffee Machines
Sunbeam Mini Barista
Landing at the top spot on our list for being so incredibly easy to use is the Sunbeam Mini Barista. There are an easy 2 pre-set shot sizes and just a single dial to control the whole system, taking out any guesswork or confusion. It comes with a steam wand too, so frothing up your milk for that authentic cafe-style coffee won’t be too difficult either.
And at just $299 it’s easily one of the most affordable coffee machines out there.
A Deeper Look
Without a doubt, the most straightforward and most user-friendly coffee machine on the market has to be the EM4300 Mini Barista Espresso Machine. Reviewers have touted that the machine essentially ‘just works,’ and without too many frills it’s the perfect machine to get your coffee brewed in minutes before you have to duck out to work, or run your daily errands.
With a single dial, arguably a trade-off for its low price, the entire system a tonne easier to use than most. There’s auto-shot control here along with shot sizes, so if you’re looking for a single or a double shot coffee, it’s just a twist of the dial away.
You’re also able to quickly whip up two brews at once, always a plus.
Being aptly named the ‘Mini’ you can expect the machine to fit just about anywhere in the kitchen snuggly.
However, the group head is still an ideal 58mm which is what you’ll find on even the larger coffee machines, so there’s plenty of space for grinds and a proper extraction of flavour unlike machines with smaller heads.
Keep in mind there’s a great 2L tank capacity here too, along with the aforementioned steam wand and cup warming plate that helps you get the most genuine cafe-style experience from the comfort of the kitchen.
58mm Group Head
Easy to Use
2L Tank Capacity
Breville the Barista Express
At second place, primarily for the price, the Barista Express is the machine that will get you closest to a true cafe-style cup of coffee in the morning. There’s a 1-touch operation and a manual or semi-automatic mode to choose from, and a built-in grinder makes it effortless to get the freshest cup of coffee in the morning.
At a little under $1,000, it may be a bit too pricy for some.
A Deeper Look
As expected, the Barista Express will always make a cafe-quality brew from the comfort of home, and it takes just a few moments to do so. There’s also an under-60 second espresso option to get you on the road faster than ever.
A big standout of the Barista Express is that you’re able to choose how much time you spend brewing your coffee, you can either set and forget, or be a little more hands-on depending how busy you are in the morning.
With the semi-automatic settings, you’re able to quickly set up the machine to brew and do your own thing, or with the manual operation, you can control a lot more of what goes into making your coffee.
There’s plenty of great higher-end features here too, such as a burr grinder that gives you the control of your coffee’s strength. There is a steam wand too along with a dial that gives you the chance to adjust the grind size.
With all of the higher-end perks out of the way, the Barista Express also comes with a few of the bare essentials like a cup warming plate, a pre-warming function for cups as well as simple hot water functions.
As expected, there’s a single and double shot option, a 2L tank capacity and a great 250g bean capacity, so you won’t be stuck running out of beans on a routine basis — unless you’re a serious coffee drinker.
Hundreds of reviews on Product Review have made it clear that the Barista Express should land on your coffee machine list this year, and with a simple interface tying all of these features together, you’re in good hands with Breville’s Barista Express.
60-second Brew Time
Multiple Cup Sizes
Either Manual or Auto Operation
A Steam Wand
Comes in 3 Colours
A 2L Tank Capacity
Breville the Bambino Plus
The most compact of the bunch, the Bambino Plus by Breville is the compact espresso machine for those kitchens that are a little short on space. However, size can be deceiving, and the Bambino Plus still packs all the features of leading coffee machines, including multiple cup sizes, milk temperature control and a steam wand.
A Deeper Look
With measurements of 19.5cm W x 32cm D x 31cm H, it’s easy to see that the Bambino Plus is going to be a lifesaver when it comes to getting a quality at-home brew in a small space. It’s able to output 1 or 2 cups of coffee at once, which is perfect for couples who need a fast brew and to get on their way as soon as possible.
There’s a 1.9L water tank here which is just about the same size as all other models on our list, so you won’t be stuck filling up the Bambino too often.
We’ve noticed that the primary focal point of the Bambino is a cup of coffee that’s fast, easy to make and doesnt create any mess. To brew a quick cup, all you’ll need to do is hit one of 3 options for milk temperature, and coffee and you’re on your way.
There’s a 3-second heat-up time and you’ll almost immediately have the coffee brewing. The steam wand is also an automatic variant, so the foam is ready to go as soon as you are.
The average reviewer raves about the Bambino’s ease of use along with the size being a perk as you’re able to store it in the corner of the kitchen easily.
Large 1.9L Tank
Fast Heat-up Time
Easy to Use
These coffee machines didn’t land in our top three, though they’re still fantastic options for niche consumers looking for a rather specific set of requirements. Take a look.
The Best of the Best — Breville the Oracle Touch Automatic
With a price tag of $3,799, the Oracle Touch isn’t for everyone, though it is a feature-packed machine that rivals any cafe-style coffee, and depending on who you ask, might even beat it.
The best part about the Oracle Touch is that the entire experience is completely automated and controlled by the large touch screen display. You’re able to choose everything about your favourite coffee, make your selections and let the coffee machine take care of the process.
There’s a 5-programme pre-set control here too, which gives you control over everything form coffee strength, the texture of the milk, the temperature and more.
With onboard storage, you’re also able to set up eight custom coffees that you’re able to select on a routine basis — giving you plenty of control over how your morning brew tastes.
To add, the steam wand is entirely automatic too. All you’ll need to do is choose just how frothy you’d like your milk, and you’re all set.
The burr grinder is automatic as well, so grinding up to 22g of coffee beans is a cinch, and the dual boiler deals with milk and coffee at once, so there’s little to no way time between, keeping things running smoothly.
Compact — Smeg ECF01
A second great compact and affordable machine is the ECF01 by Smeg. It’s just $499 and comes in a retro design that suites shabby chic and older style kitchens.
There’s a 1 or 2 cup selection here and steam button for the included steam wand — however, that’s just about it. It’s a no-frills, affordable and compact coffee machine that’s ideal for those who’d just like a good brew and not too much fuss.
It’s good to keep in mind that the 1L tank is a little small, so having to deal with refills on a routine basis is going to be a little bit of an issue.
Ultra-affordable — Sunbeam Piccolo Espresso EM2800
When budget trumps all, the Piccolo Espresso EM2800 by Sunbeam is going to be the top choice for you. It’s a manual machine, so things are a little more hands-on, though for just $139 it’s a machine that’s right for those with the lower end of the budget.
The good news is that this budget comes with simplicity, and only a single dial is Sunbeam’s version of simple, so getting your brew isn’t confusing. The Piccolo is able to brew one or two cups and is also including a warming plate, a nice touch for a machine this affordable.
The tank is 1.3L which isn’t ideal, though it’s not overly concerning unless you drink a lot of coffee every day.
A Great All-rounder — Sunbeam Café Series EM7000
Priced a little higher than our top choice machines, the Cafe Series EM7000 is an excellent option for those who’d like to see just a bit more from their coffee machine.
Designed without a dial, the one-touch system here is a little simpler to get the hang of, and there’s a manual mode as well.
You’ll find both 1 and 2 shot options here, along with a steam wand and also pressure gauges and milk temperature functions that give you a chance to fiddle and get your brew tasting exactly how you’d like.
One possible downside is the size, as the machine is a little bigger than most. However, the good news with this is you’ll be getting your hands on a larger 3L tank which makes sure you’re not filling up the machine too often.
Like other machines on our list, the EM7000 garners fantastic reviews, and it’s elegant, and professional design fits in perfectly to most modern Aussie kitchens.
For Hands-on Brewers — The Little Guy Home Barista Kit
We’ll get the first major issue out of the way first, this machine takes up to 10 minutes to brew a single espresso.
The Little Guy Home Barista Kit is the machine for you if you’re someone who likes to get hands-on and would also like to travel with their coffee machine. The device is a small portable option that is going to give you the chance to brew on the road, though it will take a little more time.
Unfortunately, there are no one-touch options here, and you’ll have to go old school and do the grinding in your own, fill the boiler on your own and also set down the machine on an induction cooktop.
It’s also important to keep in mind you’ll need to invest in an induction cooktop from Little Guy, as the machine won’t work too well with standard cooktops – which might be a deal-breaker for you.
Overall, the taste of the brew is good enough; the machine is rather challenging to use; however, it does offer a niche experience.
What to Consider When You Go it Alone
If you haven’t found your dream coffee machine in the list above, we have a few things listed below to help you find the machine that’s best suited for you.
These features below are bare essentials that will make your experience brewing a coffee a lot more enjoyable, so we certainly recommend looking for these.
A Steam Wand
It’s always good to choose a machine with a built-in steam wand that gives you the chance to add some frothy foam atop your coffee and to provide it with that cafe-style taste and look.
You’ll want your machine to have the most uncomplicated controls possible, as fighting with your coffee machine in the early hours of the morning isn’t ideal.
Double Shot Options
A biggie is the choice of shot options. Sometimes you’re not always looking for a standard or weak coffee, and extra shot options is an outstanding feature that you should be on the lookout for in your coffee machine.
As we all know, getting a coffee from a cafe each day adds up in cost quite a bit. Spending upwards of $4 to $5 each morning will undoubtedly be costing a lot in the long run, and a coffee machine can help combat this.
With a good machine, like the ones we’ve listed above, you’ll be getting a similar taste and the chance to brew a cafe-style coffee from the comfort of your own home, without breaking the bank.
Be sure to consider a coffee machine that meets all of your own requirements and you’ll be well on your way to starting your morning without rushing out the door to beat the line at your local cafe.