The Barista Express is in a class of its own. It produced the best tasting espresso in our testing, and its steam wand was the only device we found that could replicate the velvety steamed milk with just a dab of foam on top that creates an extraordinary latte. While most of the other machines we tested made good drinks, the Barista Express was the only one that could fool us into thinking we were drinking something made by a professional barista in a cafe. This incredible quality is what earned it our Editors' Choice Award. The only downside is that this machines obtains this quality partially by mimicking the design of the machines found behind the counter at many cafes. Making a shot with the Barista Express is more hands on than many other machines, and requires you to spend a little time learning its nuances. If you're after the best tasting at home espresso drink this should not be a deterrent at all as within a couple of weeks you'll feel like a pro. However, if having to exert brainpower into making your morning joe sounds like torture, you may want to make some sacrifice in taste in order to get a super-automatic machine that makes espresso at the press of a button.
The Breville Infuser Espresso Machine is the same machine but lacks the built-in burr grinder, which knocks $100 off of the list price.