For coffee lovers who frequent Starbucks, purchasing a Mastrena espresso machine for the home is a tantalizing idea. You've enjoyed the smooth and frothy beverages doled out by your local barista for years, you've seen that elegant Mastrena logo. Now, just maybe, it is time to bring one home. First, we'd like to tell you more about the Mastrena espresso machine. These units are designed for commercial applications, and no models are built specifically for home use. Now what?

What Is a Mastrena Espresso Machine?

A Mastrena espresso machine is a Swiss-made industrial espresso machine. Current models have been designed especially for Starbucks locations, and they can handle the high output demands of the worlds' busiest coffee houses. Each maker is designed to pull extremely consistent shots, pull after pull, hour after hour. It is equipped with many features that are geared specifically to commercial applications. Mastrena machines also carry price tags reflecting that level of precision engineering.


Product Specs  

The Mastrena espresso machine was created for use in busy commercial settings, so engineers put plenty of thought into the operator-friendly and customer-friendly applications of these units. The machines are designed to be the appropriate height for baristas to look over them while interacting with customers. As baristas whip up that triple non-fat latte, for example, they can make use of the automated and computerized menu functions without disengaging from a brief conversation.

mug of cappucino

Image via Pixabay

The menu on a Mastrena espresso machine consists of 10 programmable dosing buttons that can be set up for custom grind times, shot volumes, and pull times. The machine can also queue drink orders so that a "slammed" barista can input upcoming drinks and stay ahead of the line. The Mastrena espresso machine boasts a high-capacity bean hopper with a built-in burr grinder for fresh grounds every shot. Additionally, there are one or two frothing wands equipped with automatic shutoffs that kick in when the milk reaches the right temperature.

A Mastrena espresso machine even alerts users about cleaning cycles and maintenance requirements. There is no doubt about it: The Mastrena espresso machine is made for only the highest quality and output demands. Our reviewers verified this statement.


Pricing  

Mastrena espresso machines are built and priced for high-volume, high-income applications. Used units can be purchased in working condition at prices around $$$ upward, but these machines cost $$$$$-plus for a new, top-of-the-line model.


How They Compare

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
 

Mastrena Espresso Machine


The Mastrena has it all, with a price tag to match.

Price

$$$$$

Prices range from around $5,000 for a used machine to $$$$$ for a new one.

Ease of Use

Mastrena espresso machines are designed to be user-friendly. The programmable interface requires some learning and adjustment from the operator. Once acquainted with the system and routine for the machine, however, anyone can use it successfully.

Features

Mastrena espresso machines are directly plumbed into the coffee house water supply and a 50-amp, 240V dedicated circuit. Mastrena espresso machines are decked out with high-capacity bean hoppers, built-in burr grinders, auto-steam wands, and fully programmable and computerized interfaces.

Design Quality

Design has been taken into account by the manufacturer for specific purposes. These machines are of stainless steel construction with impeccably sturdy parts. Each machine is designed to have a low profile and minimal appearance. They have a fairly large footprint, however.

Durability & Warranty

Mastrena espresso machines are created for high-volume applications. The machines are tested to 100 perfect pulls before they ever leave the factory. The machine life- cycle is greater than 500,000 drinks. Service is required approximately every 50,000 pulls. Mastrena espresso machines have built-in features to help users keep up with maintenance and understand errors. New machines come with a 1-year manufacturer's warranty.

Pros

  • Ease of use
  • Consistent pulls
  • Extremely durable

Cons

  • Exorbitant price
  • For permanent installation only, as a Mastrena must be plumbed in and requires a dedicated electrical circuit
  • Large footprint for home use
  • More computerized bells and whistles than home users need

Saeco Xelsis Super Automatic Espresso Machine, Titanium Metal Front, SM7684/04
  • Premier programming - the xelsis lets you program everything. From milk and espresso volume to dose, temperature, and texture only thing holding back your morning drink is you
  • User profile - and, once you have your favorite drinks dialed-in, you can save them to your dedicated profile for easy access
  • Touchscreen control - The xelsis showcases its programming prowess with an accurate 3. 5" Touchscreen
  • Hygiesteam system - An upgrade to the steam systems of old, the xelsis Fridge-ready milk carafe packs in texture control and automated purge and clean cycles
  • Double thermo blocks - dedicated for both brewing and steaming offer accurate temperature controls for every drink in your recipe book

The Saeco Xelsis SM7684/04 espresso machine is a fully automated, double-head espresso machine. It comes pre-programmed to make 15 drinks and stores 6 customizable user profiles. The machine has a computerized display, and it is neat and smart looking all the way around.

Price (Approximate only)

$

A new unit can be obtained for under $$$.

Ease of Use

The Saeco Xelsis is fully computerized with its clear color display and touchscreen selection interface. The main activities for users to keep on top of are filling the bean hopper, filling the water reservoir and frothing the milk. We got consistent, tasty results with just the touch of a button.

Features

The features of the Saeco Xelsis machine are mostly on a par with the most useful features of the Mastrena. Xelsis relies on automation to pull consistent shots and offer some customizable options. For users who are looking for a “set it and forget it” approach to in-home espresso, this machine is perfect. It sets up the same drink reliably, time after time. The built-in bean grinder is good for 20,000 cycles and features ceramic burrs. The Saeco Xelsis features automatic cleaning of the milk system as well as a patented water filter system good for 5,000 cups. The Xelsis loses a star for lack of customizability.

Design Quality

The Saeco Xelsis features stainless steel and plastic construction. It has a small countertop footprint, perfect for any coffee nook. This espresso machine features clean lines and a clear, easy-to-read selection interface. It is a simple-looking machine with nothing that really sets is apart aesthetically from the myriad of other computerized coffee makers out there. We give it 3 of five stars for some lack of ingenuity in aesthetics.

Durability & Warranty

As home espresso brewing machines go, the Saeco Xelsis is genuinely durable. The burr grinder alone is good for 20,000 cups before it needs service. The filter capacity is high enough that users will be able to enjoy 5,000 cups before needing to change it. With a solid 2-year manufacturer warranty, we give the Saeco Xelsis 4.5 stars of 5 in this column.

Pros

  • High durability for a home machine
  • Small footprint for ease of counter placement
  • Highly user-friendly
  • Built-in hopper and grinder

Cons

  • Uninspired aesthetics
  • Limited customizability

Isomac KIA Home Or Commercial Espresso Cappucchino Machine, 1.2 Liter Boiler, Stainless Steel
  • 1.2 liter stainless steel boiler, Side group level coffee delivery, Hot water dispenser
  • Boiler thermal retention wrap, 304 stainless case with mirror finish, Sirai pressure switch
  • Pump pressure gauge, Group pressure gauge, Multi direction wands
  • Cool touch, steam and water wands; 58mm commercial group, Single and double portafilter handles
  • Backflush group cleaning, Microprocessor boiler refill system, 3 liter pour-in water tank

La Pavoni KIA Isomac espresso machines are physically beautiful. They are industrial-looking, shiny, and slightly European in visual effect. Without knowing beforehand, some may not quickly recognize a La Pavoni unit as a coffee gadget. Of course, upon closer examination, it is perfectly set up to pull espresso. The KIA Isomac is a handle-pull machine, which means that users dispense espresso manually. It has a decent-sized boiler, a steam wand, and a water wand. The machine is simply crafted and therefore useful for as many applications as we can imagine.

Price (Approximate only)

$

Coffee connoisseurs can pick up the La Pavoni KIA Isomac for around $$$$.

Ease of Use

Using the La Pavoni KIA Isomac comes with a learning curve. This machine does not feature a grinder or automated grind quantities. Users have to measure, grind, and tamp the espresso the old-fashioned way. Also, using the machine does not just require a touch of the button; rather, it is the pull of a lever after considerable prep. Once we got the hang of it, though, we were able to pull perfect shots every time. The steam wands are similar to most other models out there, and once users get the touch for holding the milk carafe at the right angle, frothing milk is a breeze, too.

Features

The KIA Isomac espresso machine is a portable system. It offers commercial quality in a small, easy-to-move unit, weighing in around only 50 pounds. There is a 1.2-liter water reserve for about 40 espresso pulls, making it ideal for catering events or fancy outings. The unit can also be "hard-plumbed" into the water supply at your home if you don't intend to move it around. When plumbed, the machine will automatically refill the boiler so that hot water is always available. The La Pavoni KIA Isomac steam wands feature a patented "cool touch" system to keep users safe while still delivering the perfect froth.

Design Quality

La Pavoni KIA Isomac espresso machines are fully stainless steel in their construction. We think they are absolutely distinguished in appearance. The overall design seems durable. The simplicity of the design leaves little room for breakage, and the highly manual operation of the unit allows the user to understand the machine components. In our view, the design of the KIA Isomac is an absolute dream for any coffee nerd.

Durability & Warranty

Again, the design of the KIA Isomac lends itself to durability. Mechanical parts are easy to maintain and issues are easy to diagnose, unlike computerized and hidden components in some other units. There are very few things that actually could go wrong with this machine, and each part should be easy to replace. That being said, La Pavoni backs the KIA Isomac up with a 1-year warranty.

Pros

  • Highly customizable, manual operation
  • Portable or permanent: you can choose
  • Stunning aesthetics
  • High durability

Cons

  • Shorter warranty than the competition
  • Not as user-friendly as computerized models
  • Not as user-friendly as computerized models


The La Marzocco Linea Mini Home Espresso Machine was awarded the People's Choice Award for Best New Product in 2015 by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. The Linea Mini features manual operation, standard electrical connections, a sizeable water reserve, and a spiffy looking vintage design.

Price (Approximate only)

$$$

The La Marzocco Linea Mini Home Espresso Machine is available to espresso enthusiasts for just over $$$$.

Ease of Use

The La Marzocco Linea Mini Home Espresso Machine is another manually operated machine. In this case, the temperature is controlled by a dial, and espresso is pulled by actuating a horizontal lever. Like the La Pavoni machine, the Linea Mini does not have a built-in hopper or grinder, and it requires users to measure and tamp porta-filters by hand. Using the Linea Mini requires some basic barista skills, but once mastered, the machine is easy to operate. We found the dial-and-lever combo on the Linea Mini to be less intuitive than the lever on the KIA Isomac.

Features

The La Marzocco Linea Mini features a dual boiler system, a 2-liter water reservoir, temperature controls, and a light-up drink tray for viewing the perfect pour. The Linea Mini is meant to offer commercial consistency in a streamlined, home-sized package. The footprint is a tiny 14 inches wide, which means it will fit perfectly into any home coffee corner.

The Linea Mini works when connected to a standard 120V outlet, making it easy to install anywhere in the kitchen. One downside to the La Marzocco Mini is that it is not possible to plumb the machine. La Marzocco makes an espresso machine with similar features that offer that capability, though, just in case you are in love with this one but want a permanent unit installed

Design Quality

We reviewed a red one! Need we say more? Seriously, though, this machine is available in four crisp colors, the only model on this list with that option. This machine stands out beautifully in any setting. It has a vintage aesthetic and is made of durable stainless steel and plastics. The only issue we foresee is that plastic knobs and levers may eventually fail. The La Marzocco Linea Mini machine is perfectly sized for home use. It is a bit heavy at 71 pounds, however.

Durability & Warranty

The manual design of the La Marzocco Linea Mini is easy to troubleshoot and repair. Not much can go wrong with the machine except possible plastic failures of its most-used parts. The company also cautions that improper use or poor water quality may damage o-rings and gaskets. La Marzocco offers a 100% product quality guarantee and 2-year parts and labor warranty.

Pros

  • Attractive design
  • Manual operation for increased customizability
  • Consistent pulls
  • Small footprint

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Relies on water reservoir only, no option for plumbing
  • Lacks ease of use found in automated machines

Conclusion


All considered, the Mastrena espresso machine is impressive. We found that it was designed to last, to deliver consistent espresso shots indefinitely, and to handle high volumes. For anyone planning to open a coffeehouse with expected high-volume rush periods, a Mastrena could be the solution.

For the average coffee lover, the Mastrena might be overkill in our view. It is costly, large, requires its own circuit breaker, must be plumbed into the water supply. It offers features that few home operators would ever think of, much less use.

coffee and sliced of bread

Image via Pixabay

We reviewed three machines that cover the most essential components of crafting quality espresso beverages. For the casual espresso sipper, the Saeco Xelsis SM7684/04 Super Automatic Espresso Machine is our pick. The Xelsis is extremely user-friendly and allowed us to get our coffee fix quickly. We rated the Saeco Xelsis at 17.5/20 stars, mostly because it is so simple to get consistent results with and it incorporates most of the features we covet from the Mastrena; automation, a built-in hopper and grinder, steam wands, and cleaning and maintenance warnings.

Our second pick is the La Pavoni KIA Isomac. The KIA Isomac is built more for a user who wants to get into the nitty-gritty of their beverage. The manual operation allows for endless customizability, while the stunning aesthetic, portability, and price point make it perfect for any espresso enthusiast. We awarded the KIA Isomac with 15/20 stars across our four categories.

None of the machines on our list can match the flat-out quantity output of the Mastrena. Luckily though, at home, none of them have to. Happy sipping!

Featured Image via Pixabay