Pros: The Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker is easy to use and you can use either pods OR ground coffee.
Cons: There is a rather long recovery time between espresso shots.
What is the Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker?
The Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker is an authentic espresso machine designed for the espresso lover with a modest budget. It is also incredibly easy to use even if you've never made an espresso before, whereas more expensive espresso machines can be quite complicated and messy for newbies.
The Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker isn't perfect, but it does offer a few features that set it apart from other espresso machines in the same price range.
Perhaps the most uncommon, and therefore most exciting feature, is that the Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker has been designed to work with either pods OR ground coffee. This means you have complete control over what you're drinking, and you can save a significant amount of money by using your own ground coffee.
The second most exciting feature of the Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker is that it comes with its own steam wand. Most low-end machines—and even a few mid-range machines—force you to buy a steam wand separately.
You can also use the Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker to make two shots of espresso at a time, and it has a 0.8L water tank so you can also make espresso for your guests without needing a refill.
The final exciting feature of the Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker is that it comes with both a removable drip tray and an adapter, allowing you to use a variety of cup sizes. This also makes it easier to clean.
Unfortunately, there are a couple drawbacks too. The Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker features a 15 bar Italian pressure pump, which is lower than the standard. This doesn't have a massive impact on your espresso, but for some people, it will be quite noticeable.
The other drawback is that it takes a long time, both for the steamer to heat up and for recovering between shots. This isn't an issue if you're the only one regularly drinking out of it, but it can be inconvenient when you have guests.
The Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker offers a high value for the price, especially when you factor in the steam wand, and at one point it may even have been the best espresso maker in its price range (although that depends on who you ask).
Now it has some serious competition, most notably the Martello Stilista Primeo, which doesn't come with a steam wand but DOES have a proper 20 bar Italian Pressure Pump, as well as several of the same features the Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker has. These models are still in close competition though, making it difficult to recommend one over the other—it's all about your personal preference.