Pros / It’s very easy to use and looks great in almost any kitchen.
Cons / It comes up short in our espresso and froth quality test.
Verdict / While the Aicok espresso machine is very affordable, the results are subpar – if your priority is outstanding coffee, you should look elsewhere.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it is no longer available. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Costing less than $100, the Aicok Espresso Machine is the cheapest espresso maker we reviewed. However, we couldn’t name it our best value pick because it underperformed in our tests and lacks many of the tools and features of the best espresso machines.
Of course, the most important aspect of any espresso machine is the quality of the coffee is produces. Unfortunately, Aicok received some of the poorest marks in our taste tests. We brought in a professional barista to help us during testing. Both she and our testing team gave the espresso poor marks in quality, with a final score of 5 out of 10. So, it doesn’t taste terrible, but only the Programmable Espresso Maker scored lower in our espresso quality test.
Additionally, this machine lacks any milk frothing ability at all, which makes it impossible to make coffee drinks like cappuccinos and lattes. So, by default it received a zero in our milk frothing test – which by itself may have landed near the bottom of our rankings of the best espresso machines.
It’s also worth noting the size of its water reservoir. It only holds 0.7 liters – which is the second smallest among the products we reviewed. The average among them is 1.2 liters, so you’ll have to refill it more often, but in the grand scheme of things that’s not a huge deal.
However, it excelled at our ease-of-use test. This is mostly because it is a pod-based machine, which means it doesn’t take coffee grounds. Rather, you insert a small espresso capsule into the top of the machine, close the lid and push a single button. It doesn’t get easier than that.
Also on the plus side, this is a very handsome, stylish machine that will fit nicely in almost any kitchen. It comes with red or black side panels that you can attach to match your kitchen’s unique style.
This espresso machine is an inexpensive solution for making espresso at home, but you get what you pay for. It scored poorly most of the tests we put to it and came up short in the most important areas – including our taste tests. It’s easy to use, but that counts for very little if the end results are subpar.
Contributing Reviewer: Danny Chadwick