The world of espresso machines can appear complex, especially for those new to home brewing.
With so many options on the market, finding a machine that combines affordability, ease of use, and quality can be challenging. The Wirsh Espresso Machine is a semi-automatic machine that promises to offer that combination, while it’s designed with beginners and experienced domestic brewers in mind.
As an experienced coffee enthusiast and reviewer, I’ve spent several weeks testing this affordable and versatile espresso coffee machine, and I’m excited to share my insights with you.
Also read: The Best Budget Espresso Coffee Machines
- Stylish and compact design
- Intuitive control panel with ressure gauge
- Professional steam wand for latte art
- Better portafilter design
- Doesn't come with a milk carafe
- Only have pressurized baskets
First Impressions And Design
The Wirsh Espresso Machine immediately catches the eye with its sleek, modern design. You’ll also notice its compact size, which makes it a perfect fit for any kitchen counter. Its stylish aesthetics add a touch of elegance, too.
As well as the machine’s relatively small size, I was struck by its sleek design with its contemporary and premium-looking stainless steel body on unboxing.
There’s a water reservoir at the back, an uncluttered control panel and a pressure gauge on the front set against a classy black, glossy finish. There’s also a control knob and steam wand on the right. Overall, you get the impression this is a high-quality piece of equipment built with modern aesthetic sensibilities.
The intuitive control panel features four touch buttons for a seamless brewing experience.
The portafilter, with its curved spout, not only enhances the overall look of the machine but also ensures a smooth flow of espresso into your cup.
There’s also a detachable drip tray that is large enough for a compact machine such as this.
Ease of Use
One of the standout features of the Wirsh Espresso Machine is its user-friendliness. The machine also warms up in just 10 seconds, making it a great option for anyone pushed for time in their morning routine. I have an E61 machine, but I often use a quicker machine like this. I just can’t wait 30 minutes to start making my coffee every morning.
Here is my video on the machine’s workflow, showcasing the espresso and steaming quality.
The brewing process is straightforward: measure your coffee grounds, pour them into the basket, tamp them down, and you’re ready to brew.
- Measure 15 grams of beans and grind them finely.
- Carefully pour the grounds into the basket. It’ll be even easier if you have a dosing funnel.
- I always use a WDT to distribute the grounds evenly before tamping.
- Tamp the grounds, but don’t tilt to one side. If you want consistent tamping each time, I suggest buying an extra 51mm spring-loaded tamper.
- Lock the portafilter into position. Note the machine has four suction cups at the bottom to keep the machine in place.
- Press the one or double-shot button, and the machine will brew with a preset volume. If you want to customize the brew size, press a button for 3 seconds, and it will start brewing. You need to stop the shot manually, and it will remember it for the next time.
After pulling a shot, if you want hot water to make an Americano, twist the steam knob, and hot water will emerge from the tip of the steam wand.
If you want to steam milk, after pulling a shot, press the steam button and twist the steam knob to start steaming.
The pressure gauge is particularly useful and indicates whether my brewing pressure is within the optimal range. If it’s not, adjust the grind size accordingly. If the pressure is too high, grind coarser, if it’s too low, grind finer until I get the best grinds.
The machine also offers adjustable brew temperature and customizable single and double-shot volumes. I prefer using the preset temperature for regular shots and a higher option for lighter roasts.
Also, I use my coffee scale to measure the shot ratio when setting up my shot volume. Usually, I use 15 grams of beans and pull 28 to 30 grams of espresso in around 25 to 28 seconds.
The Wirsh Espresso Machine doesn’t disappoint performance-wise. The machine’s quick start-up time, adjustable brew temperature, and pre-infusion feature create a smooth and enjoyable brewing experience.
The pre-infusion feature, which wets your coffee puck with lower pressure before high-pressure extraction, is a thoughtful addition that reduces the risk of channeling for a more even extraction. Pre-infusion is standard in mid-range machines, and it’s great to see it in the Wirsh Espresso Machine.
The professional-style steam wand allows you to achieve microfoam for latte art, adding another layer of authenticity to your home brewing experience.
The quality of the espresso shot is standard for a machine with pressurized baskets. You can get good espresso shots without a fancy coffee grinder. The thick bubbles on top, which resemble crema, make for a good base for barista-style coffee drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, or macchiatos.
The steaming power is strong enough to create the foam I need to pour latte art. It’s relatively easy to find the right angle, but don’t forget to purge the water out before steaming.
However, for those who prefer pure espresso, the shot quality may not be as high as that of mid-range machines with larger, unpressurized baskets.
Despite that, you can significantly improve the shot quality by using a 51mm unpressurized basket and a higher-quality coffee grinder for espresso. I have made a short video showing how to make better espresso with this Wirsh Espresso Machine.
Comparisons with Other Machines
In the realm of budget espresso machines, the Wirsh Espresso Machine more than holds its own against competitors like the Casabrews Espresso Machine and the Delonghi Dedica EC680M.
Casabrews Espresso Machine
While the Casabrews machine is cheaper, it lacks the aesthetic appeal and brew temperature options of the Wirsh machine. Wirsh has a black and glossy control panel, which sets it apart from a typical manual espresso machine with a more nondescript stainless steel body. The Wirsh Espresso Machine also has a larger 42 oz water tank, while the Casabrews has a smaller 32 oz tank. Check my hands-on review of the CasaBrews Espresso Machine here.
The Delonghi Dedica EC680M, while similar in price and offering three brew temperature options, falls short with its steam wand, which works like a milk frother but can’t produce microfoam for latte art. You need to upgrade to EC885M Dedica Arte to get the same level of steaming control as Wirsh, but the price is almost double. Check our Delonghi Dedica review to learn more about it.
Benefits and Drawbacks
The Wirsh Espresso Machine offers several benefits. Its ease of use, stylish design, and affordability make it an excellent choice for beginners looking into home brewing. Meanwhile, the machine’s user-friendly features add to its appeal, including the pressure gauge and adjustable brew temperature. Overall, these features mean that, with the Wirsh Espresso Machine, you can make your favorite coffee drinks right in your kitchen without breaking the bank.
However, there are a few drawbacks to consider. For example, the machine doesn’t come with a milk jug, and the materials used in the portafilter could be more robust. The pressurized baskets, while beginner-friendly, sacrifice shot quality compared to unpressurized baskets. However, these drawbacks can be mitigated by purchasing a separate milk jug and a better tamper. You can also enhance the brew quality following the suggestion I mentioned above.
Evolution from Previous Models
The new 20-bar Wirsh Espresso Machine is a significant improvement over the previous 15-bar model.
The new version boasts a more elegant design, touch buttons, and a better portafilter. The updated model also has a curved spout, which looks more professional, and the coffee flows more smoothly into the cup. In contrast, the Wirsh 15-bar espresso machine has four physical buttons on top and comes with a more standard pressurized portafilter.
It’s worth noting that the increase in pressure from 15 to 20 bars doesn’t necessarily result in better coffee, as only 9 bars of pressure are needed. However, the higher pressure is more beginner-friendly, especially when using a pressurized basket.
Maintenance and Durability
Maintaining the Wirsh Espresso Machine is a breeze. A simple flush of the group head after pulling an espresso and a quick wipe and purge of the steam wand after steaming milk is all it takes to keep the machine in great condition.
The machine also prompts you to descale every 500 brews, ensuring it stays in the best shape possible. It’s easy to descale the machine, too. Simply mix the descaling agent and water according to the suggested ratio and follow the instructions in the manual.
As for durability, while I’ve only tested the machine for a few weeks, it has held up well. Wirsh is a reputable brand known for its quality coffee machines. I also tried their iced coffee maker, which is also solid. Meanwhile, their customer service is responsive and helpful.
The Wirsh Espresso Machine is an excellent choice for those new to espresso brewing or anyone looking for an affordable, user-friendly machine. Its stylish design, user-friendly features, and solid performance make it a standout in the budget espresso machine market.
While it has a few minor drawbacks, the machine’s benefits easily outweigh them, and you can even offset most of the issues with a few additional purchases, like a milk jug or an unpressurized basket.
In summary, whether you’re a beginner looking to brew barista coffee drinks at home without a hefty investment or a seasoned coffee lover seeking a budget-friendly option, the Wirsh Espresso Machine is well worth considering.