Mastrena Espresso Machine: Starbucks Uses It, but Should You?

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Ever curious about the espresso machine Starbucks uses and if you can own one too? Sometimes dreams do become reality. But if not, there’s always a great alternative waiting for you.

In this post, we’re diving into the world of the Mastrena Espresso Machine. We’ll explore why it’s so pricey, why it’s not for sale to the public, and share some great alternatives you can get for your home coffee station.

What is the Mastrena High-Performance Espresso Machine?

For over ten years, Starbucks has been brewing its espresso with the Mastrena, a top-notch machine that whips up more than 240 shots an hour. It’s pricey, but for running a Starbucks, it’s an investment that pays off.

Thanks to an exclusive deal with Mastrena espresso machine makers, Starbucks is the only place you’ll find these amazing machines. This has made Starbucks fans everywhere sit up and pay attention to this cool tech.

Who Makes Starbucks’ Espresso Machines?

The Mastrena 2 is Starbucks’ go-to espresso machine, crafted by Thermoplan AG, experts in super-automatic espresso machines since 1974.

Before 1999, not many people knew about Thermoplan’s espresso machines. But everything changed when Starbucks chose them exclusively. Fast forward five years, and McDonald’s and Ikea also jumped on board. So, if you’ve ever grabbed a coffee from these places, chances are, it was brewed with a Thermoplan machine.

Other Starbucks Espresso Machines

Exterior view of a Starbucks coffee shop, where you'll find the Mastrena espresso machine

Right now, Starbucks exclusively uses the Mastrena 2 for their espresso drinks. While you might spot different coffee makers in Starbucks, those are for brews like pour-overs and drip coffee. For a rich espresso, Mastrena is the star. However, it wasn’t always this way.

Before the Mastrena, Starbucks had a different espresso machine called the Verismo 801. But, the CEO, Howard Schultz, wasn’t a fan because it was too tall. It made chatting with your barista while getting your coffee tough.

Thermoplan’s Mastrena is like a mini Verismo, but better! They packed it with all the key features of the Verismo, added some cool upgrades, and gave it a fresh new look. It’s a perfect blend of the best parts of both machines.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Mastrena

The Mastrena is a pricey, pro-level machine. But, guess what? You can make a Starbucks-beating espresso or latte with a more affordable option!

Let’s dive into Mastrena’s features soon, but know this: its high price isn’t about the coffee quality it delivers. It’s costly because it’s designed to quickly whip up lots of espresso drinks.

Imagine spending up to $40,000 on a Mastrena espresso machine – that’s way too pricey for making coffee at home! Luckily, you can find an amazing espresso machine for under $1000. Why pay more when you don’t have to?

Even the biggest coffee lovers can’t compete with the crowd of Starbucks fans rushing in every morning. Unless you’re whipping up hundreds of espresso shots hourly, splurging on a high-end machine like the Mastrena is simply unnecessary and a waste of money. 

Why Are Mastrena Espresso Machines So Expensive?

The Mastrena 2 is packed with cool features, but it’s only worth it if you’re making lots of coffee. It’s all about how much you brew!

The Mastrena 2 is a powerhouse, whipping up over 240 shots in an hour. Quick math? That’s over 4 shots every minute, or a shot in less than 15 seconds. Talk about coffee galore!

Of course, it also has a ton of other powerful features:

  • Automatic shot quality — Okay, this one is actually really cool. You can program a desired puck thickness, and the Mastrena will adjust the grind time to make it happen. Meanwhile, it also monitors shot times and advises the user on how to maintain shot quality. 
  • Automatic frothing wand — The steam wand monitors milk temperature and automatically shuts off when the desired temperature is reached. 
  • Shot queue — Select multiple shots, and the machine will make them one-by-one.
  • 10 Dose Preset buttons
  • 2 Bean hoppers
  • Adjustable pre-infusion process
  • Tablets for automatic daily cleaning
  • Modular design

I totally get the appeal of some fancy features, especially the one that ensures each shot of espresso is perfect. But honestly, this machine is just a bigger version of the automatic espresso makers you can already get for your kitchen.

What Mastrena Alternatives Can You Buy?

Philips 3200 Series super-automatic espresso machine

  • With Philips 3200 Series easily make up to 5 black and milk-based coffee varieties at the touch of a button! Enjoy the delicious taste and aroma of coffee from fresh beans at the perfect temperature
  • Classic Milk Frother System: Dispenses steam, allowing you to easily prepare silky smooth milk froth for your cappuccino
  • Intuitive Touch Display: Select the perfect coffee for your mood with just one touch
  • My Coffee Choice Menu: Adjust the strength and quantity of your beverage and choose from three different settings to suit your preferences. The Aroma Extract system intelligently strikes the optimum balance between brewing temperature and aroma extraction
  • Powerful Filter and Easy Maintenance: Thanks to the AquaClean, enjoy clear and purified water - by changing the filter after being prompted by the machine, you will not need to descale your machine for up to 5000 cups

Super-automatic espresso machines, like the Philips 3200, make brewing espresso super easy. It’s like having your own barista at home, whipping up tasty espresso shots in no time!

This versatile machine doesn’t just whip up a delicious espresso; it can also brew a classic cup of coffee, create a smooth Americano, and even an espresso lungo or dispense hot water. Plus, with its milk frother, transforming your espresso into a creamy macchiato, latte, or cappuccino is a breeze.

The Philips coffee machine is a dream for coffee lovers! With 3 aroma strengths, 12 grind sizes, and 3 temperature options, you can easily make your favorite Starbucks drink right at home. And if you’re feeling laid-back, the default settings brew a great cup too.

De’Longhi ESAM04110S Magnifica fully automatic espresso machine

  • Customized Espresso drinks: design your ideal Espresso and cappuccino experience by programming in your preferences; The machine “remembers” the details, from the strength of your Espresso to your preferred Beverage size and much more
  • CONSISTENT brewing every time: each cup is automatically brewed to the perfect temperature, richness and density; And you can customize the settings to ensure it's always just the way you like it
  • Your foam, your way: a manual frother mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for evenly textured drinks – just the way you like them
  • Easy to clean and handle: the compact, extractable brew unit is not only easy to clean, it also self-adjusts for one or two shots of Espresso

The De’Longhi Magnifica takes your coffee game to the next level, leaving the Philips 3200 behind. With its top-notch burr grinder and dual brewing cycle, you’ll be making café-quality coffee easily, all with just a press of a button.

Did you know these machines make coffee super quickly? It’s all about how fast the water heats up and the brewing time. But, be careful not to mess with the brewing time too much, as it can change how your coffee tastes. The cool thing is, De’Longhi has made a model that heats up in just 60 seconds!

This coffee machine offers 13 grind settings, plus you can adjust the temperature and how much coffee it makes. It even has a manual frother for creamy lattes and cappuccinos.

You can put pre-ground coffee in the second chamber if you like. However, using whole beans is best to keep your coffee super fresh.

Once you master the settings, the Magnifica’s steady brewing and easy one-touch presets guarantee a delicious cup of coffee every single time.

The best part? This machine is backed by De’Longhi’s famous support. They’re a top name in espresso for good reason.

Breville BES870XL Barista Express semi-automatic espresso machine

  • Earn up to $200 cashback with a Beanz coffee subscription when you purchase a selected Breville espresso machine. Valid Aug 1, 2023 until Jun 30, 2024
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute, helping you make the perfect cup of Cappuccino or Latte
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of bean
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup
  • PRECISE ESPRESSO EXTRACTION: Digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal espresso extraction
  • MANUAL MICROFOAM MILK TEXTURING: The powerful steam wand performance allows you to hand texture microfoam milk that enhances flavor and enables creation of latte art
  • ESPRESSO MACHINE WITH GRIND SIZE DIAL: Simple and intuitive, giving you control over the grind size no matter what type of bean you're grinding
  • COFFEE & ESPRESSO MAKER COMBO WITH BUILT-IN COFFEE GRINDER: Innovative grinding cradle allows any at home barista to grind directly into the espresso portafilter for the perfect espresso
  • INCLUDED ACCESSORIES: Razor Dose Trimming Tool, 54mm Stainless Steel Portafilter, 1 & 2 cup Single & Dual Wall Filter Baskets, Coffee Scoop, Integrated Tamper, Stainless Steel Milk Jug, Cleaning Disc, Tablets, Brush Tool & Allen Key, Water Filter & Filter Holder
  • CAPACITY & SETTINGS: 1/2 lb Bean Hopper; 67 oz Water Tank; Single or double shots; Adjustable Grind Amount and Manual Override

Want to be a home barista pro? Skip the super-automatic espresso machine. Opt for a semi-automatic instead. Yes, they’re trickier to use, but they offer you a real shot at mastering the art of coffee making.

Why not enjoy the perks of both super-automatic and semi-automatic machines?

The Barista Express isn’t just any espresso machine. It’s semi-automatic, meaning it’s smart enough to grind and measure your coffee beans with its built-in conical burr grinder. Want to get hands-on? You can. Feeling lazy? Let it do all the tricky work for you. It’s your perfect partner for espresso, any day.

The Express’s pre-infusion magic ensures every bit of coffee is flawlessly extracted. Plus, its smart temperature control (PID) keeps the water just right, guaranteeing a perfect brew every time.

To make an amazing espresso shot, you need the right amount of coffee, perfect water heat, a good pre-soak, and the correct brewing speed. This machine nails all those steps like a pro! 

Nespresso Lattissima Pro by De’Longhi

  • IT'S ALL ABOUT THE FOAM: The De’Longhi Automatic Cappuccino System creates perfectly layered espresso beverages, with dense, rich, long-lasting foam in every cup from start to finish
  • NESPRESSO CAPSULE SYSTEM: The ultimate convenience; The recyclable aluminum capsules contain the finest espressos for authentic taste without measuring or cleanup
  • ONE TOUCH SIMPLICITY: One button – that’s all it takes to enjoy exceptional espressos, bold cappuccinos, creamy lattes and rich macchiatos; The machine does the rest
  • BRINGS OUT MORE FLAVOR: De’Longhi’s patented espresso extraction system creates the ideal flow of water with 19 bars of pressure – the ultimate amount for drawing the most flavor and desired temperature in each cup
  • THE PERFECT AMOUNT OF MILK: During the extraction process, the integrated carafe dispenses milk in adjustable levels for taste. Simply remove from the unit to keep freshly refrigerated; The carafe is dishwasher safe

The older models were quite large, and not everyone has enough room on their kitchen counters for them. But, there’s another choice that gives you the simplicity of brewing coffee with super-automatic machines, yet it’s way smaller.

What’s the downside? It uses capsules. While some find Nespresso machines handy and affordable, others might choose the traditional machines we discussed earlier for their coffee.

Choosing a Nespresso? You’ll face the DeLonghi vs Breville Nespresso machine decision. Both are great picks, so there’s no bad choice. But, if you’re seeking an alternative to Mastrena espresso machines, the Nespresso Lattissima Pro by DeLonghi might just be your perfect match. Check it out here.

Meet the Lattissima Pro, a top-tier Nespresso machine that simplifies your coffee experience. With its touchscreen, you can easily choose from seven delicious options – ristretto, espresso, lungo, cappuccino, latte macchiato, warm milk froth, and hot water – all with just a tap.

This machine is a game-changer; it not only brews your espresso but also froths and dispenses milk automatically. That’s a rare find, even among super-automatic espresso machines! 

I’ve Got Machines Like Starbucks

Let’s face it, most of us won’t have a Starbucks espresso machine in our kitchens. But that’s totally fine! The Mastrena machine isn’t ideal for home use anyway. Luckily, there are amazing alternatives out there that work great and cost way less—less than 10% of the price, actually!

Dreaming of making your favorite coffee shop drinks at home? Start with exploring automatic pour-over coffee makers for the top-notch drip coffee experience. Don’t have a coffee maker with a grinder? No worries! Check out some of the finest coffee grinders available. The secret to that irresistible coffee shop taste? Freshness! And it all begins when you grind your own beans. Dive in and transform your home coffee routine!

mastrena espresso machine starbucks

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