If you are a coffee lover, you will be glad to know that some of the best espresso machines are budget-friendly. How do you choose the best budget espresso machine? What separates the best cheap espresso brewer from a bad one? This article aims to help you learn about the technology and give you valuable information on choosing the best espresso machine for your budget.
In the past, owning an espresso machine was considered a luxury. And brewing an espresso and cappuccino preparation was reserved for professionals and the wealthy. Today, luckily for coffee lovers everywhere, access to good, homemade espresso is easier and more affordable than ever. There are many budget espresso machines on the market for budget-conscious expresso lovers. Quality cheap espresso machines make it possible to make a delicious, inexpensive espresso in your kitchen.
Are there any budget espresso machines?
Don’t expect specialty stores or high-end retailers to carry high-quality, low-cost espresso brewers. They don’t want to sell you low margin espresso equipment. Don’t believe that you cannot own a budget espresso machine. One of the most liberating aspects of online shopping is access to budget-friendly espresso machines. Online shopping gives you instant access to a wide range of coffee machines along with customer ratings. It is a great way to see other peoples’ experiences with the espresso machines you are researching. If you want to buy the best budget espresso machine, the ratings and customer reviews are critical. Reading the reviews helps you find the best budget espresso machine for your budget. It is a great opportunity for you to learn whether the coffee machine is easy to use and reliable.
You don’t have to spend $18,000 on an espresso machine just because Starbucks does; there are many affordable alternatives. Some budget espresso makers even include a built-in milk frother for cappuccinos and lattes. This article includes several bargain picks that, despite their low price, are reliable espresso makers.
We detail what to look for in an espresso machine, weigh the pros and cons, and share some out-of-the-box options with you. To make great coffee, you need an espresso machine that achieves adequate heat and pressure. Historically these machines were not only expensive but difficult to use. New technology has reduced the cost and simplified budget espresso machines. Today it’s possible to get your hands on a coffee brewer for under $200.
How to choose a budget espresso machine?
When choosing a new espresso machine, you need to do your homework. Learn what makes a great budget coffee maker. Look for critical features to make sure that you get the most from your money. It’s a simple process. Make sure that the espresso machine fits your lifestyle, your coffee drink choices.
There are five important aspects to choosing the best budget espresso machine:
- Budget – Which espresso machine can I get with my budget? If you are on a tight budget, there are many inexpensive espresso machines on the market. If you want greater durability and better quality of materials, you might need to increase your budget. But, there are times when you pay extra for the added features. You might pay more for ease of use, other times you have to pay a little more to buy a brand name espresso machine. The most expensive machines generally combine brand names and extra features that you may not need. If you don’t care about fancy features and popular brands, then you should have no problems with finding a budget-friendly espresso machine.
- Capabilities – Does the espresso machine make proper steam? Does it have a heat exchanger or dual boiler? Depending on your coffee drink preferences, a single boiler might be sufficient.
- Capacity – Are you the only one in your household who uses the espresso machine, or are there four people who use the machine each and every day? Do you entertain frequently? If all you need is to make a single cappuccino every morning, a single boiler espresso maker might be enough. But, if you expect to brew multiple lattes, cappuccinos, or macchiatos every day, a dual boiler might be the ideal option.
- Durability – Before you make a purchase, you should make sure that your espresso machine will last. Your new espresso machine should be able to work for several years without malfunctioning. You can expect even budget coffee machines to last several years. The types of materials used in the espresso machine have a lot to do with durability. Generally, metal machines are more durable than plastic ones. Automatic espresso makers with a lot of electric parts might need more repairs often than manual espresso machines.
- Size – Make sure that there is enough counter space for your espresso machine. Space is an important consideration when choosing a budget espresso machine.
- Simplicity – For many people, simplicity or ease of use is one of the most important features. Ease of use is a significant differentiating factor in different models. If you are not a coffee purist, how easy an espresso machine is to use might be the most important factor. Automatic or semi-automatic machines are perfect if you want easy. Some espresso machines can make complete espresso drinks like lattes with the press of a button. If you want convenience, look for a semi-automatic or superautomatic espresso maker with programmable settings. Only buy an automatic espresso machine if it has an intuitive interface.
- Cleaning – Read customer reviews to learn about the ease of cleaning. If it’s complicated or time-consuming to clean a specific coffee machine, you should avoid it. Cleaning your new machine should not become a chore. A machine that is difficult to clean won’t be a lot of fun to use it. Before you buy, make sure you have an idea of what it takes to clean your espresso maker. Unfortunately, feature-rich machines generally take more time to clean.
- Looks – Aesthetics are important too. After all, you are going to have to look at your coffee machine every day, so make sure it is a nice design.
- Support – If you are like me, you want an espresso makes with decent support. Support is important because any machine can break and you don’t want to find yourself without help. Do your research to make sure that the manufacturer has professional support. Read customer reviews to find out how the company handles warranty and repair issues. Don’t get stuck with a machine without great customer service and support.
You should keep the above points in mind when you are buying an espresso machine. But there are some models with some extra features that may change your mind about a machine while you’re shopping around.
Here are some additional espresso machine features to consider:
- Water Filter: Great ingredients make for a higher-quality espresso. And water is a key ingredient for coffee. If you buy an espresso maker with a water filter built-in, you can make a more flavorful cup of coffee.
- Built-In Coffee Grinder: A built-in coffee grinder is an extra convenience, but it can also result in a better-tasting coffee. This is an especially valuable feature for those with limited counter space or those who don’t want to buy a separate grinder.
- Frothing Wand: If you love drinks that require steamed milk, a frothing wand is essential. The good news is that most espresso machines have this feature.
- Programmable Settings: Programmable settings make it easier for you to make your espresso the way you like it, every time. Higher-end machines let you program multiple settings, which is great if multiple people are coffee drinkers in your house.
- Cup Warmer: A cup warmer isn’t critical, but it’s a nice feature to have.
What are the different types of budget espresso machines?
All budget espresso machines have similar components. The goal is to make you the perfect cup of espresso. Espresso machines include a boiler or two boilers, portafilter and group head.
The making of espresso drinks requires some basic steps. The process begins with a boiler that creates steam. The steam gathers in the group head, and this is where the magic takes place. Next, a mechanism pressurizes the steam into water. And finally, the water is forced through a “puck” of ground roasted coffee in a portafilter.
The ideal temperature for brewing espresso is at 195 degrees Fahrenheit (91 Celsius) with 10 bars of pressure. Different types of espresso machines generate the required pressure and temperature in different ways.
The best manual espresso machines
Manual machines – also called piston coffee machines, favored by many purists, require the use of a lever to create the pressure necessary to make an espresso. Operating a manual espresso machine requires focus and precision. It requires the brewer to pay attention to the smallest details. But using a manual coffee maker can be rewarding. If you can successfully pull your own shot, it’s something to be proud of. Still, piston machines aren’t common, not even in coffee shops.
Manual espresso machines lost their popularity in the 1940s. New technologies simplified the coffee brewing process. Faster, simpler, and more efficient machines have replaced the manual ones. However, manual machines remain popular with traditionalists for a few reasons:
- Champions of manual machines believe that once perfected; the manual process yields the best tasting espresso. They argue that you can control every part of the coffee brewing process by using a manual machine. You have complete control, from grinding the beans to tamp them to manually pressing the lever.
- Proponents of manual coffee makers also prefer the aesthetics of these machines. The classic look and feel make a manual machine nice to look at and conversationally appealing.
But manual espresso machines aren’t popular with everyone. Many people find the method tedious and exhausting, requiring a lot of practice to master. Opponents complain that the additional manual labor required isn’t worth it. In the end, the coffee tastes just the same.
The best semi-automatic espresso machine
Semi-automatic espresso machines are different than manual piston coffee machines. A semi-automatic espresso machine simplifies the coffee-making process for you. Instead of you having to pull down a lever to activate the piston, an electric pump is used. Manual labor is replaced by pressing a button. It can be as simple as selecting a program and pressing a button to get your cup of coffee.
As the name implies, a semi-automatic espresso machine is not fully-automatic. Before you can start brewing your coffee, you still have to grind the coffee, load the portafilter, tamp, and press the button to start brewing. With the semi-automatic option, there are still several manual steps. This type of machine gives you a high level of control over your drink. You can control the grind size. And you can also determine when the shot starts and stops. A semi-automatic machine allows you to choose how little or much coffee to use.
With semi-automatic espresso machines, you’re in charge. They are the most common machines in specialty coffee shops and the homes of coffee enthusiasts.
The best fully automatic espresso machine
If you want a hands-off approach to coffee brewing, a fully automatic espresso brewer might be perfect for you. Add coffee, make sure there is water in the machine, and press a button. This type of machine delivers a consistent quality drink with minimum effort. The biggest disadvantage of a fully automatic espresso machine is that you cannot control the shot timing.
The best superautomatic espresso machine
If you want complete automation, you need a superautomatic espresso machine. These machines provide convenience and consistent quality. The biggest downside of this type of machine is that you have no control over the shot. If you don’t like the coffee it makes, you are out of luck. Your only option is to buy another machine.
What is the best budget home espresso machine?
If you want easy and cheap espresso, a budget home espresso machine can be a good investment. But how much time do you want to spend making your daily espresso? And how much effort do you want to put into making it? There are some important considerations when choosing a home espresso machine.
The simple fact is that all home espresso machines will require some upkeep and maintenance: filling the water container, empty capsules, removing the coffee grounds, washing the drip tray, etc. If you don’t mind maintenance, you might want to consider a machine with a detachable brew group.
An important feature is the pump pressure. Pump pressure determines how much flavor your espresso machine can extract from the coffee. It also impacts the quality of the crema. Look for an espresso machine with nine bars or higher.