Best espresso machines for every budget
While many people love a good cup of espresso, not many are willing to fork out big bucks for the high premium espresso machines. I am one of them because I am a cheap bastard so I tend to look for the best coffee gear for the money. In this article, I am going to share what I think are the best espresso makers for under 200, 300 and 400 dollars.
Best espresso machines under 200 dollars
Nespresso Inissia espresso maker is a value for money machine. Its speed is one of the fastest in the market. There is no waiting time as the machine is able to heat the water to the ideal temperature within 2 minutes. All you need to do is to press the ‘wake up’ button and then wait for a while before selecting your coffee brew. Not longer do you need to waste valuable time waiting for the water to heat or the machine to be ready. This truly is a game changer.
I recommend this model over others because of its reasonable pricing. It is the cheapest model in the Nespresso range but offers the same quality as the other pricey models. The difference between Inissia and others like Pixie is due to the size and the material of the machine but doesn’t affect the taste of the coffee. Hence, why spend the extra money when you get great espresso at its price?
The Nespresso Inissia is also a space saving coffee maker. It is compact and probably occupies the least amount of space when compared to other espresso makers.
I can’t say enough good things about this machine. It is affordable, delivers consistent brew and is fast to operate. This is my Editor’s choice and comes highly recommended.
Best espresso machines under 300 dollars
In the below 300 dollars space, the DeLonghi Lattissima espresso maker is an ideal choice. I didn’t pick any Nespresso model as I think Inissia is a better choice. In this category, the DeLonghi Lattissima is one of the fastest coffee machine, with a wait time of less than 1 minute. If you like your coffee fast, this is the machine for you. It is also more compact than other models in the same brand so it makes storage much easier.
Another plus point is the internal milk frother. This means you can make brews such as Latte and Cappuccino without using any additional appliance. Compared to using an external milk frother, the internally steamed milk is fresher and improves the taste of the Latte type of drinks.
Finally, the sound from this machine is softer if you compare it to regular milk frothers. It is not quiet by any means but it wouldn’t wake people up in the middle of their sleep.
Best espresso maker under 400 dollars
If you are feeling really generous and have a budget of $400 or $500 dollars, let me recommend to you this: the Breville 800ESXL espresso machine. This coffee maker has one of the best ratings on Amazon with an average of 4.5 stars (as of this writing) and is going to worth every dollar you are doing to spend.
One of the best thing about the machine is the grind. The Breville coffee grinders are always a pleasure to use and they have used similar technology or set up in this machine. There are a couple of setting you can used but my recommendation is to set it to the Turkish brew and bring it to the middle notch. This will give coffee grinds that is neither too large (like sand) and too fine (like powder). If you disagree with my recommendation, feel free to taste the different pressure settings until you get one that you are happy with.
This hands on approach with the grind is how the rest of the machine will work. It is something that can give you great espresso only if you spend time to learn how to use it through experimentation. The first few cups might not meet your expectation but as in all thing greats, the more you try, the better the result is. There are many settings to play with that if you are willing to commit, it will give you great coffee in return.
Noise wise, it is pretty standard like all espresso machines i.e. it is not a quiet appliance by any means. The only espresso maker that I remember isn’t loud is priced at $2000. So, either spend the money or put up with the noise.
From features point of view, it has many nice touches. For example, there is an inner storage bin for easy storage and pick up, and the swiveling steam wand is nice to use. The interface is also on the mark as it is easy to reach out and use them intuitively.
There is some that feels the temperature of the coffee is not hot enough but that is only if you didn’t follow the manual. I know most people just fumble their way through any new machine without bothering to read the manual but if you can’t do this for this machine, unless you want to drink espresso that is not hot enough.
Despite the good stuff, there are some things I wish that can be done.
One is the ability to steam milk and brew espresso at the same time. It is not really necessary but I think it will help to save some time if I can do both at once.
Another thing is that the machine can be quite particular on how you pack the grounds into it. If you arrange it in a way that doesn’t quite fit into what it desires, the resulting coffee might not be according to your expectation.
The third thing I would like is the ability to switch the machine off without unplugging the adapter. Trust me when I advice you to follow the instructions on the manual closely. It says you need to unplugged to truly power off and that is exactly the way it is. If you don’t believe it, see if you can hear some sound coming from the machine even when you switch the power off without unplugging.
Cleaning tips for the Breville 800ESXL
Proper cleaning of the Breville 800Esxl is important if you want to avoid clogging headaches in the future. These are the steps that I recommend:
- Wash the filter assembly and filters of wet coffee grounds
- Use a wet cloth to wipe the filter holder. If you don’t know what that is, it is the unremovable part where the water drips from)
- Run a 10 seconds clear water shot through the machine after the above has been done. This will flush out any clogs within the machine and prevents clogging
- Clean the steamer if you have used it. The longer you wait, the stronger the milk will harden and the tougher it is to clean it. My advice is to wash it asap once you are done.
Espresso machines are plentiful in the market so making choices is hard. Hopefully, through my recommendations on what are the best espresso machines for different budget, you will be able to make an easier choice.