Espresso Machines and Your Coffee
If there’s one thing a coffee drinker enjoys more than sipping on a great cup of coffee, it’s the thought of making their own espresso-based cuppa at home. It has that DIY appeal about it. As good an idea as it is, if you start looking at the market place for your espresso machine, with so many available, it might turn out to be a more difficult job than you first thought. What we will try to do here is to provide an unbiased review that may help you make the final choice on brand and features.
How Much Does the Best Espresso Machine for Home Cost?
For the first-time buyer, there is probably a budget they have in mind and it might range from $60 – $500. At the top end of that scale you would probably end up with a decent system, a top of the line model.
Cheaper models might be stream driven and made from plastic, and as a result they won’t produce a great quality espresso. Their tendency to easily break makes them a risky buy as well. That means you might not even be offered a warranty by the manufacturer. The low prices are a temptation for the compulsive buyer who has not bothered to check out reviews or at least done a bit of homework on espresso machines.
Even though you might be on a budget, you can still find a very good espresso machine if you look around. While the minimum spend should be at least $100, it means you can find, for that money, decent espresso machines that are pump-driven and that make a nice cup of coffee. Choosing pump driven is a better way to go as the pump design produces a good shot of espresso.
You will soon discover that espresso machines for home use are either manual piston-driven machinesor the more popular pump-driven. The manual models can be a bit difficult to use when pulling a shot. Best to stick with the machine that is set up to do that in auto mode.
What’s Available Today?
- DeLonghi America ECAM28465B Prima Donna Fully Automatic Espresso Machine with Lattecrema System
- Cuisinart EM-200 Programmable 15-Bar Espresso Maker, Stainless Steel
- Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker powerful 15-bar Italian pump
- Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista Premium Espresso/Cappuccino System
- Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
Let’s take a look at the above 5 recommendations which range from less than $100 to the top of the range DeLonghi priced at almost $2000! Reviews on these products are all at 4 stars or more, which means that price can sometimes play only a small part in what the customer likes the best. We can compare features and ease of use to give a fair summary of what we believe is value for money.
DeLonghi America ECAM28465B Prima Donna Fully Automatic Espresso Machine with Lattecrema System
This machine is top of the range in features and cost with a price tag of just under $2000, and that’s with a $500 discount! Some very impressive features include:
- 2 litre water tank
- An additional spout to make tea or hot chocolate
- A memory function
- It has what is called a lattecrema auto function that ensures a long lasting, thick cappuccino foam
- An adjustable dispenser height to cater for all sizes of coffee cups and mugs
- Coffee bean grinder built in
You would think that for this price you are going to get a machine big enough to open your own café, but in fact, the unit is quite compact and will sit comfortable on a kitchen bench.
The DeLonghi brand name carries a bit of punch, so for this expenditure you can expect to get the best. This machine is for serious coffee drinkers who frequently like a brewed beverage.
Cuisinart EM-200 Programmable 15-Bar Espresso Maker, Stainless Steel
The unit is competitively priced at around $140 and appears to be of solid construction with the stainless steel making it look good as well as being a strong selling point. It has a number offeautures such as:
- The steam nozzle for the cappuccino or latte
- Programmable to make single or double espressos
- A cup warming tray
- A frothing cup
There are some complaints on the number of times the machine needs cleaning. The steam function needs to be primed and it’s important to use a coarser ground coffee. The unit is simple to use, simple press button technology to get what you want. The steamer will make good frothy milk, it seems a good idea to buy a suitable container.
Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker powerful 15-bar Italian pump
Priced at under $100 and does the job in that it makes a nice espresso coffee for you. There’s not a lot of complicated dials and doodads to confuse the process. The pump operates at 15 bar pressure, and the tank is stainless steel. The machine seems to be new to the market and does not have many reviews. There are no special features, which can be a good thing because less to go wrong or break.
Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista Premium Espresso/Cappuccino System, Silver
The machine is priced at around $140, about the same as the Cuisinart product mentioned earlier and has a number of features that help make it an attractive purchase for the coffee lover:
- Removable milk AND water reservoirs for easy cleaning
- The control panel is a touch panel and you can select double or single, cappuccino or latte
- Includes filters and tampers, coffee recipes and a measuring scoop
- Adjustable tray to accommodate all sizes for mugs and cups
This is a very popular brand of espresso machine that does everything at the touch of a button.
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
This is another model, like the Delonghi, that is for serious and frequent coffee drinkers. You would be hoping to get one of the best considering the price in comparison to other model and makes. It not only looks good sitting on the kitchen bench but has a number of features that include:
- Stainless steel coffee grinder
- 15 bar pump and 1600W power heating
- Purge function for the best espresso extraction
- Removable water tank with handle
Most people that bought this model, or the one that preceded it, say that it is one of the best espresso makers on the market.
Conclusion and Recommendation
If price is going to be an overriding factor in your decision-making process when buying an espresso machine, then you might be tempted to opt for the cheaper models at around $140 – $150. But to get the best coffee, an inbuilt grinder, a signal to clean, good looks, reliability and long lasting with a good warranty, then the Breville is the best investment. It’s almost as good as what you will see making you a coffee at a Starbucks store. It has all the features necessary to give you a satisfying cappuccino or latte at just the push of a button.
Finally, you should not be buying something like an espresso maker without checking out the reviews for the product. You will find numerous reviews posted on product pages and it’s a matter of going through them as some of them are quite detailed. It’s always a good idea to read what others have to say about a product before buying.