How’s that latte you are having on the way to work? Delicious but worth $5? Was it worth the long line and the wait for it to be ready?
It’s Saturday morning and is it worth getting up and dressed to go out and get your double espresso? Wouldn’t you rather have that latte at home or in the car without having to stop on the way to work?
The answer to all these questions is owning your own espresso machine and being able to make hot coffee drinks anytime that you want to.
Many people are intimidated by the espresso coffee machine, but you don’t have to be. Making your own special coffee drinks can not only be easy, it can also be fun!
Having your own espresso machine gives you access to all the different types and flavors of coffee from around the world. You are not limited by the flavors of cups, ground or beans in your local store.
The more you learn about coffee the more fun you will have. Try your own recipes by mixing various types and flavors of coffee to make your own masterpiece. Sound good? Are you licking the foam off your lips?
Let’s find out how you decide what espresso machine is for you. To get you started we will stick to machines that cost less than $200 but still give you the best possible results. Let’s learn what important in making specialty coffees at home.
If you are going to purchase an espresso machine for under $200, you need to know what you want and what to look for. Before you can do that.
You need a little information about these machines and what kind of choices you have. There are two main types of espresso machines for home use in respect to how they operate.
Steam or Pressure
There are steam driven machines and pressure driven machines. Which one is best for you? Let’s take a look.
Steam machines the water is heated and pushed through the coffee by a steam boiler. It will heat the water to the temperature where steam is produced and then begin the brewing process.
This temperature point can vary depending on what the boiler is made of, and if it begins brewing at less than 200’F, you won’t get a cup of espresso, rather just strong coffee. The steam method does not produce as much pressure as the pump and won’t create as much froth.
Pump Driven Machines
Pump driven machines can generate more pressure than a steam driven one. The temperature of the water will always be 200’F and you will always get a perfect cup of espresso every time.
The more pressure your machine has the more creamy froth you will have. This doesn’t mean you should buy the machine producing the most pressure.
There are other variables to consider as well but in general the higher the pressure the better tasting, more frothy espresso.
To Automate or not to Automate
There are four types of espresso machines once you have decided about steam or pressure. These types are: Manual, Semi-automatic. Automatic, and Super Automatic.
Why does this matter? It depends on how much control you want and how much time you have. How long the espresso flows has an impact on how your finished product tastes.
If you want to control the taste and have the time you can go manual or semi-automatic. If you have very little time and want to get ready for work in the morning while your latte is being made, then go with the automatic or super automatic.
This is the time consuming machine that allows you the most customization. The user controls the water, manually pushing it through. You can get all different strengths and tastes. These are best for those who are experienced at making espresso.
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
This allows the user some control. The water pressure is taken care of for you, but you can decide when the pump should be off and on. This allows some customization.
Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
With this version, the user does not control the water or the pump.
Super Automatic Espresso Machine
These are like the automatic except they have additional features like a built in coffee bean grinder or are self-cleaning.
It is also true that the more automation you want the more you will have to spend. This includes double boilers or the use of capsules instead of beans. Capsule machines do exactly what it sounds like they do.
The coffee is found in the capsules instead of putting grounds into the filter. The larger expense in this case, is actually after the fact in buying the capsules.
They are expensive, and you will use a lot of them if you are a heavy coffee drinker. You will also need to purchase a frothier for your lattes and cappuccinos.
To Froth or Not to Froth
The last thing you might want to look at is whether the machine you buy has a frothier. Do you want all that creamy froth on your coffee? It is a personal preference question and not one of price.
Even the lesser priced machines can have a good frothier. The other option if you chose a coffee without, you will still need one and have to buy it separately, which might affect the price.
Now let’s look at our best espresso machines
|DeLonghi EC702||Stainless steel boiler|
|Mr. Coffee ECMP1000||1 touch operation|
|Flair Espresso Maker||Duel Frothier|
|Hamilton Beach 40792||Patent Filter holder|
|Espressione CM-1695 Minimoka||Fast heating Boiler|
|Nespresso Vertuo Espresso||Versatility|
|Ninja CF091 Coffee Makers||Stainless Steel|
|Aicok Espresso Machine||Versatility|
|Capresso EC100||Duel Frothier|
Our 1st Choice : DeLonghi EC702– Best Features Stainless steel boiler
This is our top rated machine and for more than its stainless steel boiler. This is a pump driven machine and it self-primes automatically.
It uses ground coffee or pods and the filter holder is patented. With the convenient frothier you can have delicious lattes and cappuccinos in no time.
The frothier is also patented in a separate chamber that mixes the milk and steam to produce a perfect froth each time you use it.
The steam pressure is controlled by a thermostat separate from the thermostat that controls the water temperature.
The stainless steel cabinet and boiler will last you for many years. You can make yourself a shot and another for a friend with the patented filter holder.
Our 2nd Choice – Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 – One Touch Operation
Our number 2 machine comes from a name familiar to coffee drinkers everywhere as a good deal for the price.
This machine is the same. For under $200 you get a semi-automatic espresso, latte and cappuccino maker.
With a pump system for great tasting espresso and an automatic frothier does the work for you in creating your creamy froth.
The one touch operation allows you to easily select the drink you want, single or double. With two large reservoirs for milk and water you will always be ready to go.
This machine is the most popular with consumers looking for an inexpensive espresso machine.
One reason might be the way you can match your kitchen décor with red, white or stainless steel exteriors.
In addition to the cappuccino, espresso and lattes, you can make your friends favorite drinks, like toffee lattes, pumpkin spice lattes, espresso martinis and caramel cappuccinos.
Our 3rd Choice : Flair Espresso Maker – Many Customization Options
You might be surprised by this choice at number 3 since the Flair is a manual machine without the automatic bells and whistles.
The Flair is however, a very unique manual espresso maker.
The first thing you will notice is the unique and attractive design of the Flair. This matte or chrome machine with the copper base looks great in your kitchen or on that camping trip.
You can take this espresso maker anywhere you go and experience delicious, customized coffee drinks anytime.
This is a press with a simple lever not needing any electricity or pods. This is a machine for the connoisseur of espresso who will take the time to craft their own specialty drinks and classic espresso.
With a detachable brew head cleaning is easy and you can then pack it all away in the nice carrying case that is provided.
Our 4th Choice : Breville ESP8XL – Duel Wall filter
Machine #4 on our list is a dual wall filter system, a thermoblock pump and a stainless steel casing. This dual wall filter will help you to produce delicious specialty coffee.
The espresso machine comes with a stainless pitcher, a measuring spoon, a tamping tool and a cleaning tool. It also includes the frothing jug and drip tray.
The thermoblock pump makes your espresso at just the right temperature. With plenty of pressure you can make your favorite drinks barista style with plenty of foam and froth.
Our 5th Choice – Hamilton Beach 40792 – Patent Filter holder
The Hamilton Beach 40792 brings another well known small appliance maker into the espresso market.
This machine with its patented filter holder will produce coffee café type drinks with the same quality as a café. With a 15 bar pump there is plenty of pressure for rich espresso and crema.
This automated machine will give you café quality drinks every time.
Just make your choices, use the selector dial and set your favorite espresso and steam. The Hamilton Beach is a compact, space saving machine
This machine can make your espresso in under three minutes. It also brings an Extra Cream System and self-priming pump with silent operation.
This is a big plus because most systems are actually quite noisy.
Your favorite ground beans will now make you a wonderful espresso, cappuccinos and lattes.
This machine is small and good looking. It won’t take up much space in your kitchen but it will look good where ever you put it.
Our 7th Choice Nespresso Vertuo Espresso-Versatility
This highly versatile fully automated machine brings you a variety of drinks at the touch of a button. You can make up to 5 different drinks – Espresso, Gran Lungo, Double Espresso, Alto and Coffee.
The best coffee drinks with perfect crema are possible due to the Nespresso’s Centrifusion technology. You can choose from three cup sizes 1.35 oz, 8 oz, and 14 oz. It does use only the Nespresso coffee capsules.
Our 8th Choice Ninja CF091 Coffee Makers – High quality Stainless Steel
This is probably one of the best known of these type of espresso machines due to a lot of marketing and commercials.
The Ninja can do a variety of things in short order. This is the next generation Ninja. Coffee Bar following a very popular system.
What makes this one different? It’s made of stainless steel and sports the Ninja Advanced Thermal Flavor Extraction Technology that allows a variety of richness levels of the coffee.
These levels include Classic, Over Ice, Rich, Ninja’s Signature Brews Specialty and Café Forte. This machine will also add a classy detail to your kitchen.
You can make your coffee by pushing a button and turning a couple knobs.
You can also customize and control the length of expression for your own classic brews. You can make two cups at once.
Our 9th Choice Aicok Espresso Machine – Unique Versatility
This Aicok Espresso Machine is versatile and attractive stainless steel.
It is a 2 in 1 with a frothier that makes latte, espresso, moca and cappuccino. This machine is fast with a powerful heater.
The filter is made for the beginner but produces coffee to satisfy even the most experienced barista. You can make up to two cups at a time. Cleaning is manual on your part.
Our 10th Choice – Capresso EC100 – Has Duel Frothier
This is a stainless steel unit with ThermoBlock heating. You can make single or double espresso. There is also a Dual Frothier for cappuccinos and lattes.
There is no waiting from brewing to steaming or frothing. Making your specialty drinks is easier than ever with this machine. This is the least expensive model in our study and it is a bargain for the money.
There you have it. The best espresso machines under $200. Only one is a manual machine. All of them will make you an excellent espresso, cappuccinos and/or lattes. You can design your own flavors and the richness of your coffee.
You can entertain your friends with your wonderful cups of espresso after dinner. You can also get all of this for less than $200.
This market strata is growing, and your choices will grow as well. So, if you like espresso, try out a few of these machines. You won’t be disappointed.