Don’t you just want to reach out for a good cup of coffee, only for you to be far from your favorite coffee shop? We all know how that feels, and I myself have been hankering for a good cup. It’s not just about the shabby brewed coffee that I want, but also that rich and creamy espresso, the very base of any blended coffee-based beverage out there.
So, why not go for an espresso machine instead? Well, for one thing, it’s actually really expensive to get one, and that’s probably one of the biggest reasons people get deterred over buying a good espresso maker. In the long run, we’d probably want to pop over to our local coffee shop, just to get our fix.
But what if I tell you there are actually tons of cheaper options out there that you can just look into? That may come a surprise for you, but there are espresso makers available that are just below $200, which could fit your budget. You won’t need to shell out a lot of cash, just so you could make the perfect cup of coffee at home—you’d only need to look for cheaper ones that give you great value for your money.
Now that you’re ready to buy an affordable espresso machine, here is where we take a look at some of the best in the market that you may want to check out for yourself. Think of this as a sort of review corner, where I help you choose what you think is right for you, according to what you prefer.
Are you ready? Then, let’s get started!
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This one-touch machine by Gourmia, a big name in espresso machine brands, can do a lot of things, aside from making espresso. For example, it can also a latte maker, allowing you to make froth from milk, which you can use for that cup of latte or cappuccino. It’s a really handy machine to have in your home, if you’re looking to do a lot of things with it.
One thing I like about this machine is that it’s easy to clean, and not to mention that it’s Nespresso compatible(!), which I think is really awesome. As I said, it can really do a lot of things, and it’s ridiculously easy to use. You may buy this machine for yourself, or if you want, you can buy it as a gift for your loved one.
Excellent value for money
Easy to use
Some have reported water leaking issues
A bit noisy
I’m not going to lie, the first thing that got to me when I saw this machine was how sleek it looks with its stainless-steel finish. Who wouldn’t want one with just a glance? Regardless, Breville, a company that has made its name in the coffee maker industry, has seen to it that this machine of theirs offers a lot to espresso lovers.
Like most espresso makers, it has its own frothing system, so you can enjoy a cup of latte or cappuccino, once you’ve got the perfect extract. It’s good to know that you’re not only getting a sleek espresso machine, but also something that functions in a straightforward manner. I think that’s enough for anyone.
Stainless steel design might not be for everyone
Serves one cup at a time
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista
This product, which also has a 3-in-1 feature that allows you to make a cup or latte or espresso, styles itself as something akin to a commercial espresso machine, but at a cheaper price. You could probably get away with setting up a small coffee shop with this thing! That may be putting it brashly, but who knows—maybe that’s where you’ll be getting.
Know that it’s not just for baristas, but also for the average folk who just want a good cup of coffee. It’s easy enough to use, uncomplicated, and it’s also pretty easy to clean. You’ll find this one to be a treat. It’s also noteworthy that it steams and froths at the same time, making sure you get that frothy finish really quick and easy.
Easy to use
May have inconsistent quality
Some complaints about durability
Espresso Machine Aicok
If you want something bigger that does more, then this espresso machine from Aicok could be the perfect product for you. It allows you to do multiple things at once, like froth milk and make two shots of espresso. It’s perfect when you want something quick and easy, which is actually what people want, really.
Like numerous machines out there, it’s also Nespresso compatible, which makes it more versatile than the usual espresso machine. Looks-wise, it’s also got that sleek and attractive stainless-steel finish, so, it’s perfect for your home, especially when you have guests over. It makes great-quality espresso, so it could be perfect for you.
Makes two cups at once
Versatile and compatible with popular brands
Big and bulky for its class
Stainless steel design is rather common
De’Longhi Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine
Finally, we have something that’s actually focused on making a quick and easy cup of Nespresso, and it’s this easy-to-use machine by De’Longhi. For one thing, it’s a small product that won’t take up to much space on your cupboard, and you can easily just store it away when it’s not in work. Plenty of people would only dream about a mini espresso maker.
Although it’s quite limited in a lot of aspects, for its price, it’s great when you just want a quick shot of espresso to get you going in the morning. It’s just perfect for those who just want something straightforward! It’s also got an aesthetically-pleasing design, so it could well pass as some sort of adornment for your home. If you want something simple, then this one’s for you.
Small and portable
Features are rather basic
Looks a bit plain
How to Buy the Right Machine
First off, before going for the best espresso machine that is “cheap,” why don’t we check out what you should look for in a machine before you actually get one? After all, you wouldn’t want to go for the wrong espresso maker, right, regardless of how affordable it is?
Here are some aspects to look out for when buying an espresso machine.
Ease of Operation
You could start your own coffee shop, but if you’re just looking into having the best coffee machine for espresso in your home, then you’d want to have something that you can operate as easy as possible, because you can’t really expect yourself to have all the technical know-how.
I’d really love an espresso machine that operates as simple as a run-of-the-mill coffee maker, and I know there are plenty of those in the market today, but let’s not get deep into that first, so, we’re moving on to the next point.
Simplicity or Sophistication
Perhaps you’re the type of person who wants more features for your espresso maker, or maybe you just want something simple, something that’s ready to make a creamy shot of espresso, regardless of where you’re making it. I think it’s important to look into your preferences when it comes to this, because it could well dictate your budget.
The Type of Machine
There are actually many types of espresso machines out there, ranging from the more mechanical ones, to the manual, “old school” types. You’re likely going to get the best out of knowing which type of machine you need if you just learn to determine what’s up.
Different espresso machines include fully-automatic, semi-automatic, super-automatic, and manual. Of course, the ease of use depends on how much work you need to put in, just to extract that coveted crema out of your coffee beans or grain.
Ease of Cleaning
Producing excellent espresso with an easy-to-use espresso machine is one thing, but who’s going to clean up the mess afterwards? Well, it’s you, of course, so it would be best to go for a machine that’s almost ridiculously easy to clean. Consider the number of components and moving parts. Sometimes, you’re actually better off getting a manual espresso machine than bulkier, more sophisticated machines that just require plenty of work to clean.
And finally, one we just talked about. You’d first need to consider how much you’re willing to spend, and it’s always a good idea to spend less without compromising quality, as well as some of the points mentioned above. Espresso machines can of course be expensive, but like I said, there are always cheaper options in the market, with those below $200.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do home espresso machines work?
This question actually depends on the type of espresso machine you’ve got at home. Some machines just have a one-button function that’s easy enough for anyone to use. Others require a lever that’d extract the crema out of the coffee grains, giving you a richer taste and texture.
One thing’s for sure: home espresso machines are much, much easier to use than those big, bulky commercial ones, and they’re also far easier to clean, making them the perfect appliance for everyday use.
How do you use a home espresso machine?
As I just said, it depends on what machine you’ve got. For the most part, however, many people would rather go for a one-touch machine. You just need to fill the reservoir with water, place some grains, and just push the button. Then, you’ll just have to wait for the espresso to gush out into your cup.
How do you use a manual lever espresso machine?
You may have gotten curious about how those level espresso machines work, and if you’re looking to buy a home espresso machine with the same function, well, I’ll tell you how you’re supposed to go about it. Many people argue, after all, that those lever espresso machines produce a higher-quality espresso than usual.
As always, there’s a water reservoir and a heating element to boil water. Once you add the grains and heat the water, you need to push down on the lever. This forces hot water to course through the grains, squeezing out and extracting espresso from the grains in the process.
Although it’s a time-consuming way of making espresso at home, a lot of people prefer using it, and are always looking for the best manual espresso machine.
How do you drink a cup of espresso?
How else would you do so? It all depends on how you want it! Some people like to take a shot there and there, while some would add milk, a form of creamer, or even sugar. Others like using the espresso as a base for beverages like latte and cappuccino, among other things, considering just the espresso itself could be too harsh for them.
Others who still want that pure, earthy flavor just add water, which is essentially what an Americano is. However way you do it, there are plenty of ways for you to style that cup of espresso. All it takes is a little practice, really.
How much espresso is too much?
It’s important to know your threshold when it comes to drinking espresso. It contains caffeine, after all, and people react differently to caffeine, considering it’s actually a stimulant drug. Some people develop a good amount of resistance to caffeine, while others would get jittery with just a cup of espresso.
Generally, however, when it comes to caffeine consumption, around 300 mg is the limit. A shot of espresso usually contains 64 mg of caffeine, so it’ll take around four-and-a-half shots of espresso before you have enough. Of course, this depends on how much caffeine a person can really take, but it’s always best to err on the safe side.
So, how about that? It’s good to know that there are plenty of easy-to-use, easy-to-clean, and affordable espresso machines out there which are perfect for your home. All you need to do is to choose the right one. I hope my reviews above have helped you decide on which one to purchase, considering their features, among other things.
On the other hand, you could simply choose the machine you want, based on your needs. It’s always good to have an espresso machine in your house if you’re a coffee enthusiast who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money. So, go ahead—look into which ones you want!
But if you’re still caught in a dilemma of sorts whenever you’re looking to purchase one, then you can always go back to my reviews of the best espresso machines under $200.