We think that 2020 is going to be the year of coffee. More precisely, 2020 is going to see a lot of changes in coffee – and what we hope is that the quality of coffee around the world is going to steadily rise, along with the number of people who classify themselves as espresso lovers. Won’t you like to experience that firsthand?
But first, you need your very own espresso machine. There are a lot of advantages to having your own espresso machine – from an infinitely better-tasting coffee to saving money, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, nothing beats the satisfaction of making your own espresso.
Here’s our list of the best inexpensive machines available right now:
Mr. Coffee’s Espresso and Cappuccino maker: Café Barista
We’re choosing this coffee maker as our first on the list because this machine is much like turning the difficulty setting to easy on any regular espresso machine: It does a lot of the work for you, and it does it well.
Something that a Barista will never tell you is that making your own latte or cappuccino can be really complicated. When you have to calculate the exact amount of milk just for yourself and get the froth just right – all that extra work can make a latte seem less appealing than it would if someone else did it for you.
But that’s all fine and good when you have the Café Barista, a machine that not only heats and froths milk by itself, but also pours it on its own like a pro.
- It makes near-perfect cappuccinos without you having to do any work at all.
- Since you can manually adjust the froth of your milk, it’s particularly great for latte drinkers and the like. Get your milk exactly the way you want it.
- Very easy to use, with only three buttons for you to choose from.
While you could argue that not having a steam wand turns this machine into something else than just an espresso machine, we believe that such a feature is exactly what many espresso lovers need to finally make the decision to get their very own espresso maker.
And after all, that’s what matters most: Once you have a good espresso, which the Café Barista delivers, the rest is the easy part.
With an all-metal, beautiful looking surface and plenty of space on top of the machine for your coffee cups to rest while you make coffee, the Dedica is like having a big espresso machine without all the unnecessary bits.
At first glance, the De’Longhi Dedica might seem more of a single-serve coffee machine. This is a great thing, because it means that it’s compact and takes up very little space – unlike most other espresso makers. The design focuses on depth rather than width, turning a potentially chunky machine into a sleek, good-looking piece of art.
- Saves a lot of space
- Manual frother: This feature lets you really get in there and be a part of the process of making your very own latte or cappuccino. Higher quality wand than other De’Longhi models.
- Always wanting to be more convenient, De’Longhi incorporated a function for this machine that automatically stops the shot as soon as the coffee’s done, so there’s no risk of your coffee being over extracted.
- Accommodates espresso cups as well as taller cups and mugs.
While the Dedica is definitely a wonderful machine, it barely made it into this list, because it’s right on the $200 mark.
But it’s money well spent. A machine like this works wonderfully and rarely gives you any trouble -provided you take good care of it, of course- and it’s just a completely different experience. Using this coffee maker will make you feel like a real barista.
DeLonghi ECP3420 and ECP3120
Sometimes, you just want a simple, yet bulletproof machine. That’s what De’Longhi set out to do with this now-famous duo of entry-level, awesome espresso machines that work wonders and are about as easy to use as you can get with these kinds of machines.
Although there is a substantial difference in price (not really that much, but worth pointing out) both these machines are De’Longhi’s most trustworthy, durable entry-level espresso makers.
Both the 3420 and 3120 are equipped with a 15-bar pressure system: This ensures professional-quality espresso making. They can also accommodate both espresso cups as well as mugs, and have a frothing wand for you to start making your lattes at home.
- Best price-quality buy on this list.
- Durable and resilient machines.
- Very easy to use.
Usually, when you think of De’Longhi, you picture a really big and sophisticated machine – and that’s mostly true.
The biggest downside to these machines is their design; It’s a practical one, but it really does not live up to current standards – they look a little bit outdated.
But if you can get past that small detail, these are some of the best machines out there, just because of how long they can last when you take into account their price range. A true hidden gem in the espresso-making world.
What do you do if you live in a crowded household, or among many coffee lovers other than yourself? How can small, inexpensive machines even hope to serve more than a few people before running out of water?
They can’t, and that’s why you have coffee makers like the EM-200. Cuisinart might not know as much about coffee as coffee-specific brands, but it really does know what people are looking for when it comes to home use.
And that is, in many cases, a machine that is not too expensive but can still serve coffee for the whole family without the hassle of refilling the water tank – is that too much to ask?
- Warming tray on top of the coffee maker for warming up cups before serving the coffee.
- 69-ounce water tank!
- Very easy to use.
- Good looking.
Though the EM-200 is quite chunky, it pays off handsomely for all the extra space. The extra capacity saves you a lot of trouble when it comes to cleaning the machine, or just simply not having to refill it that often – which usually involves moving the coffee machine in a cramped space. Very annoying.
Overall, this easy-to-use espresso machine can handle a big workload and features a very sophisticated and elegant design.
Breville Café Roma
Café Roma is a seamless combination of elegance and practicality. Though a lack of buttons may give one the impression of cheapness or poor performance, the design for this machine pulls this off perfectly.
True to the roots of espresso machines, the Café Roma wastes no time or space by giving each function a button – a type of design that’s been spreading across all types of coffee machines because it appeals to the more low-tech among us, but it’s by no means necessary.
Besides this great design achievement, the Café Roma comes with a steam wand that makes rich, thick froth. It comes with a double-wall filter – which helps you get more crema out of your coffee.
- 15 bars of pressure for higher quality espresso.
- It comes with a milk pitcher.
- The steam wand is shorter and easier to move than in other espresso machines.
- It’s very practical and easy to use.
- The water tank’s water level is easy to check.
Despite being an inexpensive machine, with a price under $200, the Café Roma really feels like you’ve got your own café-style espresso maker. It’s powerful, it’s operated via dials and switches like traditional espresso makers and, last but not least, it looks spectacular in your kitchen, office – basically wherever you want it, it’ll look great.
What’s charming about this particular machine is how there are two versions that are basically the same machine on the inside, but the outside -and the way you operate the machine- changes dramatically.
The first version, the “manual”, has a very retro look- It’s got a warming tray on top and you operate it mostly via a big dial. It’s even got red light indicators that look very 20th century. Apart from that, it’s a little bit more compact than its sibling, the “automatic” version.
The automatic/programmable version is much more appealing for younger generations or busier people in general: It’s got very simple buttons for operating the machine and it has a programmable button for you to save yourself some time by teaching the machine exactly how you like your coffee.
- 15 bars of pressure to get the whole flavor out of your coffee grounds.
- 53/69-ounce water reservoir.
- Smooth stainless steel finish that’s easy to clean.
If you’re on the fence about getting a more manual machine or one that’s easier, this one will make things even tenser, since they both look like such good options. On the bright side, though, it’s easier to make a choice when it comes to the EM-100 because you know you’re getting the same machine, with just a few differences incapacity.
Hamilton Beach Espresso – Black and Stainless (40792)
The team over at Hamilton Beach completely outdid themselves with this espresso machine. The design is quite unique – at the front, you’ve got all you need for making coffee: traditional espresso-style, which is a plus, then at the back, you’ve got the water tank.
But instead of throwing a large water tank in there and making the machine look chunky, the back of this machine is a combination of both depth and width; not taking up a lot of space by dedicating a little of each to this part of the machine.
Not just a compact design, this espresso maker features a unique “slide-and-lock” way to handle the portafilter that makes it much easier for you to use the machine. This works instead of the regular way, which is difficult and you miss the mark even after years of making coffee. The slide and lock feature, you just slide in the portafilter and use a lever on the side of the machine to lock it in place. Easy.
- Warming tray on top.
- 15 bars of pressure (quite a lot for a HB machine).
- Slide and lock feature.
- Compact, ergonomic.
Though it is well known that Hamilton Beach makes decent coffee makers -though their drip coffee makers are particularly good- it came as a surprise to us just how good this machine is, considering the price.
It makes very good espresso, while keeping costs low and being novice-friendly thanks to the strange -but awesome- slide and lock feature.
Capresso 124.01 Ultima Pro
For our last item, we have quite a machine for you. The Ultima Pro looks impressive at first glance, but it’s even more impressive once you get to know it: It’s got a programmable function along with a self-tamping function that will make your life easier.
With both the dial and steam wand on the left, this machine is probably an accidental great choice for left-handed people. The steam wand, by the way, is one of the most powerful ones on our list, with really high pressure that gets a rich texture going in your milk within seconds.
The buttons on the front of the machine are rather self-explanatory, and you can even program the coffee buttons to adjust to your preferences.
The water tank is removable and is completely hidden at the back of the machine. Luckily, there is an indicator next to the drip tray so that you don’t have to go over to the tank each time you want to check the water level!
- Self-tamping function.
- Great for left-handed people.
Whether you’re left-handed or not, you’ll see that the Ultima Pro is one of the most desirable machines on the list. There are few machines that can match the self-tamping function and the practicality that the design of this machine achieves: Easy to use buttons, automatic tamping, programmable function, and water level indicator. What else could we ask for?