You enjoy an occasional espresso, but can't justify spending hundreds of dollars for a state-of-the-art espresso machine? There's no need to break the bank to enjoy a good cup of espresso at home. It is possible to find quite a good espresso machine that's also affordable and we have a few ideas for you.
The key to getting your money out of these economical espresso machines is to keep them clean and well maintained. Read the instruction manual thoroughly and follow their guidance for... pulling a shot of espresso and regular maintenance. They are more complex than your average drip coffee maker and a little diligence will keep them running smoothly and give you a good espresso.
Alternatively, we also have a couple of ideas for espresso on the go so you can enjoy a great cup unplugged or off-grid.
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De'Longhi is a trusted company in the coffee world and they do make some nice home espresso machines. An absolute bargain, this simple espresso machine will appeal to all those casual baristas who only need to make the occasional espresso.
- The machine is steam powered and produces a decent crema for an automatic espresso machine.
- The attached milk frothing wand is convenient for latte and cappuccino lovers.
- It has a built-in plastic tamper, but it cannot produce the force needed for a good... espresso. It's best (with all of these machines) to purchase a separate tamper.
For around the same price point, you can buy DeLonghi's BAR32 Retro 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker on Amazon.
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Mr. Coffee offers a variety of espresso machines that use either steam or a pump. This model uses the 15-bar pump system, which produces a better espresso more like traditional espresso machines.
For an affordable espresso machine, it includes all the basics and the ability to pull two shots at once is convenient. It is very similar in almost every feature to the De'Longhi with the exception of the pump.
- A frothing arm opens up the possibility for milk espresso drinks.
- The 40-ounce water... reservoir ensures water is always available and the drip tray catches any splashes and spills.
- Single and double shot portafilters are included so you can make either size quickly.
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Also with a 15-bar pump system, you'll find this Hamilton Beach machine to be comparable with the Mr. Coffee model. It is well made and easy to use.
Two brewing heads do make this machine an interesting find because you can make two cups of espresso at the same time. Make sure your espresso cups are small enough, though because it is a tight fit.
- The option to use espresso pods, as well as ground coffee beans, is convenient, particularly if you don't want to fuss with a grinder.
- The milk... frother has a long reach, giving you a great froth. It's also easy to clean with a cup of soapy water.
- Also with a 40-ounce reservoir, you can add water without turning off the machine. There's no need to wait for it to warm up again (though you should give it a minute anyway).
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Extremely small and considerably inexpensive, this little machine from Bella is a nice place to start with espresso at home. It is a good value for the casual espresso drinker.
For the price, the espresso from this machine is surprisingly impressive. It has the flavor and crema of other espresso machines under $100.
Continue to 5 of 6 below.
- A very simple machine that still requires a bit of a learning curve to pull a nice shot of espresso.
- The 5-bar pump system is not as powerful as other espresso machines, but it will do... the job.
- A small carafe is included, so you don't have to worry about finding demitasse cups to fit under the portafilter.
- The built-in milk frother lets you enjoy lattes and cappuccinos as well.
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The Handpresso 'Wild' is a fascinating little machine that allows you to make espresso anywhere you go. This compact, portable espresso maker can be spendy, but you can also find great deals on it.
It works like a tire pump for bicycles to build up the equivalent of 16 bars of pressure. This forces water into the coffee grounds, just like an espresso machine and, surprisingly, the resulting coffee is pretty good with a nice crema.
- Because it's so unique, there is going to be a... learning curve with this machine.
- No electricity is needed and you can even use the end as a tamper. Everything you need besides the water and coffee is right there making this ideal for camping and travel.
- Compatible with E.S.E. coffee pods or fresh grounds.
Another handheld espresso maker worth considering is the Minipresso Handheld Espresso Maker on Amazon.
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Technically not espresso, the coffee that comes out of a moka pot is rich, flavorful, and showcases a great coffee bean. The water pressure and absence of crema is the only real difference.
- Moka pots are extremely convenient, compact, easy to clean, and affordable.
- Available in 1-12 cup sizes. The three cup produces a nice... equivalent to a double shot espresso for a single person.
- Use it on your stove (check compatibility with ceramic and induction stovetops) or take it camping and brew espresso with your propane stove.
Alternatively, for a great espresso without the electricity, look at the Aeropress Coffee & Espresso Maker on Amazon.