Getting an espresso machine that costs under $200 is not that hard to do as long as you know what features you should look for.
With so many different brands and products out there, it may seem overwhelming trying to figure out which one to pick. Hopefully after reading this short guide you’ll have a better understanding on how to pick the right espresso maker for your kitchen.
The official guide on this subject can be read at this comparison on the best espresso machine under $200. Give it a look and find out for yourself all of the things you should be taking into mind.
Now, here are a few initial tips…
Steam Driven Vs. Pump Driven
You really got to watch out for this one. Many products may lure you in with a cheap price or fancy box, but if you pick the wrong type of brewing mechanism your espresso drinks will show for it.
The key here is to keep the words “pump driven” in your mind when shopping for an espresso machine. Pump driven units produce a high pressured power of water that is forced through the coffee grinds. This is how the most flavor is extracted from the fine grains of coffee. Steam driven products on the other had use an inferior, weak, steam pressure to brew the cup. You’d be better off getting a regular drip coffee machine and save yourself the money as a steam driven device barely compares to it.
Our top pick that falls into this category is the De’Longhi EC155.
Pod Vs. Regular
Another thing you want to look at is how the espresso maker produces the final drink. Does it require you to grind and tamp coffee beans or does it just take pod capsules with preground coffee in them? The former will allow you to experiment with the amount of coffee and tamping pressure while the latter you must succumb to the manufacturer’s preference for taste.
Pod machines are great for people who are on the go or don’t want to deal with grinding their own beans or putting a lot of effort into making a drink. Regular machines are more for the person who wants to enjoy the act of being a home barista and can control more of the final output and flavor. You can learn more about the pros and cons of each type of device over at David and Max.
Our top pick in this category for a pod machine is the Nespresso Pixie C60. As for a regular machine we like the Espressione Café Minuetto.
Plastic Vs. Stainless Steel
When looking for a product that is less than $200 you’re going to find a mix of machines that are both plastic, stainless steel, or a combination of both. Many companies cheap out on the construction of their espresso makers by using plastic parts, but this is bad because over time they wear out due to the high levels of heat an espresso machine produces. In order to be safe, always look for a product that has a full stainless steal construction. This will last a lifetime in your kitchen and is easy to clean and maintain.
Our top pick in this category is the De’Longhi EC702 which has full stainless steel construction.