There are many factors that go into making the perfect shot of espresso, from the quality of the coffee you use, to how big the grain is after you have ground it, to how hot and what pressure the water comes at from the spout. In fact there are so many things that contribute to an excellent cup of espresso that it can be difficult to find an experienced barista who can actually make that coffee for you. However, the good news is that while the perfect espresso is hard to brew, a half decent one is almost ridiculously easy to make as long as you are using the proper tools. And the even better news is that, by experimenting daily, you can easily get to what could be your perfect shot of coffee. From there it is just a matter of finding the right type of milk and you could be making cappuccinos and lattes and American lattes in no time. But since it all starts with the espresso, we decided to look for the best affordable espresso machine and we have set ourselves a budget limit of 200 dollars. What follows is a list of those products and their most significant features, but we would also like to encourage you to scroll past the list to find the in depth reviews we have created for each product.
|DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker, Stainless||good||$$$||Click Here!|
|De'Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker||very good||$$||Click Here!|
|Mr. Coffee ECM160 4-Cup Steam Espresso Machine, Black||good||$$||Click Here!|
|De'Longhi BAR32 Retro 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker||very good||$$||Click Here!|
|Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker, Black||very good||$$||Click Here!|
1. DeLonghi EC702 Espresso Maker
If you have set yourself a budget of $200 and are perfectly willing to spend anything up to that for the perfect tool to make the perfect espresso, than the DeLonghi EC702 is your best choice. It is the most expensive item on our list, but it is definitely worth the money because, if used properly, it delivers almost gourmet quality espressos. The first of its many tricks is the fact that it uses a 15 bar pump to push the water to the grinds of coffee. That means you can pack the coffee as tightly as possible and, as the water is pushed through, it will pick up a lot of flavor and it will come out creamy and rich. The other thing that we love about the DeLonghi EC702 Espresso Maker is the fact that they used one of the thin, long milk frothing tools so you can really make a thick foam that will last for more than half an hour as you are enjoying a perfect cup of cappuccino. The entire machine can be used with just 3 buttons, and, as long as all you want is an espresso, you only have to push one button. The real secret in making the perfect shot of espresso with this machine is to use good quality coffee, ideally to grind it yourself, and to pack it in as tight as possible.
2. De’Longhi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
As long as all you want is the perfect shot of espresso, there is a much more affordable solution on the market for you, and it is the De’Longhi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino maker. There are 2 big differences between this model and the one we have already talked about. Here the sieve that the coffee passes through is not as fine as the one on the EC702 and therefore the foam that you get does not last for as long. It is just as thick, but you would need to drink the espresso within the first 15 minutes to really get to enjoy it. There is also the fact that the frother is thicker and therefore it tends to ruins the bobbles that make up the froth. So, if you enjoy cappuccinos, we would recommend paying the little bit extra and getting the EC702.
3. Mr. Coffee ECM160 Espresso Machine
For those of you working on the tightest of budgets, there is a cheaper alternative to the espresso makers we have been looking at so far, in the shape of the Mr. Coffee ECM160. It is actually something between an espresso maker and a coffee maker. The end product is something we would describe as a very strong coffee. It does not have any foam of its own, as any good espresso would, but you would be crazy to drink a full size cup at once. The frother itself is not very impressive, and the foam it creates does not last very long, but it does make something resembling a cappuccino.
4. De’Longhi BAR32 Retro Espresso Maker
There is a somewhat more expensive alternative to the De’Longhi EC155, and it is the De’Longhi BAR32 Retro. In reality these 2 machines have the exact same capabilities and offer the same quality both to the espresso and the cappuccino you would get from them. The difference is that the De’Longhi BAR32 Retro looks a whole lot better. They designed it based on the 50’s coffee shops espresso makers, giving it a modern twist, so it is something that will look very well on a kitchen top. The problem we have with it is the same one with the one we had with the EC155, in that the cappuccino is not quite as good as we would like it to be. However, if you have a 100 dollar budget, this will come way under that.
5. Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker
Besides the espresso maker there are many secrets that are connected to the coffee you use in getting the perfect shot of espresso. The Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker solves most of those problems because it uses its own proprietary coffee capsules. That way the coffee is perfectly ground for this type of machine, it is perfectly encapsulated so it retains almost 90% its flavor, and you do not have to worry about the mess or getting the quantity right. Of course, you will end up paying a premium for those coffee capsules, but because the machine is so cheap, you will still come in below the price you would pay for an equivalent espresso at a good brewery in town. The only real beef we have with the Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker is the fact that it does not have a frother, so it is impossible to also make a good quality cappuccino based on your espresso.