The world, these days, seems to be in love with coffee. Coffee shops have practically sprouted in almost every corner of any neighborhood giving way to a new kind of culture – the coffee culture.
Coffee, especially espresso, is in high demand these days. Espresso, however, doesn’t come cheap. If you are an espresso lover/addict, buying an espresso machine would seem like a good idea. Although commercial espresso machines of good quality may seem quite pricey, there are affordable espresso machines below $200 that are good enough for your personal use. In fact, there is a wide range of models of espresso machines these days under different brands.
Before considering buying one though, you should be aware of what to look for in order to make your purchase worth the price. Money is still money regardless of how much you spend. You really wouldn’t want to end up with a lemon.
Keep in mind though that price doesn’t always mean quality. There are many pretty good espresso machines out there that won’t necessarily break the bank. Here is a list of the best picks of espresso machines below $200:
After checking out the recommended espresso machine models, you probably now have an idea of what machine you would like to purchase. Aside from the recommended brands, you may also have some other brand or model in mind.
What, however, are the things that you should look out for when buying an espresso machine? Here are some pieces of information that may help you in making a sound decision.
Admittedly, how one piece of equipment looks like, –when placed on a countertop, for example –will affect the overall look of your home.
As trivial as it may seem, try to check if the design of the coffee machine you have in mind is in sync with the overall design and feel of your home. Would the color be in harmony of your home’s color scheme? Would an overall metal look stand out in a country home theme?
One more thing to consider is space. Living in a small apartment or condominium gives you limited space. Make sure that the machine you plan to buy won’t occupy that much needed space in your home so you don’t end up with a future clutter.
Ease of Use
Espresso machines range from the simple to the complicated. If you have had no experience in handling an espresso machine, or have very little knowledge on coffee brewing, then it would be best the you stick to simple, semi-automatic models.
If you are up to the challenge though, there are manual models which can give you control of the settings of the machine at every step of the brewing process.
Ease of Cleaning
Espresso machines are quite difficult to maintain. They usually take a lot of time to clean in order for them to operate properly without any hindrance. If you feel that you have time to spend, cleaning the machine may not seem like a big problem for you.
If you do lead a busy lifestyle, however, be sure to check out for features like “self-rinsing” capabilities. Simple features such as these will help in easing the burden of having to meticulously go through every step of cleaning, saving you time and effort.
When it comes to price, there is a wide variety of models available at different prices that will meet your budget. However, some of the more pricey models will probably have better features than others. Try to check if the features you have in mind are worth your buck. This will help put your mind at ease when thinking about how to get your money’s worth.
When thinking about espresso machines, what comes to mind are large models that usually occupy most of the counter space. There are, however, portable and handheld models which are now available for purchase. If you are the type of person who is always on the go, or if you are an person who is always out on some outdoor adventure, then you should probably consider getting one of the portable models.
If you are thinking of having that cuppa mostly at home though, then countertop models are a better choice since these really produce better brews and are more sturdy as compared to the handheld ones.
For coffee addicts who live for more than three shots a day, the water reservoir matters. There are models available that can store larger amounts of water so you won’t end up having to refill the reservoir several times a day.
There are also models with twin-brew heads so that you can brew several shots on one go.
If your demand for coffee isn’t that much though, then you can go for models which produce single shots. These are more compact in design so you won’t have to compromise on space.
Many coffee experts will agree that the quality of the brew really depends on the amount of pressure exerted on the tightly-packed grounds as hot water flows through them.
Some experts will say that it takes at least nine bars of pressure to produce decent espresso. Nine bars of pressure means that pressure should be at least nine times that of atmospheric pressure. If, however, you are looking for espresso that goes beyond decent, consider having a machine that produces pressure of at least 15 to 17 bars.
What can you expect from an espresso machine under $200?
If you are after a decent shot of espresso, machines below $200 can offer you just that. They do come with milk frothers so you can come up with a wide variety of drinks as well. Be aware that machines below $200 will have its limits so you will have to tamper expectations when it comes to the quality of the espresso which won’t go beyond decent.
Is an espresso machine under $200 suitable for the home?
For everyday home use, these machines will definitely be able to do their job and produce good quality coffee. For office settings however, these may not be able to meet the demand needed given the volume of coffee needed on a daily basis.
Does an espresso machine under $200 make good espresso?
There are models that will produce decent shots of espresso. But then again, you will have to tamper expectations since espresso from these machines will still not be the same as that produced by the more expensive, professional models.
How many bars of pressure is good for espresso?
To make a decent shot of espresso, coffee experts recommend pressure of at least 8-9 bars. Newer models, however, now make pretty decent espresso with pressure ranging from 3.5 to 15 bars of pressure.
Be aware of the fact that espresso machines are just one method of brewing coffee to produce espresso. There are other methods which may produce espresso which may or may not create the same flavor that a machine may produce .