Top 5 Best Espresso Machines For Home Under $300
Top 5 Best Espresso Machines For Home Under $300
We all love our fresh brewed coffee, right? We wake up in the morning, get ready for work, put a K cup in the Keurig maker and start our day with that fresh cup of hot coffee. Or maybe you’re the type that leaves early for work so you can stop at Starbucks and spend $5 a day on your morning coffee. So we’re going to show you the best espresso machines for home that cost less than $300.
What if you don’t want coffee at all? Maybe you might want an espresso … perhaps? Espresso machines have been around for a while and many people around the country enjoy a fresh espresso first thing in the morning.
Now, going to your local barista might cost an arm and a leg after awhile if you’re always grabbing one before work.
This is why the at-home espresso maker was created. Now we can all make a fresh cup of espresso by ourselves whenever we want! The problem is, there are a ton of espresso machines on the market that come in all shapes, sizes, and price points.
You can get espresso machines for $200 and you can also get espresso machines for upwards of $2,000! Crazy how expensive they can get, right?
1. How Do Espresso Machines Work?
Built-up of copper tubing, stainless steel boilers, precision software, and tough hardware, espresso machines are finely tuned and engineered with precision. Have you ever looked at the inside of an espresso machine?
Inside you will find what looks like a spider web of metal and wires. At its core, most espresso machines all do the same thing, they force hot water through some finely ground coffee.
So you might be wondering, how do espresso machines work exactly? Well, with most modern espresso machines, water travels through four different phases before it even hits your cup. It all starts with the water source, then it moves through the pump, then onto the boiler before reaching the group head or steam wand.
Here’s a simpler explanation. Espresso machines brew coffee by forcing pressurized water at a boiling point through a chunk of ground coffee and a filter. This process produces that thick, concentrated consistency making it an “espresso”.
2. Types Of Espresso Machines
Throughout the years there have been many different designs of machines to produce espresso. Of these machines, they all share common parts or hardware as well. Below is a list of the four different types of espresso machines that have been around since the mid-1900s.
Post-Driven Espresso Machines
The post-driven design uses a level which is pumped by the operator to pressurize hot water, which then gets sent through the coffee grounds. The post-driven design isn’t used very often in the modern era, although you can still find some local shops that still use them.
There are actually two different types of post-driven machines. There are manual piston machines, and spring piston machines. With manual piston machines, the operation directly pushes the water through the coffee grounds. With a spring-piston design, the operator works to tension a spring which then delivers the pressure for the espresso.
Steam-Driven Espresso Machines
Steam-driven espresso machines operate by forcing water through the coffee by using steam or steam pressure. These were the first types of espresso machines that were used back in the old days (except they were much larger back then).
The steam-driven design is still used today in lower-cost machines since they do not contain any moving parts or hardware. In addition, steam-driven machines do not produce as high of a pressure for extraction in comparison to pump-driven machines which we will talk about below. This type of machine is considered a “lower quality” machine in a modern sense.
Air-Pump-Driven Espresso Machines
This is your most common type of espresso machine these days. These types of machines use compressed air to force the hot water through the coffee grounds. The hot water is added from a kettle or a thermal flask. The compressed air comes from either a hand-pump, CO2 cartridges, or an electric compressor.
One of the main advantages of these air-pump-driven machines is that they are much smaller and lighter than electric machines. They are often handheld and portable as well.
3. Difference Between Espresso And Coffee
I’ve heard this question many times from many different people. They always ask – “What is the difference between espresso and coffee, considering espresso has coffee in it?”. Well, yes coffee is the extracted liquid that comes from the bean, but it’s all about the preparation.
Think about it this way, there are many different ways to prepare coffee. There is french-press coffee, pour-over coffee, stove top percolator coffee, and many more. A key thing to note, all espresso is coffee, but not all coffee is espresso. Espresso isn’t a different type of coffee bean or anything.
So what is the difference between espresso and coffee then?
When it all comes down to it, the preparation of espresso is what makes the big difference between the two. Other methods of brewing take time because they rely on the slow filtering of hot water that runs through your coffee grounds. What this means is, you have to wait several minutes before you get your fresh cup of coffee.
As stated earlier in the article, espresso machines pressurize and shoot hot water through finely ground coffee beans that are packed into chunks. This method gives you a caffeine-packed shot of coffee in less than 45 seconds.
On the other hand, coffee takes more than 45 seconds and a cup of coffee has nowhere near the amount of caffeine that espresso has.
With coffee, you have to wait several minutes just for the water to push through a filtration system and into the coffee grounds. Of course, this process has gotten better over time with the use of Keurig maker’s, but a cup of coffee with a Keurig still doesn’t pack a caffeine punch as espresso does.
4. Top 5 Best Espresso Machine For Home Under $300
Now we’ll show you the five espresso machines that we tested in our facility. These espresso machines performed above our expectations and we may have had too much caffeine on this day!
This first one was our absolute favorite, the DeLonghi was the easiest to clean and the cappuccino and extra froth that this machine produced really tickled our taste buds. Below are our top 5 best espresso machines!
DeLonghi EC702 Espresso Machine
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista
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Breville Cafe Roma Espresso Machine
Klarstein Passionata Espresso Machine
5. Wrap Up
Espresso machines can really give you that boost that you’re looking for in the morning. Not only do give you a very fast cup-of-joe, but they also provide you with a ton of caffeine and in some of our lives, but this is also a good thing.
The espresso machines that we tested above are all great machines and we couldn’t have been happier with them.
If you have any questions about any of these machines, feel free to leave a comment below. Or, if you would rather contact us directly, feel free to use our contact form on our contact page and we will respond to your email in a timely manner.