Buying Guide: Best Espresso Machines Under $200- Models and Features
Most people think that they are big-time coffee drinkers, and aren’t able to even think about what life would be like (especially in the morning) without sucking down a big old cup of Joe.
However, most people are still drinking down whatever kind of black sludge the gas station left on a hot plate from the night before – coffee only in name. Most people don’t even know what they are missing out on!
But you do if you are looking for an espresso machine that you can call your own, the kind of appliance that will produce ridiculously good (we are talking about jaw-dropping regard) coffee and other coffee style drinks with absolutely no extra effort on your behalf whatsoever.
Unfortunately, trying to track down the right machine from all of the different espresso machines out there can prove to be a little bit more difficult than most people are expecting. Not because there are so few high quality espresso machines out there – but precisely because there are so many!
Combine that with the fact that most people aren’t making this kind of investment on a daily basis (and many people haven’t ever used an espresso machine before, let alone bought one), and you can see why it becomes such a sticky situation. By the time you are done with this quick guide, you won’t ever have to worry about any of that.
You’ll be able to pick out the perfect espresso machine for you, your family, and your home – and get years and years of enjoyment and out of this world espresso out of it! Ready to jump right in?
Different Types of Espresso Machines
There are a couple of different types of espresso machines that you are going to have to pick and choose from. And and the number of machines available gets smaller when you narrow it down to the best espresso machine under $200, which is actually a good thing. As there aren’t too many models worth buying once you go that low.
On the one hand, you have the “all-in-one” automatic wizard espresso machines that are seemingly able to do absolutely everything that needs to be done to produce legendary espresso on autopilot – the kind of coffee making robot that most of us wish we had on-duty every time we open our eyes in the morning.
But these machines are (almost always) incredibly expensive, and might not fit your budget. Also, they can tend to be a little bit on the larger side of things – with some of them taking up almost as much space as an oven would in your home. They’re not exactly space savers.
On the other hand, you have the smaller standalone options that might not have all the bells and whistles that those other espresso machines do but are more than capable of getting the job done.
These units usually require you to do some of the “grunt work” and heavy lifting to produce top-notch coffee and espresso drinks (we’re talking about grinding beans, mixing all of the different liquids and syrups, foaming milk, and whatever else you want to do to your beverages), but honestly the cost savings that you’ll enjoy makes this kind of work well worth it.
Not to mention the fact that you’ll feel more connected to your morning beverage when you have to go through these motions!
Features to Look For In Espresso Machines
There are a bunch of different features that you need to be on the lookout for before you pull the trigger on any espresso machine. These features can literally make or break your equipment, and will determine and dictate just how much usage you get out of your setup.
The number one feature that you have to make sure that you are investing in is a high quality grinder.
You are going to be spending some serious dough on high quality coffee beans (otherwise you wouldn’t be looking for espresso machines in the first place), and you don’t want to lose any of that very deep and very rich flavor left in them because of a poor grind.
Sure, other details are going to be essential (and we’ll touch on some of them in a moment), but nothing – NOTHING – is more important of a feature on espresso machines than a high quality grinder. A good grinder equals great espresso!
Secondly, you’ll want to look for any of the “bells and whistles” that you want to take advantage of. We are talking about latte “stations” that help you steam milk, self-cleaning features that reduce maintenance, and any automated systems that take a lot of the guesswork out of you producing espresso it is just as good as the stuff you’d find in a corner bistro.
Usually these special features make or break one machine over another, so make sure that you’re getting everything that you want out of your espresso machine and not just going with something that might just barely squeak under your budget!
Other Things to Keep In Mind Before Buying Espresso Machines
An important consideration to keep in the back of your mind before you pull the trigger on one of these pieces of equipment is whether or not you’ll have the space to not only install this equipment – but also use it without any obstructions or inefficiency.
Sure, you might be able to slap a new espresso machine on your counter. It might fit the physical footprint that you have available. But are you going to be able to use it without bumping into things? Are you going to be able to use your counter space in the same way that you used to? Is it going to really cramp your kitchen in any way, shape, or form?
These are things to consider before moving forward for sure.
When it comes down to it, purchasing an espresso machine is a very personal decision. For some people (most people, maybe) you’re going to be enjoying a hot cup of espresso or a coffee flavored drink before you even speak your first words of the day – and that beverage has the potential to shape your entire outlook for the next 24 hours.
Don’t drop the ball – choose an espresso machine that you are in love with!