Unlike what most people believe, espresso and coffee are not the same. In fact, if you plan on diving into the world of coffee, this is one of the most basic things that you need to understand.
Espresso is made from the same beans as coffee. Also, it is roasted in much the same way as coffee. The main differences between the two involve the preparation methods.
Espresso is strong black coffee that has a unique brewing process. It is made by forcing the stream of water through finely ground coffee beans. This process produces a greater intensity of flavor than what you experience with your regular cup of coffee.
If you are looking forward to making espresso right in the comfort of your home, then investing in the best espresso machine under 200 may just be the best move for you.
So, how do you choose the best espresso machine? Read on to find out.
What Can You Make With an Espresso Machine?
If you own an espresso machine, you can make different espresso beverages in your own kitchen for less money, as long as you have the right ingredients and time to spare to make them. Here are the different drinks you can make using this machine.
This drink resembles a slightly darker version of black coffee. This is pure coffee without any mixture of cream or milk.
This is espresso shot with a little steamed milk on top to add extra foam and neutralize its strong flavor.
This drink is just like macchiato but with extra milk. This is one of the most popular drinks made out of espresso shots.
This drink is similar to a cappuccino but with only a thin layer of foam and more milk.
This drink is just like cappuccino but with chocolate.
These are the basic drinks you can make with the use of this machine. But you can always add extra touches based on your preferences like whipped cream, additional flavors like caramel, peppermint, and hazelnut.
Different Types of Espresso Machines
There are four different types of espresso machines. Knowing the different types can help you decide which option would best suit your espresso making needs and preferences.
Manual Espresso Maker
Manual espresso makers are best for those people who do not mind putting some work into their espresso. This extra work actually pays off though, as this type of machine will allow you to control every part of the process of making the perfect espresso shot.
It is important to note that this type of machine tends to be expensive and may be difficult to use. In fact, it is often recommended for experienced baristas and connoisseurs.
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
This type of espresso maker comes with electric pumps, which make them much easier to use compared to the manual model. Also, this machine allows you to have a high level of control in making your espresso shot.
Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
This kind of espresso maker is designed with an electronic pump and also automates the amount as well as the delivery of water in the espresso making process. They are considered easier to use than the semi-automatic espresso makers. However, this can be a problem if you are very particular with how your espresso shot tastes.
Super Automatic Espresso Maker
This type of espresso maker is considered the easiest to use. In fact, this machine is ideal for those who do not want to do any work and those who are not particular about the intricacies of the espresso flavor.
This is relatively quick and straightforward to use with no mess to clean up.
Factors to Consider when Choosing an Espresso Machine
You can find a broad range of options of espresso machines on the market. To find the best one that is right for you, here are some of the factors and features that you need to consider when shopping around.
Ease of Use
A significant differentiating factor in the different espresso maker models in the market is their ease of use.
If your top priority is the convenience, you should consider the automated types. Also, you can check for programmable settings along with some extra features that might be useful for you.
Ease of Cleaning
Make sure you check how the machine is cleaned and maintained. You would not want a device that is easy to use but difficult to clean because this is not convenient after all.
Your Drink Preferences
There are several factors that can influence the flavor of espresso. In fact, the espresso machine that you use will play a major role in determining how your shots will taste.
If you are not very particular about this or that you are still in the phase of deciding which flavor you like best, you might want to consider getting the mid-range machines. If you are rather particular about the taste of your espresso drinks, a manual one may be the best option for you.
Many espresso machines come with a warranty, which can actually give some idea of what you can expect from their durability. Also, you can check the brand's reputation and reviews, as these would help you gain a clearer picture of just how long you can count on a certain espresso model to last.
The type of material the espresso maker is made of will also make a difference when it comes to its durability. Machines that are largely made of metal tend to last longer and maintain heat in an efficient manner. Also, automated machines often come with electronic parts that will likely need more repairs often than manual espresso makers.
Some espresso makers can be pretty large. That being said, the size of the espresso maker is something that you need to keep in mind when shopping around.
If you have limited kitchen space, you might want to settle to a smaller but still useful espresso maker.
Espresso machines come with additional features that you might want to consider when shopping for the best espresso machine for you. These additional features may include built-in coffee grinder, water filter, cup warmer, programmable settings, and frothing wand.
Five Best Espresso Machine Under 200
Now, you can create café-quality espresso drinks right in your own home with the Delonghi Dedica Espresso Machine.
This compact machine provides you with perfect espresso, cappuccino, or latte at home while taking up only about 6 inches of your countertop space. In addition, it is designed with thermoblock technology which allows quick and convenient heating, allowing the machine to be ready for use in just 35 seconds.
With its sturdy and durable stainless steel construction, this machine will definitely last long. Also, it features buttons for automatic flow stop for you to easily customize your drinks. Lastly, it comes with the new Cappuccino Frother which allows you to experience Barista quality foam in your favorite milk based espresso drinks.
- Compact and sleek design
- Thermo Block Technology
- Cappuccino Frother
- Automatic Flow Stop buttons
- Sturdy and durable with stainless steel construction
- It has the tendency to leak when water tank is not inserted correctly
- Cleaning the nozzle can be tricky as it can easily be clogged by milk
This espresso machine is not only useful but also aesthetically appealing and will definitely complement your kitchen.
You can create tasty espresso drinks in your home with the help of the Breville Café Roman Espresso Maker. This machine has numerous features including the thermoblock heating system, easy frothing and foaming system, and dual wall filter system.
Also, it comes with accessories like stainless steel frothing pitcher, tamping tool, measuring spoon, cleaning tool, removable drip tray and grid, and frothing jug.
- Stainless steel construction
- Thermoblock heating system
- Effortless frothing and foaming system
- Dual wall filter system
- Includes numerous accessories
- Tends to become noisy and vibrates more after several uses during operation
- May become clogged if not cleaned regularly
This stainless steel espresso machine is the real thing and can help you make café worthy espresso drinks in your home.
It comes with numerous features including 15 bars of pressure for the perfect espresso drink, and it can brew about 2 cups from either espresso pods or ground coffee.
It is designed with porta-filter holder, 53-ounce removable reservoir, and a cup warming plate. Also, it has heating light indicator, steam or hot water knob, and function button in three settings – steam, hot water, and make coffee,
Lastly, it comes with removable drip tray, commercial steam wand, cleaning pins, stainless frothing pitcher, and measuring scoop or tamping tool.
- Easy to use with knob settings
- 15 Bar Pump
- Heating light indicator
- Stainless steel construction
- Has a removable water tank and a large cup warming plate
- Can brew two cups of coffee at a time
- Takes up too much countertop space
- Not ideal for small kitchen spaces
Now, you can be your own barista with Mr. Coffee Café Barista Premium Espresso Maker. In fact, it has revolutionized the market ever since it was made available to the public and it is a definite contender for the best espresso machine under 200.
This machine is a semi-automatic three-in-one espresso, latte, and cappuccino maker. It has a 15-bar pump system which brews delicious tasting espresso shots.
Designed with one-touch control panel, drink selections has been made easier and more convenient. Besides, it has an automatic milk frother which takes the guesswork out of frothing milk for your favorite milk-based espresso drinks.
- 15 Bar Pump System
- Automatic Milk Frother
- Easy to use with one-touch control panel
- Three-in-one machine
- Comes with easy fill and removable water and milk reservoirs
- Makes single and double servings
- Delivery sprouts are apart from each other
- May leak after several uses
- Tend to take up space in your countertop
The Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker is an excellent single serve espresso maker with a compact and sleek design. It does not only offer an avant-garde design with elegance but also functionality at its finest.
It is equipped with great features including thermoblock heating system, compact brewing unit technology, automatic and programmable coffee volume quantity, and programmable buttons with numerous settings.
Lastly, it is designed with LED water level indicators, backlight indicators, auto power off, and convenient power cord storage.
- Sleek and compact design
- Compact brewing unit technology
- Thermoblock heating system
- Automatic and programmable buttons and settings
- LED light indicators
- It uses capsule system which is only compatible with Nespresso Pod Coffee system
- Make break or leak after several uses
- Model has been discontinued
The Bottom Line
Finding the best espresso machine under 200 may be overwhelming. However, if you know what factors to consider and features to look for, the task becomes easier.
Based on the reviews, the clear winner of this review roundup is the Delonghi Dedica 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine. In fact, this machine can help you create café quality espresso drinks right in your own kitchen.
It has a unique design and functionality that allows you to conveniently create the perfect espresso, cappuccino, and lattes in your home. It has a precise heating system using thermoblock technology and automatic flow stop to customize your favorite drinks easily.
Also, you can create Barista quality foam using its Cappuccino frother.
With all its great features, this sleek and compact machine definitely makes it to the top spot as the best espresso machine under 200.