A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide for Espresso Machines Under $200

best_espresso_machine_under_200_dollarsThat perfect cup of rich, dark coffee that starts our mornings can make a huge difference in how your day unfolds.

With so much on the line, doesn’t it make sense to make sure it’s one heck of a cup? Rather than waiting in line, rushed and hoping the barista gets your drink right, why not make sure it’s done right?

To help the beginner home barista, we’ve found the best home espresso machine under $200.

We’ve included brands you know with a Nespresso Pixie review and a Mr. Coffee Café Barista Premium review, and one brand you may not be as familiar with by including a review of the DeLonghi EC702 and the DeLonghi EC155.

    TypeWater CapacityElementCappuccino
#1DeLonghi EC702Great ValueSemi-Auto44 oz.BoilerManual Frother
#2Mr. CoffeeTop SellerSemi-Auto55 oz.BoilerAuto Frother
#3Nespresso PixieTiny & Simple to UseAuto24 oz.ThermoblockAdd-on Accessory
#4DeLonghi EC155Bargain PriceSemi-Auto35 oz.BoilerManual Frother

#1. – DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker

Self-priming to do away with the hassle of waiting for the machine to heat up

Pros:

  • The patented steaming wand makes you feel like a seasoned barista as you create the perfect creamy foam for every cup
  • Users can choose between pods or ground coffee to get the taste they desire

Cons:

  • Users have reported that it takes about 5-6 cups before the machine is broken in and the acidic taste goes away
  • The steaming wand is a little close to the body of the unit

We can’t leave out the De’Longhi EC702 review, considering it’s such an incredible machine. The EC702 is easy to use and very versatile. The top shelf of the unit acts as a cup warmer. The electric 15-bar pressure pump ensures a quality drink every time, and adjustable controls let you modify your espresso or cappuccino.

The EC702 has two separate thermostats, so water and steam pressure to be controlled separately. Its dual filter holder, one for ground coffee and the other for the Easy Serving Espresso pods allow you to customize your espresso, cappuccino or latte. The EC702 has a removable 44-ounce water tank and drip tray, so clean-up is quick and painless.

The larger water reservoir and Rapid Cappuccino System maintains optimal temperature to craft multiple cups. Weighing 13.4 pounds, this is the heaviest machine of the group.


#2. – Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker

One of the best things about the Pixie is the variety of pods available from Nespresso to create that rich, flavorful espresso that will make everything better.

Pros:

  • Its streamlined design is small enough to fit on even the most compact kitchen’s countertop
  • For those that don’t want to hassle with too many different options and who want their espresso at the push of a button, operation is very simple and straightforward

Cons:

  • Some users have reported that the machine is a bit noisy
  • The cost of using pods on a regular basis may add up and become expensive

Part of Nespresso’s OriginalLine, the Pixie is the most ergonomic and compact of its home espresso machines. Heating up in just 25 seconds, the Pixie will alert you when its water reservoir gets too low.

Eco-friendly, it shuts off after 9 minutes and is made of recycled materials. It can hold up to 10 used capsules and has a folding drip tray for a Latte Macchiato glass. Weighing in at only 6.6 lbs, the Pixie also has a 24-ounce water reservoir that can be removed for easy cleaning and is available in a wide range of colors and 2 different finishes.

Nespresso offers a variety of flavor capsules, including 25 different varieties and limited edition flavors from which to choose. Programmable buttons allow you to easily choose between an espresso and lungo.


#3. – Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista Premium Espresso/Cappuccino System

Espressos, Cappuccinos, and Lattes, oh my!

Pros:

  • Clean-up is quick and easy with a removable drip catcher, water reservoir, and removable milk reservoir
  • Easy operation with one-touch panel

Cons:

  • The temperature can be inconsistent, so drinks are not as hot as other units
  • The frother creates a thin layer of tougher foam that rests on top and can be spooned off

With the sleek Café Barista, the one-touch control panel allows you to choose from single- or double-shots of espresso, cappuccino or lattes depending on where you are in your caffeine intake for the day. The 15-bar pump system makes brewing consistent as you choose between 12 and 16 ounces.

The included recipe guide shows you how to create rich, aromatic beverages like espresso martinis, caramel cappuccinos or café mochas by adding just a few more ingredients. The milk frother automatically froths your milk as your drink is being made making this one of the most all-inclusive machines of the group. It also automatically shuts off after a few minutes.

The Drip Catcher is removable, so it’s easy to clean, as is the removable water reservoir.


#4. – De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

As the most affordable of the group, the EC155 can craft multiple espressos or cappuccinos with no downtime in between.

Pros:

  • The built-in manual frother makes it easy to create the thick crema that tops off your creation to perfection.
  • Users can use ground coffee or pods depending on their preference

Cons:

  • Some espresso or cappuccino machines come with cup warmers located right on top of the unit itself. The EC155 does not have this feature.
  • The device has been reported to vibrate when it’s in use.

Let’s start with the De’Longhi EC155 review. This semi-automatic espresso machine can craft the perfect single or double espresso, cappuccino, or latte. The swivel jet manual frother mixes steam and milk to craft creamy foam for cappuccinos.

This machine comes with a three-in-one filter holder for one espresso shot, two shots, and another for use with single-use pods. De’Longhi’s Rapid Cappuccino System maintains optimal temperature between cups to make sure you can brew one cup right after another.

The 35-ounce water reservoir and folding drip tray are easy to remove, refill, and re-install so clean-up and preparation are quick. At only 6.7 pounds, the EC155 is portable and its self-priming feature means you get your beverage faster.


Comparision – DeLonghi EC155 vs. EC702

Stainless Steel vs. Plastic Casing

The De’Longhi EC702 includes a sleek stainless steel case with cup warmer functionality. Not only can you store your favorite espresso cups on top of your machine but they’ll be nice and warm by the time your ready to brew each morning. In comparison, the EC155 unit is made from plastic casing, so the higher end De’Longhi EC702 has greater durability.

Display Panel – More Organized and Push Buttons vs. Dial

De’Longhi have included a three button display panel on the higher priced EC702 with LED status lights indicating when water temperature is ready to brew, and when the streamer operation is ready to make cappuccino and hot chocolates. Their budget-friendly EC155 has a plastic dial on the EC155.

Dimensions:

  • (W x D x H inches):
  • EC702: Wider than its cheaper cousin by 4 inches (11.25 x 8.19 x 12.50, 11.10 pounds)
  • EC155: Deeper than the EC702 (7.5 x 13.25 x 11.50, 7.15 pounds)

Weight

The EC702 is approximately 4 pounds heavier than EC155 due to the stainless steel casing. Overall this gives the machine a more robust build quality and more stability on the countertop.

Water Tank

EC702 is equipped with a larger water tank of 44 oz. vs. the 35 oz. in the EC155 model. The larger the tank is, the less frequently you’ll have to fill the tank. The water tank location is also moved to the right-hand side which is more readily available than the top location in the previous model.

Cappuccino System Frother

The De’Longhi designers have included an upgraded Cappuccino System Frother on the EC702 unit. Many buyers have reviewed the latest frother design favourability because of the way that it steams your milk to aerate and swirl, creating a frothy & creamy texture. Speaking of frothing, the frothing wand has been moved from the left side to right in the EC702 model.

Video guide showing the EC702 in action


The Features You Love and What You Can Expect

When you’re looking to find the best espresso maker under $200, it’s smart to be aware of what you can expect in this price range. Whether you’re a novice or looking for a second machine for the office or your vacation getaway, we’ve broken down the most common features and what to expect when you are ready to invest in a higher range machine.

The beauty of these units is that they’re all fairly compact and designed to fit on your kitchen countertop. Rather than waiting minutes for your coffee to brew, these home espresso machines are ready to dispense some seriously hot java after about 25 seconds.

Choose between automatic machines, which do it all for you, including frothing the milk and have readily preset options, or semi-automatic that still require you to put in a little effort by packing the grounds filter and engaging the pump on and off.

Although these are the top-rated espresso machines under $200, there are some features that you just won’t find. One con of most of these machines is that because they are so compact and portable, they have a tendency to vibrate loudly. A more expensive machine ($500 price bracket) will be heavier and though not as compact, will be sturdier in construction and less likely to vibrate.

Also available on the higher-end of home espresso machines are built-in, hands-free grinders, multiple filters that regulate pressure, and features that remove the excess water from the filter baskets after the coffee has been extracted.

Some units include hidden compartments for storing filters and cleaning kits.  Some machines also allow you to go beyond espresso and introduce variety by allowing you to create your own latte or cappuccino drinks.

If you’re ready to re-create your café experience at home, then your next step is to find the best machine for you. Let’s take a look at four of the best home espresso machines on the market.

Find the Best Espresso Machine under $300

There’s no doubt spending an extra $100 goes a long way when you’re buying an espresso machine in the entry-level range. We’ve reviewed three great espresso machines for buyers with budgets that extended to the sub-$300 price point. These machines make great coffee and include an excellent range of features compared to their competitors.

Find below our three selections for the Best Espresso Machine under $300.

 ProductSuitable forOur RatingPrice Guide
De'Longhi Dedica EC680 Best Espresso Machine under $300De’Longhi EC680Small, easy to use and makes great coffee (4.8 / 5)***
nespresso_pixie_espresso_maker_electric_titanNespresso PixiePerfect for owners who need an auto-pilot machine (4.5 / 5)**
Capresso 118.05 EC PRO Espresso and Cappuccino MachineCapresso 118.05Great choice for advanced Coffee lovers (4.4 / 5)**

1. De’Longhi EC680 Dedica 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine

Best Budget Espresso Machine

An amazing small espresso machine which produces beautiful coffee

De'Longhi Dedica EC680 Best Espresso Machine under $300
De’Longhi EC680D

Pros:

  • Reaches brewing temperature in about 30 seconds.
  • The machine feels very well built and well designed. In fact, it feels higher quality than many espresso makers that are much larger and more expensive.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • The steam wand produces excellent foam. (basically, all of the steam wand complaints on Amazon are from people who aren’t properly priming it per the instructions). We’ve included a YouTube video guide below.

Cons:

  • By no means deal-breakers, but a few suggestions for improvement by DeLonghi
  • I wish there were a way to perform a manual pull without reprogramming the buttons!
  • Can’t attach and remove the portafilter one-handed without causing the machine to tip/rock, due to the small case size.
  • The water reservoir is very ‘tricky’ with its seating. At times the reservoir will sometimes lift just enough that the machine will stop pumping water mid-pull or mid-steam.

Some of the cool features for this espresso machine:

  • Sleek Design provides outstanding espresso while only taking up 6 Inch of space
  • Thermo block technology allows the machine to heat up to the ideal temperature in a quick 40 seconds
  • Cappuccino Frothing system provides Barista quality foam
  • Automatic Flow Stop
  • Stainless Steel Construction

The new De’Longhi Dedica Espresso Maker produces the perfect espresso, latte, or cappuccino at home, all while only taking up 6 Inch of your kitchen countertop. It also features thermo block technology which allows the machine to heat up quickly and be ready within 35 seconds. It has sturdy stainless steel construction and buttons for automatic flow stop. The new Cappuccino Frother provides Barista quality foam for your favorite milk based espresso drinks.

Just make sure to clean the nozzle and push the button for steam before turning the steam knob to avoid the nozzle being clogged by milk.

Do yourself a favor and buy the generic stainless steel tamper accessory for under $15. The standard tamper included is quite short in length and makes usage difficult.

I’ve read reports from buyers that complained about a lack of crema. After using this machine myself, I can only assume that these reviewers are using old or improperly prepared beans.

2. Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker, Electric Titan

Perfect for owners who need an auto-pilot machine

nespresso_pixie_espresso_maker_electric_titan
Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker

Pros:

  • Small footprint makes this machine well suited for smaller kitchens that don’t have a lot of counter space.
  • Heats up very quickly, so your coffee is ready in seconds.
  • The attractive design which makes the machine a stylish addition to any kitchen counter-top.
  • Produces very good coffee, with excellent crema.

Cons:

  • Smaller water reservoir means refills are frequently required.
  • The water tank can be difficult to remove.
  • Coffee spray during operation.

I quite often speak with friends who would like an espresso machine but can’t be bothered with the hassle that comes with operating a machine designed for advanced owners. Our second selection for espresso machines in the sub-$300 price point is one of the most popular Nespresso models, perfect for buyers who seek the simplicity of an automatic machine. The most complicated task with this machine is buying more coffee pods from the grocery store! Just hit a button and have your steaming hot espresso ready in under a minute.

What do you get with the Nespresso Pixie package? You get a true espresso with a lovely, brown crema on top. One of the best features is that you don’t have to spend time tamping grounds and cleaning them from your machine. The only maintenance required is occasional descaling and emptying the internal bin of used capsules.

If you’re a cappuccino lover, the Aeroccino Plus accessory pack is an optional extra, which means cappuccino and lattes are just minutes away. You can make two cup sizes with the Pixie, espresso, and lungo, which is approximate twice the volume of espresso but, of course, also weaker. Not weak, mind you, but not as strong as espresso.

Overall a very easy to use espresso machine that will last for years.

3. Capresso 118.05 EC PRO Espresso and Cappuccino Machine

The perfect choice for advanced Coffee drinkers

Capresso 118.05 EC PRO Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
Capresso 118.05 EC PRO Espresso and Cappuccino Machine

Designed for the true espresso aficionados the Capresso Pro is a great buy, especially now that it’s available for $300. One it’s most appealing features is the ‘bottomless’ espresso filter. Designed with connoisseurs in mind, the unique filter generates pressure according to the ground coffee bean size and the way they were tamped. The pressure can be adjusted by changing the bean’s size, how they were tamped, or even the age of the beans themselves.

Some of the cool features of the espresso machine:

  • Includes two espresso filters, one for convenience, one for control
  • Brews 1 or 2 espressos at a time
  • Lets you brew barista style and perfect your technique
  • Advanced pump boiler maintains a reservoir of hot water at the perfect
  • 15 bar pump provides optimal pressure for rich crema

The EC Pro gives advanced users more control than coffeemakers they’ve used before. But if you aren’t a coffeemaker whiz, we trust you’ll love its double spout espresso filters and ‘advanced’ pump boiler. One espresso filter was designed for convenience and the other was designed for control. You may use the one you’d prefer. Its advanced pump boiler maintains a reservoir of hot water at the optimal temperature for brewing. Always having water for brewing enables it to prepare coffee faster and more consistently than most of the other commercial-grade coffee makers currently available in the market.

It’s worth highlighting that the Capresso isn’t as easy to use as a Semi Automatic Breville BES840XL. You’ll need to put a little work into each espresso rather than simply pressing a button and letting the machine run on auto pilot. If you want to make coffee easily, don’t buy this machine. It’s an entry level machine for connoisseurs who want total control over each brew.

Capresso’s build quality on the Pro is of high enough quality build, design and output to use every day. The handles are well sized and a nice heavy weight! Two filters are included, both the bottomless filter and two cups/beginner filter. It is useful to have two handles, especially because it is suggested you prime the machine each time you use it to bring it up to temperature. You can prime the machine with one handle while you load and tamp with the other handle.

Pros

  • Unlike most espresso machines sold currently it comes with a good instruction booklet to help you get accustomed to all the features.
  • Water tank in the back is very nicely designed, cleanable..and movable.
  • Build quality is very nice, a good looking machine.
  • The foaming wand makes VERY fluffy foam. Probably easier to use, and more productive, than even the pro espresso machines.
  • The quality of the espresso is excellent and it rivals but does not quite live up to a pro machine. It is rich and not bitter and it is a good temperature.
  • The porta filters are high quality as well – the espresso shots taste amazing.
  • I like this machine, it gets four stars because of that—but I would have got 5 if the espresso were just a little thicker. I do recommend this machine–because I would not be surprised if it were the best in its price range. I like its simplicity.

Cons

  • Could have been designed with sturdiness in mind. If it weighed a little more, you wouldn’t need to brace the machines while putting on the handle.
  • Even when well packed, it’s tough to obtain solid crema on the espresso. Perhaps if you experiment with grind variation crema might be possible.

For the price, you really can’t find a better machine. No other machine on the market in this price point comes with a naked portafilter, stainless steel construction (instead of chrome plated brass), and an articulating steam wand. The water comes out nice and hot, and the machine heats up quickly. Not to mention, it uses a single boiler instead of a thermoblock, so you can always experiment with changing the brew temperature by flipping it onto the steam setting for a few seconds before you extract. There is not much I can say other than this machine is fantastic.

Capresso has produced a machine that makes delicious espresso and steams milk very well with a solid case construction. Isn’t this all that matters?

Appendix

De’Longhi EC680 Guide

Buyer Guide: Best Espresso Machine under $1000

If you’re serious about making your own cafe quality coffee this is the best price range to find a quality espresso machine. This is the price bracket which I paid for my espresso machine, because I wanted the ability to make the prefect espresso. I want the best shot of espresso possible, every time.

For those who want the ultimate espresso experience without the hassle, investing in an espresso machine is key. Lucky for you, below are three machines that are the best espresso machines under $1000, providing the ultimate espresso experience without draining your bank account.

 ProductSuitable forOur RatingPrice Guide
rancilio_hsd-silvia_review Best Espresso Machine under $1000Rancilio HSD-SILVIABest value for money semi-automatic espresso maker (4.8 / 5)*****
delonghi-esam3300-magnifica-super-automatic-espresso_reviewDeLonghi ESAM3300Advanced “cappuccino system” frother will offer you the creamiest latte (4.8 / 5)***
breville_bes920xl_dual_boiler_espresso_machine_reviewBreville BES920XLExtremely simple to use for a high end espresso maker (4.8 / 5)***

1. Rancilio HSD-SILVIA Silvia Espresso Machine

rancilio_hsd-silvia_review Best Espresso Machine under $1000
Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine

Rated by experts as the best value for money semi-automatic espresso maker

Our first choice is the Rancilio HSD-Silva espresso machine, which has a sleek and elegant design fitting of a device in the upper price bracket. It features the same ergonomic portafilter handle as its more expensive counterparts, commercial grade group head to expedite heat stability, and articulating steam wand.

The machine has a linear design, allowing it to fit appropriately within any stylish kitchen decor. Rancilio’s single boiler is 0.3 liters (12 ounces), offering one of the largest volume capacities on the market.

Pros:
The articulating steam wand allows for optimal range of motion for when you want to steam milk. This is ideal for making sure that your milk is heated quickly and allows for control over foam preference, so you can switch between lattes and cappuccinos easily.

The ergonomic portafilter handle also allows for optimal extraction, so you can ensure you are getting the perfect, most aromatic shot of espresso each and every time.

How to Make a Cappuccino using the Rancilio HSD-SILVIA

Cons:
We’ve rated this machine number one for a reason, the reviews are stellar. However, there have been some complaints of a “finicky” grinder. For those that want the ideal grind, we recommended using a separate burr grinder. For help finding the best coffee grinder check our guide.


2. DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine

delonghi-esam3300-magnifica-super-automatic-espresso_review
De’Longhi ESAM3300

One of the few super-automatic espresso makers under $1,000

Delonghi is weightier than several other espresso machines, but the heavy lifting that may ensue in placing this machine in your kitchen is due to the vast features this monster of a machine offers its recipients.

DeLonghi features include a “cappuccino system” frother that blends steam and milk for a creamy texture, modernized control panel with menu options, “direct-to-brew” system which grinds beans before brewing, double boiler system, and low-volume burr grinder.

Pros:
One of the best features of this machine is its burr grinder, which not only grinds beans and readies for brewing at lightning speed — it also allows users to select the type of grind so that their coffee and espresso can perfectly match their palate.

The double boiler system ensures that coffee, espresso, and milk will always be at the perfect temperature, while the advanced “cappuccino system” frother will offer you the creamiest latte or cappuccino you’ve ever tasted. There is also a cup warming tray, so you don’t have to fret about your coffee getting cold if a sudden call pulls you away from your morning latte.

Take heed, though: once your friends learn of this machine’s inimitable feature, you may have a line for use that rivals Starbucks’ busiest hours.

Descaling with the De’Longhi ESAM3300

Cons:
The machine is very heavy, so those who aren’t a fan of heavy lifting may get agitated when first loading the machine onto their respective counters. Other than that, DeLonghi espresso machine reviews are excellent.


3. Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine

breville_bes920xl_dual_boiler_espresso_machine_review
Breville BES920XL Espresso Machine

Dual stainless steel boilers and Italian pumps for simultaneous shot extraction, milk frothing and optimal pressure

The machine’s features include dual stainless steel boilers which guarantee the best extraction possible for the perfect shot.

The pressure of extraction is monitored shrewdly by an over-pressure valve, temperatures are kept under control by an electronic PID and backlit LCD, and Breville also contains a water hardness test strip.

Pros:
The elegant features of this machine will allow you to channel your inner barista, as its look and features are worthy of becoming a fixture in the most high-end bistros the world has to offer.

At the same time, the machine is extremely simple to use, so you won’t have to spend time poring over the manual and tinkering to enjoy your perfect espresso.

How to Use the Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine

Cons:
Obviously, you have to wait for a discount if you don’t want to purchase this for over $1000.00, but keep an eye out — the machine is frequently put on sale at prices that can be less than $600.00. One of the few complaints about the machine is that it can sometimes be a bit messy after brewing, so have your paper towels and Windex ready.


Conclusion

This guide offers the best espresso machine under $1000, so that you don’t have to loosen your purse strings for something that will ultimately disappoint and land you right back in line to purchase an overpriced latte each morning.

Take time to research, and get ready to become your own barista!


Discover the Best Espresso Machine Under $500

Discover the Best Espresso Machine Under 500 dollarsWhether you are tired of expensive trips to the local coffee house or you just want to be able to enjoy a terrific cup of espresso whenever you want it, getting your espresso machine can make a lot of sense.

If you’re looking to buy a high-quality espresso machine, the under $500 price point has some fantastic machines to choose from.

To save you some headache-inducing research we have studied hundreds of models and found three that we believe would easily make a great investment. We’ve listed the three espresso machines below by price.

Our Top 3 Espresso Machines Under $500

 ProductSuitable forOur RatingPrice Guide
Best Espresso Machine under $500 breville_bes840xl_reviewBreville BES840XLEspresso lovers who enjoy the subtle difference of a quality home brew (4.9 / 5)*****
100-gaggia-classic-14101Gaggia ClassicBuyers seeking an authentic Italian espresso experience without a trip to a cafe (4.5 / 5)****
Philips Saeco Via Venezia Espresso Machine reviewPhilips SaecoAn affordable machine capable of making quality espresso every time (4.5 / 5)***

Machine number one is under $500, machine number two’s usually cheaper and machine number three has the lowest price on the list.

All three espresso machines are high quality and come with unique features. Please read the descriptions below and decide which feature set and the price is best for you.


1. Breville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso Machine Review

This is a fantastic home espresso machine

breville_bes840xl_review
Breville BES840XL the Infuser

Breville has gained a well-deserved reputation for producing high-quality espresso machines, and when taking price into consideration, this machine may be its best yet.

The Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine first uses steady low pressure to gently expand coffee grinds before using high pressure to extract maximum flavor.

This espresso machine boasts a myriad of special features including automatic temperature settings and programmable volumetric control.
It also has a pre-infusion technology, a thermocoil heating system, and PID temperature control technology. Check out the Breville Youtube video which we’ve included below for a great guide on how to use the 840XL to its full potential.

Other features include a cup warmer, a feature that removes excess water from the filter basket after coffee extraction, sleep mode, automatic shut off and extra tall cup clearance.

If you are looking for the best espresso machine under $500, you can’t go wrong with this choice.


2. Gaggia Classic Review

Modern espresso technology is built into a classic design and chassis for the perfect balance between aesthetics and espresso making prowess

Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine review
Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel

Another high-quality espresso machine is this model from Gaggia, one of the most respected names in the espresso industry.

This machine combines classic design with some attention-grabbing features, including:

  • Forged brass components to stabilize temperature with a three-way solenoid valve and independent expansion valve
  • Two stainless steel filter baskets (single and double shot), coffee tamper and 7g measuring scoop
  • A high-power 17-1/2-bar pump with a high-voltage boiler for quick warm-up times
  • Works with coffee pods and is designed to deliver two cups at once.
  • Hot water dispenser for tea
  • A frothing wand for crema
  • A cup warmer

Gaggia’s Classic machine can turn anyone into a ‘Barista’ in their home. That’s why this machine is also in the running for the title of best espresso machine in the sub $500 range. We’ve reviewed the Gaggia Classic here.


3. Philips Saeco HD8325-47 Via Venezia Espresso Machine Review

Perfect for making espresso or a nice cappuccino

Philips Saeco Via Venezia Espresso Machine review
Philips Saeco Via Venezia Espresso Machine

Priced around $300, this high-quality espresso machine can quickly make trips to the coffee house a thing of the past.

  • A pressurized portafilter to ensure excellent coffee extraction
  • An ESE pod adapter so you can use pre-packaged, single-serve shots at your convenience.
  • Buttons with clear control lights show when your Via Venezia is ready to brew or ready to steam
  • A warming surface with six-cup capacity on top of the machine ensures that your cup will be ready for coffee whenever you are.
  • An integrated Pannarello steam wand means you can froth your milk exactly as you wish and provides hot water for tea, hot chocolate, and other beverages.

With the Via Venezia, you’ll be able to create true Italian espresso with signature dark color, rich layer of crema, fragrant taste and intense aroma.

That’s why this espresso machine is another that deserves strong consideration.


Now the Decision is Yours …

In the end, only you can decide which espresso machine is truly the best for your personal preference. To do that you will need to carefully consider the five areas we discussed at the beginning of this article and determine which are most important to you.

Unfortunately, to get some features that are more important to you, you may have to give up certain other features.

You may also have to miss out on certain features due to price.

Honestly, however, with the three models that we have listed in this article, we believe you can’t make a wrong choice. All three will allow you to get great-tasting coffee right in the comfort of your home.

Appendix

Breville BES840XL – How to Guides

How to Tune Your Coffee Grinder Like the Pros

Coffee has just a couple of ingredients, so it should be simple to create a perfect cup or pot, right? Well, Hollandaise sauce also has just two ingredients and it doesn’t always come out perfectly.

There are techniques which may be used in order to boost the odds of producing delicious coffee which is basically perfect and we’re going to share these helpful techniques today. Once you’ve learned them, you’ll be able to make the most of coffee’s two ingredients, which are coffee grounds and water.

The truth is that a lot of variables come into play with coffee-making and all of these variables may impact the way that coffee tastes. For example, temperature plays a role, as does batch size, agitation and so on. One key element is grind size and we’re going to talk about that today.

Grind size affects extraction. Extraction is the process of getting flavor and color from ground coffee beans.

Grind Sizes Will Vary

If you’re using a French Press in order to make coffee, you should use a coarser grind than you would if you were making Espresso. This is because a press-style coffeemaker uses steeping in order to perform extraction.

Coffee and water mix during the entire process, which typically takes about four minutes. When you make Espresso, you’ll find that pressure is used in order to extract. This means that water doesn’t come into contact with coffee grounds for very long. In fact, the extraction process for Espresso usually happens in twenty to thirty seconds.

When coffee and water co-mingle for longer periods of time, as with French Press coffee making, fluid absorbs more of what is within the coffee bean. It doesn’t have to be exposed to a lot of surface area which is caffeinated.

When water goes through grounds quickly, it extracts in mere seconds. A finer grind for Espresso helps with extraction. A coarser grind is better for French Press coffee making, where water and coffee spend more time together!

It’s fun to play around with grind sizes. We’ve given you some practical guidelines here, but do feel free to experiment.

Espresso is a fast method of making coffee. A French Press is pretty quick, too, but much slower when compared to Espresso production.

morning espresso with perfect tuned grind

Which Grind Size is Right for You?

How you make your coffee should dictate which grind size is right for you. For example, if you’re going to use a drip-type brewer, which typically creates a hot pot of coffee in three or four minutes, a coarser grind size will be best. It’s the same principle as with the French Press. Coffee and water will mingle for longer in a drip-style brewer. A coarse grind will give the drip-style brewer more to extract.

If you’re using an Espresso machine, a finer grind will allow for superior extraction in just twenty to thirty seconds. Water will pass through fine grinds faster.

In the end, we’re all different and all that really matters is taste. So, you should try different grind sizes in order to find that one which produces coffee that is most pleasing to your palate. If you’re getting a bitter finish on your coffee, try a coarser grind, as it tends to reduce bitterness. However, our palates vary, and everyone has a different experience with different grind sizes.

Do You Own a Coffee Grinder?

If you don’t own a coffee grinder, you’ll need to pay attention to grind size when you are shopping for ground coffee. If you do own a coffee grinder, you may have different grind settings to choose from. It is fun to use a grinder, as grinding your own beans will allow you to access the freshest coffee flavor in no time flat.

Now that you have some tips on how to find the perfect grind, you’ll be ready to create barista-style coffee from home, which rivals the best from local coffeehouses.

Once you experiment with different grind sizes and track the results, you’ll have a sense of what really works for you. Of course, some of us make drip or French Press coffee sometimes, and Espresso at other times. This is why owning a grinder which turns coffee beans into coarse or fine ground coffee will be so smart.

Should You Skim The Crema Off Espresso?

The rind or outer casing is what defines the greatest cheeses found around the world. Brie, for example, is noted for its outer shell. Some consumers feel this kind is just as important in regards to flavor as the cheese itself, while others choose to avoid the kind, and dive directly into the cheese.

Crema is the strong aromatic foam which sits atop a freshly made espresso shot. Like with cheese, connoisseurs are conflicted on whether or not this should be a part of the experience or simply an “outer shell” which should be removed.

There are some who prize the bitter tasting, strong smelling foam for its bold flavors. Others choose to avoid the substance, claiming it to be a bit overwhelming when compared to the lighter, sweeter taste of the espresso itself.

Which way of thinking is correct? Should crema be skimmed, or should it be allowed to lend it’s naturally strong pungency to an otherwise lighter brew? Let’s take a deeper look to figure it out.

What is crema?

When the pressurized water meets the coffee beans, just freshly ground, under the high levels of heat used to brew espresso, CO2 gas is released.

The pressure than emulsifies the oils that have been released from the beans using water, which then creates a dense “foam” which suspends air.

This crema is thicker than the basic espresso liquid, which allows it sit atop the drink versus sinking in. Like the foam on a freshly poured beer, crema will begin to disappear quickly as the liquid coats them, causing them to become heavier.

Why does this only occur with espresso, though, and not other types of brews extracted from coffee beans?

The reason is due to the special pressurized extraction which created espresso. This is high enough to contain carbon dioxide, as well as some other gases, as it’s released from the grounds.

This special brewing process that contains these gases within the mixture of oil and water, creating the only substance defined purely as crema. A little bonus information for you: this process is also the reason espresso has it’s strong, concentrated taste.

So what would be the reason behind skimming it?

The idea of skimming crema off espresso is not a new one. In the late 2010’s Denmark’s Coffee Collective began arguing whether crema enhanced or devalued the aromatic tastes of Espresso.

The truth is that crema on its own is nothing but a dry substance with an overpoweringly bitter taste. You wouldn’t want to drink it on its own and certainly, wouldn’t want to ingest much of it in general.

Skimming this substance off the top does achieve several things consumers might find beneficial. These include:

  1. Bitterness is reduced
  2. Smoother texture

Skimming the crema is not without its downfalls, however. Ridding espresso of its foamy substance does also rid it of that pungency which has become its hallmark for consumers everywhere.

Similar to whiskey drinkers, espresso lovers know that it tastes great and horrible simultaneously.

Depending on the exact coffee blend, the result of skimming crema allows for a much sweeter taste and lighter body.

If that was what you desired, however, wouldn’t you simply drink a regular cup of brewed coffee instead?

When crema is combined with the heavy brew of espresso, this foamy substance can help to add dimension and complexity to the drink (and, some say, quality). The bitterness, when properly mixed into the dark liquid itself, really is more a complementing taste (versus a distraction).

This is best compared to cake, which is best when the icing and cake are eaten together. Few consumers prefer only cake, or only icing, as eating them in isolation defeats the purpose of their combination.

Do you skim your crema, stir it into the beverage, or only sip? Let me know how you prefer to drink your espresso, and what your thoughts are on skimming crema.

A Fool-Proof Formula for Easily Maintaining Your Coffee Grinder

You already know that your coffee brewer can get covered in coffee residue, but you probably didn’t realize that your grinder can, too. Oily residue can build up the grinder, and bean debris can get lodged in hard to reach places. This doesn’t just make the coffee your grinding taste gross, but it’s also very unsanitary.

If you aren’t already properly maintaining your coffee grinder, now is the time to do so. These useful devices can become crusty, and filled with bean crumbs. This, in turn, causes your delicious morning roast not to be so delicious.. in fact, dirty grinders can make that freshly ground coffee taste old and stale instead. Once you realize how important this is, you’ve already taken the first steps to fixing the problem.

For today’s purposes, we’re going to assume that you have a burr grinder. This is a type of grinder that grounds the beans into same sized particles. The other type of grinder is called a whirlybird-blade grinder. We highly suggest against this second category, as it doesn’t give you the same high-quality results. If you do own this type of grinder, however, all you have to do is carefully wipe out the insides with a damp towel or napkin, and then allow to dry.

We are also going to assume you’re using regular coffee brews, and not the kind which is flavored. Flavored coffee beans tend to leave a longer lasting smell, and a residue that can strongly affect the taste of future ground coffees. Okay, ready to get started?

#1. Get Rid of the Grit

When the coffee beans are ground down into minuscule particles, it can leave a fine dusting on your hopper’s insides (which is where beans are kept before grinding) and at the edges of the burrs. The best way to begin getting rid of these excess particles is by vacuuming them up. If you don’t have a real wand attachment, you can alternatively use a can of compressed air instead. Remember to check inside the chute to see if it’s clogged. If anything is stuck, use your finger or toothbrush to dislodge it.

#2. Remove the Grease

Remove the hopper and wipe down the inside thoroughly, as plastic surfaces tend to retain oils. If your burr grinder has a removable chamber, remember to rinse it out and wipe it down as well. Michael Elvin of Espresso Parts recommends wiping the inside out with a dry, clean cloth, to remove oils which build up, and, over time, become sticky and rank.

#3. Think Long Term

Even for the average coffee drinker who uses their grinder for simple, regular home usage, the burrs will eventually need changing. There is no exact amount of time before this needs to happen, but a good estimate for grinders with replaceable burrs is between three and five years. During this time, if your burrs become worn down, broken, or too dirty to clean properly, it’s probably a good opportunity to change them. Plus, it’s a lot easier (and smarter) to replace the $20 burrs versus spending $100 to $300 on a brand new grinder, right?

Regular weekly cleaning of your grinder should be relatively easy once you’ve tackled the first big clean. You can remove the chamber and hopper once a week to wash with warm water and soap. Allow them to air dry before replacing them on the grinder entirely. NEVER put your burr grinder back together wet!

Presto! Just like that, your burr grinder is cleaner, healthier, and functioning better. Your coffee tastes fresher, better already!

 

Discover Nine Easy-to-Make Coffee Smoothies

Coffee is something that so many people love and crave. If you’re a smoothie fan and you also adore coffee, you should know that it’s possible to create excellent coffee smoothie recipes quickly.

Today, we’d like to help by sharing nine easy-to-make coffee smoothie recipes which are very popular.

#1. Add Pure Berry Flavor

If you love berries, adding some frozen strawberries (half of cup) to two ounces of strong brewed coffee, a cup pf Greek-style yogurt and a drizzle of honey will allow you to enjoy pure berry flavor and a coffee kick.

Coffee Smoothie

#2. Make a Protein-packed Creamy Drink

Adding a cup of protein powder, some cold, strong coffee and ice to a blender will allow you to enjoy a coffee smoothie which gives just the right fuel to your muscles. Protein is also helpful if you’re trying to lose weight.

Look for a protein powder which doesn’t contain unhealthy fillers. A couple of ounces of coffee, protein powder and ice make for a terrific smoothie which is so quick to prepare.

Find the recipe at Gimme Some Oven

Coffee Protein Smoothie

#3. Mix Espresso and Bananas for a Sweet Treat

If you love coffee and banana, you may find that this smoothie recipe becomes a daily favorite. To prepare, add eight ounces of sugar-free almond milk to a couple of tablespoons of espresso powder (instant type).

Also, add a single banana, five ounces of Greek-style yogurt (vanilla), a pair of teaspoons of honey and a dash of cinnamon. You’ll also need a cup of ice and a sprinkling of nutmeg. Blend, serve and enjoy.

http://www.jennifermeyering.com/recipes/espresso-banana-smoothie/

#4. Combine Protein and Bananas for Unique Taste

Lots of people enjoy adding protein powder to their coffee smoothies. Here’s another recipe which calls for this healthy, muscle-building powder.

To make the smoothie, add a couple of cups of ice and three-quarters of a cup of non-sweetened almond milk to your blender.

Then, put in a cup of brewed coffee which has been chilled and add a frozen banana which has been chopped up. Put in a scoop of your favorite protein powder and then blend and service.

Iced Coffee Protein Shake Recipe

#5. Enjoy a Creamy Smoothie with Fruity Elements

Bananas are very popular add-ons for coffee smoothie recipes. Here’s another recipe which features the creaminess of fresh banana!

To prepare, add a couple of frozen, chopped bananas to your blender and then put in a couple of tablespoons of sugar. Add a cup of Greek-style yogurt, in vanilla or plain flavor.

Next, put in a cup of milk and four teaspoons of instant coffee. Blend and enjoy!

http://homemadehooplah.com/recipes/breakfast-coffee-banana-smoothie/

#6. Add Oats for Even More Nutrients

A fun variation on the classic coffee banana smoothie is this oat-infused recipe. To prepare, add a cup of milk and one-quarter of a cup of coffee. You’ll also need a single banana and one-eighth of a cup of rolled-style oats.

Finish the recipe by adding half a teaspoon of vanilla. Blend and pour into a tall glass.

Healthy Coffee Banana Smoothie

#7. Make a Smoothie That Raises Your Metabolic Rate

To boost your metabolic rate, add six ounces of brewed coffee (fresh is best) and then put in four to eight ounces of coconut milk.

If you are comfortable adding raw eggs, adding a couple makes a great taste. Then, add two tablespoons of collagen and a tablespoon of organic maple syrup or Agave syrup. Finish the recipe with one teaspoon of coconut oil.

The BEST Coffee Smoothie: Boost Your Metabolism w/ My Secret Recipe

#8. Enjoy Delicious Coconut Flavor

This coffee and coconut smoothie are prepared with three-quarters of a cup of bold coffee which is frozen in advance. It also requires a single banana and a cup of coconut water, as well as half a cup of granola and four tablespoons of Flax seeds (ground type).

Lastly, you’ll need to add a couple of tablespoons of Chia seeds. Blend and serve.

Wake-Up Coconut Coffee Smoothie

#9. Enjoy a Java Chip Shake

If you like almond milk, you’ll enjoy this recipe. You’ll need to add some cold, strong Java to this recipe, along with the almond milk and maple syrup. Some people throw in a bit of spinach, too, just to get more nutrients.

If you’re making the smoothie for one, add a cup of almond milk, two ounces of cold coffee and a drizzle of maple syrup. Then, blend with ice for a great drink that satisfies.

See more at Blessed Beyond Crazy

Java Chip Smoothie

Buying Guide: Best Coffee Grinder for Home in 2018

best coffee grinder
Let’s be honest, who enjoys lining up for a coffee everyday? If you’re someone who enjoys brewing their own espresso and feel you can do better than your barista: start by grinding your own beans.

Your journey from coffee novice to french press connoisseur begins with freshly ground java in your drip, or espresso machine. Sit back with your favorite style of coffee while we outline what makes a good coffee grinder and then on to our picks.

Our Top 5 Coffee Grinder Reviews

ProductCommentsPrice GuideOur RatingOur Review
Baratza VirtuosoWant the best home grinder on the market? Look no further...Premium (5 / 5)Click here
BrevillePerfect grind for espresso drinkers at a bargain pricePremium (4.5 / 5)Click here
Baratza Encore Top rated entry level burr grinder. A great grind without a huge budgetMid (4.5 / 5)Click here
Capresso InfinityBest 'Bang for Buck' Espresso GrinderMid (4.3 / 5)Click here
Krups F203 Our top rated budget electric grinder. Under $20 it's a bargainLow (4 / 5)Click here
The single most important factor to a good espresso is the freshness of the beans. Coffee beans begin to stale as soon as they are roasted and are pretty much useless as little as two weeks later.

Although you extend the shelf life by freezing the ground beans this causes other problems effecting the taste of the brew. The next most important factor in the taste in your cup is in the grinding process.

Grinders are distinguished by a few factors, consistency, range of granularity, low-temperature operation and noise levels which they operate.

Your baseline grinder generates higher temperatures and coarser, irregular grinds — and sounds like a jumbo jet at full roar. A fine grind is essential to pulling an espresso shot that has the characteristic flavor and extracts the distinguishing essential oils that set apart good arabica from the foul coffee that your grandma serves. Consistency during the grinding process is also critical for replicating quality coffee, shot to shot.

Avoid spinning blades at all cost when picking a grinder. They chop your beans — you want a conical burr grinder that crushes and pulverizes the coffee to the required fineness.

French press style require coarser, the finest moondust for Turkish coffee, with espresso a few settings under the fineness.

Just like your coffee the exact cost and specs which you decide to spend are up to you — but here are a few great machines to start your research. Good luck and enjoy!

Baratza Virtuoso Review – Best Grinder for the Money

baratza_virtuoso_reviews - best coffee grinderGrind details
2 grams per second.

Noise
Motor and gear settings make the Virtuoso produce less noise than the cheaper Encore.

Cleaning
Easy to clean. Remove the bean hopper and top burr for access.

Pros:

  • Motor and Gear combo make it quieter than the Encore model
  • 60-second timer makes it easy to setup your ideal grind time
  • Thermal cut-off switch prevents motor burn out

Cons:

  • Small ground bean container unsuitable for large quantities.
Baratza grinders are favorites in the prosumer range, and the Virtuoso model is your best option around the $200 bracket and it can handle every brew from espresso to French press. In fact it’s also our recommendation as the best grinder for producing consistent results with your french press.

While the deadman switch, which forces users to continuously press the “grind” button, might be annoying for drip brewers, the professional-grade conical burrs and powerful 480W DC motor rotate at a relatively slow 450 RPM, which means the beans remain cool, and tasty.

For our readers who love a nice cup pressed coffee in the morning, make sure to read our french press guide section below. We’ve recommended the Virtuoso as the leading french press grinder currently available.


Breville BCG820BSSXL The Smart Grinder

breville_bcg820bssxl_the_smart_grinder_pro_coffee_bean_grinder_review
Breville BCG820BSSXL The Smart Grinder

Suitable for:

This product is a top value burr grinder for buyers who drink quality drip coffee and espresso at home. Espresso drinkers who use a bottomless filter basket or pressurized filter basket will love the 820XL.

Grind details

Overall the 820XL provides a consistent grind across most of its 60 different settings. I could dial-in the Breville to my preferred brew in 5 minutes.

My only criticism is the grinder struggles on the coarser settings. I’d recommend French Press or Moka Pot drinkers look at buying the Baratza Virtuoso.

Noise

Breville grinders are famous for being noisy. Fortunately, their 820XL unit is an improvement over the earlier Smart Grinder BCG800XL

Cleaning

The BCG820BSSXL Smart Grinder Pro requires regular cleaning by removing the bean hopper and upper grind burr. The chamber collects any residual beans and ground bean.

Breville included a brush in the standard package for easy clean up. The exterior is stainless steel and high-quality plastic which easily wipes with a damp cloth. Underneath the bean hopper a few grounds usually collects, which can be cleaned easily with the small brush.

International Buyers

International buyers located across Asia, Australian and NZ require the 220-volt version (110-volt unit is only for USA and Japan)

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Timer is inaccurate

As our readers already now, we rate the Breville Espresso machine range very highly. It won’t come as a surprise that Breville also produce high-quality grinders.

Their BCG820BSSXL smart grinder not only produces a delicious grind consistently but is available at a great price.


Capresso 560 Grinder Review – Great ‘Bang for Buck’

capresso_560_infinity_burr_grinder

Suitable for
Great affordable, all-around grinder for drip coffees, pour overs, and French Press.

Grind details
Slower than the Baratza’s, the motor heats quickly on the fastest settings spoiling the beans.

Noise
Exceptionally quiet, if you want an almost silent grinder you’ll love the Capresso.

Cleaning
Burrs can be easily removed, making it one of the easiest units to clean in our roundup.

Pros

  • Will grind fine enough to choke any espresso machine, without modification
  • Good quality burrs
  • Produces relatively consistent results
  • Slow speed a big plus – no damage to beans and little static
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • The timer is a silly add-on. On/off button would work better
  • If grinds build up, grind gets coarser, and you pollute your grounds with old stale coffee
  • The bean hopper is fragile and is prone to breaking

Capresso’s Infinity 560 automatic burr grinder is even more affordable than others in its class. Usually priced under $100, the 560 includes a conical steel burr grinder at the top with a storage container for your beans waiting to be ground.

There’s a handy grind catch at the bottom for the ground coffee to use later.

The Capresso is capable of producing a range of grinds from super-fine Espresso or Turkish coffee all the way up to the more coarse grinds. Upper compartments are easy to disassemble for cleaning, and the grinder has even been designed with pulse grinding functionality if that’s what you prefer.

Best of all a slow grind is available, so your beans don’t overheat, and spoil the taste of your brew. The Infinity engineers have designed 16 individual grind settings, three separate colors, black, brushed silver, and stainless which will suit any kitchen decor.

If you’re looking for a mid-range grinder, the 560 Infinity is a good unit to buy.


Baratza Encore Review

baratza_encore_reviewsSuitable for
Small capacity drip machines or french presses. Extended grind time makes it unsuitable for large capacity grinding.

Grind details
1 gram per second

Noise
Noisiest of the Baratza models (but also the cheapest)

Cleaning
Easy to clean, just remove the bean hopper and top burr for access.

Pros

  • Easy to set grind
  • Includes a pulse button for on-demand espresso grinding
  • Helpful accessories available online. E.g., portafilter holder
  • Consistent particle size

Cons

  • Grinding can be slow on finer grind settings (approx 1g/s on pouring oversize)
  • Quite noisy, but name me a burr grinder that isn’t
  • The instruction manual included is very light in detail. However, the online version is very helpful and can be found here: baratza.com

I’ve tested the Baratza Encore grinder extensively at home, and it’s one of the best entry level burr grinders that I’ve ever used. It’s simple to use, does a great job grinding coffee for just about every brewing method and is backed by the experts some at Baratza.

The Encore has been designed and built with the quality Baratza is famous for producing. It’s efficient motor keeps your beans cool during the grinding process, even when extended grind times are required.

A combination of electric and gear speed reducers slows the burr to 450 RPM, ensuring a smooth bean feed and reducing noise, heat, and static buildup.

Competitively priced in the mid range, look no further for the perfect coffee grinder.


Hario Coffee Mill Slim Grinder Review – Best Manual Grinder for Espresso

hario_coffee_mill_slim_grinder_review-comp
No frills but the Hario gets the job done. It’s cheap and it’s portable. However, it’s not going to meet the demands of espresso lovers or high volume coffee lovers. While it has adjustable conical ceramic burrs and is dishwasher safe, the settings are not marked.

It’s as slow or fast as your ability to manually turn the crank. Seeing the grinder is manual its great for taking away on vacation or picnic. You’ll get ground coffee suitable for a French Press or drip, anywhere. You’ll also get sore arms, just keep that in mind.


Krups F203 – Best Budget Grinder for Espresso

13_-_krups_f203_electric_spice_and_coffee_grinder 500p
One of the best selling budget grinder’s in 2016. Not only can the Krup’s F203 grind your coffee beans, you can pop your favorite spices in before cooking fresh paprika or basil. Not bad for it’s really cheap price!