There is nothing quite like a good shot of espresso, especially during those sleepy mornings. An espresso never fails to jolt you up and get you ready for the day. And don’t get me started with the beautiful aroma of a strong espresso, quite frankly I wouldn’t mind my entire house smelling like that. Imagine how much work you will be able to do when your house smells like a Roman café.
Nothing beats the experience of drinking a shot of espresso in a quaint Italian café. Where you sip your coffee, read a newspaper, and avoid eye contact with those snooty Italians who look at you judgmentally because you do not know how to drink espresso properly.
But of course, not all of us can afford this great experience, some of us would also love to be able to get a shot of this morning elixir anytime we want. Be it in our homes and in our workplaces, a good espresso can liven up the place and get a lot of work done.
Good thing we have these little wonderful things called espresso machines. These machines range from small tabletop variants to really large industrial types. One drawback of good espresso machines is that they typically cost an arm and a leg.
But there are a few hidden gems hovering around that makes great espresso while still being affordable. So if you are looking for a great espresso machine without being too rough on your wallet then you are in luck because we made a list just for you.
And for those who do not want to break the bank in purchasing one of these machines, all products on this list will all be under 200 US dollars.
So let us begin our espresso journey...
**Below, you'll find more detailed reviews, but you can also click links above to check current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.
Espresso is actually the method of preparing your coffee. Basically, the coffee blend (fine ground) is brewed by forcing high-pressure water through it to make a much intense and concentrated coffee product. A true espresso has crema on top.
The popularity of coffee shops around the world gave the notion that espresso is that dark, bitter, and caffeine bombed drink. This is not exactly true as most coffee experts around the world love to point out.
According to the of Tarallucci e Vino and coffee expert Luca Di Pietro:
One of the huge issues I have with the new wave of coffee shops is that they make espressos with 18 to 20 grams of coffee. Basically, they give you two to three times the caffeine of a traditional espresso, and in that small dose of liquid… the ratio of caffeine per ounce is incredibly high and makes the coffee over extracted and bitter.
So there you go, when an Italian tells you something about Espresso, you better listen.
Espresso is meant to be consumed quickly. That is the reason why crema is placed on top. It is said that you have to finish the espresso before the cream starts to thin out. Sort of like a delicious timer for your coffee. You can have a small pastry, some chit chat, and a quick shot of espresso and be on your caffeine induced way. Pretty sly way to get the line moving if you ask me.
There are some of us that just love espresso but just do not have the time to make one. This is where the Nespresso Pixie Expresso Maker shines. Just imagine how easy the directions are:
That simple, that fast. In under 30 seconds, you will be getting a shot of espresso. It also comes with a nifty 9 minute turn off mode for added convenience. It is as if the makers of this wonderful machine doesn’t want you to lift a finger. It is only single cup though so you will have to prepare another batch if you are having someone for coffee. It is also very compact and quite light.
But let us be honest, they could definitely change the name of this machine to espresso maker for lazy people and I would not mind it.
The Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker is almost similar to their Pixie variant. It also makes a good cup of espresso under 30 seconds with the same convenient steps. Just like the Pixie, it could pour coffee on two different cup sizes which are:
What is amazing about this is that it is even cheaper than the Pixie Espresso Maker while looking quite just as good.
It even has six different color variants to choose from to make this small wonder a perfect fit to your kitchen (Titan, Ruby Red, Silver, Pure White. Vanilla Cream and Intense Black).
The Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker is also slightly smaller and just as light as the Pixie. It also has that off mode after 9 minutes.
The main difference between the two is the water tank indicator alert and the much more premium material used in the Pixie.
If it's quick, compact, and still pretty to look at then this might be the espresso maker for you.
With famous espresso purveyor Lavazza teaming up with Keurig to make their Classico coffee pods, you can definitely be assured that you are getting one great cup of espresso.
This baby uses 15 bars of pressure to brew your cup in under one minute so you definitely know that you are getting an intense cup of joe.
At the side of the espresso brewer is a canister that allows you to froth milk and lets you do three frothing mode which are:
The Keurig Rivo Cappuccino and Latte System also comes with an energy saving mode that turns the product off when it is not in use.
When it comes to espressos, it also has two size options which are 1.4 oz. and 2.8 oz.
You would have to give up a bit of space when you get this one though as it is not as compact as the first two espresso maker on the list.
So if you like the quickness and convenience of coffee pods but want a better tasting espresso then you should definitely check this machine out.
Getting espresso with coffee house type of quality is not exactly easy work. No matter how convenient and fast coffee pods are it still won't be up to par with those in your neighborhood cafes. One espresso machine that makes a great effort is the Mr. Coffee Café Barista Premium Espresso/Cappucino System.
The design is not exceptional but neither is it lacking in looks. It won’t be a centerpiece but it won't also be an eyesore. It’s pretty decent looking enough to look nice with your décor. What is nice about this is that for a machine that can make a true espresso it is not that large, you could fit it quite nicely on your counter and shelves.
The Café Barista has a portafilter where you load the grounds; this is attached to the metal handle which is locked quite securely at the bottom of the spout.
Its modes are semi-automatic, they are 3-1 espresso, cappuccino, and latte. All done with a simple touch of a button.
The milk frother is pretty amazing too. You can manually do it but I suggest you just let the machine guess the level of frothing.
All in all, the Mr. Coffee Café Barista Premium Espresso/Cappuccino System does an amazing job giving you a good version of what espresso tastes like. And at the price it currently sits at, you can be sure that this espresso maker packs a mean punch.
I know what you are thinking, I must be crazy to look for a luxury espresso machine for under 200 US dollars. But hear me out first and allow me to tell you about the De’Longhi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker.
One look at this beauty and you will already feel your kitchen getting one more point in elegance. The stainless steel finish is always an amazing welcome addition to any kitchen.
One amazing thing about this machine is its versatility when it comes to grounds. You can actually choose fresh ground coffee or E.S.E pods with its dual purpose filter.
It also has a patented Sempra Crema produces the perfect crema for your cup.
The manual frother helps you have that perfect blend of steam and milk for you to have that barista quality creamy froth.
It also has a warming tray on top to keep your cups ready anytime you need to get going.
With a 15 bar pump system, you know you are getting one intense roast every time you use this machine. This beauty is worth the investment if you really take your espresso drinking quite seriously.
So there you have it, the best espresso machines under $200. For a cup of good espresso, you with be hard pressed to find better espresso machines than those five up there. But always remember to use high quality coffee beans when using the ones that require grounds. A good espresso machine is only as good as its beans.
If you have any comments or stories regarding this topic, please feel free to write them on the section below.
There’s nothing in this world that excites me more other than cooking. From appetizers to desserts, since then, I’ve always been passionate on making foods.