The Best Espresso Machines Under $500
Looking to buy an espresso machine for under $500? We review the five best choices of espresso machine for your money.
It is amazing how wide the range of available espresso machines are, from $50 to over a $1 000. Don’t assume that you have to buy the most expensive one that you can afford, but there is definitely merit into investing a little bit more in a higher quality machine.
But if you buy the fancy machine and your espresso shots still taste terrible, you might have to invest some more time perfecting the fine art of creating the perfect espresso shot. Before we look at the best espresso machines under $500, let’s make sure you’ve got all the basics in place.
How to Make the Perfect Espresso at Home
There are four basic factors that you have to line up for the perfect espresso shot: temperature, pressure, quantity of coffee grounds, and time.
Your water temperature needs to be just below boiling point, about 190°F.
Next, the machine’s steam pressure needs to be in the region of 200 PSI, that’s about 15 atmospheres or bars. For the most delicious
For the most delicious shot you can possibly prepare, use 7 grams of coffee grounds per cup. Lastly, your timing must be just right, extract the coffee for roughly 25 seconds. This is enough time for the water to infuse the coffee to create a delicious espresso shot.
Lastly, your timing must be just right, extract the coffee for roughly 25 seconds. This is enough time for the water to infuse the coffee to create a delicious espresso shot.
Getting All Your Coffee Ducks in a Row
Even the best espresso machines under $500 can’t guarantee a perfect espresso shot every time. There are a variety of things that influence it. For instance, even the weather could affect the espresso shot, on a really dry and hot day, your espresso will taste different when compared to a cold and rainy day.
But you don’t have to leave it all up to fate every time you attempt to make a delicious straight-up espresso shot or cappuccino, you can control a variety of factors involved in the brewing process.
First of all you have to make sure you use high-quality coffee beans. Fresh beans will produce a better espresso. You can opt for buying pre-ground beans at your local supermarket, but investing in a good grinder and paying a little bit extra for gourmet beans, will make a big difference.
Tip: a good shot will be full of flavor with good crema on top. A bad shot will be flat-tasting and thin.
Together with the type of beans, the roast intensity is another important factor to keep in mind. Coffee roasting can range from a light roast, to medium, to a dark roast. In the end it all depends on your personal preference, but a medium to dark roast is recommended to create a full-bodied espresso shot.
So, you’ve got the best beans at the ultimate roasting level, next you need to grind the beans correctly. Why does size matter?
An espresso machine forces water through the coffee grounds at a high pressure. The finer the grind, the more flavor will be extracted from the coffee grounds. They should be almost as fine as flour.
Keep a Close Eye on Your Espresso Machine
In the end you have the two big players – the beans and the machine. Won’t help much if you buy gourmet beans, but your machine is in a terrible condition. You need to maintain it in tiptop shape if you want to produce a delicious espresso shot every time.
Check that the porter filter and basket are dry and clean. Any extra moisture will affect the coffee grounds before you’ve even started the extraction process. Use a soft towel to wipe all the parts before you start.
Before making an espresso, purge the machine. Most machines should have an automatic function for this, what you need to do is run a bit of water through the system before starting.
Almost Ready to Taste the Delicious Espresso
This step is crucial to prepare the coffee grounds before the machine takes over from you. Tamping means you compact the coffee evenly into the basket. Fill it to about three-quarters full. You need to make sure there aren’t any air bubbles hiding between the coffee grounds. Tap the basket on the counter top to condense the coffee grounds.
Now fill up the basket all the way to the brim, but not heaped. If you are serious about home coffee brewing, invest in a good tamper to help you with this step. Press down onto the basket with quite some force, you need to compact the coffee grounds so tight that if you turn the basket upside down, the grounds must stay put. Your basket must now be four-fifths full.
Too much coffee will affect the extraction process, you don’t want the coffee to touch the machine’s shower screen. You want the water forced through the espresso machine to hit the coffee grounds at just the right intensity.
The Best Espresso Machines Under $500
This range of espresso machine options is for those getting serious about their coffee brewing at home. If you are a coffee fanatic, any of the following espresso machines would be a great investment to make.
KRUPS XP5220 Pump Espresso Machine
Creating the perfect espresso every time largely depends on perfecting the art of tamping. This nifty little machine makes use of a special Precise Tamp patented system to ensure optimum tamping every time. It can be set to one or two cups at a time. Create the perfect crema every time for the most delicious espresso.
The 1400w thermoblock system ensure that the machine pre-heats twice as fast as the average machine. The universal filter holder gives you the option of using normal coffee grounds, E.S.E. pods as well as soft pods. The machine features a mess-free used coffee grounds puck ejection system and a selector knob for brewing or frothing settings.
The automated features of the machine will vastly enhance your espresso making experience. Be careful when cleaning the steam wand, there’s a special slip ring that you have to carefully pull straight down not to damage it.
Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine
The machine has a beautiful, sleek look. It’s made from brushed stainless steel. It was voted as Consumers Best Buy product. It is designed in Italy by one of the most respected names in the espresso industry. The heavy duty design makes it match commercial-grade quality. The three-way solenoid valve and independent expansion valve ensure stabilized temperature, an important factor when creating the perfect espresso.
This machine will turn you into a professional barista in your own home! Included: two stainless steel filter baskets, for single and double shots, a coffee tamper as well as a 7g measuring scoop. To further ensure temperature stability, the porta-filters and grouphead are made from marine-grade, heavy-duty brass with a chrome plating.
This machine will make you feel more confident at mastering the art of making the perfect espresso by offering you the perfect temperature and pressure. All you need to do, is work on your extraction timing.
De’Longhi Lattissima Touch Nespresso
Single Serve Espresso Maker. This machine brings two great espresso brand names together to give you the best of both worlds – the Automatic Cappuccino De’Longhi System and the simple to use premium Nespresso espresso capsules.
The convenient one-touch method offers maximum functionality. Simply press a button and select your favorite drink – a classic espresso, long espresso, ristretto, one with hot milk, macchiato or make a delicious milk-based cappuccino or latte. It has a high-performing 19-bar pressure pump to help you create high-quality coffee drinks every time.
You can’t go wrong with a Nespresso machine, and adding the De’Longhi technology into the mix makes this an excellent automatic espresso machine choice.
Breville BES840XL the Infuser Espresso Machine
The special pre-infusion function applies low water pressure at the beginning of the extraction process to gently expand the coffee grinds for even extraction. The machine has a 1600w thermocoil heating system with an integrated stainless steel water coil to more accurately control the water temperature.
When creating the perfect espresso, maintaining the correct water temperature is crucial. The auto purge function will automatically adjust the water temperature after the steam function was used to create the optimal espresso extraction temperature. The machine has great preset, programmable functions or you can switch to manual if you want to adjust something in the process.
When hunting for the Best espresso machines under $500, you won’t be disappointed with this one. If you are passionate about creating the perfect espresso every time, you will definitely enjoy all the convenient special features of the machine, plus you can slowly ease into the process of making your own espresso shot from scratch with the manual function.
Phillips Saeco Vapore Expresso Machine
A great one-touch automatic espresso machine. Built-in ceramic grinder, ensuring your coffee beans won’t be burned and you have freshly ground beans every time. The special Memo function and adjustable grinder intensity allow you to save and brew a delicious espresso according to your personal preference.
Advanced features to warn you when to descale the machine as well as when to remove the limescale build-up. Produce delicious milk froth with the classic pannarello steam wand. Very easy to clean and maintain with an automatic cleaning circuit and a removable brew group.
If you like the ease of an automatic machine, this one is very easy to use and perfect for a single person or couple. Compact and convenient with a beautiful design.
Conclusion: Best Espresso Machines Under $500
Conclusion: Best Espresso Machines Under $500
If you are getting serious about your coffee brewing and really want to experience the best coffee at home, it’s worth investing in a higher quality espresso machine. You will certainly thank us when you are enjoying the delicious espresso produced by these machines under $500.
We hope that you find the best espresso machine under $500 to cater to all your personal preferences. Are you a fan of a manual or automatic machine? Or do you prefer the best of both worlds?