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Do you love your daily espresso-based caffeine hit? Have you ever considered investing in an espresso machine rather than buying a takeaway coffee every day? Are you wondering how much do you need to spend to make a decent espresso coffee at home?
At The Coffee Brewers, we frequently hear from people that are starting a coffee shop and want to buy an espresso machine. For those that are not familiar with the basics of making espresso-based drinks, some are surprised by the list of basic accessories that you’ll need if you are really going to do this. This list looks long.
The good news is that after the espresso machine, only ONE item costs some real money: the espresso grinder. The other (numerous) items are inexpensive. They are the “odds and ends” needed for the basic operation of your espresso machine, and for keeping it clean and well-maintained so that you’ll produce good espresso, and you’ll avoid costly repairs.
Quite reasonably, we frequently get calls from people that are opening a new business and want to know “the price” of an espresso machine. This makes sense: if you go to Williams Sonoma and buy an espresso machine for home use, it has “a price.”
Why an Espresso?
Before getting into the nitty-gritty details about the differences between various espresso machines, we need to make clear how espresso differs from your usual cup of coffee and why you need an espresso machine to get an authentic experience.
The beginnings of the espresso have originated in Italy, with the first espresso machine built and patented in 1884 by Angelo Moriondo of Turin. And the essentials that characterize an authentic espresso have been quite specific since then.
A double espresso is a 1.5-2 ounce extract that is prepared from 14-17 grams of coffee through which purified water of 88-95°C has been forced at 9-10 atmospheres of pressure for a brewing time of 22-28 seconds. It should drip like warm honey, have a deep reddish-brown color, and a thick crema on top.
Sounds pretty technical, doesn’t it?
The essential characteristics of an authentic espresso coffee are color, bitterness, acidity, and texture. And because the coffee made using a Moka pot, or a Keurig machine lacks some of these components, we cannot consider them true espressos.
How much does an Espresso machine cost?
Now you know that if you want to enjoy the powerful taste of the espresso-based drink you get from your local coffee shop, you need to buy an espresso machine.
But with so many different types of machines on the market, how do you know how much you need to spend on your espresso machine to brew an excellent espresso?
The choice between the machines will depend on more factors, but the most fundamental one is the level of your coffee-making skills as well as the sensitivity of your tastebuds.
If you’re just at the start of your espresso journey and you are looking for an affordable machine, you can get a decent entry-level espresso machine for less than $200.
While the espresso from these machines is good enough to satisfy the tastebuds of an espresso novice, we need to warn you not to expect the same taste of coffee that you get from your coffee shop.
Nevertheless, budget-friendly espresso machines like Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista or DeLonghi EC155Mallow you to control the brewing process more than a Keurig or a Nespresso ever could, use a significant amount of pressure and allow you to use the best espresso beans, which is reflected in the superior resulting taste.
Additionally, even the cheapest machines often feature a steam wand that will allow you to enjoy other espresso-based drinks like cappuccinos and lattes.
For Home Baristas
If you’ve already passed the beginner stage and your advanced taste is also reflected in a more profound interest in coffee as well as better barista skills, a more advanced machine that would match your expectations is going to cost you between $400-700.
With the higher price tag comes a higher quality of the resulting espresso. These machines are usually made out of better-quality materials, have more complex settings, a better grinder, as well as a tamper.
In this price category, you can also take your milk-steaming skills to the next level thanks to a better steam wand. With these machines, you can create microfoam and make latte art on top of your flat whites. This is something you cannot expect from an entry-level machine.
One of our best picks is the Breville BES840XL/A the Infuser Espresso Machine that has advanced technology, customizable settings, a well-performing steam wand that can produce microfoam, and, most importantly, brews delicious espressos.
How Much is an Espresso Machine for Commerical Use?
Our best pick for a low-volume machine for a business where the coffee-making isn’t your main focus is the Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine which is still below the $2000 mark and can withstand the pressure of continuous demand for espressos.
If you’re looking for a high-volume commercial espresso machine for your independent cafe, saving money is usually a bad idea since the cheaper option will not be able to produce consistently good espressos. Our favorite pick is the La Pavoni Bar-T 2 Group Commercial Espresso Machine. This one will cost you more than $5,000 and comes with two portafilters, two steam wands, and an advanced water boiler system.
The price range doesn’t stop there though. One of the most highly regarded heavy-duty commercial espresso machines La Marzocco Linea PB with 3 portafilter groups and superior extraction and technology will cost you around $20,000.
Why is it so expensive? La Marzocco is exclusively focused on commercial machines which is why their products have a much higher standard, especially concerning wear and tear since they are designed to be ready for the highest volume of constant use.
The Final Thoughts
The price of an espresso machine varies greatly and the price range depends on your level of experience as well as the purpose of the machine. While a beginner can get a satisfactory machine for as little as $100, as your tastes and skills develop, you can expect to pay around $500 for a good espresso machine.
The commercial machine territory is a whole different ball game and they range from $1,000 to over $20,000. This is because they are designed to handle constant demand for espressos rather than just an occasional use a few times a day.
While buying a good-quality espresso machine can be a serious investment, being able to make the thick creamy espresso shot full of aroma and the delicious aftertaste is worth it.