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Best Espresso Machine Under $500

If you’re into coffee, you may have learned the difference between a coffee and espresso by now. More often than not, people are going to enjoy an espresso in the morning and a cappuccino later in the day. Confused much?

What isn’t an espresso?

For those of you who still don’t know how to make the difference between an espresso and a coffee, here’s some news for you: it’s not a type of bean.

In all fairness, the market gives us so many products espresso-based (beans and everything to think of). Coffee is one thing, and espresso is another. You can have an espresso with any bean (in theory, since flavored and oily beans are never the right choice). You can also try any level of roast for your espresso, with very dark roast not being the most popular option amongst baristas and coffee roasters.

What’s espresso then?

An espresso is a concentrated and thick coffee drink with a layer of smooth foam. You only need coffee and water for making espresso and a good espresso machine that pushes hot water through the basket. It does it in a limited amount of time at very high pressure. Espresso is also used for naming the whole process.

How can you tell if your espresso machine is good or not?

Not all espresso machines are made equal, and it goes beyond saying that expensive devices don’t always deliver.

Here’s how to identify a good espresso machine:

  • It grinds to beverage order

A reliable espresso machine is able to capture most of the 800 aromatic compounds that are found in the ambient. They disappear after 15 minutes of grinding, which is why coffee smells better than it tastes.

  • It provides optimal consistency

A good espresso machine is going to give the same results for every single espresso cup. There should be no differences nor variances caused by erring human estimations.

  • It uses the finest ground particles

You want the espresso machine to use only fine ground particles for creating excellent resistance to the high-pressure and high-temperature brewing process. It should express the best of the flavored compounds.

  • It has a short brewing cycle (20-25 second)

It’s the perfect amount of time for the tannic acid from the coffee beans not to break down. A bitter taste is never a good sign for your espresso.

  • It gives a caramelized aftertaste that lingers for a long time

A reliable espresso machine is able to provide a caramelized aftertaste as the coffee oils remain trapped by taste receptors on the back of your tongue and throat.

A final tip before going shopping!

Buying a good espresso machine is rather easy, considering the options and the Internet in our days. However, you should do due diligence about how to get the best out of it and enjoy your espresso. Ask your Italian friends about how to drink espresso, as they sure have some advice for you! (drink it quickly, never add milk, and don’t have a cappuccino after breakfast- there are only some of the many!

Top 5

   1. Breville Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine

Anyone looking for a simple espresso machine, but doesn’t want to open the wallet big, should take a look at the BREVILLE BES810BSSUSC BES810BSS Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine.

The espresso machine comes with 15 bar Italian made a pump which begins with low pressure, increasing gradually. It provides proper extraction, and you can have one or two espresso shots simultaneously. You can also control the shot volume manually.

The machine comes with dual wall filter baskets, giving you the possibility to use pre-ground or freshly ground coffee beans. You should try a cappuccino later in the day too since the machine includes a steam wand for steaming and frothing milk. The high power 1600W element is going to give enough steam for creating micro-foam, with great flavor every time.

The machine is easy to use and to maintain since it comes with Cleaning and Drip Tray alerts, informing you when you need to check them for cleaning. The Auto Purge function means that the machine purges the heating system automatically after steaming so that your espresso has the best temp.

The effortless setup, the easy maintenance, and the easy-to-follow instructions turn the machine into an excellent option for many.

Here are the pros:

  • It comes with a low-start pressure pump that gradually increases the pressure
  • You may have one or two espresso shots at a time
  • The steam wand for steaming and frothing milk is reliable
  • The machine is easy to set up and to clean

The cons aren’t something to worry about:

  • It’s a tad noisy
  • You cannot use it for making coffee

Stay focus on the many good things and don’t mind the downsides. For the price you’re paying, the machine is a sure buy most of the time.

   2. Saeco Vapore Automatic Espresso Machine

Anyone enjoying an excellent espresso in the morning but doesn’t want to get into the process too much should go with an automatic espresso machine. If your budget isn’t very generous, you should take a leap of faith with the Saeco HD8645/47 Vapore Automatic Espresso Machine.

The machine comes with ceramic grinders, so you have great espresso made from fresh beans every single time. You may adjust it and use one of the five settings, from the finest to the coarsest.

The machine allows you to try various settings and comes with memo function. You can adjust the coffee length the way you want it.

Don’t forget to try the cappuccinos or lattes since the espresso machine comes with a classic milk frother for creamier foam.

Don’t stress about cleaning the machine since it includes an Automatic Circuit Cleaning. Don’t worry about using the device since the buttons are intuitive and easy to use too.

The machine has a compact build, and its main body is made with ABS plastic. It’s one of the best options within the automatic category, considering the price.

Let’s check the best parts once more:

  • It has ceramic grinders and five grinder settings
  • The classic milk frother gives the smooth foam
  • The machine is easy to use
  • It has a compact build and an attractive appearance

The flaws are by no means deal breakers:

  • There are limitations for the cup’s height
  • The water recipient is rather small

At the end of the day, you get a dependable, elegantly looking, reliable, and secure to use/maintain automatic espresso machine for a bargain price. Isn’t this what you were looking for?

   3. Nespresso by De’Longhi Touch Original Espresso Machine

If you love your espressos as much as you love your latte macchiato, you need to try Nespresso by De’Longhi EN560B Lattissima Touch Original Espresso Machine.

It’s easy to use a machine that gives fantastic espresso and creamy latte. There are six one-touch recipes to try with the device: espresso, coffee, latte macchiato, cappuccino, latte, and warm milk. The automatic frother is excellent and creates durable, creamy, and rich foam every single time.

The 19-bar high-pressure pump heats the machine fast (it only needs 40 seconds for the milk-based drinks). You can also adjust the milk froth thanks to the texture regulator knob.

Many users appreciate the possibilities for customizing your drinks and the versatility of the machine. For instance, the sliding drip tray lets you use various cup or glass sizes. Once you’re done with the milk tank, you should store it in the fridge until next use or clean it in the dishwasher. You’ll know when it’s the time since the machine has a rinsing function.

The machine comes with automatic descaling function alerts so that you know when it’s time to start the descaling process.

Unlike other machines, this one comes with energy-saving function, so it switches off on its own after nine minutes of no activity. It’s also programmable.

On top of everything else, the machine has a sleek and modern design. After all, it’s crafted in Italy.

Let’s have a second look at the positive things:

  • It gives excellent and creamy milk drinks, espresso and coffee
  • It comes with many functions that ease out the maintenance and the use
  • It heats up fast and has a straightforward setup
  • It has a sleek and elegant design

We don’t consider the flaws to be concerning in any way:

  • The capsules are a tad pricey
  • Not everyone finds the cleaning of milk container easy

More often than not, the machine still makes it a reliable option for anyone loving both espresso and milk-based drinks.

   4. De’Longhi America Lattissima Pro Original Espresso Machine

Since it’s loaded with great features, we see no reason whatsoever for which you shouldn’t take the plunge with the De’Longhi America, Inc. EN750MB Lattissima Pro Original Espresso Machine.

If you’re on a hunt for an automatic espresso machine, this one would be a great contender. You can use Nespresso capsules for it which are recyclable, giving the most exceptional espresso taste. You don’t need to measure nor to clean up; you only have to press the button.

The patented espresso extraction system helps the machine to release the ideal flow of water with 19 bars of pressure. It matters for obtaining the best temp and flavor for every single cup of coffee. It only needs 40 seconds for reaching the best temperature. The Thermoblock heating system fastens the cold-start heating time to second.

For a cappuccino, you should try the built-in carafe which releases the ideal amount of milk in adjustable levels for your taste. Remember to remove the unit though, and keep it fresh in the refrigerator. Don’t worry about leaving a mess since the machine is designed so that no milk gets in contact with the device. It’s dishwasher safe, sparing you the fuss of cleaning.

The digital touchscreen is rather intuitive to use, and you can have an espresso, latte macchiato, cappuccino, or lungo with just a touch of a button.

If cleaning and maintaining an espresso machine worry you, remember that the appliance comes with an intuitive descaling function that informs you about the hardness of water (five levels).

The machine comes with anodized aluminum exterior elements, ticking the beautiful appearance box as well. It’s very well made and has a durability feel to it.

Here’s what we like the most about it:

  • The machine is fast, quick, and reliable
  • You can use it with capsules
  • It has descaling function and user-friendly touchscreen
  • It has an elegant look and durable build

Don’t let the minor cons change your mind when deciding:

  • The pods may look pricey to some
  • There is a learning curve when it comes to use

All things considered, the espresso machine gives consistent performance, looks classy, and is ready to handle the use for a reasonable amount of time. What’s not to like about that?

   5. Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine

Any coffee snob going big on the super-automatic espresso machines is going to fall in love with the Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine. Apart from being super-automatic (taking control out of your hands when making espresso), the machine looks elegant and long-lasting.

The design is well thought out, and the display is user-friendly. The LED display and push-button controls present lit icons easing out the use.

The drip tray, the water tank, and the dregs drawer are easy to reach and access from the front, which most coffee fans appreciate highly. The machine is easy to clean and take care of.

You don’t have to wait for the machine to heat up since the device features Rapid Steam Technology, ensuring fast heat-up times and reliable brewing and steaming operation. The Gaggia Adapting System is going to let you adjust the coffee and set the grinder just the way you want your espresso to be.

You may use both whole beans and pre-ground beans with the machine, with the ceramic burr grinder and bypass doser sustaining consistent performance. In additions, the brew group is removable so that you take care of it regularly.

The Pannarello Steam Wand is excellent to use right into the milk, helping you obtain creamy foam for your milk coffees.

The machine comes with an elegant and classic appearance, with the stainless steel front panels making a statement in any kitchen.

Here’s our take on the pros:

  • It’s an affordable super-automatic espresso machine
  • It comes with front access for the water tank and tray
  • It features LED display and push-button controls with lighted icons
  • It’s sturdy, dependable, and looks elegant

The downsides are nothing to worry about:

  • The water recipient could be larger
  • It’s somewhat wider than it is longer

Regardless of the minor issues, the machine stands out as one of the most affordable and dependable super-automatic espresso machines out there, and you shouldn’t hesitate when buying.

FAQs on espresso machines

Q: How did espresso get to the U.S?

A: Espresso was popular within the Italian immigrant communities in big cities, and it was Starbucks that made it famous. It was like the “second wave” for espresso, with people getting more and more familiar with espresso and espresso machines.

Q: Is an espresso machine able to give strong coffee?

A: It’s Moka pot or the AeroPress that give coffee stronger than espresso machines. Any device using a pressure within the process is going to produce a much stronger coffee than an espresso machine.

Q: Are there portable espresso machines?

A: The market is various, and you can find many models of portable espresso machines. Even though they’re not going to deliver the same pressure for the steam, they can still make you a tasty espresso while you’re hiking.

Q: Are espresso machines safe for the environment?

A: If you’re using coffee pods, it makes sense that you need to throw away the pods at some point. Even if traditional brewing isn’t waste-free, you can find today biodegradable coffee pods. However, the decomposition emissions (CO2 and methane gas) can impact the environment as bad as plastic cups. New technologies are developing as we speak so that both the consumer and the engineer can join efforts into creating more environmental-friendly espresso machines.

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