I can’t start my day without drinking coffee, and nothing starts the day better than a warm shot of espresso. We’ve tested a lot of different espresso machines over the years, and based on our findings we decided to write this article and show our readers the best budget espresso machines for your office or home. Let’s get started
1. Nespresso Inissia
On top of the list, we have an excellent machine from the Nespresso band the Inissia. While it may be a pod machine essentially, it puts out the best quality espresso in this price range thanks to its 19-bar pump pressure. On top of that, this is a premium designed machine, with compact dimensions, amazing ease of use, near to none maintenance and fast operation time. The best espresso in the budget range by a mile.
First of all the Nespresso Inissia is a pretty tiny device, measuring 12.6×4.7×9-inches in total so it will be a perfect fit for kitchens of small apartments. On top of that, it looks excellent, with its black metallic plastic that has the Nespresso branding on the right-hand side, and stainless steel front panel. It has a nice overall shape and it will please every user, even the most nitpicky ones. On the back of it, you will locate the 700ml water reservoir which is enough for the machine, and on the front, you will find the perforated grille that goes to the drip tray as well. When you lift the handle of the device it will reveal the pod compartment and the internal bin for used pods.
The machine is extremely easy to use, you just insert the pod in it and press one of the buttons on top which consists of Lungo and espresso, and it will insert your drink in no time. The machine was ready to brew after just 25 seconds of turning it on which is the most impressive aspect of this device. One of my favourite features was that you could lift the drip tray up to accommodate larger cups, and it is also removable so you can wash and dry it for ease of use.
The 19-bar pump pressure of the Nespresso Inissia is excellent for putting out the excellent quality of the espresso, with just the right amount of crema, your results will be consistent and you will notice no burning taste in your mouth. However, this machine lacks a steam wand for milky drinks, but the company provides the Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother in the package if you wish to include it for a small price.
Amazing quality espresso from a small machine, who could have known that Nespresso Inissia was so capable.
2. Barsetto Espresso Machine
Next up we have another Italian machine, this time from the Rome based manufacturer Barretto. Throughout the years the company has delivered some excellent espresso machines, grinders and accessories for coffee such as travel coffee makers, however, their Barsetto CM5003-UL Espresso Machine has been nothing short of excellent. Delivering constant results all the time with its powerful pressure pump, amazing boiler, convenient steam want, quality build, and many more features that will come in handy.
First of all, I have to mention the excellent premium design of this Barretto, it rocks a pretty solid and streamlined look, modern but pretty Italian at the same time, very aesthetically pleasing. On top of that this machine has a fully stainless steel design making it very durable on top of its attractive looks, it may be a little harder to keep it shiny but it will be worth it. On the front panel, you will spot the control panel with two buttons and a dial, showing you exactly what the device will do. The steam wand is excellent and flexible, the portafilter is of the highest quality as well, and the drip tray is completely removable for easy cleaning.
The 1.8-litre water tank on the back of the device is removable for easier refills, and the machine is very easy to use, as this semi-automatic machine works with just a few buttons. There are two included filters in two different sizes, for single shots and double shots, and with the included scoop you can put the same amount of ground in the portafilter. The cup holder or the drip tray is also removable, for easy cleaning and accommodating larger cups.
Thanks to its 15-bar of standard pressure, this espresso machine delivers consistent results every single time, however, I would suggest you wait for a little in between shots to get the best results. The espresso from this machine tasted excellent, extracting the right flavours from a variety of beans and it put out a good amount of crema. The steam wand worked excellently as well, frothing and steaming the milk in a proper manner.
This Barretto machine is definitely a dream come true for home brewers and you will be hard-pressed not to buy it.
3. De’Longhi EC155
Buying a state of the art Italian espresso machine, most of the time is quite costly, however, after some research, I found that DeLonghi delivers one of the most capable machines in the budget range. The De’Longhi EC155 is one of the most notable in its lineup and it delivers perfect value for its price, as it can put out quality espresso, on top of that you can brew amazing lattes and cappuccinos thanks to its steam wand that is pretty capable. It may not be as consistent as the high-end machines, but with a little time in hand, you can get the same results.
When you first take a look at the De’Longhi EC155, it looks like the pod coffee machines thanks to its shape and size, as it measures just 10.25x7x8.25-inches and weighs just 3.25 meaning that it will not take space on your countertop. On the back of it, you will spot a 1-litre water tank that is removable, for convenient refilling. The portafilter is of the highest quality and can withstand constant abuse and high-temperatures like a breeze. The stainless steel and black hardened plastic combination of the device give it a very impressive Italian look and it will look pretty good on your desk.
The ease of use of the De’Longhi EC155 is amazing, you just turn the dial that is located on the front panel of the device, and it shows you exactly what will it do. The indicator lights tell you the temperature and pressure of the water, so you will know if it is ready to brew or not.
Impressively this tiny machine can achieve a pressure of 15-bars, that is perfect for brewing quality espresso consistently. This may seem weak compared to high-end espresso machines, as this machine is built around one boiler for both brewing and steaming, so you have to wait for a little in-between brew to recreate perfect results. If you have a quality grinder, a bit of experience and patience, the results from these espresso machines are almost the same as a machine five times its price.
Very capable of recreating every espresso-based drink, this DeLonghi stays true to the company’s reputation.
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4. Premium PEM350
There are budget buyers and there are ultra-budget buyers that want the absolute cheapest device that can get the job done, and if you are wondering how down can you go in the price range but still get an espresso machine that will pump out espresso, the Premium PEM350 is here to give you answers. First of all it is extremely affordable, but can output a nice cup of espresso, has a frothing wand, a nice stainless steel removable filter, a tempered glass jar that you can use it for storing espresso and some interesting features, however, it comes with some caveats, let’s take a deeper look.
The Premium PEM350 has a pretty interesting design going on, with an all-black body, except the stainless steel want and portafilter part, it certainly doesn’t look very cheap as a first impression, however, you will notice it from the first touch that it is not a premium built device, despite the company name. On top, you will spot a compartment that opens up for the reservoir, and on the left-hand side, you will spot the controls of the machine for pouring espresso and frothing. on the front side, you will see the basket head and on the bottom, the drip tray can be removed for easy cleaning.
To brew espresso you just will the portafilter with the included measurement tool, and just turn it on, it brews espresso rather quickly, but it has some acidic taste to it, but its better than nothing. You also need to secure the portafilter tightly into the machine to get the best result, as it will leak from the sides.
The frothing wand can be moved freely, and it can create a creamy layer of milk on top, not the best you can find but it can do the job rather well. It is important to note that this machine is not the most durable you can find, and it will need proper maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape, however, most importantly you need to clean it every time you brew as the machine will degrade in no time if you don’t.
This machine is the cheapest on the market that can put out espresso, however, the results are not very consistent.
5. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista
If you have dived into the world of coffee then you have discovered that espresso is a heavenly juice that tastes beautiful and will power up your batteries at the same time. However, getting an espresso machine for your home can get a little pricy, but with a little research, you can buy an affordable machine that will be capable of pumping out amazing espresso drinks a day in day out. The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is one of the most notable budget espresso machines, delivering excellent functionality, with a decent sized reservoir, ease of use, good espresso output consistently, and its milk frother makes this machine a very multi-purpose device.
Design and aesthetic wise the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is not the most attractive machine on the market, however, it will fit right into most kitchen spaces. It measures 12.4×10.4×8.9-inches in total, meaning that it is a compact device, and when you consider that it is a pump espresso machine the claim just gets more impressive. The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista has a special reservoir for milk and has a steaming wand attached, on top of that the milk tank can be removed for storing in the fridge to keep your milk fresh. One interesting addition was the drip tray to accommodate cups of different sizes.
In terms of controls and ease of use, the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is fairly simple, coming in with a set of buttons that are on the control panel located on the front panel of the device. There are three buttons there, aligned vertically Espresso, Cappuccino, and Latte button. Pressing each of the buttons once starts brewing a single drink, twice for double, and a long press corresponds to custom brewing methods, for example, different shot sizes, custom frothing, and cleaning the steam wand.
This machine works with a vibration pump mechanism that delivered some good results, with fairly strong coffee and excellently frothed milk. It could output a good amount of crema, and the espresso came adequately sweet, however, I would recommend you to invest in a quality grinder to achieve better results. It was also very consistent in temperature achieving temperatures higher than 94 degrees celsius all the time.
A multi-purpose coffee machine has never been more affordable.
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