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There’s no better way to start the day than a cup of freshly brewed espresso-based coffee.
Most coffee lovers aren’t fans of instant coffee. Mainly because it’s rotten! They end up shelling out a considerable amount of money each month at the coffee shop around the corner.
There comes a time when every coffee lover feels it’s time for an espresso maker that lets them make their own cappuccinos, lattes, mochas and all the other favorites.
But since the objective is usually to eliminate the wasteful expenditure at the inflation-friendly coffee shop, they can’t go crazy and buy the extremely expensive machines. So they begin their adventure of finding an espresso-maker that can make a world-class cup of coffee in the comfort of their homes.
Finding A Cheap Espresso Machine
Adventures are great, but they aren’t always a lot of fun and sometimes they can be extremely challenging. Finding an espresso maker under $100 is certainly quite the challenge. Sure, there are plenty of cheap espresso machines around the marketplace, but they tend to use steam.
For a decent espresso, it’s advisable to stay clear of steam-based machines because they sometimes produce burnt coffee. The kind of machine to look for is a pump-based espresso maker.
A Pump Espresso Machine? Eh?
Pump espresso machines are great products, and like all other great products, they are generally value for money. The best pump espresso makers cost around $250, but there are quite a few that are under $100, referred to henceforth as inexpensive espresso makers.
Buying the cheaper pump-based makers will require acceptance of the fact that they are unlikely to last for as long as their more expensive counterparts do.
They will still provide excellent quality and service for quite a few years.
There are generally two main types of coffee machines – the manual machines and the automatic ones. The automatic espresso makers include the semi-automatic and also the super-automatic machines. Manual espresso makers tend to be single-shot (i.e. it spits out the pack of coffee grounds in one shot).
Automatic makers are mostly multi-shot, but some are single shot as well. Factors that determine the price range are:
- Convenience (number of options)
- Ease of use (some can be quite complex)
- Consistency (some take a while to produce a good shot)
- Time (how long one ends up spending while making a cup of coffee)
- Reliability (super-automatic machines can give more trouble in the long run compared to semi-automatic machines) and of course…
Inexpensive espresso makers are still an excellent buy for most coffee lovers. First and foremost, they serve as an excellent training platform for beginners to learn how to make great coffee. They generally cut out the coffee shop expenditure, which leads to immediate savings.
More often than not, people who buy these machines will buy the premium-range machines a few years later. By then, they will have considerable experience in making great coffee. Out of the wide range of inexpensive espresso makers, there are two machines that truly stand out. They are the DeLonghi EC155 and the Hamilton Beach 40729 espresso machines.
This popular little machine from DeLonghi is highly rated by most customers. The customer reviews are excellent, mainly 4 and 5 stars.
Its pump is reportedly relatively quiet compared to most other pump-based machines, and seems to be quite strong too. It has a pressurized portafilter that enables it to produce with ease high quality shots, accompanied with nice crema.
While one can make a splendid cup of espresso with this machine, it is probably difficult to delve too deep into the art of espresso with it.
Nevertheless, it is a fantastic starter machine and can be used with ESE pods as it includes a pod portafilter. The EC155 also comes packed with a number of other features. Some of these include a 35oz water tank that’s removable and has a cup warmer along with it.
There’s also a steam wand that comes with a plastic frothing adapter. The machine has a nice touch of simplicity with the dial that’s on the front. It controls all of the EC155’s functions – everything from brewing to steaming. The DeLonghi EC155 is a powerful machine at a great price and it is ideal for all coffee lovers.
Hamilton Beach 40729
Whether a person has ground coffee or ESE pods, both can be used with the Hamilton Beach 40729, just like the DeLonghi EC155. While they are both priced about the same, they use different portafilters for ground coffee. The Hamilton Beach 40729 comes with a non-pressurized, commercial portafilter.
This is perfect for those who make espresso with a hands-on approach. People who want more involvement with the coffee-making process prefer this Hamilton Beach product because if offers them a lot more control as far as the espresso quality is concerned.
It of course requires more care when grinding the coffee. The Hamilton Beach 40729 is not ideal for beginners that want to get the process over with as fast as possible. There is a bit of a learning curve involved, but this only helps in the long term when its time to upgrade to the top of the line espresso makers.
The Hamilton Beach 40729 is comparable to a stick-shift car. It may be hard work for some, but there are many who prefer a stick shift car, as it’s a much better experience. Similarly, this espresso maker can churn out the very best of espressos, especially cappuccinos. The downside to owning this machine is the cleaning effort required.
At the end of the day, the type of espresso machine selected and the brand depends on personal preference. But the one thing that every owner of a home espresso maker has in common is that they will always rate their coffee better than what they get at the coffee shop.
Like brewing one’s own beer, it’s not just about the taste. The experience of creating something so good at home is what appeals to coffee lovers. Both of these machines are well under $100 and are great starter machines.
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