Expensive espresso machines are daunting in more ways than one. Not only do they have a high price tag, they come with more bells and whistles than the average coffeemaker.
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The high price tag of espresso machines is due to the complex technology needed to turn coffee into espresso. Espresso machines come in several varieties:
- Air pump-driven
An expensive home espresso machine is a better choice in the long run due to having higher-quality materials and more convenience features. Functions such as pre-wetting, built-in grinders, and high pressure bars will make your coffee taste incredible.
Which espresso machine you want to use will depend on your personal tastes and your budget. Let’s dive into the intricacies of the espresso machine and what you need to know before you purchase.
Do Expensive Espresso Machines Make Better Coffee?
The answer to this question depends on your unique tastes. While all espresso machines can make a good espresso shot, some go the extra mile to squeeze out all the flavor.
Here are a few features you can keep an eye out for when shopping for espresso machines.
This is a feature that momentarily soaks the coffee beans to get them ready for extraction. With the coffee bed properly damp, water moves through it more smoothly and captures more flavor chemicals.
The ultimate espresso is fresh espresso. What better way to achieve that than with a fast extraction? Check the speed of your espresso machines, as some are able to create shots in three to five seconds.
You need a good amount of pressure to push out all those delectable flavor chemicals. When purchasing an espresso machine, make sure it at least has nine bars of pressure.
This is the standard for both home and commercial grade machines, though you can find models that go even higher.
Are Expensive Espresso Machines Worth It?
This depends on how often you drink coffee and the quality you prefer. For some, an expensive espresso machine is too much work to maintain and use. For others, it’s an indispensable gift that keeps on giving.
Expensive espresso machines have a few advantages over their budget-conscious counterparts. These include (but aren’t limited to):
Longer Lasting Materials
Expensive espresso machines show off their price largely through their materials. High-quality materials hold up to repeated use and are built to last for years. High-end espresso machines use a combination of long-lasting metals such as:
- Stainless steel
To compare, more affordable espresso machines are explicitly designed for casual use. This can look like a hobbyist making a latte once a week as a treat. If you want to make coffee on a daily (or semi-regular) basis, you may want to save up for a quality model.
Subtle Settings and Additional Features
The more subtle the settings, the more you can tweak your coffee to your heart’s content. Expensive espresso machines often come with features such as:
- Adjustable pressure levels
- Several grind levels
- Pressure control
- Automated cleaning
- Steam wands
Why Are Espresso Grinders So Expensive?
Are you trying to figure out if you want to buy an espresso machine with a built-in grinder? This is a useful combination for many, but other buyers may prefer a separate grinder.
Coffee grinders are complex pieces of equipment with a tall order to live up to. Not only do they need to create multiple grind levels for your coffee, they need to work quickly and last long. An oft-requested feature for coffee grinders today is noise reduction. If you have a large family or like to make coffee in the office, keep this feature at the forefront of your mind!
Two types of electric grinders you can consider when seeking out an espresso machine are:
Micrometric Grind Adjustment
Beginners may prefer this espresso grinder setting for its ease of use. Micrometric grind adjustment has predefined settings for several coffee types: pour over, French Press, cold brew, and espresso.
Stepless Grind Adjustment
If you’re a little more experienced -- or just want to experiment more -- consider stepless grind adjustment. These have no predefined settings, giving you the chance for nearly limitless options with your espresso grind.
If you’re concerned about your coffee quality, you also need to take into account the parts that grind the coffee: burrs and blades.
These are exactly what it says on the tin: flat, textured burrs that gently crush your coffee into a satisfying grind. Flat burrs are beloved for their consistency, drastically reducing uneven particles to keep your coffee flavorful.
The downside to flat burrs is they heat up more quickly than conical burrs, which can negatively affect the flavor of your coffee. They’re also a little more expensive, so you may want to stick to conical burrs if you’re budgeting.
These burrs are cone-shaped, crushing coffee a little differently than their flat counterparts. Conical burrs technically create two grinds in one.
One of the best features of conical burrs is how much quieter they are than flat burrs.
Made out of simple stainless steel blades, blade grinders are a solid place to start on your coffee journey. While their grind is more inconsistent than flat burrs or conical burrs, they’re the most affordable of the bunch.
Why Are Barista Machines So Expensive?
You may have noticed the massive difference in the price tag between barista-level espresso machines and home espresso machines. Due to the difference in demand, barista machines are in a league all their own.
A barista espresso machine is designed for constant coffee use. It needs to be constantly running, resist overheating, and deliver on similar quality coffee. These models also tend to have several convenience features, such as automated cleaning and programmable settings.
Why are espresso machines so expensive? With such high-grade materials and complex functions, it makes sense they’re a little pricier than a French Press.
Need help balancing function with affordability? Send us a message or reach out to our live chat with your coffee equipment questions: we’re happy to help!