If you’ve ever wondered what it’ll cost to upgrade your 10-year-old, $40 coffee maker into something that can whip up a nice espresso bomb in next to no time, you’d be shocked by how much you’d have to part with, because Espresso machines are EXPENSIVE!
Run-of-the-mill models cost a paltry $300 -$500, while an appliance that will stand the test of time costs double or triple that amount.
We’ve not even begun to let you in on the show-stopping semi-automatics or 4-fold group heads.
But before we scour the world of espresso machines let’s remind ourselves how this device became a relic of the coffee-verse.
A brief history of espresso machines
The first espresso machine was designed by Angelo Moriondo in 1884. And after Luigi Bezzera invented an improved coffee maker in 1901, espresso started to imply “hard coffee, produced under immense pressure in special devices and a lever.”
In 1903, Desiderio Pavoni, an Italian industrialist secured a license to develop Bezzera coffee producers. Other inventors followed suit, and by the early 1920s, the Tower, like Victoria and Pavoni coffee dispensers became a regular item in Italian coffee shops. This was instrumental in the propagation of Italian coffee culture in Europe and the Americas.
It was only in 1947 that semi-automatic machines started to appear courtesy of Achille Gaggia. His invention allowed the desired water pressure to be achieved. Semi-automatic machines today account for up to 90% of the global coffee machine sector.
By 1961, Faema began producing coffee devices that involved water flowing through the coffee through an electrical pump. This concept is still applied by modern coffee makers: an electric pump sends cold water over a heat chamber placed in a boiler containing hot water. Then, the heated water runs over the coffee powder while milk is steamed simultaneously.
In 2007, the air-pump-driven model by Nielsen Innovation SARL, which forces compressed air to jolt the hot water over ground coffee emerged. Hot water is routed through a thermos flask using a funnel and the compressed air jets out from either a hand pump or an electric compressor.
So, while we may turn to Starbucks whenever we think about coffee, it’s these guys we have to thank for making our mornings better.
So, what’s the deal? Why are espresso machines so costly?
A decent espresso machine requires the water temperature to be at a uniform range for optimum stability, while pressure must remain within definite limits. One wrong move and you’ve made a trashy cup of coffee.
Such precise conditions mean that some of the components of the espresso maker must be avant-garde, for example, the pressure regulator and the boiler.
How an espresso is made
To understand the rationale behind the expensiveness of an espresso device, we need to take a deep plunge into why espresso is different from other coffee-making techniques.
Espresso is achieved by the forceful driving of hot water through a closely gathered puck of ground coffee at great pressure. The water gushes through the puck in seconds and voila, you have the concentrated black liquid called espresso.
The entire process takes less than 15 seconds – an improvement from the French Press that takes up to 4 to 5 minutes. All minutiae of data are important as any small error in temperature, pressure, and granule size becomes accentuated.
An overarching requirement of the espresso gadget is pressure. A device that uses 15-bars of pressure needs to deliver 15 times the prevailing atmospheric pressure to produce the bomb. The machine uses a pressure stat to regulate the pressure and temperature of the machine and this alone costs above $100.
Reason #1: You need high-end equipment to make a good cup of espresso. Also, the use of dense metals like stainless steel, brass, to make the body and internal components allude to its high cost.
The use of industrial plastic for the device’s side fitting will not compromise the quality of your espresso, but it may affect the firmness and stability of the group head and other components, ultimately affecting your results. The quality of brass when used for the group heads may drastically affect the temperature. So, if you are looking for higher quality at lower prices, then you need to go for a semi-automatic or manual device.
Reason #2: cheap coffee makers are served straight out of a production belt in an automated system to harness the benefits of economy of scale. It makes sense that espresso machines are handmade because if they were mass-produced, prices would plummet. This means the manufacturer has to charge a high price for each unit.
Reason #3: you need to keep producing coffee if you’re running a cafe. Uber-high-ticket espresso machines that cost $20,000 are designed for commercial applications. The machine is going to be shooting a hundred shots per day, every day. Should it break down, you’re out of business.
Other factors affecting the cost of an espresso device
The digital indication on espresso gadgets serves to simplify the entire procedure. Devices with computerized signaling possess higher levels of temperature uniformness and are imbued with premium-grade materials.
Helpful indicators in digitized controls include dispense timers, pre-infusion delay, on-off setting, filter placement alerts, and device troubleshooting. We’ve now got smartphone-enabled coffee makers that sync with wifi and Alexa, allowing you to bellow commands to your brewer anywhere in the house.
Again, the temperature is an important determinant of an espresso drink’s quality, and to maintain temperature consistency, a PID (proportional-integral-derivative) is helpful to ensure heat uniformity over the entire brewing exercise.
Unlike thermostat-based coffee makers, PIDs are worth an additional cost in espresso devices as it gives baristas an air of confidence that they are extracting the coffee at the perfect temperature.
PID controls use a myriad of mathematical formulas to maintain the temperature of the machine at all times.
Rather than switching on and off when the temperature falls higher or lower than the desired point, PIDs moderates the temperature in real-time, constantly tracking the water temperature to keep it at the optimum level possible.
If the water is too hot, it scorches the coffee granules, leading to hyper-extraction and a bitter drink.
Conversely, when the water is too cold, the machine does not sequester coffee beans adequately, resulting in a regrettable drinking experience.
Research and Development efforts in espresso machine science, unknown to the consumer, hike the price of the appliance.
Branded designs have a waft of originality attached to them. This exclusivity leads to staggering prices. La Marzocco, many Rancilio series, as well as the Breville and De’ Longhi series are some of the top players in the business.
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Are there moderately priced espresso makers?
Now that you’ve realized that good espresso churners are anything far from cheap, it’ll interest you to know that there are decent gadgets that can suffice with the goods.
The De’Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine is an eligible entry-level device at under $700 that is quite easy to operate and can work well with coffee beans or granules. It has a dual heating system and a memory for drink volumes that makes espresso extraction pretty worthwhile.
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Are there cheap, cheap coffee makers out there? (Below $50)
Enough of the glitz and glam of semi-automatics and hydro-mechanics of espresso makers northwards of $100. It’s time to explore ultra-cheap coffee dispensers that are adept at creating an adequate cup of coffee.
This contraption is coffee lands most guarded relic. It has been the staple of Italian coffee houses since 1933 and is fast gaining mainstream fanfare in the United States. Otherwise known as stovetop espresso makers, they distill coffee under pressure. Many coffee enthusiasts can’t sense the difference between a Moka pot espresso and traditional machine-pressed espresso. Enjoy making your favorite fix like latte and cappuccino without paying top dollar.
- Bradshaw International
- Bialetti 6-Cup
- Moka Express
The French Press is a small-issue coffee brewer that’s easier than most drip coffee dispensers. This gentle brewing style makes for a flavor-filled drinking sensation without the risk of scalding your beans.
Simply add the coffee powder to the carafe containing hot water, steep for around 3 minutes, sieve, and pour.
You can get the Bodum Chambord French Press for less than $40. It’s one of the most dependable French presses out there. It usually comprises a glass carafe, plunger, nozzle, and stainless steel frame. Bodum is a hassle-free, easy way to enjoy your favorite drink on a budget. After all, no place in the coffee Bible says coffee-making should be a concert of lights and moving parts.
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The modern aero-press is a Nespresso-esque machine that can be used to spurt small jabs of coffee with lucid, clean flavors. It’s also less finicky than the other manual brew options. You can make one cup of coffee in about one minute. The aero-press delivers distinct and crisp flavors, and is light and durable, making it suitable for travel.
The aero-press, at first glance, appears to have some queer-looking appendages and may be hard to operate initially. Overall, it’s pretty easy to control.
Essentially, the aero-press
- Is a plastic plunger
- With ahead for the end of the plunger
- And a coffee scoop gauge
- With a funnel for filling coffee powder deep into the mixing area.
- And a stirring paddle
To make an AeroPress espresso:
- Boil water and remove it from the heat for about one minute before using it. Moisturize the paper filter with warm water.
- Add the coffee by placing a funnel atop the cup and pouring it through. Remove the funnel.
- Add water, stir, and press.
- Taste and dilute if overly concentrated.
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The pod machine
All you need to do with a pod machine is add water and turn it on. It also does not give you ample control over the flavor of the bomb, however, it’s still a coffee-making champ. Pod machines come with different pod flavors that you can choose from, and you can make a delicious cup in minutes.
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How much can one expect to buy an espresso maker?
Expect to spend anything from $50 to $20,000 on an espresso machine.
Midrange gadgets cost $100 – $300, while the most popular ones cost $400 – $800.
Generally, quality, design, and materials are crucial parameters of espresso maker costing. The more shazam it has, the more you should expect to pay.
What is the most expensive espresso machine?
On Amazon, the most expensive coffee maker is the Slayer Espresso Three Group. It costs north of $26,000.
The costliest espresso maker in the world is Javabot Coffee Maker which costs $1,000,000.
Will an expensive device pay off?
Yes, and here is why:
- You can make changes to the coffee recipe. You can also customize the temperature, volume, and strength of your cup.
- You may make more than one user profile, save recipes, and start distilling coffee with a plethora of clicks on the touchscreen.
- It reduces maintenance worries. Some machines will remind you of the serving type it needs.
- The entire procedure is quick. Tap a few controls and everything is set. Take the time it takes you to wait for your drink at the cafe and divide it by 5. That’s how fast a maker can deliver a hearty cup.
- Expensive coffee brewers have all the kinks of modern life. You can control them with your smartphone. Who wouldn’t be into Bluetooth or wifi brewing?
Espresso machines are designed to demonstrate the quality and character of a coffee bean’s taste. To effectively capture this flavor, the right equipment must be used. The perfect measure, pumps, technique, and features must align to produce an espresso that’ll send you to the pleasure highway.
The pricier the machine is, the better the coffee you’re able to knock up. And, based on today’s unfettering demand for excellence as demonstrated by the sophisticatedness of the device’s internal parts, you’d hardly see any low-priced machine that can do a terrific job.