Are Espresso Machines Worth It: Practical Review
If you are considering buying an espresso machine and wonder if espresso machines are worth it, you’re in the right place.
Owning an espresso maker can pay off in multiple ways, including saving you money. It also offers convenience: you can have a custom shot of espresso or specialty coffee without having to leave home to get it. No matter your barista skills, there’s a type of espresso machine to meet your needs.
Read on for all the details on what type of espresso machine is perfect for your morning (or anytime) routine.
Are Espresso Machines Worth It?
Owning an espresso coffee machine does have its benefits. The most significant advantage you get is the ability to have a cup of espresso any time you crave it, without having to leave your house. And it’s virtually free (if you don’t count the cost of the beans).
But making a cup of espresso isn’t the same as making a cup of coffee. Some people may not be able to meet the quality they get at their favorite java shop. If you’re picky about the quality of your espresso, you may find a homemade cup lacking.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of buying an espresso machine so you can decide if it’s the right move for you.
One of the biggest factors that persuade someone to purchase an espresso machine is the amount of money you can save.
If you frequently donate a large part of your income to supporting your espresso addiction, you could be looking at massive savings by having an espresso machine in your kitchen.
For example, if you visit the coffee shop three times a week and spend five dollars for one cup of espresso, that’s $15 in savings a week, just on the coffee.
Not to mention the money you’d save on transportation (if you didn’t walk to the shop). You’ve saved close to $50 in a month and over $700 in a year.
If you’re like me and have a serious problem to the point of visiting the coffee shop every day, you could see huge savings by having your own espresso machine.
We’ve talked about how having your own espresso machine can save you from having to pay for your coffee. But we need to also talk about the expenses that come with owning your espresso machine.
The first cost to consider is the price of your equipment. Unfortunately, you’ll have to drop a large chunk of money on an espresso machine. The cost can range from an affordable $100 to thousands of dollars (manual or automatic espresso coffee machines).
Another factor to consider is the brew itself. For you to have espresso shots anytime you want it, you’ll need to purchase pods, coffee grounds, or beans, depending on your machine. How much you spend on your coffee will be a personal choice.
If you want flavors that match your coffee shop, you might spend more on barista beans than picking up a bag of coffee from the supermarket. You can spend anywhere from $12 (a good quality bag from the grocery store) to upwards of $50 or more for high-quality espresso such as barista mixes.
You may also want additional flavors to mix into your espresso, such as flavored milk. You’ll need to add the cost of these into your overall costs.
Depending on which espresso machine you pick, you may need extra equipment to make your cup of joe. With pod machines, you won’t need special equipment, as the espresso is already ready. All you do is put the pod in the machine and press the button.
But if you’re using espresso beans, you’ll need a coffee grinder to make your roast. The best grinder to use for your beans should be a flat or conical burr grinder. Grinders with blades can perform a poor chop, resulting in a less flavorful shot of espresso.
Some espresso machines come with a built-in grinder, which can save you money, space, and effort. But it will add to the price tag.
You may also want to have a steam wand, which allows you to add foam to your espresso. Some machines come with this built-in, while others do not.
The best thing about owning your espresso machine is that you can have a shot anytime you feel like it.
No changing out of your pajamas to head to the corner coffee shop on a rainy Saturday morning. Or having to get up thirty minutes early before work to stand in line to start your day with a caffeine fix.
Instead, you can head to your kitchen and whip up a shot or three anytime you need a pick me up. And you don’t have to deal with long lines, rude, impatient customers, and new baristas who mix up your order or fix a lousy cup of coffee.
Types of Espresso Machines
There are four different types of espresso machines you can choose from, so we’re going to talk about the differences. Your skill level will factor into what kind of device you should select.
Manual espresso machines require you to do some work to make a cup of coffee. And they’re quite pricey compared to other types of devices. You have full control of the process, which means you’re responsible for how the flavor tastes.
If you’re inexperienced at making espresso, it could take some trial and error before you make a high-quality shot of espresso that tastes as good as what you would pay for at a coffee shop.
If you don’t want to take the time to learn the technique of working the manual lever to steam your coffee beans to make the best flavor, you may want to consider a different type of espresso machine.
Manual espresso makers are visually appealing, and they’re built to last, so your money is well spent. You can expect to get anywhere from five to fifteen years from your machine when properly maintained.
Semi-automatic espresso machines are a bit easier to use, as they have manual pumps that heat the water. This means less work on your part.
But you still have control over some aspects of the production process such as grinding your beans and tamp them to get your espresso. You also control how the water streams.
If you’re not experienced with the art of espresso making but want to learn the technique, a semi-automatic is where you should start. The price range is similar to a fully auto, from a couple of hundred dollars to a few thousand. But you’re sure to get extended use for two to ten years.
A fully automatic espresso machine has an electric pump and controls adding water to the espresso mix. You don’t have to stop the flow of water with this type as you would a semi-automatic. But you can lose flavor depending on when the timer cuts off.
If the most effort you want to put into your shot of espresso is measuring out the grinds, tamping them, and pushing some buttons, a fully automatic espresso machine would be the perfect choice for you.
These range in cost from $200 to thousands of dollars and can last for years when you properly care for it. But these machines do break down faster than manual types due to all the electronics.
The final type of espresso machine is a super-automatic, which means zero work on your part. Once you add your coffee and press a button, all you do is wait.
Super-automatic espresso machines grind your coffee, manage the portafilter, tamp your coffee, pull your shot at a 25-30 second draw, and steam your milk.
These machines are often more expensive than semi-automatic or fully auto machines, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. They require professional cleaning and can last a long time, although the electrical components could go out quicker than other types.
Are super-automatic espresso machines worth it?
In terms of ease of use and convenience, a super-automatic espresso machine is a valuable tool to have if you don’t want to do the manual work to obtain a shot of espresso. You get consistent flavor every time.
However, not every user will like how a super-automatic performs compared to the rich flavor you could get with a manual (if you know what you’re doing). This especially pertains to people who like their espresso a specific way.
Super-automatic machines do not give you any control over how your espresso turns out in terms of flavor. With some, you can adjust the pull by five seconds, but there’s no guarantee that would be enough to match your tastes. And because it steams the milk for you, you can’t make latte art with these machines.
Is Nespresso As Good As A Real Espresso?
Nespresso machines use pods to make a cup of coffee. Each pod contains a pre-mixed amount of coffee already ground and stored inside a small cup with a filter.
To have a cup of espresso, you add an espresso pod into the machine and push a button. But compared to a real cup of espresso, Nespresso produces a medium flavor that isn’t as intense as an authentic espresso shot.
But for most people who are not well versed in the flavor of espresso, the slight difference in taste won’t be noticeable. If you prefer a less intense flavor, Nepressos can be the perfect solution to a minimal effort cup of espresso.
Alternatively, you can also check out the Keurig coffee makers, which also use pods to brew coffee.
Owning an espresso machine is an excellent idea if you spend a lot of money and time at a local coffee shop. You can save money and have a delicious shot of java whenever the craving hits, without leaving home.
There are different machines available to match your expertise level, so there’s no excuses for why you wouldn’t want to buy an espresso machine for yourself. Happy brewing!
If you feel ready to jump on the espresso machine bandwagon, you can read to find out more about them here.