So you’re on the prowl for the best espresso machine under 500 that you can find. Welcome to the hunt! So here’s the deal – there is coffee, and then there is Espresso! You could just as well call it “sexpresso” because, the way I see it, espresso is the seductive, sensuous and erotic side of coffee! Once you flirt with espresso it’s game over – you’ll never be satisfied again with the lackluster and mundane flavour of plain old coffee…
Whether you’ve owned a machine before or this is your first time, there are several factors you should know for what defines “best”. You can spend anywhere from $100.00 to well over $1000.00. You are here because you have a budget of $500.00. There are many units between $250-$500 that will give you “last-a-bility” and great performance.
So What Defines a “good” Machine?
- Temperature control is vital. If the machine is running too hot, you risk scorching the coffee. If it is too cool, the espresso may taste sour. The ideal brewing temperature for espresso is at about 204 degrees F, which is just below waters boiling point.
- Also, it is important that the machine be able to generate controlled high pressure for proper extraction. To produce the best espresso, your machine should be cranking out about 8.2-9 atmospheres of pressure. The process involves a balance between extracting right flavours and restricting wrong flavours while maintaining the right pressure over a twenty to twenty-five second pour.
- You will also want to make sure that the unit you choose has at least a 15 bar pump.
- Then there are pumps, switches, and levers to consider. Should you go with one that uses pods, espresso grounds or both? Manual, semi-automatic or super-automatic? The world of espresso makers is ever-expanding and fortunately, has also become very affordable. You should not have a hard time finding an espresso machine that offers durability while at the same time not compromising performance and quality of flavour, all for under $500.00
We have talked about what defines some of the best espresso makers, but don’t forget how vitally important the actual grind is to a great cup of espresso. The best grind will have a fine, gritty consistency. You may want to look into purchasing an electric burr grinder as they provide the proper grind for your beans.
When it comes to making froth for your cappuccino’s and lattes it is advisable to use low-fat, and preferably skim milk.
And then there is roasting… in a nut shell, the bean used for an espresso goes through a roasting process that is just slightly longer than that of regular coffee beans. Essentially what this longer roast accomplishes is to bring the rich oils in the coffee to the surface of the bean. Coffee bean roasting is an art in itself, and warrants more time and detail than this article can afford…
Another trick for enjoying that perfect espresso is to heat up your demitasse cups prior to starting your machine by running them under hot water. Some units have a warmer area, where you can place your cups while you are preparing your drink.
Overall, the best espresso machine under 500 will be the one that suits your budget while tantalizing your taste-buds! I may be biased here, but I own a “Nespresso CitiZ” – an espresso pod machine, and it cranks out super-authentic tasting espresso!
One great feature of these machines is the “spice of life” factor, where you can experience, and experiment, with a plethora of espresso flavours – one for each day of the week if you wish! Nespresso offers coffee aficionado’s the luxury of choosing from 16 delicious aromatic notes. Does it get any better than that?
Where Can You Find the Best Espresso Machine Under 500?
There are a lot of stores online that sell espresso machines. Some offer free shipping and reduced prices while offering top-notch customer service and hassle-free returns.