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