If you’re in search of the Best Espresso Machine for Under $1,000, you’ve come to the right place.
For the dedicated espresso lover, buying one everyday at a coffee shop simply isn’t sensible. Brewing your own at home seems like a more logical solution, but the expense of home espresso makers may be a quick turnoff. There are a few things you should know that can help you find the best espresso machine under $1,000.
Intro | Best Espresso Machine Under $1,000
If you’re a fellow coffee lover, welcome to the club. For many, there’s a much deeper love for the intense richness and flavor that only comes from espresso, but that love comes at a price. If you’re on the fence about buying your own machine for at home and having trouble justifying the price, here are some factors to take in. Depending on where you live, you could be paying between $2 – $4 for a single ounce of espresso (based on average prices in the U.S. and Australia).
Even if you only drink it 5 days out of the week on your daily commute you could be spending anywhere between $520 – $910 or more per year on espresso and that’s just for one shot. If you habitually or even on occasion like your beverage with an extra shot of espresso it adds up much quicker. At that rate a home espresso maker even on the higher end can easily pay for itself in under 2 years.
Breville BES920XL | One of the best espresso machines under $1000
For many, that morning cup of sweet bliss is a must to get through the day or as an afternoon pick me up. It may be seen as an indulgence, but did you know there’s an added benefit that comes with drinking coffee? The effects from drinking coffee, particularly espresso, have been studied among bees and eventually on humans which showed evidence of improving long-term memory.
The antioxidants naturally found in coffee beans provide the added health benefit similar to fruits and veggies to repair and prevent free radical damage to the brain that often leads to high risk of stroke. It’s also been suggested that regularly drinking 1-2 shots of espresso can help lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes – that is, if you’re not adding a ton of sugar to it!
Difference Between Espresso and Coffee
A common confusion that comes to those new to making their own espresso is that it’s a different type of bean. Coffee and espresso are both made from coffee beans, but there is a difference. Espresso is generally made with coffee beans that have been roasted for a longer period of time than beans roasted primarily for drip coffee. The darker roasted beans are then ground into a finer consistency similar to sand or powdered sugar for making espresso compared to drip coffee beans.
The main difference between coffee and espresso is how it is prepared. The extraction process that a machine uses to produce espresso uses pressure to force nearly boiling hot water through tightly-packed coffee beans. The result is a much more intense flavored coffee. It also takes less time to make than drip coffee.
An added benefit to finding the best espresso machine under $1000 is having the freedom to create your favorite espresso beverages any time you want. Common coffee shop favorites like cappuccino, cafe mocha and cafe latte all start out with a single or double shot of espresso. From there you can create virtually any coffee drink you can think up.
La Pavoni PA-1200 Napolitana | Make your friends jealous
What are the best beans to use with an espresso machine?
The right beans for your taste can make all the difference between a cup that’s just OK and the best espresso you’ve ever tasted. There is a vast selection of coffee beans to choose from and finding the right one depends on your tastes and brewing method.
You may come across a bag of coffee beans at a store labeled as ‘Espresso roast’. This simply indicates it’s a darker roast typically used for espresso. Keep in mind these are still coffee beans that can be used for traditional drip coffee, a french press, or a percolator. For households with two different types of coffee drinkers – the traditional coffee drinker and the espresso lover, this particular blend might offer a more versatile option.
You can use any type or roast of coffee bean for espresso, however medium roasts and less-oily roasts typically do better when using espresso machines.
There are two basic types of beans you will come across when shopping around for coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans are grown so that they’re given more time to develop their flavor. They are more aromatic and milder in comparison to Robusta and considered to be the superior of the two due to their greater complexity. You’ll also pay more for Arabica beans because they require greater care to cultivate than Robusta which are more resilient to disease and climate changes.
Robusta beans are typically produced for lower quality and instant coffee varieties. Their hardiness to climates and higher yield brings it to be less expensive than Arabica. Although the Arabica bean is superior, Robusta beans have a higher content of caffeine which is what lead Italians to use it for making espresso. Another important factor to keep in mind when it comes to preference is that 100% Arabica coffee produces less crema (foam) due to its complex chemistry.
It really boils down to personal preference among these two types. If you prefer a stronger espresso you may want to stick to Robusta. At most, you can find a blend of the two types of beans to achieve a nice balance so you get the best of both cups.
Choosing Your Roast
How the coffee bean is cooked determines its roast. So when you see medium roast, light roast, and dark roast it’s an indication of the duration the bean was cooked for (or roasted). French Roast is the darkest and strongest roast of beans as they have the longest cooking time. For some, the intensity of this roast is a bit overwhelming but if you prefer a very bold strong-flavored coffee it may suitable for you.
Italian roast is a great choice to start off with as it was developed by the very people who came up with espresso in the first place. Italian roast beans are not cooked as long as French roast and have a more medium than dark color.
Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Beans:
When you want a great quality tasting espresso follow these tips to get the best experience.
- Don’t shop at grocery stores – grocery stores typically sell lower quality coffee that isn’t fresh. The bags sold on grocery store shelves typically come from a warehouse where they may have been sitting for months before reaching the grocery store. Stick to artisan grocery stores such as Whole Foods or Farmer’s Markets where it comes from local roasters. There are even subscription clubs you can join that will send you different varieties of freshly roasted coffee beans to experience.
- Don’t single out on coffee beans labeled ‘Espresso Roast’. It simply means it’s most likely a darker roast typically used in making espresso and labeled solely for marketing purposes. You may end up paying more just because it says ‘espresso roast’. If you want a milder tasting espresso stick to Italian roast.
- Choose whole beans rather than ground. Coffee beans instantly lose their fresh appeal from the moment they are ground, so buying a bag of pre-ground beans will lack that fresh wholesome quality. Keep whole beans in an airtight container and grind just before brewing.
Modern Design | Easy to Use — Jura 15068 IMPRESSA C65
Get the Most From Your Espresso
There are a few additional little tips that can help you achieve the best tasting espresso from your machine to get the most bang for your buck. For starters, use good water. Espresso starts off with water so if you’re using a tap water that is flat or less than par, you will end up with subpar espresso. Consider using filtered water or bottled water that has been purified to get better quality.
Find the right grind consistency for your beans. It should resemble the consistency of granulated sugar – not too fine, but not too coarse. On most espresso machines equipped with a grinder you have multiple options from coarse or even extra coarse to extra fine. The recommended choice for espresso is the ‘fine grind’ option to achieve the most ideal grind size from your machine. Bear in mind that not all grinders are created equal and it may take some practice and a couple of runs between different grind options to find the right one that suits your palate.
A shot of espresso done right should come out dark at first then turn into a light and creamy stream from the crema that sits on top. If it’s too runny or has too much froth you can simply start over. Typical automatic espresso machines will take 20-30 seconds max for brewing but larger machines take longer to heat up the water.
Size matters a great deal when it comes to choosing the best espresso machine under $1000. A larger unit may be ideal if you will be brewing for multiple people or enjoy several shots of espresso throughout the day. They generally hold more water and have a larger capacity for the beans so there’s less need for refilling. If you’re one that’s always on the run and likes to grab your cup of coffee for the go in less time stick to smaller units.
Best Espresso Machine Features
As with most appliances, the more bells and whistles it has the higher the price tag. You can achieve a very great quality tasting espresso from a simple machine, but you should probably be well-versed in how to produce a great espresso. If you’re new to the concept of making it yourself, you may want to stick to a machine that offers some key features for ease of use.
First let’s talk coffee! When you’re looking at espresso machines you will come across some terms you may have never heard of or not familiar with. Here are some espresso-making terms to get to know:
Crema — not to be confused with the ‘milk froth’, crema is referred to the creamy foam at the the top of the espresso shot. It is produced at the end of extraction and the amount or thickness will vary based on the beans used.
Tamping — this term refers to the action of packing the ground coffee beans into a compressed even level ‘puck’. In some devices, a tamper accessory is included for packing the grounds into the puck and may feature a flat or concave shape.
Portafilter — This is part of the machine that holds the basket which ground coffee goes into. The hot water is forced through this part of the machine to extract espresso from the grounds.
Frothing wand — this is equipped on most machines. The frothing wand produces steam for milk for use in making coffee beverages. If you intend on making coffee beverages that require steamed milk, such as lattes or cafe mocha, this is a feature you definitely want to have.
Hopper — in machines that have a built-in grinder, the hopper is part of the grinder which holds the beans.
Over $1000 Espresso Machine | Gaggia Accademia (1003380)
Manual Lever Espresso Machines
The manual lever machine is one that requires some skill to master. You do all of the work in the brewing process, therefore it takes some practice and determination to achieve a perfectly brewed shot of espresso. With these types of machines you have full control over the entire process resulting in a perfectly made-for-you shot of espresso if done right. You pull down on the lever or a piston to force hot water through the fine-ground espresso beans. This means finding the right rate and timing of manipulation to get it right.
A manual lever machine typically has a smaller footprint allowing you more counter-space. It may not be the most affordable option if you’re looking for something on a modest budget. Manual style espresso machines are typically well-crafted and designed to last a lifetime with fewer electrical components that could potentially go out. This type of machine is best suited for experienced coffee makers that are comfortable in having complete control over the brewing process.
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
A semi-automatic espresso machine is often referred to as a pump-driven espresso machine. These use an electric pump to force the heated water through the coffee grounds. They’re the most popular because they combine convenience and ease of use with electric settings while still giving you some control over the brewing process.
Super Automatic Espresso Machines
These are also called fully-automatic machines and are a great choice and preferred by newbies that are not familiar with espresso-making techniques. It does all the work for you from grinding the beans to tamping and regulating the water pressure for the ideal shot of espresso with minimal effort on your part. You simply add the beans and water, select your desired setting and you’re done. Fully automatic espresso machines may not produce the highest-possible quality of espresso, but they’re the easiest to use and also offer programmable settings.
Of course, you will have to factor in mind a few additional things when shopping for the best espresso machine under $1,000. Consider how much space you have and what you’re willing to take up with an espresso machine. Some units can be quite large and take up a great deal of counter space which may not be suitable for an apartment or tight living spaces. Also factor in additional space for your accessories.
If you’re opting for one of the automatic choices in espresso machines, get one with a built-in grinder for added convenience. The best and freshest tasting espresso is produced from whole beans that are ground just before the point of extraction. Grinding beans before each serving can be time-consuming, especially if you’re preparing multiple shots.
Consider your taste preferences. If you’re seeking a machine for the sole purpose of drinking pure espresso, choose wisely and find one that allows you to get the best quality.The more control you have over the process the more freedom you have to make a custom shot that suits you perfectly. If your preference lies in making espresso for beverages such as cappuccinos or lattes where the flavor doesn’t fully come through, then it may not make a huge difference which type of machine you choose.
DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica
Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine for under $1000
- Patented Cappuccino System: Easily prepares lattes and cappuccinos by mixing steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth for perfect drinks every time.
- Easy to Use: Rotary and push button control panel with programmable menu settings: coffee strength (5 settings) and cup size with rotary dial (4 settings).
- Hot Water Spout: Perfect for tea and hot chocolate!
- Energy Saving: With 3 hour automatic shut off.
- Height Adjustable Coffee Spout: Great for larger cappuccino glasses.
- 15 Bar Pump Pressure: Achieve the most authentic flavor.
- Patented Direct-to-Brew System: Grinds beans instantly for the freshest espresso. Brewing system is compact and removable for easy cleaning.
- Double Boiler System: No waiting between preparing espresso and cappuccino.
- Professional Quality: Produces consistent, fresh and aromatic ground coffee with the conical low-pitch burr grinder. Grind settings allow you to adjust the fineness for all types of beans.
- Instant Reheat Function: Machine maintains ideal temperature for brewing.
- Cup Warmer: Preheat your cups for best results by using this integrated feature.
- Decalcification Indicator: Always know when it’s time to clean the machine.
- Easy to Clean: With removable water tank (60-ounce), drip tray and used coffee container.
- Limited 2 Year Warranty.
The DeLonghi Magnifica allows you to use your favorite coffee beans to deliver a preferred tasting espresso drink from whole or pre-ground beans. It features a built-in Direct-to-Brew system that grinds beans for fresh-tasting espresso. Freshly ground beans produce a thicker and richer quality shot compared to pre-ground beans.You can make several manual adjustments as well to suit your desired coffee-strength and cup size. It has push-button and rotary-style knobs that are very user-friendly.
A built-in frother transforms milk with steam into a creamy froth for perfect cappuccinos and lattes. It features consistent brewing using a Rapid Cappuccino system for the ideal temperature and density in each cup without waiting in between brews to reach optimal temperature.
There are many desirable qualities that make this particular machine the best espresso machine under $1,000 for entertaining guests. The burr grinder operates quietly to grind whole coffee beans for fresh tasting quality. The water reservoir has a 60-ounce capacity for multiple brewing and 7-ounce bean container. An instant reheat function maintains the optimal temperature in between brews even for long intervals. For added convenience, the compact brew unit is extractable for easier cleaning. It also features a rinse and decalcification system that is auto programmed for quick and easy cleanups without the use of chemicals that other brands require.
Super Automatic Espresso Machine. Best Espresso Machine Under $1,000
- Brews fresh Italian espresso at the push of a button
- Mavea Water Filter – four stages of filtration to remove impurities and reduce scale buildup
- Pre-infusion feature ensures maximum flavor and aroma extraction
- Programmed to notify users when care is required
- Simple push-button operation
- Pannarello Steam Wand : An intake hole siphons air directly into the milk, to create rich foam for specialty beverages.
- Removable Brew Group : The brew group can be removed from the machine for regular rinsing and maintenance.
- Rapid Steam technology
- Self-rinse cycle
- Stainless steel front panel and cup stand
- Telescopic coffee dispenser
- Mavea Water Filter – four stages of filtration to remove impurities and reduce scale build up
- Pre-infusion feature ensure maximum flavor and aroma extraction
- Programmed to notify users when care is required
Generous two-liter water tank
- 250-gram airtight, UV-proof coffee bean container
- 15 bar pump pressure
- Low energy consumption – standby mode activates after one hour of idle time
- Rapid Steam technology and movable metal Pannarello steam wand
- Self-rinse cycle
- Stainless steel front panel and cup stand
- Chrome plated finish
- Gaggia Brera Silver finish
- Front Loaded : Both the water reservoir and dreg box pull out from the front of the machine for easy access.
For high-end quality in a reasonably priced machine, the Gaggia Brera Super Automatic machine is one that brings the coffee shop right to your home. It utilizes a 4-stage water filtration system to minimize scale-buildup in your machine while eliminating impurities for the best quality shot. It also has a convenient feature to let you know when it needs to be cleaned with a red LED light for notification
It is equipped with a built-in grinder so you get the freshness and aromatics from whole beans into every shot of espresso from a fine consistency for bold flavor. There is also a bypass chamber if you prefer using pre-ground coffee. There are 3 strength settings to choose from to brew your espresso as you like it from light to strong using the Opti-Dose system. It is recommended to use beans that are not heavily oily for the best quality results.
A steam wand is equipped with Rapid Steam technology to quickly steam up your milk for added froth. It can also double as a dispenser for hot water to make Americanos or for brewing tea.The compact machine is ideal for up to 4 or 5 shots of espresso. It features a standby mode to conserve energy in between uses.
Breville BES870XL Barista Express
Best Espresso Machine Under $1,000.
- Thermocoil Heating System
- In-Built Conical Grinder : The in-built conical burr grinder allows you to grind only what you need directly into the portafilter.
- Micro-Foam Milk Texturing
- Volumetric Controls : Pre-set single or double shot settings can be programmed to customize your shot volume
- Integrated Grinder – Conical stainless steel burr grinder speeds things up. The new 8 oz hopper takes its design cues from Breville’s fetching Smart Grinder.
- Programmable Volumetrics – Set water volume for single or double espressos for consistent water levels with each brew cycle.
- Temperature Control – A built in PID maintains the water temperature at an ideal 200°F during extraction, but you can increase your brew temperature up or down 4°F in 2 degree increments to dial in the perfect shot. An auto-purge function returns the machine to an optimal espresso extracting temperature.
- Stainless Steel Steam Wand – The swivel ball-mounted steam wand allows you to position your pitcher as needed for maximum froth control.
- Razor Dosing Tool – Breville’s patented stainless steel dosing tool trims up your portafilter post-tamp for consistent shots every time.
- Energy Efficient – Barista Express automatically enters standby mode after 1 hour and turns off after 3 hours.
- Hot Water Dispenser – A dedicated hot water pipe makes crafting Americanos a piece of cake.
- Basket Options – The machine ships with double and single pressurized and non-pressurized baskets (4 total)
When fresh is what you want, the Breville Barista Express delivers. It is equipped with a built in grinder to grind up only the amount of beans needed to produce a cup of espresso to your preference featuring a 1/2lb sealed hopper. The size of the grind can be also be adjusted to suit your desired taste.
The Barista Express features PID technology for digital temperature control with a thermacoil heating system to bring water at the optimal temperature for espresso extraction. The volume of your shot can be adjusted with programmed settings for single and double shots per your liking. It comes with plenty of accessories including 2 dual-wall filters for beginners as well as 2 single-wall filters for the hands-on at home barista that likes to change it up a bit on occasion.
VIDEO | Learn more about the Breville BES870XL Barista Express
There are additional convenience features that give this espresso machine versatility and ease of use from novice users to espresso experts. A 360-degree swivel steam wand is equipped to deliver variations of espresso beverages such as cappuccinos. It even has a feature to make cleanups easier when emptying the used coffee puck by removing excess water from the filter basket for a dry coffee puck that comes out without a fuss. There’s also a featured storage compartment that holds the cleaning tools that come with the machine.
Breville Nespresso Creatista — BNE600RCH | Champagne
At well under $1000, this is one of the best espresso machines for the money.
- Advanced Milk Frothing
- Fast heat-up : Heats up in only 3 seconds.
- 19 Bars of Pressure
- Assisted Clean System
- Each machine includes a welcome set with 16 capsules containing individual aromas.
- Nespresso Capsule System
- Adjustable milk temperature.
- Adjustable froth quality for flat white, lattes and cappuccinos.
- Temperature sensing.
- Water tank capacity: 6 cups / 1.5L / 50 oz
- FTH – Flow Through Heating Technology
- Pop out cup shelf for smaller cup size
- Capsule container capacity of 10
- BPA free materials
- Barista milk jug included
- Energy saving system
- Stainless Steel body
- 2 year warranty
Create cafe-style espresso beverages at your leisure with this Nespresso Creatista by Breville. It offers several different features to enhance your overall experience including 4 coffee ground texture levels, multiple temperature settings for milk and includes a stainless steel milk jug. The 10-second startup time reaches optimal water temperature for efficiency and quality delivery for your morning pick-me-up.
This machine is made for use specifically with Nespresso capsules. Rather than adding whole coffee beans or pre-ground coffee, you simply pop in the capsule into the container holder. It can hold up to 10 capsules and water tank capacity of 50 ounces/1.5L. The milk froth quality can be adjusted to your preference for cappuccinos or creating your very own unique latte art like the professionals.
The stainless steel construction ensures durability to give you many years of use. It has a self-clean function for proper maintenance. The digital display features a high resolution for ease-of-use. The entire unit is super compact to deliver cafe-quality espresso in a space-saving machine that also utilizes an energy-saving system.
If you want to learn more about the Breville Nespresso Creatista, watch these videos on the Nespresso YouTube channel.
- Cup warmer that will hold up to six espresso cups
- Articulating stainless steel steam wand
- Three temperature controls.
- Commercial Size and Style Portafilter
- Boiler is made of marine grade brass and has the largest volume (12 oz.) of any home machine in its class.
- Articulating steam wand offers complete range of motion and professional steaming knob precisely controls steaming pressure
- Classic linear design fits most decors
- Optional pod and capsule adapter kit available
The Silvia Espresso Machine is widely known as a leading entry-level espresso machine for the beginner to home brewing espresso. It is simple to operate with many user-friendly features to produce the ideal shot that is pleasing to the palate. The Rancilio Silvia M Version has some added improvements with an insulated brass boiler for better energy efficiency. The lead-free brass boiler, in addition to other brass components throughout the unit, distributes heat more evenly and consistently for better temperature control and maintains the temperature through multiple uses.
The portafilter is constructed of similar quality to commercial-grade with a large diameter ensuring an even distribution of water to the coffee grounds. The pressure release system also allows for simpler clean up with an effect that dries out the coffee grounds creating a ‘puck’ that comes out easily. Two stainless steel filter baskets are included to make single shots or double shots along with the brass portafilter.
Another neat element that adds to the quality of your espresso shot is the commercial-grade steam wand. It generates adequate steam for milk frothing that results in a silky smooth foam finish for your favorite beverages. The one downside to this machine is the lack of programming options that are available with other machines. With the optional installation of a PID controller, however, this feature can be added to enhance your experience.
Practice Makes Perfect when making Espresso
As the old adage goes, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again’. Do not be discouraged or fault the the machine if your first shot at making espresso doesn’t turn out quite right. Each espresso machine is made differently by its manufacturer. Refer to the manufacturer’s guide prior to using the machine for the first time. This can help give you insight on how the machine works and proper way to use it as well as what to do if you run into problems.
You should also refer to the user’s guide on your machine for proper care and maintenance. Regularly cleaning and maintaining your machine will help prolong its longevity so you can enjoy your espresso beverages for a long period of time. Your machine should include details instructions on how to properly remove parts for cleaning and recommend cleaning practices. The basket should be removable from the portafilter for scrubbing and cleaning. Wipe down the steam wand immediately after each use to prevent burnt on milk which will be much harder to clean off.
Now that you are well-versed in the fundamentals of making your own espresso with the best espresso machine under $1000 for your needs, you can take on the world! At the very least, you can take on whatever the day has in store for you with your favorite caffeinated beverage. Be your own mastermind barista in the comforts of your home and wow guests with your expertise in fine espresso making.