Coffee and Espresso Machine Prices: An Expert Guide

Published on 03/28/2024 · 10 min readNavigate the world of coffee and espresso machines with our expert guide on prices, highlighting what to expect across different types and features for your perfect brew!
Lindsay Aman, Coffee Expert
By Coffee Expert Lindsay Aman

Photo by RDNE Stock project

Tl;dr: Coffee and espresso machine prices vary depending on features and functionalities, brands, what they’re made of, and more. If unsure, consult with our expert team for personalized guidance on finding the perfect machine for your needs.

As an expert here at Curated, one of the most important parts of my job is to match espresso lovers up with their dream machine. This means finding the perfect blend of features within each individual's budget.

Now, this isn’t always possible. But demystifying the world of why_ _certain machines cost more than others and honing in on what features are most important to each person can help set realistic expectations.

So, let’s dive into why certain machines cost more and how to find the best fit for you.

What to Consider When Evaluating Coffee and Espresso Machine Prices

Here are a few factors that can dramatically affect the price of certain machines:

Type Of Machine

Photo by rawf8

First things first, there are several different kinds of coffee and espresso machines.

Coffee Machines

For coffee machines, there are single-serve machines that are sometimes compatible with pods or K-cups. Then, there are more high-end machines with features like programmable timers, built-in automatic grinders, and even self-cleaning abilities.

Some of the more affordable coffee makers are manual machines like pour-overs and the Aeropress. These tend to be more affordable options because there are fewer moving parts and generally no electronic components.

If you’re in the market for a coffee maker, check out our Expert guide to choosing the right coffee maker.

Espresso Machines

Now, espresso machines get a bit more complicated. There are a few different general types of machines like home brewing machines, prosumer-level machines, and high-end commercial machines.

Beginner-friendly machines can cost as little as $100, while some high-end commercial machines can easily cost $10,000+. The features offered on each kind of machine will vary drastically, so let's dig into some of the more common features below.

Features and Functionalities

Here are a few of the most common features that can affect the cost of different espresso machines:

1. Boiler Options

The two most well-known boiler configurations are single-boilers and double-boilers. Finding a machine with a double boiler system will easily spike the price of your machine by hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

A double boiler ensures that you can pull espresso shots and steam milk at the same time. For anyone operating in a commercial setting, this is a requirement. However, anyone brewing at home could likely get away with a single boiler system.

There are some other options, though. Some machines will use systems like a heat exchanger or thermoblock. Heat exchanger systems use a single boiler to produce both steam for frothing milk and hot water for brewing espresso, allowing for simultaneous brewing and steaming.

Thermoblock systems heat water on demand using a series of coils or blocks, offering quick heating times and compact size compared to traditional boilers. While this kind of system won't generally let you brew and steam at the same time, there’s often little downtime between brewing and steaming.

2. Temperature Control (PID) Versus Thermostat

Part of your espresso machine's job is to regulate the temperature of the water that goes through your group head to ensure that your espresso shot is brewing at the right temperature. Water temperature plays a dramatic part in the overall quality and taste of your espresso shot, so getting it right is really important.

A traditional thermostat will fluctuate the temperature of your water, heating it up when it gets too cold and shutting it off when it gets too hot. This results in a variable temperature reaching your espresso shot. Now, this isn't a bad system per se, but it can lead to some parts of your extraction tasting burnt and over-extracted and others being sour and under-extracted.

That's where a PID system (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) comes in!

This temperature control system will monitor your water and ensure it stays even and consistent throughout the entirety of your espresso extraction. Overall, this leads to a more balanced and reliable shot quality.

You may think that this system will cost you much more than a traditional thermostat system, but that is only partially true.

At Curated, we’re huge advocates of the Breville line of espresso machines because every one of their espresso machines from beginner to advanced uses PID controllers.

3. Water Reservoir vs. Plumbed

Most coffee pots and espresso makers use a reservoir system that you’ll just have to refill either daily or weekly. However, some have the ability to tap straight into your home's water line.

4. Programmable Settings

Some coffee pots and espresso makers allow you to pre-program settings into your machine to make brewing easy.

Programmable coffee pots can be set to automatically brew for you. This is convenient for busy people or those who prefer to wake up to a fresh pot of coffee.

Some programmable settings on an espresso machine are temperature, extraction time, pre-infusion time, and extraction time. These are all factors that can greatly affect the flavor profile of your espresso shots, so some people like the option to dial them in.

5. Manual, Semi-Automatic, or Super-Automatic Espresso Machines

Manual espresso machines mean every aspect of the espresso extraction process will be done by you. This includes pulling a lever to extract your espresso at the proper pressure. These machines take the most time to perfect but can be incredibly rewarding to use. Manual espresso machines generally start at a lower price point, but they can also cost $500+.

Semi-automatic espresso machines handle more of the process for you, but they can also have a bit of a learning curve. How much of the work the machine will do varies depending on the brand and type of espresso machine you buy, but these are generally the kind of machine you’ll see in most homes and coffee shops. Entry-level semi-automatic machines can cost as little as $100, or as much as $10,000+!

Super-automatic espresso machines handle the whole experience of grinding, tamping, steaming milk, and more for you at the push of a button. These machines are ideal for people who crave a good quality espresso beverage at home without doing much of the work.

Super-automatic machines generally require more features and moving parts than entry level semi-auto’s, so they start at around $700, but can cost $2,000+.

6. Built-in Grinder

Both coffee makers and espresso makers sometimes come with integrated coffee grinders. This can streamline the process of making coffee and espresso. This will also generally mean that the machine will come at a slightly higher price point.

It should be noted that generally speaking, built-in grinders don't produce the same high-quality grind as separate grinders. You can still get a great cup of coffee from a built-in grinder, but for those looking to perfect their espresso and coffee-making game—a separate coffee grinder is the way to go.

7. Steaming Power

Photo by Jason Villanueva

Finding a machine with good steaming power is important for those who love lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos, flat whites, and other milk-based drinks.

Good steam power makes producing micro-foam much easier and is essential for anyone wishing to practice latte art.

Steam power is affected by a few different factors like the boiler's heating capacity, the steam wand design, and the machine's overall build quality.

Build Quality and Materials

Most budget machines are made with a blend of steel and plastic components, while more high-end and luxury options tend to have significantly more stainless steel parts.

While plastic components aren’t going to affect your overall espresso quality, they may need to be replaced more often than higher-quality components.

Coffee and Espresso Machine Price Ranges

Here is a breakdown of how much you can expect to pay for different ranges of coffee and espresso makers:

  • Entry-Level Machines: $100-$500

We love the Breville Bambino ($299.95) machine as an entry-level option for those craving a semi-automatic espresso machine.

  • Mid-Range Machines: $500-$1500

If you’re in the market for a super-automatic mid-range option, check out the Terra Kaffe TK-01 ($895), or the Breville Barista Touch Impress (1,499.95) if you’re looking for a great semi-automatic option.

  • High-End Machines (Prosumer): $1,500-$5,000

We love the Lucca M58 Espresso Machine ($2,950), and the Profitec Pro 600 ($2,399).

  • Luxury and Commercial Grade Machines: $2,200-$20,000+

If you’re in the market for a Luxury and commercial grade machine, we highly recommend you reach out to one of our experts to get you the best deal on your dream machine!

How To Choose The Right Machine For You

With all of this information, how do you go about actually choosing the best espresso machine?

1. Set a Budget

Now that you have a general idea of what certain machines cost and what features you can expect, it's time to set a budget.

While I'm a huge advocate of buying nice instead of buying twice, I also think it's appropriate to purchase a machine that only costs a few hundred dollars while you save up for a dream espresso machine that may cost a few thousand dollars.

This way you can start practicing your coffee skills and potentially start saving money skipping the daily coffee shop trips. Figure out what your price range will be and this will help you decide what features are most important to you.

2. Identify Your Needs

Start asking yourself some important questions to narrow down what kind of espresso machine is right for you. Some examples are:

  • How much time do you have in the morning to devote to making coffee and espresso?
  • How much time are you willing to devote to learning and practicing?
  • Do you have a limited amount of counter space or limited space between your counter and upper cabinets?
  • How important are features like a built-in grinder, powerful steam wand, PID control, or programmable settings?
  • How many espresso and coffee drinks do you plan on making a day?
  • Is ease of use something you value, or do you want a more hands-on experience?

3. What Kind of Drinks Will You Make?

Photo by Joao Sócola

One of the most important questions to ask is what kind of drinks you plan on making. While this may sound like a basic question, you’d be surprised how many people shop around for an espresso machine when they really just want to make hot chocolates and chai lattes.

These drinks don’t require espresso at all, and finding a separate milk frothing system is much less expensive.

Similarly, if you know you only like americanos, you likely don’t need a machine that can froth milk at all. Finding a great machine that can just make delicious espresso will cost less than finding one with a steam wand as well.

4. Research Brands

While there are plenty of amazing brands out there creating quality espresso and coffee machines, you may generally prefer one brand over another for a few reasons.

While each brand will value certain features more than others, it's also important to consider how difficult repairing your espresso machine will be. While many repairs can be done at home with a bit of elbow grease and know-how. Not everyone wants to put in the effort to perform a pump or gasket replacement.

Similarly, it may be more difficult to find replacement part suppliers for imported or foreign brands.

If this is you, then it's important to make sure there is a suitable repair shop that will work on your espresso machine in your area. If not, then sending in your espresso machine can cost hundreds of dollars and take weeks to complete.

Just beware that sometimes tampering with your machine to perform repairs can void your warranty. So Always refer to your manual before performing at home repairs.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this guide helped to demystify the world of coffee and espresso machine pricing to help you figure out what features are most important.

There are a lot of fantastic budget espresso machine options out there that can make all of your home barista dreams come true.

Still have questions and not sure what machine is right for you? Not a problem! Here at Curated, we have a whole team of experts who’d love to assist you on your espresso and coffee journey for free! So chat with an Expert today!

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

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