Nothing beats waking up to the seductive aroma of freshly brewed coffee first thing in the morning. The most dedicated coffee lovers might also enjoy that extra jolt of caffeine that comes with a perfectly made espresso.
Sure, you can stop at your local coffee shop to pick up some espresso, but wouldn’t you rather brew it from the comfort of your own home?
Our own experience has been that owning an espresso machine is convenient, cost-effective, and turns your home into your favorite cafe instantly. It is also simply rather enjoyable diving into the world of home espresso making, milk streaming, and latte art. While many espresso machines come at quite the expense, we went on a mission to find you the best espresso machine under 100 dollars.
What to Look for in a High-Quality Espresso Machine
Everyone wants the best of the best when it comes to brewing that cup of espresso. After all, let’s be realistic, there is definitely a direct correlation between the quality of your coffee and the quality of your day!
However, a few specific factors play a key role in choosing an espresso machine that, first, won’t break the bank, and second, will integrate well into your daily life.
Obviously, most of us can’t fit a large, cafe-style espresso system in our kitchen at home. And not even the world’s best bargain hunter could find one of those industrial babies for under $100. Here are a few things to keep in mind during your shopping process:
Let’s take a closer look at some of these factors.
Ease of Use
If you intend to use your espresso machine every morning before you hit the concrete, then you should probably look for one that’s not overly-complicated. Some fancier machines involve quite the process, and we don’t all have that kind of time when we’re rushing out of the door in the morning. There is something beautiful and appealing about simplicity.
On the flip side, if you’re looking for more of a weekend treat to replace your Starbucks runs, a more complex and involved machine might not bother you. Of course, keep in mind that the more complex the machine gets, the higher the price jumps.
Think about your morning timeline and decide for yourself how much effort you’re willing to put in for a good cup of espresso in the morning.
Who’s going to be enjoying the fruits of your labor? Do you live alone or with a significant other, or are there others in the household who would love to partake?
The size of your machine should suit your needs. Many smaller machines will only brew as much as four shots of espresso, which is typically enough to serve two people. If you have more than two people in your household, it will quickly become a hassle to brew multiple batches. However, to be fair, if you are aiming to make coffee for larger groups of people then an espresso machine of any price range is probably less than ideal. We would recommend instead an automatic pour over coffee maker or french press.
Brew Group Type
The part of the machine that you lock into the portafilter is called the brew group or the grouphead. Some machines feature a detachable brew group, while others have a built-in brew group.
The detachable brew groups are much easier to take out and clean. However, some built-in brew groups are self-cleaning, eliminating the need to remove it entirely.
Detachable brew groups are really popular for individuals who take a more hands-on approach to their daily activities.
There are four different types of automation you can work with when choosing an espresso machine:
Since not all of us can be professional baristas, many people end up opting for a fully automatic capsule machine. These capsule machines are similar to popular machines like the Keurig and are almost completely full-proof. All you have to do is fill the water reservoir, pop in your capsule and you’re away laughing. If you are looking for an espresso machine at the $100 mark these are a good option to go for as they can produce a reasonably good cup of coffee and are pretty well made. The downside to these machines is that you have little to no control over things like extraction and flavor. But, you are essentially guaranteed the same brew with every use.
A fully automatic machine does all the work for you. From grinding your beans, to tamping and pulling the shot. These machines can produce some top quality coffee however you will find the price tag is probably not in the under 100 category.
The other three types of machines involve a wide range of effort, from using an actual lever to create pressure to working with digital displays to control grinding, infusion, and temperature.
The Best Espresso Machine Under $100
Realistically, we all have a budget. But that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself with an affordable espresso machine to up your morning coffee game. In fact earlier this year I went to a friend’s house who was wanting to make me a coffee on his under $100 espresso machine. I went along (with some trepidation I must admit) and was actually pleasantly surprised by the quality of shot he was able to pull from it. The following is our list of the best espresso machines under $100.
The De’Longhi EC155 espresso machine features 15-bar professional-level pressure to make authentic Italian espresso at a moment’s notice. This attractive machine delivers quality coffee at an affordable price and beginner-level instructions. With this unique design, you can brew espresso for a single cup or implement the dual system to brew two cups at once. Additionally, you can adjust the temperature for the water and steam pressure separately for more control. Use the attached frother to heat and foam your favorite milk or creamer. The steel drip tray will catch anything leftover, so you’re not left with a mess to clean up.
With this machine, you can use both pods and coffee grounds. Simply fill up your water tank, and your machine will be ready to go with little to no start-up time. De’Longhi is also a well trusted name in the coffee world. This is a superb little machine for the price.
The SOWTECH Espresso Machine is a high-quality, single-use espresso machine that delivers a yummy cup of fresh espresso with just a few simple steps. The single-switch knob lets you easily control every feature; you don’t have to be an expert to operate this device. The 3.5 bar pressure can deliver one to four cups of espresso through the glass carafe, which boasts clearly marked measurements and an easy-pour lid. The machine also features a frothing arm that lets you foam milk or creamer to create the perfect cappuccinos and lattes.
Not only is the machine easy to use, but its stainless steel and black plastic design are perfect for matching all of your other appliances. Plus, its compact size will fit easily into small places and right on your counter.
This espresso machine is an excellent choice for anyone who’s looking to serve multiple customers efficiently. Whether it’s just you having your morning coffee or you’re treating your family to after-dinner cappuccinos, this machine can handle it all. The removable water tank featured on this machine holds 42 ounces of water consistently, so you don’t have to fill up the machine every time you use it. The large knob of the front displays simple labels for easy use. Directly below, the sieve allows for single or double espresso brewing, letting you effectively brew two cups at once for faster results.
The frothing arm attached to the side allows you to foam up the milk of your choice to enhance your espresso to your liking. Stainless steel accents wrap up this fine-looking piece, making it a great addition to your counter tops.
When you think of espresso, cappuccino, and lattes, you probably picture a coffee shop – because there’s no way you could create those fancy drinks in your own kitchen, right?
Above are just three excellent examples of the best espresso machines under $100 that you can have and use in your home every day.
While you can’t go wrong with any of these choices, our favorite is the Delonghi EC155 which brews great coffee, and is super easy to use. This Espresso machine is a great stepping stone into the world of coffee. Plus, its compact size lets it fit seamlessly into any kitchen – large or small.
Alternatively, when it comes to coffee gear it is worth at least considering forking out a bit more dough for better quality and longevity. In the coffee world as in the rest of life you get what you pay for. So we would encourage you to at least consider looking at our best espresso machines under $200 or even under $500 if you really want to make coffee your thing.