Coffee is the most craved to drink all over the world because of its taste and fragrance. Don’t you agree?
We cannot just deny the delights of coffee in our daily life. From morning to before we go to bed, we drink several cups of coffee.
An American drinks 4 and a half cups of coffee every day, on average.
There are many kinds of coffee drinks exist. Do you know that the espresso is the base of most of the coffee varieties?
We love to make espresso or any varieties in our home. There are so many espresso machines are available. From less than $50 to more than $5000 for a home espresso machine.
There is always a question about why are some espresso machines so expensive? Also, what is the difference between a cheap espresso and an expensive espresso machine?
The difference between regular coffee and espresso is the brewing process. In the process of making espresso, pressure is the key factor. The coffee grounds brew with boiling water under pressure. It makes a thicker solution with dissolved solids and a creamy top.
The hot water is forced under pressure. And that is called expressed.
The shot we get is the espresso. We can turn them into any delicious variations by adding milk and other ingredients with respective ratios.
Like, for Caffe Americano its only espresso and hot water. Now, for Cappuccino and Latte, we add steamed milk and milk foam. Furthermore, for Caffe Mocha, we add chocolate with milk.
So, the variations are only play of different ingredients. The core is the same always.
This brewing process makes espresso unique. So, the design of the espresso machine is also different from other coffee makers.
Now, that is one of the reasons ‘why are espresso machines so expensive’ than others. Besides, performance and efficiency create a huge difference in price.
For example, there are many popular espresso machines which are a bit pricy (not more than $1000). Like –
Their popularity indicates their efficiency and performance. Also, justify the price.
While we are talking about expensiveness, there are many reasonably priced options available. If you are looking for the budget espresso machines, you will get many choices from Breville, Nespresso, De’longi (i.e. De’longi ec702) in less than $500.
Let’s talk about everything in order.
History & Types of Espresso Machine
Angelo Moriondo patented the first espresso machine in 1884. It was a steam-driven coffee making device that controls the steam and water supply separately.
After seventeen years, in 1901, Luigi Bezzera patented some improvements to the existing machine.
Then in 1903, Desiderio Pavoni bought the patent of Luigi Bezzera. He is the founder of the La Pavoni company. This company started producing espresso machines commercially.
Francesco Illy invented the first automatic espresso coffee machine in 1933. The automatic Illetta is the forerunner of the modern espresso machine.
Since the invention, there are a lot of designs of the espresso machine. Most of these designs have some same parts as a group head and a portafilter. In some espresso makers may have a steam wand to make milk-froth or steam.
Espresso machines can be a manual or an automatic machine. These days we know the category of espresso machine as manual, automatic, semi-automatic, and super-automatic espresso machine. But these are conventional.
In original, there are four types of espresso machines. Steam-driven, piston-driven, pump-driven, Air-pump-driven.
The first espresso machine was Steam-driven. This traditional espresso machine uses steam pressure to pass the water through the coffee grounds. The steam generates from a boiler and goes to four grouped pipe settings. These four group head let bartenders make different types of coffee simultaneously. The steam-driven machine produces crema, the hallmark of the espresso.
Piston-driven espresso machines are also known as lever-driven espresso machines. Achille Gaggia patented it in 1938 for use in his coffee bar. He founded the Gaggia Company in 1945. This machine has a lever to pressurize the hot water through the coffee grinds.
The piston-driven coffee machine needs to pull a long handle to make an espresso shot. There are two designs of piston-driven espresso machine, manual piston and spring piston. In the manual piston, the operator pushes down the piston and pass the hot water through the grounds. In spring-piston, the operator creates tension in the spring to flow the water. Generally, the stress of spring remains between 8-10 bars.
Pump-driven machine is the modification of the piston machine. The Faema Company first introduced E61 in 1961. A motor-driven pump produced the required force during the coffee brewing. Depending on steam and water flow, there are four categories. Single Boiler (SB), Single boiler, dual-use (SB/DU), the Heat exchanger (HX), Dual boiler (DB).
Air-pump-driven espresso machines use compressed air forces hot water through the grounds. The hot water may put into the espresso machine from a kettle or thermal flask. The source of compressed air might be a hand-pump, electric compressor, or N2-CO2 cartridges.
AeroPress is the first air-pump-driven machine. Alan Adler invented it in 2005. Then, Handpresso Wild, brought by a French innovation house Nielsen Innovation SARL, in 2007. It is smaller and lighter than other espresso machines. These handheld and portable type coffeemakers being popular in recent years.
Common Features of Espresso Machines
The features of an espresso machine let us know the reason for its expensiveness. Keep this information in your mind if you want to buy one recently.
- Generally, an espresso machine is stainless steel made. These materials keep the temperature in the right range. Also, the steel frame makes the coffeemaker strong.
- The temperature controller lets you control the temperature during brewing and steaming. So, it is easy to keep track of your espresso temperature and keep temperature constancy.
- Constant pressure is another vital feature for the espresso. It handles thicker coffee with a creamy top. The high pressure helps to extract the highest from the coffee grounds.
- Removable portafilter with one or more grouphead distributes the pressurized water flow. So, the extraction gets more balanced than other brewing mechanisms.
- A digital display panel always lets you know what is going on during your espresso process. It can also inform you during filter placement, equipment diagnostics, cleaning period.
- Brewing temperature adjustment is a very important factor.You can adjust the temperature of your espresso by regulating the temperature of the boiler. It helps to control the temperature variation.
- A high pressurized pump administers constant pressure due to brewing and steaming. Generally, espresso machines need 9 bars to 15 bars to produce high pressure.
What Makes Espresso Machine Expensive?
Coffee lovers like to have an espresso machine of their own. As one of them, you may also intend to buy an espresso machine.
While learning on espresso coffee machines, you find some of those are high-priced. The first question peeps in your mind that why espresso machines are so expensive.
Let us see some factors that play crucial roles in being an espresso machine expensive.
You Command, It Makes. Yes. You can make espresso you’re your command. This is a next-generation feature.
You can connect your espresso machine with your smartphone. Jura D6 is a standard example.
Some espresso machines are now working with Alexa, which takes the level one step further.
Multi Types Coffee Making
You want a cappuccino? Or regular coffee? Or you might wanna play with milk foam.
No problem. Now espresso machines are capable of doing everything. From grinding to controlling milk, everything can be done with a good espresso machine.
Also, you can control the intensity levels.
Nowadays, every espresso machine has a digital display section. It let you know the state of coffee making. It can shows more updates as the equipment diagnostics options, cleaning alert.
In the display section, there is a water sign and steam symbol. In some machines, you can also set temperatures as you need. You may find volumetric amount, espresso types, grinding options in some espresso makers.
You never buy any product if it does not work from the next day. In the other sense, we purchase home appliances for using many years. Would it be okay if it lasts only 1 or 2 years? We will not like this short life too. Espresso machines have about 5-8 years of durability. Making a machine with long durability also makes it expensive.
High-quality materials make the best espresso makers. Most of the espresso machines are high-quality stainless steel made. Stainless steel is expensive than copper, aluminum, or industrial plastic. These steel made machines are firm.
Assume you bought a cheap espresso maker with low-quality material. After a few use, it broke down in the middle of the coffee-making process. Will you accept the situation?
Of course not. You do not need to worry while you are using a high-end device.
Also, the quality of the internal parts is very important.
Pressure and Temperature
High pressure and consistent temperature are essential for espresso. You can even adjust the temperature with 2 degrees change. Espresso needs a minimum of 9 bars and a maximum of 15 bars pressure. You have to pay much to get this standard.
There are many components in an espresso machine. Each part of the espresso machine itself is valuable. The espresso machines have a thermo-block, pump, grouphead, and portafilter. The thermo-block maintains the heating temperature. The pump ensures the consistent pressure of water.
The grouphead is the heart of an espresso machine. It resides in front of the device and holds the portafilter. The grouphead also consists of a few parts. Each part of the grouphead is permanently attached and metal made.
Portafilters are the removable segment of an espresso machine. It holds the filter basket. Diverse types of portafilters have various layers and divisions. It helps to balance the water force over the grounds.
Single and double basket refers to the number of shots. The design of the baskets is different so that you can easily recognize them. The diameter of the filter basket is 58mm.
Portafilter baskets have a screen at the bottom. Portafilter also has a dual-wall mechanism. In this case, there is another wall after the mesh with a hole. These categories increase the espresso price.
Research and development
Many of us do not know the process of making an espresso machine. Each machine goes under many research and development. This process ensures the performance of espresso machines. After that, the espresso machines send to the market to sell.
Brand is the most significant matter for products. You will not buy any product if it not from a well-known brand. Popular brands guaranty their products and materials, which makes the price high.
Alternatives – Affordable Espresso Machines
Now that we know espresso machines are expensive, should we not buy them?
Obviously, we would like to have one in our kitchen. It is clear because of the setup and configuration makes them more expensive.
It is tough to afford some of those machines. But not all of them. You can easily choose espresso machines at $50-$500 if you are on a budget. Hamilton beach flexbrew costs only around $100.
You can have a look on our article best affordable espresso machine reviews. We have selected some good machines from lots of options.
These may not provide the same facilities as the expensive coffee machines. Still, it filled up your curve. Companies try to maintain the quality of espresso machines in a low budget. The purpose is brewing and making forth.
Espresso machines are not cheap at all. Some people may think that it is not wise to spend more money on home espresso machines. You can go for a pricing range of $50-$350 for a home espresso machine.
Coffee machines within this price can be fair for home purposes. You can get the crema of espresso with small frothing bubbles. You can even try the French press coffee makers, Moka pot, or the stovetop espresso for home use.
The stovetop espresso makers are small-sized simple devices. It has three chambers; bottom for water, the middle portion holds the coffee grounds, and the top section screwed with a metal filter.
Moka pots used 1.5 bars pressure and above 194o F (90o C) temperature for boiling water.
Making An Espresso
The brewing method of the espresso is almost the same for every espresso coffee makers. All you need is fresh coffee bean ground and follow the steps.
- Put 7 grams fresh ground coffee in the metal filter basket known as portafilter. It is the amount for one serving. Always use quality coffee beans.
- Maintain brewing temperature at 190-194o F (88-90o C) with 9-15 bars pressure to get the foam emulsion as crema.
- Place your preheated cups to hold the extracted liquid from the coffee ground.
- Make the foam of milk and add into your coffee to make different types of espresso.
- Now, your coffee cup is ready to drink.
Have you ever think of the research and development of espresso machines?
Espresso machines go under a lot of research and development. This process is for the betterment of devices. The companies run several tests to see the capacity, functionalities, accuracy of work, and more. If the product can perform well, then it could pass this period. After that, the product is ready to sell at the market.
So, every machine ensures that you could get the best performance in your every use. This process makes a high-quality espresso machine.
Final Thoughts on Why are espresso machines so expensive?
We already know a lot of things about espresso machines. You can find both expensive and cheap espresso machines in the market. Though both of these produce espresso, quality matters yet. You also know the reasons for varying the price.
Cheap espresso makers cannot bring out the best taste of the drink always. High-priced machines have more facilities than the cheap ones. So, the espresso maker takes care of the temperature and pressure of your espresso.
The long life of an espresso machine helps you as a friend. With your knowledge and accuracy, you can get a better taste of espresso. Have a perfect cup of your favorite espresso.
Enjoy Your Coffee!