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The 3 Best Espresso Machines For Someone Just Starting Out



I used to spend thousands of dollars on drinks at Starbucks every year. Even just one drink a day added up to well over a hundred dollars a month, or over $1,500 a year, and I used to hit the coffee shop more than once a day sometimes! After I realized how much money I was spending, I decided to look into buying my own espresso machine. I'm glad I did!


There's nothing better than owing your own espresso machine. Sure, I still like to head down to Starbucks often - but I usually only buy coffee (it's cheap!). For fancier drinks or straight shots of espresso, I make my own. And do you know what? Not only are mine cheaper, but they taste better too!


Why Doesn't Everyone Do This?


I think one thing that holds a lot of people back from buying their own machine is the fact that it can seem so complicated at first. Picking out the right machine can be almost impossible if you don't know what you're doing.


You can easily spend too much on a machine that's too complicated and end up spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars too much for a machine you might never be able to figure out how to use correctly.


And That's Why We're Here Today...


I've written a guide to buying your first machine (How To Buy Your First Espresso Machine) that you can read if your interested in doing it all on your own, but I thought today I would point you in the right direction by recommending 3 machines that are perfect for someone who's just starting out and buying their first machine.


I've reviewed hundreds of machines here at espressoshack.com over the years and I have a pretty good understanding on what's out there at the different price levels and experience levels.


If you're just starting out you need a machine that does a few things, including:

  • Be as cheap as possible
  • Handle easily
  • Make Good Tasting Espresso
  • Have a good frother for making cappuccino and latte
  • Have good support


Let's take just a few seconds to touch on each of those points so that we're both on the same page.


Be as Cheap as Possible


I'm not suggesting a cheap machine, I'm suggesting the best machine at the lower price ranges. Why? Because this is your first machine. You don't want to spend $1,500 on a machine and then discover that home espresso brewing isn't for you. On the other hand, you don't want to spend $40 on a machine that doesn't actually work.


Handle Easily


This one's self evident. It's easy to buy espresso makers that are just too complicated. Some come with instructional DVD's that try to teach you how to use the machine! That's too complicated for someone just starting out. You need a machine that you can dump your coffee grounds into, press a button, and watch the espresso come out. Period.


Make Good Tasting Espresso


Many cheap "espresso machines" are steam powered instead of pump powered. These types of machines aren't true espresso machines because its the pump that makes espresso espresso. Steam machines just make strong coffee, not real espresso. They're marketed at the low end to people who don't know any better. I'll steer you away from them!


Have a good Frother For Making Cappuccino


Most people buy machines in order to create Starbucks-like drinks in your home. You'll need a machine with a good frother to do that.


Have Good Support


Espresso Makers are notorious for breaking down, even the best ones. I've selected 3 models that are known for their durability, but nothing is guaranteed and that's why you need a brand known for good customer support and a strong warranty. Espresso makers are pump-powered, highly pressurized machines. All that pressure sometimes causes gaskets to be blown out etc. Support is important.


So without further ado, let's look at the three machines!

  • DeLonghi EC155: $80
  • Cuisinart EM-100: $121
  • Briel Chamonix: $199


Each of those prices listed are sale prices that you can take advantage of at the links at the bottom of the page. I'll spend just a few minutes talking about each one and then give a final recommendation.


DeLonghi EC155 Espresso Maker

This is a great starter machine at a price that just isn't seen these days. Regularly priced at around $140, this compact little guy has everything you need to get started with no confusing bells and whistles. And at $80, you simply can't go wrong.


Cuisinart EM-100 Espresso Machine

I love this machine. Regularly $270 this is a nicer and more complex machine than the DeLonghi but still easy to use. It's stainless steel body is sure to catch your eye every time you walk past it. A steal at it's $121 sale price.


Briel ES35AF Chamonix Pump Espresso Machine

Regularly priced at $300, this is the most expensive of the three; but not necessarily better than the Cuisinart. A Briel was the first machine that I used, and they're the largest manufacturer of espresso makers of this type in Europe.


You can read in depth reviews on each of those machines right here on this web site. Just click the menu on the right hand side of the screen for each brand, then scroll down to the bottom of the page to find links to each machine. For instance, for the Cuisinart EM-100, click the Cuisinart link on the side menu then scroll down to see the EM-100 review link.


So Which Machine Should You Choose?


Not to cop-out, but the choice is really up to you!


If money is an object, then choose the DeLonghi model for $80. Otherwise I highly recommend the Cuisinart EM-100. It's a solid machine at a very reasonable price that has everything you'll need as a beginner, but at the same time has enough to grow with you as your experience grows. The Briel is equally nice, but for the extra cost, there's really not a lot extra you're getting.


At the end of the day, these are all 3 great choices. Any one of them will plant you firmly and confidently on the path to home espresso brewing. Take a leap and buy one today while they're still on sale and you'll be very happy you did!


Ps...and after you buy your machine, come back and read all about coffee beans in our coffee bean section of the site. It's all downhill once you pick out the right bean! Good luck!