A few months ago, I went on a search for the best espresso machine under $200. My previous home espresso maker had finally kicked the bucket, and it was time to locate a new one to provide me with fresh coffee every morning. But although I was picky about the espresso I drank, I was also on a budget. Hence why I was looking for the best espresso machine under $200 – I simply couldn’t afford any more than that.
So I went online and looked up what espresso machines under $200 were on the market. As I suspected there were many to choose from in this price range. But most of them were not adequate to produce a decent cup of espresso.
In particular, I wanted to avoid steam-driven espresso machines as they did not generate enough pressure to brew a proper tasting espresso shot.
I also wanted to avoid a plastic machine as much as possible, because they usually did not last long and frequently gave your espresso a plastic smell/taste.
In the end, I narrowed my search down to three home espresso makers: the DeLonghi BAR 32, the Cuisinart EM-100, and the DeLonghi EC 702. All of the machines were pump-driven and the Cuisinart EM-100 and the DeLonghi EC 702 were stainless stainless (the DeLonghi BAR 32 was plastic).
I eventually selected the Cuisinart EM-100 because to me it offered the perfect balance between price and quality and stood out as the best espresso machine under 200 dollars. Although the DeLonghi Bar 32 was cheaper, it was also made out of plastic, which from past experience can be problematic. The DeLonghi EC 702 looked like a great machine, but it was more expensive, and I couldn’t see a measurable difference between it and the Cuisinart EM-100 to justify the extra money. Sure it had a cool dual thermostat feature, but this was not really necessary to produce a great shot of espresso. These are the reasons why I chose the Cuisinart EM-100 over the other two machines.
A quick perusal of the reviews on Amazon.com revealed overwhelming praise for this machine for its price ($140). It looked easy to use and offered a three-year warranty. The warranty was huge for me, because it offered some reassurance that if anything did go wrong, I knew that Cuisinart would repair/exchange it. A three year warranty is rare on a cheaper machine. Most warranties for machines in this price range are one year at most.
As I was eager to start making my cappuccinos again (and sick of shelling out $4 at Starbucks), I purchased it that day from Amazon. I was thrilled not only to see that Amazon offered the cheapest price for this machine, but that you also got it shipped to your door for free.
When it arrived on my doorstep a week later, I hastily installed it in my kitchen next to the microwave. After running water through a few times, I brewed my first shot of espresso.
And it was excellent! The espresso was full-bodied and with a thick layer of crema on the top. This was truly fantastic for a machine in this price range. Although I paid more money for my old Breville machine, and it produced good espresso for a number of years, it simply doesn’t compare to the Cuisinart EM-100. For a budget priced machine, the Cuisinart gets the job done!
Frothing was also easy, although I noticed that there wasn’t too much space between the steam wand and the bottom of the table, making frothing a little bit awkward. But this was really a minor detail, because the milk that I frothed was perfect. I was able to generate a microfoam with a nice creamy consistency, which was perfect for my morning cappuccino.
Now a few months later, I am still thrilled about my Cuisinart EM-100. It still produces great espresso, and I would recommend it to any one looking for the best espresso machine under $200.
To get one shipped to you for free, just follow the Amazon link below to go to the product page.