Coffeeble is reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Best Espresso Machine Under 200: Affordable Picks for Your Budget

It’s no secret that good coffee can be an expensive hobby. But if you’re just dipping your toe in the water of home espresso making, you’re not going to want to spend big. At least, not until you know a bit more about it.

Starting with a budget machine helps you learn the ins and outs of extraction without breaking the bank. We’ve done the research and found the best espresso machine under 200 for each and one of you.

Top pick: The Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista

“Mr.
  • Three one-touch drink options
  • Fully automated milk frothing
  • Programmable drink sizes

How to choose the best budget espresso machine

Even if you’re not investing a large sum of money in an espresso machine, it’s still important to do your research. Make the wrong decision and you might end up with a complete dud that falls apart after a couple of uses. Here are some things to look for when buying the best espresso machine under $200.

What do we mean by espresso?

We all know an espresso when we taste one, but what exactly is it? The exact definition can be hard to pin down, but the key features are that it’s a small, concentrated coffee of 25-35ml made from 7g of ground coffee. It needs to be extracted at 190 F with 9 bars of pressure for 25-30 seconds (1). 

With these requirements in mind, a true espresso is only really obtained with an espresso machine. While pod machines claim 15 bar pressure (or higher), they may vary in the extraction time or amount of coffee used. However, we’ve included some of these machines that make espresso-style drinks, as they can be a convenient and still tasty option for home use.

Types of espresso machines

The kind of machine you choose will go a long way to determining the price, features, and quality of coffee you will end up with. The best espresso machine for you might also depend on the skill level required.

  • Semi-automatic – the automatic aspect of these machines refers to the fact that you’re not creating the pressure by hand. You will still need to grind and tamp your beans, start and stop the extraction process, and manually froth your milk.
  • Automatic – the only difference between an automatic and semi-automatic machine is that the automatic doesn’t require you to time your extraction manually. You press a button, and the machine will stop brewing by itself after the shot is done. 
  • Super-automatic – super-automatic machines, also known as bean-to-cup machines, take care of every part of the brewing process for you. They grind with integrated grinders, tamp and extract the beans, then froth milk for lattes and cappuccinos. All this tech makes them quite pricey, so you won’t find any super-automatic espresso machines under $200.
  • Manual – with a manual machine the pressure for extraction is created by a lever, which forces water through the coffee grounds.
  • Pod – a pod or capsule machine is designed for convenience. Using espresso pods of pre-ground coffee, there’s no need to measure, grind or tamp. Simply press the button to start – there’s no user input required.

Do you take milk?

If you’re aiming to create your favorite coffee shop drink at home, you’ll need a way to froth your milk. You’ll see that the traditional style home espresso machines always include a steam wand, but this will require some practice to use. Coffee makers marketed as latte and cappuccino machines often have an automatic milk frother, which creates milk foam at the touch of a button.

Photo_HandDoingLatteArt_BestMachinesUnder200

A capsule machine or travel coffee maker won’t always have a way of steaming milk, but you could pair it with a separate frother if you want both espresso and cappuccino options.

Size matters

Buying a smaller coffee maker might be one way to keep costs down, but you should be realistic about your coffee habits. If you’re a multiple cups per day kind of person or have lots of coffee lovers in the house, look for a machine with a bigger water tank.

The size of the reservoir will determine how many coffees you can make before it needs refilling. But beware that creating steam for milk frothing also uses water, so if you’re always making cappuccinos, you’ll be refilling more often. For pod machines, you will also want to consider the capacity of the used capsule container.

CI_BestEspressoMachinesUnder200_Nespresso-capsules-vs-ESE-pods-infographic

What you won’t get from the best inexpensive espresso machine

As is true with many things in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to buying a budget coffee maker. Each of these espresso machines has its pros and cons, but you can’t expect to get good espresso extraction and convenience, and user-friendly tech all in one machine.

If you want something that ticks a few more boxes, you can look at the best espresso machines priced under $500, or up the budget and discover our picks that cost less than $1000.

The best home espresso machine under $200 in 2021

product details Button
Best Overall Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista
  • Type of machine: Automatic
  • Dimensions: 11.22 x 8.86 x 12.6 inches
  • Water reservoir: 55 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Best Pod Machine Nespresso Vertuo by Delonghi Nespresso Vertuo by Delonghi
  • Type of machine: Pod
  • Dimensions: 9 x 12.2 x 12.3 inches
  • Water reservoir: 54 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Best with Pressure Gauge Brim 15 Bar Espresso Machine Brim 15 Bar Espresso Machine
  • Type of machine: Automatic
  • Dimensions: 11.8 x 10.5 x 14.1 inches
  • Water reservoir: 51 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Most Compact Nespresso Essenza Mini by Breville Nespresso Essenza Mini by Breville
  • Type of machine: Pod
  • Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.3 x 8.0 inches
  • Water reservoir: 20.3 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Best Steam Espresso Maker SOWTECH Steam Espresso Machine SOWTECH Steam Espresso Machine
  • Type of machine: Semi-automatic
  • Dimensions: 13 x 7.2 x 9 inches
  • Water reservoir: 8 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Best for ESE Pods De’Longhi EC155 De’Longhi EC155
  • Type of machine: Semi-automatic
  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 19.3 x 15 inches
  • Water reservoir: 34 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Best Manual Espresso Maker Flair Espresso Maker Flair Espresso Maker
  • Type of machine: Manual
  • Dimensions: 12 x 6 x 10 inches
  • Water reservoir: 2 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Best Under 100 Gevi Espresso Machine 5403 Gevi Espresso Machine 5403
  • Type of machine: Semi-automatic
  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 10.4 x 13.5 inchesWa
  • Water reservoir: 50.7 oz
amazon-logo SEE ON AMAZON
Best for Travel Staresso Portable Staresso Portable
  • Type of machine: Pod
  • Dimensions: 2.76 x 2.76 x 8.27 inches
  • Water reservoir: 3.4 oz
amazon-logo See on Amazon
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista
Best Overall Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista
  • Type of machine: Automatic
  • Dimensions: 11.22 x 8.86 x 12.6 inches
  • Water reservoir: 55 oz
Nespresso Vertuo by Delonghi
Best Pod Machine Nespresso Vertuo by Delonghi
  • Type of machine: Pod
  • Dimensions: 9 x 12.2 x 12.3 inches
  • Water reservoir: 54 oz
Brim 15 Bar Espresso Machine
Best with Pressure Gauge Brim 15 Bar Espresso Machine
  • Type of machine: Automatic
  • Dimensions: 11.8 x 10.5 x 14.1 inches
  • Water reservoir: 51 oz
Nespresso Essenza Mini by Breville
Most Compact Nespresso Essenza Mini by Breville
  • Type of machine: Pod
  • Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.3 x 8.0 inches
  • Water reservoir: 20.3 oz
SOWTECH Steam Espresso Machine
Best Steam Espresso Maker SOWTECH Steam Espresso Machine
  • Type of machine: Semi-automatic
  • Dimensions: 13 x 7.2 x 9 inches
  • Water reservoir: 8 oz
De’Longhi EC155
Best for ESE Pods De’Longhi EC155
  • Type of machine: Semi-automatic
  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 19.3 x 15 inches
  • Water reservoir: 34 oz
Flair Espresso Maker
Best Manual Espresso Maker Flair Espresso Maker
  • Type of machine: Manual
  • Dimensions: 12 x 6 x 10 inches
  • Water reservoir: 2 oz
Gevi Espresso Machine 5403
Best Under 100 Gevi Espresso Machine 5403
  • Type of machine: Semi-automatic
  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 10.4 x 13.5 inchesWa
  • Water reservoir: 50.7 oz
Staresso Portable
Best for Travel Staresso Portable
  • Type of machine: Pod
  • Dimensions: 2.76 x 2.76 x 8.27 inches
  • Water reservoir: 3.4 oz

Now that you have a clearer idea of the specs and features that you might find on an espresso maker under $200, it’s time to find the right one for your kitchen. Here’s a selection of our favorite budget espresso machines for 2021.

1. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista – Best Espresso Machine Under $200

“Mr.

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Automatic

  • Dimensions: 11.22 x 8.86 x 12.6 inches
  • Water reservoir: 55 oz
  • Brews with: Ground coffee 
  • Milk frothing: Automatic

We might have said that you can’t expect the world when buying an espresso machine under $200, but Mr. Coffee has tried to deliver with the Cafe Barista.

If your goal is getting the biggest list of features for the price, then this could be your new coffee maker.

The Cafe Barista is classed as a semi-automatic machine, but really, it does everything for you except grinding the beans. Once you’ve filled your portafilter and tamped your grounds, you can get an espresso, latte, or cappuccino at the touch of a button. Each drink has a single or double shot option, which increases the amount of water. You’ll just need to make sure you use the correct portafilter, with both single and double shot pressurized versions included.

A fully automated milk frother is rare at this price point–even some higher-end semi-automatics require you to move the cup between the portafilter and the milk reservoir. A knob lets you adjust the milk texture between dense foam for lattes and airy froth for cappuccinos.

The machine comes with a removable water tank and milk reservoir for ease of use, plus a removable drip tray for cleaning.

All this convenience does mean some compromise on quality– the Cafe Barista can be a little inconsistent with espresso extraction. There’s also no option for hot water, so this won’t work for Americanos or for making tea. However, this is a solid cappuccino maker; you would usually only get on much more expensive espresso machines with all the bells and whistles.

For a more detailed rundown of this budget machine, read our Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista review.

2. Nespresso Vertuo by Delonghi – Best Pod Machine

“Nespresso

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Pod

  • Dimensions: 9 x 12.2 x 12.3 inches
  • Water reservoir: 54 oz
  • Brews with: Nespresso Vertuo capsules
  • Milk frothing: none

With the release of the VertuoLine, Nespresso opened up its offerings to more than just espresso drinks. Appealing to the North American taste for larger coffees, the Vertuo makes a single or double espresso shot and regular coffee in 5oz, 8oz, or 14oz cup sizes.

To do this, Nespresso has done away with the standard 19-bar pump system that’s found in its original machines. The VertuoLine instead uses what’s known as Centrifusion technology, which spins the capsules at 7000 rpm. This allows for regular coffee and espresso-style drinks and creates a thicker crema–even on the larger coffees (2).

All of the VertuoLine machines use a unique style of capsules, which aren’t compatible with Nespresso’s original line. There’s also no option to use other brands as with other Nespresso coffee makers. Once you insert the capsule, the machine will scan the barcode on the side to determine the brew parameters. The brew time, pressure, water temperature, and coffee size are all optimized for the individual coffee selection, so all you need to do is press the brew button.

There’s no built-in milk frother for lattes and cappuccinos, but you’ll often see this machine bundled with the Nespresso Aeroccino if you’re willing to go a little over the $200 mark. The upside of this is that with no need to steam milk, the 54oz removable water tank will last a lot longer without refilling.

3. Brim 15 Bar Espresso Machine – Best with Pressure Gauge

“Brim

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Automatic

  • Dimensions: 11.8 x 10.5 x 14.1 inches
  • Water reservoir: 51 oz
  • Brews with: Ground coffee
  • Milk frothing: Manual steam wand

This coffee maker from Brim makes a good entry-level machine, especially for those that want to learn more about the brewing process. With a pressure gauge and commercial-style frothing wand, it’ll help you prepare for upgrading to a more professional machine.

To start with, the design deserves mention. There’s plenty of plastic in this price range, but the Brim’s complete stainless steel design means it certainly doesn’t look like a cheap machine. It also stands out with the wood-look portafilter hands – it’s not real wood but still a nice aesthetic upgrade from the norm.

On the inside, the Brim 15 bar pump espresso maker features a thermocoil heating system for the water. It’s similar to a thermoblock but provides greater consistency in temperatures and generally has a longer lifespan (3). As with all of these espresso makers, you’ll still need to allow time for the temperature to adjust when switching from brewing to steaming or vice versa.

Front and center on the control panel is the water pressure gauge. It doesn’t actually show the numbers in bars but gives you an indication of the ideal range for espresso extraction – and enough leeway to allow for some experimentation. Brewing is done via the two buttons for single shot and double shot. They’re preset to 1oz and 2.5 oz respectively, but can be reprogrammed if you happen to like a stronger or less concentrated coffee.

A side-mounted dial operates the steam wand, dispensing hot water for Americanos, tea, or hot chocolate. It’s ideal for anyone wanting to practice their latte art, with a 360-degree swivel action to help you create even microfoam.

4. Nespresso Essenza Mini by Breville – Most Compact

“Nespresso

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Pod

  • Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.3 x 8.0 inches
  • Water reservoir: 20.3 oz
  • Brews with: Nespresso pods
  • Milk frothing: none

Drinking your coffee black does give you the advantage of being able to use a simpler machine. And in the case of the Nespresso Essenza Mini, this also means more affordable and more compact. At just 3.3 inches wide, your daily coffee habit won’t be taking over your entire kitchen counter.

Compared to the larger Nespresso machines, there’s no difference in the quality of the coffee you’ll get. The Essenza Mini uses the same technology as the rest of the Original Line, with a pump pressure of 19 bars. As we mentioned above, you can’t expect a true espresso, but compared to other pod machines, this coffee is as rich and flavorful as any other.

Unlike Vertuo, this machine does have the option to tweak your coffee a little. There are buttons for a single or a lungo. But both of these are programmable to allow for more or less water. 

This isn’t necessarily for making larger coffees, but rather for adjusting the strength.

What the machine size does impact is the capacity. With a 20-ounce water tank, it will need refilling reasonably frequently. Likewise, with the used capsule container – with space for just 6 empty pods, you’re going to be regularly emptying. 

The casing is made from durable but lightweight plastic, making this not only small but very portable. It might not be something you throw into your handbag, but it would be perfectly reasonable to pack in your suitcase for a week away.

5. SOWTECH Steam Espresso Machine – Best Steam Espresso Maker

“SOWTECH

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Semi-automatic

  • Dimensions: 13 x 7.2 x 9 inches
  • Water reservoir: 8 oz
  • Brews with: Ground coffee
  • Milk frothing: Manual steam wand

What we think of as the classic espresso makers are what’s known as pump machines. An electric pump generates the pressure required to extract a coffee. However, the precursor to these was the steam machine, where the pressure comes from steam alone. 

Steam coffee makers are no longer as famous, as the pressure created tends to be around the 1.5 bar mark, far short of the 9 bars required for a true espresso (4). But there are certainly some upsides to a steam machine. Without the pump mechanism, they’re easier to clean, maintain, and are much more compact. And they are cheap.

You use the SOWTECH in the same way you would any other machine. Fill the basket with grounds, tamp, and lock into the holder. There’s a simple dial knob on the side which you turn to start or pause the extraction. Due to the lower pressure, you’ll need a longer extraction time. There’s no timer, you just switch it off when enough water has run through, but you’ll be aiming for around two minutes. 

You’ll notice that the filter basket is much deeper than on a regular espresso machine. The SOWTECH water tank has a four-cup capacity, and the filter will hold enough grounds to make all four cups at once. Included is a stainless steel carafe for brewing into, with the cup measurements clearly marked. There’s a manual steam wand on the side for milk drinks, also operated with the dial knob.

6. De’Longhi EC155 – Best for ESE Pods

DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, Black

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Semi-automatic

  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 19.3 x 15 inches
  • Water reservoir: 34 oz
  • Brews with: Ground coffee, ESE pods
  • Milk frothing: Manual steam wand

We have to admit, this isn’t the most stylish-looking appliance you could add to your countertop. But getting a full-featured 15-bar pump espresso machine from a big name brand in this price range is perhaps worth the compromise on aesthetics.

This is another machine that would work as the perfect stepping stone to something more professional (and expensive). 

When it comes down to it, most people start at a very basic level, even if they have a whiz bang machine.

Five Senses Coffee

It’s a small investment that will allow you to get the hang of pulling an espresso shot and frothing milk by hand, with no distractions from extra features. This is a purely functional machine.

The EC155 uses just a single dial to control everything you need to make a coffee. Turn it to the preheat function to get the machine ready for either coffee extraction or milk frothing. The machine uses a single boiler to heat the water, so don’t expect the startup time to be as rapid as those that use a thermoblock or thermocoil (5). 

To get a shot of espresso, you turn the dial to the coffee/water option and switch it back when you have enough coffee in your cup. There are separate thermostats for coffee and for milk and an ‘Advanced Cappuccino System” that maintains the temperature from brew to brew.

De’Longhi’s entry-level option doesn’t have many convenience features, but the machine comes with a portafilter that also uses ESE pods. We always recommend fresh ground espresso beans, but if you don’t have a good grinder or your mornings are just too busy, ESEpods are an excellent time-saving alternative.

7. Flair Espresso Maker – Best Manual Espresso Machine Under $200

“Flair

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Manual

  • Dimensions: 12 x 6 x 10 inches
  • Water reservoir: 2 oz
  • Brews with: Ground coffee
  • Milk frothing: none

Budget machines aren’t just for espresso newbies. The manual coffee maker is considered a true test of a barista’s skills, and when used correctly, can create an espresso on par with prosumer models. Some high-end manual machines can indeed set you back a pretty penny, but the Flair’s stripped-down design means it’s much more accessible. 

The Flair made waves when it first appeared as a Kickstarter project back in 2016. There’s no boiler or thermoblock, no pump to generate pressure, no milk frother, and a water reservoir that only holds enough for a single shot. The company has now released models with features like pressure gauges and temperature control, but this classic model retains the original idea of brewing simplicity.

The point of manual lever espresso machines like the Flair allows you to have complete control over the extraction. It’s a steep learning curve, but you have the potential to make a truly delicious. 

During a series of five rounds of blind taste tests, the Flair won four out of five times — three of those were unanimous.

Business Insider

Using the single lever and just the power of your arms, you’ll reach a solid 6-9 bars, and with a consistency that you wouldn’t get from an automatic machine at this price. Expect a strong, sweet espresso with a good layer of crema.

8. Gevi Espresso Machine 5403 – Best Under 100

No products found.

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Semi-automatic

  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 10.4 x 13.5 inches
  • Water reservoir: 50.7 oz
  • Brews with: Ground coffee
  • Milk frothing: Manual steam wand

Yes, it’s possible. You can get a semi-automatic pump espresso maker for under $100. And even more surprisingly, the Gevi 5403 has more user-friendly features than we’ve seen on some of the best espresso machines under $200. There’s a removable water tank, a removable drip tray to accommodate different cup sizes, and even a cup warmer.

The standout feature is the dual temperature control, which sets the water to 198F for coffee extraction and 212F for milk steaming. The current temp is displayed on the front-mounted gauge, so you can get an accurate idea of when to switch between pulling espresso shots and frothing.

Unlike an automatic home espresso machine, you will need to start and stop the extraction manually by pressing the espresso button. So if you want to maintain an accurate water to grounds ratio, you’ll need to extract your coffee into a cup with measurements. The portafilter has a double cup splitter, so the Gevi isn’t just for brewing for one despite the small size.

Press the button for milk when you want to raise the temperature for steaming. Once it’s reached the ideal temp, you can then adjust the steam level by turning the dial on the side of the machine.

9. Staresso Portable – Best for Travel

“Staresso

Specifications

  • Type of machine: Pod

  • Dimensions: 2.76 x 2.76 x 8.27 inches
  • Water reservoir: 3.4 oz
  • Brews with: Ground coffee, Nespresso pods
  • Milk frothing: Manual pump frother

One of the hardest things about traveling is not knowing if you will get a good coffee each morning. Whether it’s a lack of good coffee shops at your destination or you’re planning to go off the beaten track, a travel espresso maker will guarantee you can get your daily fix.

As you would expect from a travel appliance, the Staresso is small and light, coming in at 8 inches long and weighing less than a pound. It’s made mainly from plastic but does have a couple of metal elements and a glass serving cup. 

There’s no electricity or battery power required, which makes it an ideal choice for camping. But of course, this means the machine won’t be heating the water for you. You’ll need a kettle or even a thermos of water, both for brewing and preheating the Staresso. The extraction is done by repeatedly pushing the pressure pump on top of the machine, which will create at least 15 bars of pressure.

One of the best things about the Staresso is that you can use it with either ground coffee or Nespresso compatible capsules. If you’re only out for the day, carrying a couple of capsules around is certainly easier than detailing with an open packet of coffee grounds.

Once you’ve finished, you can use the same pressure pump to create milk foam. It’s not going to give you the texture you’d get at a coffee shop, but it will add a bit of air if you simply can’t go without a foamy drink. Of course, you will need to heat your milk beforehand, or you’re going to end up with a lukewarm latte. 

The Verdict

It might seem like too much to ask, but as you can see, there are plenty of decent options for an espresso machine under $200. We were impressed by the user-friendly features of the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista, with the range of one-touch drinks earning it our pick for the best espresso machine. But of course, it all comes down to what you need in an espresso maker.

“Mr.

FAQs

You should descale your espresso machine at least every couple of months, but if you are brewing multiple cups of coffee every day, you might want to consider descaling every month. Some manufacturers have specific descaling instructions, so be sure to check the manual for your machine (6).

The best beans for espresso are generally dark roast beans as the flavors hold up well to the extraction process and tend to go better with milk. You don’t need beans that have been specifically labeled as espresso coffee–any dark roast beans will work.

Capsules are not the same as K-Cups, though they do serve a similar purpose. In Nespresso and other compatible machines, capsules are used to make espresso-style coffee, while K-Cups are used in Keurig machines to make regular coffee.

References
  1. Espresso. Espresso – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/espresso
  2. Miller, M. (2014, April 26). Nespresso VertuoLine: Bar Codes, lasers, and centrifusion provide an AMAZING cup of coffee. ZDNet. Retrieved from https://www.zdnet.com/article/nespresso-vertuoline-bar-codes-lasers-and-centrifusion-provide-an-amazing-cup-of-coffee/
  3. Cotter, P. (2019, June 24). Thermoblocks vs. Thermocoils. Seattle Coffee Gear. Retrieved from https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/blog/2019/06/24/thermoblocks-vs-thermocoils/
  4. Haydon, M. (2021, March 30). Understanding the different types of espresso machine. Perfect Daily Grind. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/12/understanding-the-different-types-of-espresso-machine/
  5. Boiler versus Thermal Blocks. Crema Coffee Garage. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://cremacoffeegarage.com.au/blog/boiler-versus-thermal-blocks
  6. Baločkaitė, L. (n.d.). How to Descale a Coffee Machine and What Should You Know Before Doing It? Coffee Friend. Retrieved from https://www.coffeefriend.co.uk/blog/how-to-descale-a-coffee-machine/

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap