Is it yet another tough morning, when the sky is clouded, there was no sun for a week, and it’s 6 a.m. so you can’t get up from bed? Time for a cup of espresso! The smell of freshly ground coffee beans and the magical process of trying to make a perfect drink never fail to make my day. Whether you are already an espresso (cappuccino, macchiato, Americano or whatever you like) fan or not, I want to share my passion to coffemaking and experience with some espresso machines with you.
As many other people, I started with De’Longhi EC155. It’s a very basic and simple model, but with enough experience you can make really good drinks with it. For $100 you get De’Longhi level of reliability (mine worked for 6 years no problem and still in good shape) and stainless steel boiler, though the body is plastic of course. The boiler automatically keeps required temperature and is powerful enough to make a good cappuccino, but keep in mind that it would take too much time to brew coffee for a big group of people. 2 or 3 persons is optimal. Assuming its price, EC155 is my personal best espresso maker under 200.
Then I moved on to $200 De’Longhi ECP3630 model. Can’t say a single bad thing about it, but it was too similar to EC155 for me, just in stainless steel body. And the price tag is kinda steep. But if you don’t want any more from an espresso machine in terms of functionality and fancy the looks, then this may be the one.
My latest baby is Breville BES870XL. $600 is a LOT of money for a semi-automatic espresso maker, but man, what a machine! Full stainless steel body, built-in grinder (can’t underestimate bean freshness), lots of power and control over the process. Let’s make this clear: I won’t say that you really need this kind of equipment to make a perfect cup of coffee, but it does make it easier and more fun! I had some problems with the grinder after the warranty had expired, but managed to fix it with medium efforts. Still slightly disappointing, considering the price.