There is a reason why the coffee at a gourmet coffee shop tastes different than the one you make at home, even if you buy your coffee from the very same shop. The temperature and quality of the water greatly influences the taste, but, more importantly the size of the grains in the grinded coffee, particularly the size of the grains when compared to the sieve that holds them. The shape of the spout is paramount because it makes the difference between having a bland cup of coffee and one that has a thick layer of foam on top. So taking all of these factors into consideration, it should come as no surprise that, unless you are willing to invest big in a high end espresso machine, your coffee will never come out quite as good. However, the good news is that you can come at least half way between a bland cup of coffee and a gourmet one, with a relatively small investment of under 100 dollars. We have put together a list of the best espresso machines on the market that cost less than 100 dollars, and, although they are not all just as good, they can all help you make a very decent cup of coffee. So you should definitely scroll past the list itself to find our in depth reviews that will give you an idea of the type of coffee you can expect to get from each machine, and only then make your choice.
1. De’Longhi EC155 Espresso Machine
Our favorite choice of all the espresso machines under $100 currently on the market is the De’Longhi EC155. It has the perfect blend of quality and price. It uses a 15 bar pump which sends the water through the coffee with enough pressure that, when it comes out through the specialized spout, it creates a rich, creamy layer on top. Besides the pump, an essential part in an espresso machine is the spout, and you can tell that you have a half decent one when it is able to pour coffee on both sides of the machine thus allowing you to fill 2 cups at a time. Ideally though, you should only be making one cup at a time because it is that layer of foam that makes all the difference in term of taste quality. The other important part of an espresso machine is the thermostat that tells the machine when the water has reached the perfect temperature. The problem is that most espresso machines also have a froth spout, and that uses a completely different temperature. So the fact that the De’Longhi EC155 uses 2 separate thermostats shows you that they have worked out the perfect water temperature and are doing their best to keep that temperature stable for the lifetime of the machine.
2. De’Longhi Retro Espresso Machine
If you are willing to pay a little bit extra, you can get an espresso machine that looks like it should be a part of a 50’ movie set. In fact the De’Longhi Retro has the exact same functionalities as the EC155 we have already talked about, but the shell is a bit different. It can still make coffee using freshly ground coffee or pods, and it has a stainless steel boiler that pushes out water at 15 bar. It also has the double spout function that creates an excellent layer of foam every time. And you also get a frothing spout that will make that delicious milk foam that turns an espresso into a cappuccino. Of course, you have to remember though that this is still a sub 100 dollars espresso machine so it does have its limitations. The coffee foam will be about 1/16 inches thick and will keep for about half an hour, where as in a store it is at least 1/8 inches and will keep for several hours, and the foam on the milk will be thick but not as thick as to allow you to make petals and other such fancy shapes as they can in a real coffee shop. Still, in terms of taste, as long as you are not a coffee aficionado, you may not even be able to tell the difference.
3. Mr. Coffee ECM160
We have already showed you the very best espresso machines under 100 dollars on the market today that can get your coffee tasting almost as good as that made in a gourmet coffee shop. But what if you just want an espresso machine that takes you to that next level above a regular coffee machine, while keeping the budget as low as possible? The answer for you in that case is the Mr. Coffee ECM160 Espresso Machine. It does generate enough steam pressure to get you that rich taste of an espresso, but it will not create much of a foam. However you still have the frothing arm and that will get you a decent cup of cappuccino, for very little money.
4. KRUPS XP1000 Steam Espresso Machine
There are 2 more espresso machines that we had to mention here. The first is the KRUPS XP1000 Steam Espresso Machine, which deserves to be here because it is backed by one of the biggest manufacturers of coffee machines on the planet. This is their entry level espresso machine, so they did get the temperature perfect for a good shot of espresso, but with just 4 bars of pressure and no specialized nozzle, there is little foam to speak of unless you are brewing just one cup at a time, and even then the foam barely lasts for 15 minutes.
5. Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker
The final product we are going to talk about today is the Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker. Hamilton Beach are not a big name in the coffee world, but they are quite famous in the high end kitchen appliances world, and their prices are quite decent for both categories. The Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker uses 15 bars of pressure and a dedicated espresso nozzle so they produce a good layer of foam that lasts close to the half an hour mark. The milk frothing nozzle is quite good on its own, so you have everything you need to make a very decent cup of cappuccino or a shot of espresso. Is this as good as the De’Longhi machines we have talked about so far? No, but it is at least 75% as good and it costs almost half the price, so it is an excellent value for the money.