Last Updated on June 20, 2023 by Barry Gray
I talk about espresso all the time on this website, but to get an espresso, you need a machine. But there’s a problem.
Often, an espresso machine costs a lot of money, and that does mean not everyone has the ability to own one.
But why does an espresso machine have to potentially cost so much money? That’s what I will look into over the next few minutes.
Espresso machines are often expensive because they use high-quality materials to produce the perfect coffee. They tend to contain stainless steel, brass, and other metals. At the same time, the quality of the work involved in putting them together also pushes the price up.
But I do know there’s more to an espresso machine than simply the different parts that are put together. So, let’s go through why an espresso machine costs a lot of money and how you can perhaps reduce the costs.
What are the Main Reasons an Espresso Machine is so Expensive?
I see several key areas that cause an espresso machine to be so expensive. I’ve already mentioned the materials, so let me start there.
Generally, a manufacturer of espresso machines will only use high-quality materials in the manufacturing of their machines.
The materials used to construct an espresso machine play a key role in allowing you to create the perfect coffee. Also, they are intended to extend the lifespan of the machine, allowing you to produce a significant number of espressos without the machine basically falling apart.
Longevity is key, so a manufacturer will not use lower-grade materials that will start to effectively crumble and fall apart in no time at all.
Think of an espresso machine in a busy coffee shop. Those machines are required to produce a crazy number of espressos daily. Hence, you need the machine to be crafted from materials that can withstand all that work.
The only way you can manage to produce all this coffee is by using better materials, and that will always push up the price automatically.
Another critical component that stands out for me is the ability to create the right amount of pressure in an espresso machine. You need this to get a tasty espresso at the end, as pressure plays an important role.
Yet, it’s about much more than simply getting up to the required pressure. It also involves the machine being capable of delivering constant pressure to then give you the best coffee.
Cheaper machines that are more poorly made will struggle to get up to the 9 bars of pressure that are required, and they will certainly find it difficult to maintain that pressure.
But it’s about more than that with pressure and your espresso machine.
When I’ve looked at different espresso machines that come in at various price points, one of the things I’ve noticed is the way you can control the pressure.
The cheaper models don’t really offer this as an option. You kind of have to hope the machine gets up to the correct pressure, and there’s little to no way of knowing what’s going on.
More expensive espresso machines give you the opportunity to not only set the pressure but also monitor it more closely. That makes a massive difference to the coffee you can then experience.
But do you know the main difference having the correct pressure will make to your espresso? The crema and the complete flavor profile.
Your espresso will certainly taste creamier as a result of the correct pressure. The right pressure will pull all the flavor from the ground coffee beans, and you will get the full-on aroma.
One thing I do notice is how the number of features in an espresso machine does tend to increase in line with the price. This is no coincidence.
Take espresso machines more to the top end of the market as an example.
You will notice how those machines often come with a whole host of dials and also the ability to produce more than one shot of espresso at a time.
Those machines allow you to control every single aspect when it comes to making espresso, and it does increase the chances of you producing a quality shot each and every time.
You get cleaning programs and digital displays that allow you to see what is going on at all times.
More advanced machines also help you to diagnose any issues, allowing for faster repairs. At the same time, you may also find espresso machines with timers included.
Every single additional feature will result in a price increase.
Obviously, the brand name will also push the price up higher, but that’s no different than you get with any other product out there. So, while it does play a role, I don’t see it as a significant contributing factor.
How Much Will An Espresso Machine Cost?
So far, I’ve explained why an espresso machine will cost so much money, but what sort of costs are we talking about here?
Well, it does vary, so don’t worry too much if your budget is low, as there will still be an espresso machine out there. However, clearly, the budget versions will be lacking in some of the features, so it’s all a balance of trying to get the best machine for the money available.
But let me take a simple espresso machine as an example.
A basic model that will still produce a decent cup of coffee can vary anywhere from $150 to just over $500.
Obviously, the machine closer to the upper end of that price range will tend to be better than at the lower end. However, if that $150 price is your budget, don’t stress, as it will still produce espresso.
What About Quality Espresso Machines?
Yet, if you want to go ahead and get your hands on a quality espresso machine, then you need to be spending over $1000. Actually, the machine could cost you over $2000 in some instances.
The difference between an espresso machine at $500 and one at $1500 goes far beyond the price tag. Instead, the quality of the coffee it produces is remarkable, and you would notice a difference in what it can produce.
A more expensive espresso machine has that consistency factor that can be missing in the more budget-friendly machine.
Also, that consistency results in smoother coffee with maximum flavor and aroma having been pulled from the beans. It’s almost as if the machine has the ability to produce good coffee even when the beans are perhaps not the best.
An espresso machine at the lower end of the price range will often lead to you missing out on some aspects of the beans, and that’s a shame.
What About Repairs?
Espresso machines must be maintained to allow you to continue pulling that perfect espresso shot. So, there are some ongoing costs associated with an espresso machine, and that ongoing cost will also vary depending on the cost of the original machine.
But it’s not always as apparent as you think when it comes to the costs.
What I’ve found is the more expensive machines are hardier and more reliable than those that are less expensive. The quality of the parts is better, and they are capable of pulling more shots without breaking.
Those machines that are less expensive have to cut corners somewhere in order to get the price low, and the only area they can do that is with the quality of the different components.
What that means is your less expensive espresso machine can end up costing you a fortune in repairs over time while the more expensive machine keeps on producing espresso.
That is certainly something I would spend some time thinking about when deciding which machine I would purchase.
Is it Worth Buying an Espresso Machine?
Considering there are so many other ways to make coffee at home, is it worth the expense of buying an espresso machine?
Well, it depends on how much you love coffee.
For many coffee lovers, the espresso lies at the heart of everything, so it would certainly be worth the investment.
But it doesn’t end there.
If you have a willingness to care for the machine correctly, which means cleaning it and just ensuring it runs smoothly, then a good espresso machine will be well worth the money. It should last for years and will produce a crazy number of espressos without missing a beat.
My Recap on Why an Espresso Machine Costs So Much Money
An espresso machine is certainly not the cheapest way to make coffee at home. I’ve also covered several key points regarding an espresso machine and the cost, and here are the main things that stand out for me.
- The materials used in the construction of an espresso machine push the price up
- They need to produce a constant pressure to make a decent espresso
- More expensive machines have more additional features
- Some have cleaning programs to help maintain the machine
- Others have timers to help keep track of everything
- Some allow you to set temperatures and pressure for better coffee
- They are often made by hand to get the perfect balance in the machine
- It’s the consistency in the machine that makes a real difference
If you want a wonderful espresso, then owning an espresso machine is the only way you can achieve this. However, the best coffee does come from the more expensive machines.
Materials and the need to produce the correct pressure and temperature to get an espresso are the main reasons why an espresso machine costs so much.
Honestly, I get it. I understand why the price is so high, and I would certainly try to push my budget as far as I could to get my hands on the best machine possible.
But don’t forget the possibility of getting your hands on a used espresso machine. It can still lead to you owning a quality item, but take care of it to ensure you aren’t stung and end up owning a dud.