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Is An Espresso Machine Worth It? (Pros And Cons)

As a coffee lover, I spend a lot of time at Starbucks. To try to combat that, I thought I’d invest in an espresso machine. 

If you, like me, have been hunting down an espresso machine, you’ve probably noticed they’re pricey. 

So, is an espresso machine worth it?

As someone who’s purchased an espresso machine myself, I’ve put together a complete guide on the subject.

Here’s what you need to know!

Are Espresso Machines Worth It?

In my opinion, espresso machines are worth the high price

But, let me break that down for you a bit more. 

You see, espresso machines provide you with a couple of key benefits: 

  • You get high-quality coffee at home
  • They’re more convenient than going to the coffee shop all the time
  • You can improve your brewing skills

Let’s talk about each one of these perks in a bit more detail.

You Get Better-Tasting Coffee 

hot espresso

One of the biggest benefits of owning an espresso maker is that you get great-tasting coffee.

Espresso extraction happens by forcing hot water through the ground coffee at high pressures. This helps release the coffee oils in your beans. 

These oils form an emulsion and are responsible, together with some acids, for the body of the coffee. 

The body is a sticky, silky mouthfeel often associated with powerful flavors. 

As a result, with an espresso machine, you get really flavorful, silky coffee with a full body. 

IN A NUTSHELL
With an espresso machine, you get high-quality brews, all made from the comfort of your home!

They’re Super Convenient 

I’m probably not the only one who gets lazy about leaving the house. 

With espresso makers, you can make coffee quickly and easily at home. That saves you a trip to your local coffee shop every time you want a latte!

On top of that, if you purchase a super-automatic espresso machine, the device will do all the work for you. 

It’ll take care of grinding, brewing, and milk frothing without any intervention on your part. 

Talk about convenience!

You Improving Brewing Skills 

man using espresso machine

Espresso machines take a certain amount of skill. 

After all, you’re not going to start making latte art on your first try!

What’s cool about espresso machines is that once you have one, you can start working on your brewing skills. 

After a while, you can really start to improve the quality and presentation of your espresso drink. If you’re a big coffee lover, this is a huge benefit of buying an espresso machine. 

The Drawbacks of Buying an Espresso Machine

Unfortunately, there are also some potential negative factors to take into account. A few of them include: 

  • The cost of the machine
  • Additional expenses
  • A steep learning curve

Let’s take a closer look at these drawbacks. 

Cost 

A good quality espresso machine can start at around $500 and rise in price depending on the range. 

As a result, high-end espresso machines can be prohibitively expensive

If you want to get a cheap espresso machine, you’re most likely sacrificing all the quality. 

For many people, just that price point alone makes buying an espresso machine unaffordable.

You’ll need to think carefully about whether that’s the case for you before investing.

Additional Expenses 

electric coffee grinder

Another downside of buying an espresso machine is that you have to worry about paying for more than just the machine itself. 

For instance, if you use coffee beans, you will need a coffee grinder. 

Some machines come with grinders as part of the kit. While that means you won’t have to buy one separately, it also means the machine will be a bit pricier. 

Another thing that your machine may or may not include is a milk frother. 

If you enjoy drinking milk-based brews, you’ll need to purchase one if it’s not already included in your machine. 

Once again, this can add to the overall cost of investing in an espresso machine. 

Learning Curve 

At first, using an espresso machine can be more difficult than, let’s say, a drip coffee maker. All the buttons and features can be overwhelming for a beginner.

The good news is that all espresso machines come with instruction manuals. Reading through these, you can generally learn how to use the machine pretty quickly.

Plus, YouTube has plenty of video tutorials for you to watch. This can also help combat the semi-steep learning curve that comes with buying an espresso machine.

However, making an espresso is more than just learning how to use a machine. Especially with some traditional espresso machines (semi-automatic or manual espresso machines).

These require manual grinding and tamping of coffee and pulling the shot. So, before you manage to pull a good espresso shot, there will be some trial and error.

Just be patient, and you will get there!

NOTE
There are espresso machines suitable for beginners. If you want to start with something that’s easier to use, check out those. An automatic machine will, of course, be easier to use if you are a beginner.

What to Consider Before Buying an Espresso Machine

Are you ready to race out and buy an espresso coffee machine?

Not so fast!

There are still a few things you need to consider before you do. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind before you purchase. 

Budget 

Knowing the budget, you have to work with is one of the most important parts of buying an espresso machine. 

The higher your budget is, the fancier machine you can buy. These machines are also made of high-quality materials and tend to be quite durable. 

On the other hand, if you need a budget espresso machine, you might have to sacrifice some fancy features. 

Knowing your price range will help you pick a machine that makes sense and works well for your needs.

Durability 

Durability is another thing to think about. After all, you don’t want to buy a machine only to have it break a few months later!

Before buying a device, do some research into the machine’s average lifespan. 

The longer the device lasts, the better your investment will be used. 

PRO TIP
Machines partly or entirely made of steel are more sturdy than plastic ones. However, they are also more expensive.

Ease of Cleaning 

woman cleaning espresso machine

When choosing an espresso machine, it’s important to know how easy cleaning can be. Cleanliness is essential to get quality coffee with good taste. 

Proper cleaning and descaling help remove mineral deposits in your machine. Mineral deposits lead to hard water and less-than-stellar tasting brews. 

Cleaning is also important because it helps extend the life of the machine

So, you’re going to need to regularly clean your machine. 

IN A NUTSHELL
Look for a device that’s easy to descale and keep tidy. Otherwise, making espresso will quickly become more of a chore than a hobby. 

Counter Space

As much as I’d love to buy a Starbucks espresso machine, my kitchen says otherwise. With a small kitchen like mine, I’d have nowhere to put the thing!

Many people are in the same boat. 

Before purchasing a machine, take note of how much counter space you have in your home. This can help you figure out what type and size machine you’ll be able to purchase.

TIP
A lot of machines come with a huge water tank. If you want to skip that, you can get a plumbed machine. But you should know, these are quite pricey.

Drink Preferences

different coffee drinks

Some people are espresso purists. Others like drinking beverages with all the trappings. 

When choosing an espresso machine, think about what your drink preferences are

If you only want straight shots, you can get a machine that doesn’t include a milk frother.

On the other hand, if you like cappuccinos and lattes, you’ll need one with a steam wand or other kind of milk frother.

Type of Espresso Machine

When most of us hear ‘espresso machine,’ we immediately think of industrial devices. 

However, there are actually a lot of different kinds of espresso machines. 

A few of the most common include: 

The machine you purchase will depend on your budget, skill level, and counter space in your home. 

Conclusion 

So, is an espresso machine worth it?

As long as you drink a lot of espresso-based brews, it probably is.

Sure, there’s a bit of a learning curve. But, with time and practice, you can eventually master the art of making espresso.

Better yet, it can save you a lot of money on coffee shop drinks in the long run!

Ready to take the plunge and buy an espresso machine? Check out our guide to different types of espresso machines to help you choose the right one!

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Jessica Ruth Lee Fleming
Jessica is a seasoned caffeine-addict who spent 3 years behind the bar. Her early coffee days took her from the commercial Starbucks scene in urban DC all the way to helping launch a craft coffee shop in California. Today she prefers sharing her years of coffee capers through media, although you’ll find she does it with a trusty cup of coffee by her side.