Some people see espresso machines a vanity. Perhaps it is but you cannot negate the happy thoughts it can bring every time you sip a cup of that frothy brew. And the truth is, espresso machines these days comes in all forms, from simple ones to the most sophisticated, from priciest to the cheapest. But, mind you, cheaper price does not connote a cheap performance. If you’re in the hunt for best espresso machine under 200, here are some of the great choices.
Mr. Coffee ECM160
For an average espresso machine, Mr. Coffee ECM160 is actually feature-packed. A first notable feature is the glass decanter. You can seldom see this in an entry level machine. The water reservoir is not really feature-packed by itself, it cannot even be removed from the machine for easy refilling and cleaning if you need it. Thankfully, the glass decanter has water level markings which save you from guessing. It has very minimal settings that you can fiddle with but for the same reason it makes operating the machine easier to deal with. It comes with a removable Drip Catcher and washable drip tray to collect coffee drips keeping your brew space neat and clean all the time. Its black and stainless steel finish is quite helpful for the machine’s long term durability as well.
This machine has a very minimal footprint. Measuring 8 x 6.5 x 10.5 inches, it does not take up much space which is a good thing for small kitchen. Some folks may think that with the size of this machine, it may not deliver the goods for espresso. But the thing is, it actually works. But, as it uses steam instead of pump which generates around 4-6 bars, the resulting espresso will not give high quality cream you are looking for. Water reservoir is not removable and does not come with water level marking. But it comes with glass decanter with water level markings. You can use this to know the amount of water you’ve poured in. It can brew 20 ounce of espresso directly into its glass decanter, all in one go. The same glass decanter features a stay-cool handle and drip-free spout for better handling. Also, its frothing wand is very much useful. It can easily froth your milk with light consistency to boot.
This is where this machine really shines. Yes, you can have the best super automatics out there to cover all your needs. Yes, it can make your espresso better. And yes, it can clean by itself and can even warm your cups. But that will cost you at least 10 times the price of Mr. Coffee ECM160. With prices below 40, this machine is quite perfect for your needs. This is actually well suited for first timers that simply wanted to know if making their own espresso at home is worth the effort and money.
Well, as mentioned above, this machine boasts of it’s very reasonably, low price. But be mindful that it does not skip some very important details that you wanted for an espresso machine, take for instance having a frothing arm. You can barely see a machine within this price range that comes with a frothing arm. Then there’s it size. It’s small enough to fit virtually anywhere you like. It does not take up too much space and keeping it will not be a huge burden. Try to compare it with some super automatics. Let’s not forget about its simple operation. You can tamp your coffee easily and start the brewing process with ease. You don’t have to deal with some confusing settings and buttons. It comes with 1 control dial with 3 settings: off, brew and steam. Some people actually prefer that for simplicity’s sake. It’s effective and efficient as well.
Every machine has some quirks, even how perfect it may appear. For this machine, one thing is the resulting crema. Most people really love that crema on top. But, this steam machine is not as effective as pump-driven ones. The reason for this is the pressure it can come up with. Steam power can achieve around 4 bars, 6 bars on some machines, while pump driven ones can go as high as 17 bars. Remember that the higher the pressure, the better it is in extracting the flavors, the aroma and, of course, the crema. Coming up with lots of crema is not possible in this machine. But at least, the flavor and aroma is there. Then there’s that frothing wand. It’s short and fixed thus lessens the level of usability. Also, its cap for the water tank and main control dial appears to be short on its ergonomics and design. These things really needs some getting-used-to before you can actually appreciate the machine.
But, overall, Mr. Coffee ECM160 is perfect in some aspect. Yes, it does not have the best frothing wand. It does not produce the right amount of crema. But the thing is, it is the right machine if you are willing to accept some things it’s lacking. With its price range and good level of cappuccino and latte creations, it sure is a good investment worthy of that precious space over your kitchen. If you think that the Mr. Coffee ECM160 doesn’t meet your standards, then we suggest the following espresso machines.
Mr. Coffee ECMP50
This is another good example from Mr. Coffee for a budget friendly option. But the features that came with it isn’t cheap as it has powerful, 15-Bar pump system to extract a dark, rich espresso brew each time. It comes with a frothing arm which makes creamy froth so you can enjoy your cappuccinos and lattes. It also has dual-shot brewing system to make 2 single shots in one go. The Thermal Block Heating System it features helps provides barista-speed brewing and even heating. For added convenience, this machine has removable Drip Catcher which can be washed over and over, a neat addition for your brewing experience. With its 40-ounce water, removable reservoir, you can easily fill it to the brim. Top that with a one-touch Brew and Steam Controls plus Ready Indicator Lights, it will make your brewing less worrisome.
VonShef Espresso and Cappuccino Coffee Maker
With its 1050W and 15 bar capacity, this machine is powerful enough to make a delicious cup of espresso with rich taste through either coffee grounds or pods. It has a detachable transparent water tank so you can be easily in control over the amount of water for your brew. It as well has warming plate to keep your cup warm while you’re waiting for your perky sip. Its high pressure frothing function will not only prepare your espresso but can as well do other hot drinks such like your hot chocolate or cappuccino. And when you’re done with it, its detachable drip tray will make cleaning a lot easier. And for your safety, this machine has overheat and over pressure protection.
This machine sports a 15-bar, professional pressure which assures that only good quality brew comes out each time. It has a huge 37 ounce, removable water tank for easy access. It as well has second tier drip tray so it can accommodate larger cups and be convenient. Its self-priming mechanism ensures minimal start up preparation so you can a much simpler operation. Its boiler is made from stainless steel so you are rest assured of longer service life. Top that with manual frother and you can be your own barista anytime.
Mr. Coffee BVMC-ECMP1000
This machine has a lot to offer. It starts with its One Touch Control Panel which has single or double shot options for your espresso, cappuccino and latte. The convenience does not end there as it comes with automatic milk frother which makes up for an effortlessly turns milk into a creamy cappuccinos and lattes. Its removable milk reservoir is easy to fill, clean and stores with. It also has adjustable cup tray which can be set at the right height for your demitasse cups or for those gigantic travel mugs. It comes with a removable water reservoir so you can easily fill it at the sink. The same container can hold enough amount of water so you can continuously brew. It also has drip catcher to ensure neat looking station. The package also includes Single Shot Filter, Double Shot Filter, Measuring Scoop, Tamper and some Coffee Recipes. Check out our review of mr. coffee bvmc-ecmp100.
DeLonghi BAR32 Retro
Next on our list of best espresso machine under 200 is another one from De’Longhi. To start with, the espresso preparation can be done very simple and fast. This machine will work with either convenient pods or ground coffee as it comes with patented dual function filter holder. You can easily prepare your latte or cappuccino with it as this machine has swivel jet frother for that perfect brew every morning. It features self-priming operation so you have one lesser annoyance to deal with. It comes with two separate thermostats to allow for water and steam pressure to be controlled separately which is makes up for that perfect temperature every time. The high-quality stainless steel boiler and 15 bar pump pressure that comes with will ensure you can have espresso for years.
The Keurig Rivo Cappuccino and Latte System
Its starts with its energy-saving function through its automatic On/Off Function, it’s a good safety feature too. With 15 bars of pressure, this machine can brew your espresso in under 1 minute. For better convenience, the design allows you to simultaneously brew espresso on one side and froth milk on the other side thus you can save time and enjoy more cups. It sports three frothing modes which are for Cappuccino, Latte, and Cold Froth. Overall, it’s a good kitchen masterpiece.
This espresso machine comes with advanced boiler which is responsible of maintaining a reservoir of hot water, through its 40-oz removable water tank, at the perfect temperature for faster and consistent results shot after shot. With its state-of-the-art boiler, the machine increases the brewing pressure and temperature stability. It also sports a 15-bar pump which provides optimal pressure for that rich thin layer of foam called crema, the mark of your perfectly brewed espresso. Topped by high pressure frothing, it then results to a thick, rich cappuccinos and latte favorites.
This delonghi espresso machine one comes with convenient dual function filter holder so you can either use pods or ground coffee. It can easily prepare your latte and cappuccino with its swivel jet frother. It has self-priming mechanism thus eliminating start-up preparation. It features two separate thermostats which allow for water and steam pressure to be controlled separately enabling you to brew your espresso with perfect temperature. It is built from high-quality stainless steel boiler with 15 bar pump pressure so you can be assured it will serve you for years. Check out our Delonghi Ec155 Review.