We get asked this question all of the time and it’s why it’s great to have a chat before you purchase your kit. The thing about real espresso equipment over department store appliances is that you can pretty much guarantee that the coffee will be way, way superior. Another bonus is that if you care for your gear, it is not going to ultimately end up in landfill. You can guarantee that the appliances will end their life in a hard-rubbish collection.
I have $1k to spend
With this budget, we’d be suggesting that you hold off on the machine and just purchase a good grinder. You will need $500 or more to do that and our grinder buyers guide will help explain what you get for what you pay.
The grinder is not an item you want to economise on as if you load your machine with poorly ground coffee, you can guarantee a poor cup. We are yet to see an appliance grinder which is capable of delivering high quality espresso, so our advice is “Spend the money!”. A great grinder will allow for excellent filter coffee and coffee via other methods while you save for your espresso machine.
I have $2k to spend
With $2k, you have opened the door to a small entry level machine which will produce excellent coffee in the right hands. Examples such as the Rancilio Silvia and La Pavoni Pro will do the job well for an individual or couple. A gathering over 4 people will push this type of machine and the other aspect is that this group of machines can’t think for themselves. They have no brain! These are not designed for web-timers timers and those who are forgetful! Have a look over our single boiler machines and entry level lever pull machines.
I have $3-5k to spend
You have now entered the full cafe at home section of coffee at home. You will now have simultaneous shots and steam. At this level, most e-61 heat exchanger (HX) machines are within budget. You will be able to easily cater for large home gatherings if you choose to. At this level, you may well have multiple people using your machine and grinder. More expensive machines will deliver the versatility of a plumb-in option if your kitchen is of suitable design. These machines do still have a tank. If you are planning a renovation, you may wish to consider this option. Shots will be the same as the lass expensive e-61 machines though. You’re only purchasing convenience.
We’d be suggesting that you allocate around $1k of your budget to your grinder purchase as this will allow for a timer grinder which will deliver the same grind time on each use. This will allow for accurate dosing and consistency of shots.
I have $5-7k to spend
We’re now entering advanced territory. Dual boiler machines will provide shot temperature control for those who like lighter roasted coffee. This coffee requires higher extraction temperatures and dual boilers will allow you to customise your shot temperature without compromising on steam performance. Entry lever pressure profiling machines also fall into this package price bracket.
Where to from here?
Our machine buyers guide and grinder buyers guide will help you to begin your research. Thereafter, we’d recommend a chat. No manufacturer as made the perfect machine or grinder. Our role is to provide you with the pros and cons of the equipment we have on offer to assist you in choosing the best possible match for you.