Espresso is a type of coffee, made by passing pressurised boiling water through coffee beans which are roasted and freshly ground. The defining feature of an espresso coffee is that it has no frothy layer on the top and is bitter as compared to other coffee types given its thick concentration. The word espresso has different meanings in different languages, but the core ideas are “squeezing” and “fast delivery” which are the very nature of an espresso coffee. The roasted coffee powder is squeezed into a compact form, and boiling water is forcefully passed through it, giving the beverage its thick texture. Also, this process of obtaining the coffee is quite quick and worked on the push of a button. The first espresso machine was licenced and copyrighted in 1884 by an Italian inventor, Angelo Moriondo of Turin. For the next few decades, the espresso machine was improvised by other designers. In 1933, a Hungarian bookkeeper by the name of Francesco Illy came up with the first automatic coffee machine which worked on stream rather than pressurised water. As of now, espresso machines are highly complex and can be customised as be the user’s preference of size, space and type. Let us have a look at a few espresso machines which are available under 500 dollars.
Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine
The Gaggia is a trusted brand in the European countries, given its long-standing history and easy to operate control system. As compared to its older version, Gaggia 14101 Classic, it has a much better built-in quality and works smoothly with almost no noise. Even it is an entry-level espresso machine, its works phenomenally and is well suited for professional usage as the portafilter is available with a 3-way solenoid valve. The extended steam wand allows the user to be creative with the latte and the commercial-grade design supports the steam knob. Although this version of the Gaggia Pro losses a bit on its classic defining look but has been technically updated to serve the commercial demands, it comes with a water tank of 2.13 litres and a high-quality flow selector.
Breville BES840XL/A Infuser Espresso Machine
Breville launched the Infuser after the learning from the past version, Breville 830 and is one hulk of a machine with its durable exterior and a 1600-watt Thermocoil heating system. It is a heavy-duty, commercial usage-oriented machine with a large cup clearance area, allowing people to pour directly in larger cups or portable coffee mugs. This machine provides excellent espresso by wetting the ground coffee beforehand to enhance optimum extraction, and it has a signal light which indicates if the device needs to be taken for servicing. It works on a 15-bar pressure pump which allows you to choose from the single or double shot options and uses a PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) system to stabilise the internal temperature of the machinery.
Delonghi DEDICA 15-Bar Pump Espresso Maker
The Delonghi DEDICA is the most budget-friendly espresso machine on this list if you want to have an instant espresso at home or for a barista who finds it tough to use coffee machines, this is the best product available in the market. The whole body is made up of stainless steel and is relatively smaller in size, going up to six inches wide. The biggest takeaway is its simple user interface and the 15-Bar pump for enhanced pressurisation, which is a remarkable function given its small size. The machine is sleek with the stainless-steel body, and its chrome finishing gives it a classy outlook. It also has a manual frother and extended drip tray which gives way to more giant travel mugs. It is a great machine to have as it uses a minimal amount of counter space, you can choose from the 3 in 1 portafilter and its fast working system which will give you a hot cup of espresso within 40 seconds. If the price is the most significant contributing factor in your machine selection, the Delonghi DEDICA works wonders in this segment.
Nespresso Lattissima Touch Espresso Maker
The Nespresso Lattissima Touch is another one of Delonghi’s wonder machines and sits precisely on the 500-dollar mark. When put alongside other espresso machines, the Nespresso Lattissima only weighs 4.5 pounds given its robust plastic body. It is easy to carry, and all parts can be separated and cleaned in a dishwasher. It has a built-in milk frother which provides the opportunity of making not only espresso but lattes and cappuccinos too. It’s a box-like design with an instruction display screen, a power button and an option to make six different drinks with the push of a button. Unlike its sister machine, the Nespresso Lasttissima uses 19 bars to create pressure and produce a cup of coffee which is ready in less than 40 seconds. It has a sliding tray which allows it to fit larger cups and travel mugs. The machine has two different completely detachable containers, one for milk and the other for water. The lid on the vessel also works as a solid handle to reposition the machine to a new spot on the counter, and it is easy to set up as it starts working in less than 10 minutes.
In a Nutshell
There are hundreds of espresso machines to choose from in the 500-dollar bracket, and that’s what makes it tough. You can also go for a second-hand machine and get it customised according to your use. Before buying anything, you must conduct thorough research on the different devices in the market which are within your budget and then select what you feel is right for you.