Is an espresso machine worth it? The answer is simple: It highly depends on your personal preferences like budget, passion for espresso, available time, and creativity.
Discovering if an espresso machine is worth it for you is something that you will have to discover along the way. Fortunately for you, this article will help you with that.
The Coffee Arsenal is a reliable online source of coffee gear information. We create astonishing guides for anyone interested in buying coffee gear.
In this article, you will find out if an espresso machine is worth the money and time. We will break down the costs when buying an espresso machine, and we will explain what you need to maintain one of these machines properly.
In this section, we will analyze different factors that compose the total cost of buying an espresso machine.
Is an espresso machine worth it for you? Keep reading to discover it from a financial perspective.
You can buy a new espresso machine or a used espresso machine.
New espresso machines are perfect for those who want to ensure an excellent quality since the machine arrives. These machines have a retail price tag and come in a wide variety of prices.
I am going to divide these machines into three types: Low-End, Mid-End, and High-End. You should buy an espresso machine that is adjusted to your personal “category”.
Are you an individual who wants a simple espresso machine or do you need a commercial espresso machine for your coffee shop?
Low-End Espresso Machines
Low-End espresso machines are for those who don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a machine to start making a good espresso shot at home.
These machines produce a good espresso if you use them well but don’t expect the same durability and consistency that you would get with a Mid/High-End machine from them.
You can find these machines for less than $200.
Examples of Low-End espresso machines:
- De’Longhi Stilosa Manual Espresso Machine
- De’Longhi EC155 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
- Nespresso BEC220BLK Essenza Mini Espresso Machine
Mid-End Espresso Machines
By using a Mid-End espresso machine you will get a better quality, durability, and reliability than with Low-End espresso machines.
They are excellent for people who want an espresso machine that will last decades and that will produce consistent espresso shots every morning (if used properly). In short words, they are perfect for Home Baristas.
They often come with several accessories to improve your espresso-making skills and they have better steam wands that allow you to create microform and latte art.
You usually can find these machines from $400 to $700.
Examples of Mid-End espresso machines:
- Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine
- The Barista Express Espresso Machine by Breville
- Nespresso Lattissima Touch
High-End Espresso Machines
High-End espresso machines are designed for commercial use. They are perfect for coffee shops with high demand.
They come with everything you would need to make a perfect shot of espresso. If used properly, you can create drinks that will astonish your customers.
They are of such built quality that they will last for decades before breaking apart.
These machines cost between $1,000 to +$30,000.
Examples of High-End espresso machines:
By using a used espresso machine you could get great benefits, but you have to pay attention to several things so you don’t get scammed.
As you are buying a previously used machine, you won’t have to pay the retail price. They might have several minor details on the surface but those details won’t affect the functionality of the machine.
However, you have to be careful to examine the machine before buying it, maybe it has some non-functional essential parts that should be replaced.
Yes, buying a too old machine could be dangerous. It might be working at this moment but it is so old that in the long run, you will have to pay thousands of dollars on repairs and maintenance.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you need to make sure that you purchase a used espresso machine from a trusted brand. Nowadays it is very easy to get scammed if you don’t pay attention. Make sure you do your research.
I recommend you to follow the 50-30-10 rule in order to find a good deal when buying a used machine.
Nearly new products with little time of use should be sold for 50% of their original price.
Products with little time of use should be sold at 25 – 30% of their original price.
Products with a lot of use should be sold at 10% of their original price.
Disclaimer: This is just a recommended estimation.
Installation, Maintenance, And Repairs
An espresso machine requires initial installation, maintenance, and repairs.
Pricing these services is a bit tricky because these prices can vary a lot depending on your zone. Take the prices here as an estimation.
This mostly applies to plumbed espresso machines or huge espresso machines that require expert installation.
The installation cost + shipping ranges between $500 to $1,000.
Periodically you will have to give maintenance to your machine, you can pay a company for doing it or you can just do it yourself.
If we are talking about daily maintenance, it is really easy to do and you won’t need to hire an expert to do this.
You can buy all you need to give maintenance to your machine for less than $100.
- Backflush disk $8
- Backflushing detergent $15
- Milk frother cleaner $6
- Grinder cleaner $9
- Filter replacement for the water softening system $56
The use of these products will vary depending on the maintenance time you’re giving to your machine. For example, you could change your water filter every 6 months or so.
Now, if we are talking about complex maintenance, such as a full descaling, several companies offer their maintenance services for an hourly rate.
It is really difficult to estimate a price since it can vary a lot depending on the place where you are. This rate could be anywhere from $50 – $75.
But what kind of maintenance do you have to give your machine? An espresso machine requires maintenance:
- Every 2 – 4 weeks
- Every 6 months
- Once a year
Of course, daily maintenance is something that could be done quickly, but yearly maintenance is something that probably you would need help from an expert to do properly.
Repair costs can vary greatly depending on the part that needs to be fixed, the brand and model of the machine, also, the area in which you live can affect this price dramatically.
An estimated price range could be between $150 and +$350.
If your machine is severely damaged, this price will go up, and you have to keep in mind the shipping costs because sometimes the technicians will have to take your machine to their place to repair it.
This is a list of additional items needed to use an espresso machine and their average prices in the current market.
- Burr grinder (unless it’s built-in) $10 to +$200
- Tamper $5 to +$30
- Scale (optional) $10 to +$50
- Milk thermometer $10 to +$20
- Milk steamer (optional) $30 to +$60
As you can see, there are several items that are “optional”, this is because they are not absolutely necessary to make an espresso shot but they help a lot to increase the quality of your drinks.
This is the average price of a pack of pre-ground coffee, whole beans, and coffee pods per 12 ounces.
- Pre-ground coffee: $6 – 18 / 12 ounces.
- Whole beans: $6 – 18 / 12 ounces
- Coffee pods: $24.7 / 12 ounces
Pre-ground coffee and whole beans usually cost the same, however, to produce a wonderful espresso the best option is always to grind your own beans.
Coffee pods are the most expensive way to make coffee. If you are trying to save some money they are not the best option. However, they are pretty convenient.
If you are planning to save some money, having a basic espresso machine is a great idea since you can produce coffee at less cost than buying it in a coffee shop.
2. Learning Curve
The learning curve in espresso machines varies a lot depending on the machine that you are using.
For example, if you are using a super-automatic espresso machine you need to press a button. There is 0 learning curve there.
However, if we are talking about a lever espresso machine, things are pretty different. With one of these machines, you will have to pay extreme attention to the coffee brewing process in order to get a “decent” espresso shot.
Water temperature, coffee grind size, roast, and dose. There are a lot of factors that you have to keep in mind if you want to use an espresso machine.
That’s why some people do not like these machines because they are not interested in learning these fundamental things.
In the video below, Marc from Whole Latte Love will give you a detailed explanation about how to use a semi-automatic espresso machine for beginners.
In this section, we will talk about one of the most important factors to keep in mind when buying an espresso machine. Time savings.
Time is crucial for a lot of people. For example, if you have to make a stop in a coffee shop for 30 minutes every morning just to get an espresso shot and you are always late to work, an espresso machine could be worth it for you.
Or maybe you are working from home and you really like espresso coffee. Going several times a day to a coffee shop doesn’t sound like a very productive idea.
An espresso machine could be a great time-saver tool if used properly. However there is a major downside that a lot of people don’t say, and it is cleaning.
Cleaning and maintaining your espresso machine every morning can be very frustrating and time-consuming.
If you want your espresso machine to last a lot of time, you have to purge the group head, purge the steam wand, and perform water backflushing every single day.
Don’t get me wrong, giving daily maintenance to your machine shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. But it could be frustrating for a lot of people.
Cleaning your espresso machine is time-consuming, and so is going to the coffee shop. But which is less time-consuming?
Well, like many other factors, this depends largely on your personal situation. Maybe you have your favorite coffee shop 5 minutes from your house, or maybe it’s 30 minutes away.
Having the possibility of customizing almost everything in your espresso-making process is a huge advantage that an espresso machine allows you.
If you don’t like the taste of your espresso shots you just need to change the parameters. Water temperature, coffee dose, coffee grind size, coffee roast, even the espresso machine itself can change the way your espresso shot tastes.
In a coffee shop, you won’t get this kind of customization because you will be chained to the barista’s style. In that case, you have two options. Either you ask the barista to change the brewing process or you change of coffee shop.
Unfortunately, for many people, neither of these options is possible for various reasons.
So, if you are passionate about experimenting with the coffee brewing process of an espresso shot, an espresso machine is for you.
In the video below, Sheh from Rogue Wave Coffee Co will take you through how to break down the espresso shot brewing process into several stages that you can completely customize.
Should You Buy An Espresso Machine?
In this section, you will find several statements that will help you decide if an espresso machine is right for you or not.
You Should Buy an Espresso Machine If:
- Your favorite coffee drink is the espresso
- You like to customize your espresso shots every day
- You are willing to spend some time learning how to use your espresso machine
- You don’t have time to go to the coffee shop every single day
- You don’t mind giving your espresso machine daily maintenance
You Should NOT Buy an Espresso Machine If:
- You don’t mind going to the coffee shop every day
- You don’t want to spend time learning about the espresso brewing process
- You don’t like espresso (Crazy!)
- You don’t want to take care of an espresso machine
- You don’t want to spend some money on espresso machine accessories (Grinder, tamper, etc)
Final Words: Is An Espresso Machine Worth It?
I hope that the information contained in this guide has helped you discover the wonderful world of espresso machines.
So, is an espresso machine worth it?
The decision to buy an espresso machine is a decision that should be made carefully.
Do you have the necessary budget? Are you passionate about the espresso world? Do you want to learn how to make a good espresso? Are you willing to maintain your machine?
These are all questions that, once answered, will give you the final “push” to decide whether or not to buy an espresso machine.
F.A.Q – Is An Espresso Machine Worth It?
Are Espresso Machines Worth the Money?
An espresso machine is worth the money if you are going to get the most out of it. They are machines for people who are passionate about the art of making good espresso and who are willing to do what it takes to get it.
What Is the Point of an Espresso Machine?
An espresso machine is the only way to produce an espresso shot because of the pressure bars they offer in the brewing process. Also, they give you the possibility to personalize your espresso shots to your liking.
How Much Should I Spend on an Espresso Machine?
You should spend on an espresso machine that you will use completely, don’t waste money on espresso machines with features that you will never use.
Low-End espresso machines cost less than $200, Mid-End espresso machines cost from $400 to $700, and High-End espresso machines cost from $1,000 to +$30,000.
Which Is Better Coffee Maker or Espresso Machine?
You decide which is better for you. If you want a simple, straightforward way to make your coffee without too much effort and patience you should go for a coffee maker.
However, if you like to personalize your espresso shots in the mornings and you are passionate about the art of brewing an espresso shot you should go for an espresso machine.