Everyone needs a fine brew to get the morning started, and for some that’s a fine tasting espresso. Often we’ll nab one from the local Starbucks or other bastion of baristas, but for some, getting onboard the caffeine train is done preferably from home.
You know what we’re getting at. If you made it this far, then you already know we’ve covered a series of espresso machines through various price points. The difference is we’re getting into “enthusiast” territory, the kind of price range where true appreciation for an espresso drink come into play. While the stuff we mentioned before is often thought of as entry level, these next choices start kicking it up a notch. More options, higher quality, longer lifespans, all the goodness you’d expect just like that swirl of tasty crema on your favorite morning brew. So let’s find out what’s the best espresso machine under $300!
Table : Espresso Machines Under $300
- table is coming soon
4. Francis Francis X7.1
The next pick slides into your dream kitchen with an eye catching design and unique Italian aesthetic for those who like some flavor with their machine. The double Francis is another commodity in the ritual of “I’d like a tasty espresso quickly” versus the labor of say, professional machines. In other words, great quality brew with a button press instead of some barista style prep work.
So what’s behind this lovely scarlet accent to your morning routine? Plenty of the standard high end features you come to expect when dolling out a few hundred, for starters. Thermal steel block for quick prep time, steam wand to froth up milk for a cappuccino, 15 bar pressure to extract hardy flavors, and so on. But, as far as one-touch systems go, this one allows for a little more control concerning temperature, quantity, and quality.
You’re given a selection of temperature features from its prominent rubber button press accented by the “giant-press-me-cup” symbol for swift brew. You also have options for the mentioned cappuccino and emergency stop in case things got a little too “hot mess.” Then, of course, the machine touts a two-step process to its preparation process (granted you’ll need compatible. iperEspresso capsules) for a deeply aromatic cup with frothy crema.
Grabbing this is a choice if you’re after some authenticity in terms of design and flavor. It’s not a typical espresso set up, meaning you want to read instructions carefully to get optimal taste.
3. Nespresso Citiz C111
Did someone say ergonomic? Well no, but we did, and that’s the defining word to the Citiz here. While yes, our first choice in these fine brand machines was also a kitchen fitting espresso apparatus, the Citiz is by far one of the slimmest we discovered. It’s a modern retro design with nifty features to get that delicious morning shot, and goes the extra mile to make sure you’re getting a good brew. Now you see why we included it to our espresso machines under $300 list.
One of the first things to note is the Citiz uses 19 bar pressure, meaning you’ll get a deep, rich taste, something enthusiasts will appreciate. Another specialty for taste is setting brew time, meaning you can have a shot as long or short as preferred. A foldable drip tray keeps the area free of messes and is simple enough to remove. Want a cappuccino, latte, or lungo? Like you’d expect there’s a steam wand for frothing milk, all the great stuff expected at this price tier.
Unlike it’s other brethren (such as the Pixie), you get more water to hold (about 36 oz) for a generous size preference. You can also look forward to about 30-35 seconds of prep time, depending on what you want.
Aside from its one button press methods for a good espresso, a few drawbacks came in. One is that the little powerhouse must be unplugged or it won’t turn off by itself. Not a huge problem, but many high dollar models have automatic features. You also only get a few samplers of Nespressos capsules, and you’re encouraged to get more versus buying your own espresso grind.
But, these aren’t terrible downsides and anyone looking for some high quality espresso at a pretty decent price point won’t be disappointed.
2. Nespresso A+GCC1
That’s right, Nespresso gets to be on our list one more time with its Deluxe model (because we don’t want to have to say the rest out loud). This one has some rather neat features that makes you feel like you’re brewing a “modern” version of espresso. For example, specific brand capsules sold by Nespresso can be “registered” with the machine, where after a simple button press you’ve got a tasty cup made under specific parameters the machine recognizes.
The size of the device is pretty large too, at least relative to the models we posted before. Not only can the VertuoLine brew up coffee with espresso, it holds up to 54 oz of water too. And, if you choose to make use of the code reading feature, it holds about 17 of the brand specific pods as well. Not bad at all. The only thing small about this thing is its price, which dropped down from $300 USD, another nice bonus.
Downsides? Well it’s no surprise but the fancy capsule reading technology is specific to Nespresso brands, and even more specifically to the capsules for this particular machine. It isn’t the worst, but it does mean you’re restricted in options, and the fact that a feature is blocked off because of something this particular can be annoying. Still, if you don’t mind having to pick up brand specific coffee or espresso, you can get yourself a good cup of brew in the morning without much trouble. For some, that’s all they’re look for.
1. De’Longhi EC680 Dedica
Fancy seeing another De’Longhi model as the first on our list. That’s okay though, because the EC680 Dedica is a sleek addition to the espresso product line. A slim, ergonomic (6 inches to be precise) stainless steel design means this nifty machine will comfortably fit anywhere in the kitchen while providing the powerful taste of espresso you’ve come to expect.
Said powerful flavor arrives from its 15 bar pressure system, a feature most users and enthusiasts come to expect. You have the choice between single or dual shot espresso pending your energy cravings, and the Dedica doesn’t keep you waiting with its heat block, achieving a prep time of roughly 30 seconds. A few other handy features are its LED button system and automatic standby mode, meaning that after some time of inactivity it’ll power itself down. It also has a cup warmer topside so your espresso stays nice and fresh, no cold brews allowed.
Cappuccino lovers won’t be left out either. A steam wand means you get a good foamy milk for those morning lattes, if it’s your preference. Granted some report you need to make sure the wand is used properly, but it’s a satisfying feature nonetheless.
These are all competent features, and as far as reviews go, the Dedica delivers a delicious drink that gets close to the standard of professional espresso. If you’re willing to break out the funds, you won’t be disappointed. Do you agree this is the best espresso machine under $300?
With this quick list, we’re getting into exciting espresso territory. This is the stuff you start to see professionals use, either from experienced baristas or international coffee shops. From here on out its time to throw out considerations for budgetary concerns and think of quality and particular needs. Some machines are small, some are larger with specific craft methods, but the bottom line is you still get a great cup of cappuccino or espresso.