One espresso beginner will understand how difficult it is to choose the best espresso machine for a beginner under $400 because most high-quality espresso machines are expensive.
There are plenty of espresso machines in the market but all espresso makers are not easy to use or user-friendly. Different espresso machines come with many useful features such as built-in grinders, frothers, k-cup, streamers, and pods.
Here, we have come up with a list of the best espresso machines for beginners that cost less than $400 are easy to operate, and take little time on learning how to brew cafe-quality espresso at home.
7 Best Espresso Machine For Beginners Under 400 Reviews
If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly espresso maker under an affordable budget that is lighter, and portable without too many bells and whistles but looks classy on the kitchen counter, then the Breville BES500BSS Bambino Plus Espresso Machine is the answer to your prayer. Most home baristas prefer this compact design espresso maker because this coffee maker takes up a small space on your countertop but still offers many useful features.
When it comes to brewing espresso in the comfort of your kitchen, you will appreciate Bambino Plus for its simple design and easy-to-use features. This beginner-friendly espresso maker can brew extremely fast and it can easily heat up within 3 seconds. Furthermore, you can smoothly brew espresso with cream because the low-pressure pre-infusion assures that you will get espresso that is as sweet and creamy as possible.
What makes this espresso machine so popular among those who are new to brewing is that this espresso maker is designed with simplicity in mind so you do not need to spend long hours learning barista skills. Even better, in small size, this espresso maker features an ideal-size porta-filter with 19 g of capacity. And, the automatic milk frother makes it easy to brew other milk-based drinks like cappuccino.
However, this portable compact espresso machine includes an automatic purge system but this system might leave a bit of a mess so you’ll have to clean it afterward for brewing organic flavor espresso.
Since freshly ground coffee makes great-tasting espresso rather than using pre-ground coffee, it would be better to invest in the best burr coffee grinder that pairs with Breville Bambino Plus.
In short, if you are a newbie and looking for an affordable and reliable espresso within budget, then you should think about this espresso machine seriously and it will pay you off in the long run. Of course, you can not expect everything with this compact espresso maker.
Needless to say, this means that some important accessories had to be “sacrificed” in order to achieve maximum compactness. For instance, Breville Bambino doesn’t have a grinder, so you’ll have to buy this piece of equipment separately.
- Easy to use and beginner friendly
- Automatic milk steaming device
- Big water reservoir
- The automatic cleaning system may malfunction
- Milk auto-steaming might not work properly
Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine-Best Entry Level Espresso Machine
If you want to brew restaurant-quality espresso in the comfort of your kitchen, then you will love this professional-grade Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic home espresso machine. This budget-friendly entry-level espresso maker not only comes with improved pump mounts that make brewing faster but also takes about five minutes to heat up, and around 30 seconds for the steam to be ready.
What makes Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro separate from other espresso makers is that dual heating elements are located on the inside of the Gaggia espresso machine so you brew an espresso maker within five minutes. On the other hand, it features a three-way solenoid valve, a commercial-style portafilter, and a steam wand.
With this easy-to-use espresso maker, you can brew great-tasting espresso smoothly without making loud noise and two heating elements will have everything ready for steaming in 30 seconds. You do not need professional barista training for brewing great-tasting coffee as this espresso maker has only three control switches and the indicator light will notify you when the machine is ready to brew or steam.
What makes Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro an awesome espresso maker is that the steam wand steams and froths milk, creating tight microfoam which means you can brew a variety of milk-based drinks such as latte, cappuccino based on your preference. Furthermore, you can brew coffee-shop-style latte art and cappuccino in the comfort of your kitchen, resulting in you can save money that you would spend on local coffee shop
Overall, if you are one of the espresso beginners who want to buy an affordable professional-grade espresso maker then the Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine is a great choice that will make your espresso life easier and serve you for several years to come.
- Professional quality home espresso maker
- Fast brewing
- Comes with a steam wand and portafilter
- Noise-dampening technology ensures silent operation
- The reservoir capacity is suitable for a large family
- On the pricier side
- The drip tray is sharp around the edges
- Power consumption may be a little high because of the wattage.
If you are looking for a decent espresso maker for a coffee beginner under $400 that can brew great-tasting coffee smoothly without any mess, then look at the details of the Gaggia Carezza De LUXE Espresso Machine. This machine is brilliantly made with abs plastic combined with stainless steel that looks great on the kitchen countertop. Furthermore, this espresso maker features pre-infusion and energy-efficient automatic shut-off.
When it comes to brewing espresso in the comfort of your kitchen, you will appreciate this espresso maker as it comes with convenient preset mode buttons, pressure gauge monitors, and indicator lights displayed on the machine’s front body on an elegant oval metal face. Even better, this professional-grade espresso lets you brew barista-quality espresso with crema so you can cut your spending on local coffee shops.
Gaggia Carezza De LUXE is made of abs plastic combined with stainless steel. As you can see, it’s designed with rounded lines, which makes the machine look softer and also more solid to ensure durability during use and minimize vibration when operating. Most coffee beginners love this espresso maker as it is super easy to operate and you can also easily track everything happening when brewing and you do not need to go through a long learning curve.
What you will admire is that you have options for choosing how many cups you want to brew: 1 cup, or 2 cups. Moreover, you can also use coffee pods based on your preference. The milk frother makes it lets you brew the perfect cappuccino.
All in all, if you are just starting out, the Gaggia Carezza Deluxe is a great choice for regular use and it will serve you barista-like espresso-based drinks consistently at home.
- Sleek design with silver color
- User-friendly operation with a clear control panel
- Contains commercial-grade parts
- Low-cost machine for the value it delivers
- Pre-infusion function, good milk frothing
- The front access water reservoir
- Auto-shutoff in 9 minutes
- No integrated grinder
- Learning curve
Breville Barista Express (BES870XL)-Best value for money semi automatic machine
If you are looking for the best entry-level espresso machine with a grinder and PID controller that has full control over grind size and water temperature and brews great-tasting espresso with crema, then the Breville Barista Express (BES870XL) is a great option. These great feature-packed espresso machines extract maximum flavor from coffee beans and it is ideal for home and office kitchens.
Breville Barista Express is an easy-to-use and beginner-friendly espresso machine that comes with a built-in grinder so you will get the grind as fresh as possible and the flavor is at its best. On the other hand, this espresso maker features a PID controller which means you have control over water temperature so it will be easy to extract maximum flavor precisely and accurately, resulting in you always enjoying a great-tasting espresso in the comfort of your kitchen and saving your money that you would spend on the local coffee shop.
What makes this espresso machine so appealing is that it comes with an integrated burr grinder and it can grind the beans into the portafilter and you can easily extract your espresso from those ground beans using that machine. Even better, you have full control over grind size and you can adjust the grind size based on your preference if your coffee doesn’t satisfy your taste buds you might want to change the size of grinding
Another great feature of this espresso machine is that it doesn’t only come with a grinder but it also provides the ability to manually texture milk foam which is essential for a good-tasting cup of espresso.
Overall, the Breville Barista Express is an ideal espresso machine with a burr grinder for espresso beginners that comes in under an affordable budget and pays you off in the long run.
- Beautiful stainless steel
- Amazing frother
- “Clean me” light reminder
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Pressure indicator gauge
- Well written easy instructions
- Not self-explanatory means you need to read the instructions
- Not a standalone purchase
DeLonghi EC155 15 Bar Espresso and Cappuccino Machine is the top-of-the-line espresso machine among coffee beginners because of its easy-to-use functionality and fast capabilities and lets you brew pretty decent espresso shots even for its low price. Furthermore, The self-priming espresso machine can brew espresso super fast and the set up and start-up time will be very minimal. This newbie-friendly espresso machine is perfect for home kitchen use and it definitely improves the kitchen decor.
With this beginner-friendly espresso machine, making great-tasting espresso with crema becomes easy. You will appreciate the steam wand that lets you steam and froth milk for cappuccinos, lattes, and other specialty coffees.
The specialty of this espresso machine is that it features a 15-bar pump which will assist in producing a thick, creamy espresso shot every single time you want. On the other hand, anyone can easily brew great quality espresso smoothly as the machine’s functions can be controlled with a single dial on the face of the machine.
What makes this double-boiler espresso machine separate from other espresso machines is that it offers two thermostats for water and steaming milk. Thus, you can steam milk immediately after pulling your shot and you need not waste time waiting for the water to get hot again. However, you can choose between using special coffee pods(not Keurig or Nespresso) or coffee grounds.
- Perfect beginner machine for folks with low budgets
- Brews a decent shot
- Works with grounds and pods
- Build quality is OK
If you are a coffee beginner and looking for an inexpensive entry-level espresso maker that takes your barista skill to next level, then you will love the Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker. On the other hand, if you prefer drinking great coffee at home, an automatic brewing system is perfect for your needs.
Making great-tasting espresso with crema becomes super easy with this espresso maker. This espresso maker brews espresso preciously under pressure at 15 bars and you just need to select the drink you prefer, press the button and everything will be done by the machine just like a barista. Even better, you have no headache about messing around with a wand because the espresso machine comes with an auto-frother convenient for making cappuccino.
Unlike other espresso makers, you can easily fill both milk and water when needed and you will also appreciate the coffee it produces is hot rather than lukewarm so you always enjoy the warm coffee.
Even though this espresso maker comes with great features, you need some sort of experiment with it at the beginning before you can make the perfect espresso and cappuccino just the way you like it.
Investing in this beginner-level espresso machine for under $400 is great if you want to brew espresso and cappuccino constantly for months after months.
- Auto-brewing system – one-touch brewing
- Brews under pressure – at 15 bar
- Auto-frother – no need to mess about with a wand
- Easy to fill – water and milk reservoirs easy to remove
- Makes hot coffee – great if you like it more than lukewarm
- A little expensive – although well worth the money
- Take a few goes to master – but still very easy to use
If you are looking for the best entry-level mini espresso maker under $400, then you will appreciate the Nespresso BEC220BLK Essenza Mini Espresso Machine by Breville. This compact design lightweight espresso maker is not only suitable for transportation if needed but also takes little space on your kitchen countertop and improves the kitchen decor.
The specialty of the Essenza Mini is that it is made with a new curvy design that has rounded edges to leave an even smaller footprint on your counter and you can take this lightweight portable compact design espresso maker with you wherever you go. Thus, you will not miss your favorite espresso no matter how far away from your home.
It is worth mentioning that the Essenza Mini can still dispense an espresso and a Lungo just as good as the others with the push of a button. Unlike other espresso makers, this espresso maker is designed with a low-energy function that kicks in after three minutes before the full energy-saving mode comes after nine.
Even though this Nespresso BEC220BLK Essenza Mini Espresso Machine comes with 16 complimentary Nespresso pods each with a distinct aroma profile, it lacks milk-frothing capacity.
- Includes 16 complimentary Nespresso pods each with a distinct aroma profile
- The low-energy function helps reduce energy usage even further
- Compact design takes up very little counter space
- Lightweight makes it easily transportable
- Second-cheapest option on our list
- Part of Nespresso’s Positive Cup initiative
- Limited versatility for different brews
- Has no milk-frothing capacity
Types of espresso machines
Manual espresso machines
Manual espresso machines have no electrical or electronic components or no programmable feature and you need to do everything. So, it is hard for beginners to make great-tasting espresso by using lever operated espresso machine. And, it’s easy to mess up, but when you become a master of it, the results can be sublime.
Semi-automatic espresso machines
Semi-automatic espresso machines are different from manual espresso machines, here you will have electronic temperature controls and built-in pumps, so you just set the temperature right and you don’t even need to force the water through yourself. Based on your brewing experience, you need to decide when to start and stop the flow of water or you can ahead by tweaking variables and seeing how these changes impact your shot.
Fully automatic espresso machines
Fully automatic espresso machines let you control minimal settings like the water flow, based on your selection. Even though it refers to a fully automatic espresso machine, you will still grind the beans and load them yourself.
Super-automatic espresso machines
Super-automatic machines will do everything a barista does and it is equipped with a bean hopper and grinder, so you supply the raw materials to brew espresso with the touch of a single button. However, capsule machines also work like super-automatic machines, but they use coffee capsules (or pods) rather than grinding the coffee themselves.
Best Espresso Machine For Beginners Under 400:
9 Things to consider before purchasing
There are plenty of espresso machines with different features available out there but all are not suitable for beginner level. If you want to master brewing the greatest-tasting espresso with a manual espresso maker, it will take more time than you use a super-automatic espresso machine. So, everything depends on your priority and preference.
For heating water, espresso machines use heating systems such as the single boiler, the heat exchanger, and the double boiler and each heating system has its unique advantages and disadvantages. Some take little time and others take some more time. So, you should consider carefully which heating system you want.
The size of the water reservoir can vary from small to large. If you prefer serving a lot and don’t want to constantly be refilling it, you should avoid the small one and just pick a big one.
Footprint and headroom
When it comes to choosing the best espresso machine under $400, make sure you know you have enough space in your home or office where you want to keep it. You should carefully consider the size of the espresso machine if you have a small kitchen.
The best part, you will literally find every size espresso machine from a small compact design to large size espresso makers in the market.
If you do not want to be surprised after buying an espresso machine for low clearance beneath the portafilter spout, then beware espresso machine has enough cup clearance. Otherwise, you may require to use dedicated espresso cups or short cappuccino cups.
It would be better to choose an espresso maker that comes with a removable or adjustable cup tray that allows for taller cups.
If you’re interested in making latte or cappuccino, you need a machine that can produce the richly layered milk that goes into those drinks.
To steam milk, you need to raise the temperature of water to over-boiling, but espresso is produced at sub-boiling temperatures. This means an espresso maker needs to operate at more than one temperature level.
Single-boiler machines can’t produce espresso shots while steaming milk at the same time. Double-boiler machines can do both simultaneously. Be aware of your requirements when it comes to steaming milk, and pick out a machine that can handle this.
Level of automation
When you’re starting out, it’s nice to have an espresso machine that can do some of the heavy lifting for you. Some espresso makers do just that, with a range of automated or pre-set routines programmed in to produce espresso or other drinks at the push of a button.
Other machines are far more bare-bones, asking you to do more of the setup work. When choosing your machine, consider the level of automation you’ll want for your day-to-day espresso brewing needs. And keep in mind that if there’s too much automation, you might outgrow it as you become more skilled.
Ease of cleaning
One of the most important factors for choosing the best espresso maker is if you do not want to take the hassle of cleaning your espresso machine for a longer time. Plus, the perfect cleaning espresso machine will give you fresh flavor espresso every time.
Some espresso machine has limited parts for cleaning compared to other espresso machines.
No doubt espresso machines are expensive and it is a major investment if you are particularly looking for a higher-end machine. All espresso machines do not come with the same warranty. So, make sure you have read about the espresso manufacturer’s warranty.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an espresso machine?
An espresso machine utilizes high pressure to push hot water through tightly packed ground coffee. This sets it apart from a coffee maker, which only uses hot water and gravity.
High-end espresso machines can boil water, grind beans, and froth milk – functions that all great cups of joes need.
How much is a good espresso machine?
If you’re just starting out your coffee-espresso journey, you will see several options to get a $100 espresso machine but that only gives you a basic idea of how an espresso machine works, functions, and the basic principles of the task.
In fact, espresso machines are quite different from coffee machines and they are comparatively expensive.
As you get better at making espresso, you invest in a durable espresso machine for around $1000 or more based on your preference and budget.
What espresso machine should I buy?
There are plenty of espresso machines out there and all come with different features and benefits with different budgets.
If you are a coffee beginner, it would be better to take some time gathering information by reading the beginner’s buying guide and knowing about manual, semi-automatic, and automatic espresso machines.
Since the term best is so broad and not very specific, only you know which espresso machine is best for you.
However, the best espresso machine for you is the one that is easy to use, beginner-friendly, and has a wide range of features for learning, and it fits your needs and budget. Most espresso newbie prefers semi-automatic machine (also called pump-driven or dual boiler machines).
What makes a good espresso machine?
A good espresso machine combines useful features, functions, and budget that last for several years and provide great tasting espresso consistently without any mess.
However, a decent espresso maker must be easy to use and gives you better control over the brewing process so that you have options to adjust the espresso strength based on your taste buds.
Should I buy an espresso machine?
If you are a coffee snob who can start her day without espresso in the morning, then you should invest in a decent espresso maker that will provide you with great-tasting espresso on a regular basis and save the time and money that you would spend on the local coffee shop.
However, if you are not a coffee addict and you drink coffee occasionally, buying an espresso machine is worth it for you.
Where are Breville espresso machines made?
Breville is a worldwide trusted brand for making kitchen appliances such as toasters, juicers, blenders, and coffee makers besides espresso machines, and Breville espresso machines are manufactured in Sydney, Australia.
What does a 15-bar espresso machine mean?
For making perfect espresso it needs high pressure for extracting the shot. Therefore every espresso machine has something that can develop a pressure of at least 9 bars for brewing espresso.
How much pressure an espresso machine can develop is often expressed with bars where one bar is equivalent to one unit of atmospheric pressure.
In general, a 15-bar espresso machine means the high-quality espresso machine can build 15 bars of pressure – as it gets more out of the coffee.
Conclusions: Affordable Espresso machine for beginners under $400
Making cafe-quality espresso requires a perfect espresso machine and perfect skills. It is great to invest in the best espresso machine for beginners under $400 that should be easy to use and should offer several customization features so that it helps you improve your barista skills to the next level.