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Why Are Espresso Machines So Expensive?

why are espresso machines so expensive

Did you know that commercial-grade espresso machines can cost as much as $30,300? Granted, this is for a high-end commercial grade machine capable of making hundreds of cups a day - you probably don’t need to spend that much to enjoy a cup of steaming, refreshingly rich espresso.

You must choose a machine that suits your specific needs and allows you to make espresso that fulfills your coffee cravings!

With that said, high-quality, fully functional home espresso machines are also fairly pricy.

But since they can offer you the joy of having freshly-prepared espresso within the comfort of your home and without much hassle, they are certainly worth the investment. It’s especially true if you are a coffee enthusiast who prefers consistently exceptional yet customizable coffee. 

But why are espresso machines so expensive? This blog post will answer your question and help you learn a lot more about espresso machines!

What Is an Espresso Machine and How Does it Work?

espresso machine

An espresso machine is an appliance used for making espresso coffee. It works by pushing hot water through a compact layer of ground coffee at high pressure. The pressure is what gives espresso coffee its concentrated, bold flavor. Modern espresso machines also come with a steamer.

History of Espresso Machines

Milanese engineer Luigi Bezzer invented the lever-based espresso machine on November 18, 1901. It was after this invention that espresso came to be known as strong coffee, pressed in special machines under high pressure.

However, the first lever espresso machine wasn’t automated since a man was required to lower the lever with his hand to exert the required pressure.

In 1903, the Italian industrialist Desiderio Pavoni attained a license to produce Bezzera coffee machines, followed suit by other inventors.

In the early 1920s, the tower-shaped Victoria Arduino and Pavoni coffee makers, with their characteristic features, became a distinctive element of Italian cafés. They helped boost the popularity of espresso coffee in Europe and America.

In 1947, Milan bartender and inventor Achille Gaggia began producing semi-automatic coffee machines, which enables you to achieve the desired pressure with water. Such machines dominate the global coffee machine market even today.

In 1961, an Italian company Faema began manufacturing espresso machines in which water was passed through coffee with the help of an electric pump.

Today, this design is used in modern espresso machines or coffee makers; an electric pump pushes cold water via a heat exchanger positioned in a boiler with hot water. The hot water then passes through the layer of coffee grounds. Simultaneously, the machine steams the milk.

How Much Do Espresso Machines Cost?

espresso machine

Espresso machines have a huge price range. The cost of an espresso machine depends on the materials used to make it, the equipment it includes, and the features that it offers to the general consumers.

As a rule of thumb, if the quality of your machine is top-notch and it has multiple features, it will cost more than an average machine.

If you need a basic espresso machine, you will have to spend anywhere between $500 to $1,000, depending on the steaming capabilities and other features of the machines.

However, if you are an at-home barista with a brewing love for coffee, you will benefit from using an advanced espresso machine, which will set you back anywhere between $1,000-3,000. These machines come with advanced features and are made of high-quality materials.

Meanwhile, commercial espresso machines can cost anywhere between $2000 and $30,000. They are made from premium-quality, durable materials and provide you with the features to create multiple customized coffee drinks.

Why Are Espresso Machines So Expensive?

So, why are espresso machines so expensive? These machines include expensive equipment and features that perform various functions and allow them to demonstrate the taste and character of coffee beans.

A good espresso machine that delivers excellent taste and flavor needs high-quality parts to maintain a consistent level of pressure and temperature.

The price of espresso machines is determined by the following features:

Quality

The cost of the finest espresso machines might be exorbitant because of the use of premium-quality materials, such as metal, stainless steel, and brass. The top-quality espresso machines are designed to provide stable cooking temperatures.

Some manufacturers reduce the cost of their espresso machines by using low-cost materials in their frame, case, and interior.

Materials like industrial plastic used for the frame of an espresso machine will not affect the quality of your coffee, but they will impact the machine’s durability.

Moreover, brass quality, among other factors, can cause a sudden change in temperature, which will negatively impact your espresso. If you want a high-quality espresso at a lower cost, invest in a manual or semi-automatic machine.

Digital Display

La Cimbali S20

The digital display on espresso machines offers brilliant temperature stability. They are made of high-quality materials that cost more.

These displays also have useful functions, such as shot timers, delay before infusion, water temperature adjustment, on/off programming, filter placement tips, cleaning programs, and equipment diagnostics.

Temperature Adjustment

Traditional espresso machines are made with a boiler and temperature regulator, allowing the user to have control over the brewing temperature, thereby avoiding fluctuations in it.

Moreover, some modern machines feature advanced temperature control, allowing you to brew coffee across distinctive groups. It enables the machine to create multiple types of espressos at once.

These machines certainly cost more than regular espresso machines, but they are the ideal appliances for cafés and restaurants that typically need to serve more than one espresso simultaneously.

Such machines also have a unique design, multiple barista controls, and a digital display. They are made from high-quality materials as well, which adds to their overall cost.

Pressure Profiling

Expensive, modern espresso machines have pressure profiling functions that add value to these appliances. Traditional and affordable espresso machines might not have these features.

These functions allow the consumer to create their own pressure profiles, which affect the taste and texture of their espresso. Given these new technologies and features, the costs of modern espresso machines have hiked.

With a sophisticated mechanical and electronic internal structure, these machines provide you with excellent-tasting espresso.

Research and Development Price

Many consumers are not aware of the fact that every espresso machine undergoes a lengthy and comprehensive research and development process, which consequently affects its price. It’s why some espresso machines are significantly more expensive than others.

Brand Name

Lastly, a brand name adds great value to a product. After all, they provide the recognition the product needs to appeal to the consumers.

Some branded products have exclusivity and reliability affixed to the label, leading them to be sold at exorbitant prices.

What Are The Different Types Of Espresso Machines?

Here are the different types of espresso machines:

Steam Machines

steam machine

In 1884, Angelo Moriondo, the inventor of the earliest espresso machine, introduced the world to a new steam engine for swift and commercial preparation of coffee at an exhibition in Turin. Thus, he gave rise to the method of preparing espresso via steam machines!

Electric steam machines are still very much in use; they are easy to handle, affordable, and compact.

These machines bring water to a boiling point in a sealed tank, allowing steam to form, which creates pressure that pushes the water through the reservoir into the coffee.

The downside of using steam espresso machines is that they offer a low pressure of merely 1–1.5 bars, which is far off from the ideal 9-bar pressure of brewing coffee.

Moreover, in these machines, the water that creates the steam is the one used to make the coffee.

It means that the water is almost boiling when it reaches the coffee beans. It might lead to excessive extraction, which might spoil the taste of the resultant coffee.

Lever Machines

lever espresso machine

Lever machines require you to exert physical strength to make coffee. There are two types of lever machines – manual and spring. The manual one has a horizontal liver.

When you raise the liver, the pre-heated water pours into the cooking chamber and interacts with the ground beans. This machine allows you to control the flow rate, the duration of the pre-wetting process, and the pressure by pressing the lever.

Machines with a spring mechanism have a level that points up. When you press the lever, it compresses the spring and lifts the piston, opening the cooking chamber, which fills with water.

When you decompress the spring, the piston shoves the water down, and your espresso gets prepared. Lever espresso machines require you to understand how to control different variables that can affect the taste of your coffee.

Pump Espresso Machines

espresso machine

Pump espresso machines dominate the espresso market. In these machines, an electric pump drives hot water through the coffee brewing chamber to create a cup of espresso.

Since the pump is electric, you can achieve consistent high pressure with this machine, resulting in consistent taste.

There are three types of pump espresso machines – semi-automatic, automatic, and super-automatic. Let’s take a look at each of these types:

Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines

Semi-automatic espresso machines use an automated system to supply water to the distinctive chambers.

This machine is semi-automatic because the grinding of the beans, control of the extraction time, and other aspects are the responsibility of the person making the coffee.

Meanwhile, the machine regulates the water temperature and pressure, ensuring that your espresso tastes divine.

Automatic Espresso Machines

These machines are quite similar to their semi-automatic counterparts. However, they stop the water supply independently, ensuring you serve a constant volume of good espresso, saving you the trouble of preventing overspills.

These machines are used in cafés and coffee houses.

Super-Automatic Espresso Machines

Super-automatic machines are designed to take control of every step of the coffee-making process.

They weigh and grind the coffee, fill the portafilter, and tamp the grounds. All you have to do is press the button to receive consistently great coffee. Some of these machines might allow you to adjust the time and size of grinding, but overall these machines don’t allow human intervention.

These machines are typically used in restaurants, offices, hotels, and other highly trafficked environments.

Benefits of Owning a Home Espresso Machine

home espresso machine

Here are some compelling benefits of owning an at-home espresso machine:

  • These machines come with built-in coffee grinders that brew grain coffee, which tastes markedly different than instant coffee. Most of these machines allow you to choose the strength of your coffee.

  • An automated espresso machine will save your time as it will prevent you from brewing coffee every morning.

  • At-home espresso machines are quite easy to use. All you have to do is pour the right amount of coffee beans or ground coffee into the machine, and it will do the rest for you!

  • More advanced espresso machines will enable you to customize your coffee drinks, making them super convenient for large families.

The Bottom Line

why are espresso machines so expensive

So, why are espresso machines so expensive? The answer is that an espresso machine requires top-notch features and high-quality equipment to prepare rich, delicious espresso.

If a machine is made from high-quality materials, has multiple automatic features, and uses proper pressure and temperature control, it will cost more than your average coffee maker.

But is it worth buying an expensive espresso machine?

Making perfect espresso is a true art that requires your skills and the use of a high-quality machine. If you’re a coffee enthusiast, you will definitely enjoy the perks of an expensive espresso machine. I

t will enable you to customize your espresso, create user profiles, save recipes, save you from the hassle of making coffee from scratch, and offer you a quick yet delightful and rich drink.

With that said, espresso machines can be quite expensive, but a quality one is totally worth it! So, make sure to study the market, check customer reviews, compare prices, and do comprehensive research before you make this investment and choose a machine that will transform your coffee-making habits for the better! 

Cafe Last is the premier destination for all of your espresso machine and coffee equipment needs. Check us out!


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