Why are espresso machines so expensive? If you’re a coffee-lover, then you know that there’s nothing quite like an espresso. It’s a rich and delicious coffee drink that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.
But if you’ve ever tried to make your espresso at home, you may have found that it’s not as easy as it seems.
This is because making a perfect cup of espresso requires a special type of machine known as an espresso maker.
Why are espresso machines so expensive?
Here, we will try to answer the question that has been giving all coffee lovers sleepless nights: Why are espresso machines so expensive?
You may have been shocked when you first looked at espresso machines if you thought of upgrading from your French press or automatic coffee machines to brew coffee at a higher pressure.
Espresso machines can be expensive. Some machines can cost thousands of dollars while others can cost hundreds.
Machines made by top brands have an inner structure made of high-quality copper and stainless steel. You will pay more if you choose to get an automatic espresso machine or one with extra features.
We’ll be looking at some of the reasons why espresso machines are so costly and why they’re worth the money.
1. Why is espresso coffee so special?
Espresso is the cornerstone of all Italian coffee drinks. Espresso is made by heating hot water through finely-ground coffee beans and applying high pressure to achieve its delicious flavor.
Traditional espresso machines have a lever to create pressure but modern espresso machines now employ an electric pump to pump water.
This method maximizes the flavor of coffee beans. Modern machines can also pump steam to make cappuccinos, lattes, and other beverages.
2. Expensive materials and parts
Espresso machines are more expensive than other coffeemakers because they are more difficult to make. The boiler and pressure stat (which can cost $100 each) must be made to the highest quality standards to maintain consistent temperature and pressure.
Espresso makers work by forcing water through compressed coffee grounds in a matter of seconds at high pressure. A small error in temperature or pressure can quickly lead to poor results.
Many machines come with additional attachments such as steamers. Although steam machines are simple appliances that heat and steam milk, integrating them into the machine while sourcing the best materials can be difficult.
An espresso machine is not just expensive because of the sheer number of parts. Many of these parts are also very expensive to make. An espresso machine may have a grinder, a thermoblock, a steam wand, and several portafilters.
The machine’s exterior is often finished in high-quality materials like stainless steel or brushed chrome which can increase its cost.
The manufacturing costs of an espresso machine are higher because it contains so many parts. Some of these costs are passed on to the consumer.
3. You get what you pay for: Invest in durability and quality
Espresso machines make better coffee and are more reliable than other coffeemakers. Espresso machine manufacturers do care about the durability and long-term performance of their products, which translates to more expensive machinery.
Although espresso is becoming more and more popular at home, most espresso machines are designed for the cafe and restaurant market. These machines must withstand years of daily high volume usage, which is why manufacturers invest in quality parts and long warranties.
Vintage espresso machines that were made decades ago are still in demand. They still work after so many years.
To keep these machines running at a high level, manufacturers need to have a large stock of parts and train technicians to repair them. This will allow them to fulfill their warranty obligations. These costs all add to the final price of the product.
The espresso machine is not an appliance. It is a long-term investment in your coffee’s quality.
4. Espresso machines are a niche market with zero economies of scale
Manufacturer calculations are partly responsible for the high price of an expensive espresso machine. Even though they love coffee, the company still has to make a profit.
High-quality espresso machines are sold to a niche market of cafe and restaurant owners, as well as hardcore coffee fans. They are often sold in small quantities so the manufacturer cannot achieve economies of scale.
Manufacturers must set higher prices to cover high overhead costs and make a profit. However, these high prices pay for the R&D that makes espresso machines so good.
5. An expert crew of designers and engineers
An entire team of skilled people is behind every expensive espresso machine. Experiential technicians manually assemble most espresso machines.
Leading espresso machine companies also maintain a dream team of product designers, engineers, and research and design departments. This involves many people who need to be compensated for their education, skill, and experience.
6. You’re paying for brand credibility
De’Longhi, Breville, and La Marzocco: These names are likely familiar to anyone passionate about coffee and brewing. Some brands are known for their high-quality products and exceptional style in their machines.
You will pay more if you buy a machine made by one of the most respected companies in the coffee-making industry. You’re not only paying for a sticker with a famous name. These brands have a great reputation for quality because of years of investment in research and development, design, and quality testing.
An espresso machine purchased from a well-known brand will help fund its extensive research and development teams as well as the salaries of its employees. Sometimes paying for an expensive machine with a brand name comes with a higher level of quality.
7. Extra features mean extra cost
You will pay more if you want extra features on your espresso machine. The extra cost might be worth it depending on your needs.
Modern espresso machines come with a digital display option which makes it easier to track temperature, timing, and equipment diagnostics. Some machines have automatic water temperature adjustment features to make multiple coffees at once at different temperatures.
High-end espresso machines allow you to monitor the pressure of the machine as you pull your shot. This allows you to make your espresso taste exactly how you want it.
8. Different espresso brewers come at different prices
While espresso machines can be quite expensive, many models suit your needs and budget.
Beginners espresso machine
A beginner espresso machine costs only a few hundred dollars. You will need to pay more if you want additional features like increased automation or multiple heads.
Semi-automatic espresso machine
Semiautomatic espresso machines still require you to grind the coffee and prepare the shot yourself, but they’re more affordable than fully automatic machines that have shot timers or super-automatic espresso machines that do everything–including grinding the beans for you.
Lever espresso machine
Lever espresso machines are more affordable than automatic machines. With a manual machine, you pull the lever to create pressure for the espresso.
Manual espresso machines are more affordable because they don’t have complex pressure mechanisms or electronics. However, they require more practice as you need to know how to properly pull the shot.
Lever machines are hailed by espresso purists as the best for making espresso coffee as these machines give you the most barista control over the brewing process.
Automatic drip machine
Automatic drip coffee makers can be purchased at most major retailers. They work by adding water to coffee grounds that are resting in a filter.
Espresso machines are more expensive than auto-drip coffee makers. Some models even cost less than $50. However, the cheapest machines won’t last and many of them make poor coffee.
To earn the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) badge, auto-drip machines must show that they can heat coffee to 200 degrees Fahrenheit consistently.
While better auto-drip machines, such as the Technivorm Moccamaster, can cost a few hundred dollars, they are still cheaper than espresso machines. An auto-drip machine is a great alternative if you are not yet ready to invest in an espresso machine but still want to enjoy good coffee.
Italy gave us the Moka pot, a small stovetop espresso maker. Moka pots are the way most Italians make stovetop espresso at home.
They are easy to use, affordable, and can make strong coffee. The results are not as consistent as expected and the coffee is not as dense as a machine.
Are espresso machines worth it?
If your savings is halfway to a good espresso machine, why not wait instead of blowing your money on a poor investment? Save your money and invest in a machine that makes great espresso.
If you want good coffee but don’t care much about espressos, then a solid drip coffeemaker would suffice.
Nespresso is great for espresso beginners. These little machines can make a good espresso and are about the same price as good drip coffee machines. They require less practice than an espresso maker because they use capsules to brew.
Many people choose not to purchase an espresso machine due to the high initial costs. You might be already calculating how many espressos you could get at your favorite cafe for the cost of one machine.
The machine will pay for itself over time. You could enjoy years of coffee if you buy a high-quality espresso maker that is handcrafted and comes with a reliable product warranty.
Coffee quality from an espresso machine is unparalleled and exceptional. High-pressure espresso brewing requires the finest quality parts which extract the best flavor out of the coffee beans.
You can have great coffee every day with just a click of a button, as long as you make the initial investment.
Now you know why are espresso machines so expensive. They offer a unique and delicious coffee experience that is worth the price. With an espresso machine, you can make your own high-quality coffee drinks right at home, saving money in the process.