6 best espresso machines under €200
For all coffee aficionados, having a dose of caffeinated energy every morning is precious, and nothing lifts your spirits like an espresso. Here, you’re probably wondering, why overpay in a coffee shop if you can have your own coffee machine? However, not every machine will give you a real espresso, and even less so if you’re on a budget. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you.
Choosing the best espresso machine for under £200 can be both exciting and overwhelming. First of all, it’s important to know that there are several types of coffee makers: the stovetop coffee maker, the lever coffee maker and the pump – or automatic – coffee maker. In this guide we have focused on semi-automatic and super automatic machines as they are easier to use and give better results. You also need to ensure that the temperature is constant. The pressure in bars is what creates the crema of your espresso and controls the flavour and taste, so good pressure is essential. We took all these features into account in our search for the best machine on the market.
We’ve done some research over the past few days, drawing on both our own experience and the opinions of others to get a balanced and unbiased view of each product. The product guide starts with a comparison table so you can browse each model and its ratings. Next, you’ll find detailed individual reviews outlining the pros and cons of each product. Finally, a comprehensive buying guide and FAQ section will guide you towards buying the best espresso machine under £200 for you!
The 6 best espresso machines under €200
Nespresso VertuoLine Evoluo by De’Longhi
The Nespresso VertuoLine Evoluo has easily made it to the top of our overall product list. This 2-in-1 coffee and espresso machine is not only beautiful, it’s also serious about delivering a good product. The patented extraction technology allows you to get a rich and tasty espresso, spinning the coffee capsule at up to 7,000 rotations per minute to perfectly blend the coffee with the water in the tank.
Brewing with a single press is quick and easy, and the capsule ejects automatically when finished. It also comes with two different cup sizes: large for coffee and small for espresso. Based on the barcode on the rim of the capsule, the brewing parameters are automatically adjusted according to the Grand Cru.
The water tank is much larger than any other machine in this class, dwarfing them by almost twice their size or more! The 54 oz. tank holds 17 coffee capsules (12 capsules are included), and the transparent tank lets you know how much water is left. Like the others, it uses Nespresso (or compatible) capsules. It also has an energy saving mode, switching off after 9 minutes of inactivity, which is pretty standard.
The only complaints we could make are that there is no hot water only option, nor is there a water addition alert to let you know that you need to add water before making your next drink.
Overall, it would be quite difficult to find an espresso machine at this price point that could come close to the Vertuo.
Patented centrifugal extraction technology with 7000 rpm speed, 54 oz water tank, 15-20 second warm-up time.
Mueller espresso machine
The Mueller espresso machine is definitely one of our favourites, and for its surprisingly low price, it’s an amazing product, which is why we ranked it as the best budget product. The design is elegant and robust. Although the handle on top is a bit stiff, it stays in place when you empty the pods. It is also easy to transport.
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The machine boasts a pressure of 20 bar, which is a little higher than most of the competing products we tested, delivering full flavour and superior aromas from each pod, with a thick, dense crema. Overall, it delivers one of the best flavours of any product, which is probably due to the higher pressure.
It heats up in 25 seconds, which is the same as other machines. The power saving mode turns the machine off after 10 minutes, instead of the 9 that others do. It offers one-touch buttons for both cup capacities, backlit for ease of use. The company has also included a removable tray (holder) designed specifically for a half-cup, but if you prefer to use a mug, you can remove it. It uses the same Nespresso cups as the others.
The biggest “con” for us was definitely the noise. It’s noisy and can be difficult to use during the late hours or early morning.
- 20 bar
- 2 years
- 25 second heat up time, 27 oz water tank, energy saving mode.
25 second heat up time, 27 oz water tank, energy saving mode.
Nespresso Inissia De’Longhi
Although it’s an entry-level machine, the De’Longhi Inissia Original espresso machine works well to give you a dose of caffeine in an aromatic, chocolatey form. Like other Nespresso machines, you can only use it with the brand’s pods or compatible products. As you can see from the photo, it is also very small, light and has an ergonomic handle that makes it comfortable and portable. Its patented extraction system provides up to 19 bar of pressure and heats the water adequately in just 25 seconds. The 24oz water tank allows you to brew 9 cups of coffee without having to constantly refill it as some other machines do. However, we notice that it is a bit difficult to detach.
Like the others, it has two programmable options for espresso and lungo. However, this machine has a folding drip tray to accommodate larger cups and recipes, which other machines do not offer. It has an energy saving mode as well as an automatic shut off after 9 minutes so it doesn’t waste energy, and you’ll also get a free gift set.
We felt that this machine was one of the most durable of the lot, while still maintaining a high quality look with its sleek black design. The biggest drawback for us was probably the level of noise it makes. Fortunately, it brews quickly, so it doesn’t last long, but if you get up early or go to bed late and want to avoid waking others, this can be a problem.
Foldable drip tray, 24 oz water tank, automatic shut-off.
Essence Mini par Breville
The Breville Nespresso Essenza Mini combines ease of use, beautiful design and Nespresso quality to give you a solid machine that you will wake up early just to use!
Offering two programmable cup sizes (espresso and lungo), it’s one of the most user-friendly machines on the market, and it serves great coffee every time. It’s so small that it fits almost anywhere and takes up almost no counter space. The 19 bar high pressure pump extracts every flavour well, with great depth and pleasant aromas from every pod. This stylish machine also produces one of the thickest beige creams we’ve seen.
The machine accepts original and similar Nespresso capsules, which may be convenient for some, but it’s also a bit of a hassle to fill water and empty capsules so often. The water tank is also a bit difficult to remove, which makes us question its durability.
If you’re a beginner when it comes to espresso machines, then this selection is ideal for you. We found it so intuitive to use that we didn’t even need to read the instructions before operating it. It also works quickly. Just press the button and the water reaches the ideal serving temperature in 25 seconds. You also have the option of using an energy saving mode, which automatically switches the machine off after 9 minutes. You will also receive a free gift of a Nespresso Original welcome kit, including 14 interesting and distinct capsules. Coming back to the subject of capsules, it is unnecessarily difficult to distinguish one from the other.
energy saving function, 25 second warm-up time
Mr. Coffee Café Barista
You’ve probably already heard of Mr Coffee. It is one of the most popular brands in the coffee business, and this is largely due to the high quality of its products. For a very affordable price, you can have Mr. Coffee’s Café Barista make you a delicious espresso whenever you want.
Whether you want a straightforward coffee or a lighter drink, however you like it, it will be good. It doesn’t reach the exquisite espresso quality of more expensive machines, but considering the price, it does an exceptional job. There are additional latte and cappuccino options for those who like variety.
This chrome semi-automatic 3-in-1 has a 15 bar pump system and is fairly easy to use, with its one-touch control panel for beverage selection and removable, easy-to-refill water and milk tanks. However, there are a few drawbacks. The first is that the brewing temperature and pressure are not constant. The portafilter clogged quite easily, suggesting that the pressure was not that high. Finally, although the espresso tasted good, we found that with other similarly priced machines there was a little more depth and flavour.
All in all, if you’re looking for an intense coffee with the ability to make lattes and cappucсinos for a fairly low price, the Mr Coffee Barista should be on your radar.
Limited to 1 year
automatic milk froth, latte and cappuccino options
Nespresso Essenza Mini de De’Longhi
The Nespresso Essenza Mini from De’Longhi is a wonderful machine for those who want great tasting coffee in a small package. If you work in an office or don’t have a lot of counter space, the Essenza Mini is perfect for you. It weighs only 2.5kg and is very easy to carry around if you need your coffee at any time. We found that it heated up quite quickly and made a well-balanced espresso in under two minutes. The crema was not as thick as the previous product, but it was still sufficient.
The machine offers two programmable cup sizes like the other Mini: espresso and lungo. It is very easy to use, and its minimal design is not at all intimidating. The 19 bar high pressure pump extracts most of the flavours. The power is slightly lower than the previous machine, but hardly. It also has an eco mode for low power consumption after 3 minutes, and turns off after 9 minutes of inactivity. A welcome gift is included, along with several Nespresso capsules.
What we weren’t big fans of was the design. The machine is extremely similar to the other Essenza Mini, but the design of this one falls flat. While it’s not outright unattractive, it’s not nearly as attractive as the other one. Also, the Nespresso capsules really should be changed. The names all sound vaguely Italian, and there’s no obvious way to tell the difference between them.
Energy saving function, auto shut-off, 25 second heat-up time, 20.3 oz. water tank, 2.5 oz.
What is espresso?
You may be wondering what the differences are between your standard coffee pot and an espresso machine. Why is it worth buying? These questions are often due to confusion. Many people think they have already tried espresso because they bought a bag of beans marked “espresso”. Espresso does not refer to the type of roast, but rather to the extraction method used to prepare it. It is extracted under very high pressure and temperature, resulting in a much faster, smaller and more intense beverage – the preference of many coffee connoisseurs. The top layer of foam on the drink is called “crema”, and tells you a lot about the quality of the espresso, such as its freshness and pressure. Oh, and for those who can never seem to stay awake, did we mention that espresso has more caffeine per ounce than your average cup of coffee?
What can you expect from an espresso machine under £200?
At that price, you should expect good espresso, but maybe not the best coffee you’ve ever had in your life. In some cases, very delicate flavours and aromas will be lost during the brewing process, but the coffee will retain most of its flavour. The Mueller and Vertuo offer world class flavour, but remember that other machines come close. You can expect an automatic shut-off function, but relatively noisy operation. The machines are small and portable, but are not as durable as some of the more expensive machines. On the other hand, they are generally very attractive and make a nice addition to any office or kitchen counter.
Features to consider when choosing an espresso machine
If you love espresso but aren’t prepared to spend a lot of money on a high-end coffee machine, you can still get a decent cup of espresso by investing in an espresso machine under £200. All you need to do is pay attention to several features described below.
There are two main types of automatic espresso machines: semi-automatic and super automatic. Semi-automatic machines are ideal if you want a “traditional” home espresso machine. They have a boiler, a portafilter and a switch to activate/deactivate the extraction pump. You actually have more control over your coffee, as you control the water flow.
Super automatic machines are much more convenient. They grind, brew, infuse and even steam milk for you. They are extremely easy to use and produce consistent quality. The level of programming of the machines varies, but you can usually adjust the temperature, volume, extraction time and even the water hardness.
Coffee temperature and water pressure
Water temperature and pressure are crucial for a perfect espresso. Without heat, it is not possible to brew or vaporise properly, and both must be consistent to achieve quality. A Thermoblock system is always a good idea and keeps the water at the ideal temperature, which is 90 degrees Celsius/194 degrees Fahrenheit.
The pressure in bars is what really creates the crema on your espresso. It’s what allows all the flavours to be extracted and allows you to experience the flavour you are meant to. It’s what allows the machine to get the right amount of steam at the right speed. Fifteen to nineteen is ideal for home use, and if your beans are properly ground, 9 to 11.
Even the most avid espresso drinker may want a change from time to time. Perhaps you’d like the option of a latte every now and then! The steam arm will froth your milk, allowing you to create milk-based drinks in a variety of ways. If you also enjoy a latte, cappuccino or even a flat white from time to time, make sure your machine is equipped with a good steam arm!
Maintenance and ease of cleaning
Raise your hand if you like cleaning! We have a feeling that many of you will keep your arms at your sides. Wouldn’t you rather spend your time, oh, I don’t know, drinking that delicious coffee you just helped make? That being said, choose a machine that is easy to clean and does not require constant maintenance. You may also want to choose a product with a larger water tank so that you don’t have to keep refilling it every time you insert a new pod.
This section is fairly straightforward and simple to understand. Most of the best espresso machines under £200 come with a one year warranty, but the Mueller comes with a two year warranty, which is a definite plus. Anyway, it’s after a year that you’ll start to see the defects!
Tips for making the perfect cup of espresso
Your new espresso machine won’t be able to do everything. While the VertuoLine takes it to the next level with its patented centrifugal extraction technology, t’s not going to do it all. While the VertuoLine takes it to the next level with its patented centrifugal extraction technology, most machines under €200 will need your help to make the perfect espresso.
The type of coffee you use is very important here. However, as most only accept Nespresso cups or compatible capsules, there are not many options here. The creation of your recipe can be modified, however. Changing the water temperature, espresso volume, time and grind consistency all have a considerable impact. If you can, set your machine between 197 and 205°F, and extract for 30 seconds. The time depends on the quality of the grind, which means you need to adjust it often.
What constitutes “perfection” for you will depend largely on your personal palate, preferences, machine and coffee, so keep an eye on what you’re doing.
While we were very impressed with all the best espresso machines under £200, the De’Longhi Nespresso Vertuo was our favourite, for many reasons. The first is its design. It looks sophisticated, and you can tell it will last a long time. The water tank is much larger than the others, which saves you time by not having to fill it up every time you make a coffee. The result is a full-bodied, aromatic espresso, with a thick, dense crema to top it all off. It’s also easy to use, even for beginners, and features one-touch technology and backlit buttons. The other machines also impressed us, but given their low price, the Vertuo really had no competition. The Mueller espresso machine and the De’Longhi Inissia are our runners-up. They are both small in size, which makes them easy to place on a desk or a crowded kitchen counter. They are both very attractive and easily transportable. The De’Longhi Inissia seemed to be the most durable of the lot, which also influenced our choice. The Mueller machine gave us incredible foam and flavours. Now that you know our favourites, which of these machines will make it into your kitchen?