You don’t actually have to break the bank to pick up an espresso machine, love. In fact, there are several great options under the $300 mark that will produce great shots and steamed milk so that you can easily craft your favorite espresso drinks at home.
We asked Jess and Teri to choose a few of their favorites within this price bracket and they selected DeLonghi’s EC155, Saeco’s Poemia & Aroma and Krups’ XP5280. Watch them discuss the features and specs of each of these machines, how they compare and what they do and don’t like about them.
If you drop serious coin on your home espresso setup, will there be a practical performance difference? What if you spend more on your espresso machine than your grinder or vice versa?
We asked Gail to test out an entry level (Capresso Infinity) and a prosumer (Mazzer Mini E) grinder with an entry level (Krups XP5280) and prosumer (Rocket Giotto Evoluzione V2) espresso machine to see how they compare. Do you get a better shot using a high end grinder with an entry level machine? What about an entry level grinder with a high end machine?
Watch and find out!
We’ve been doing a lot of product testing and wanted to update you on gear we have decided to carry and that is now in stock:
Modern Stainless Steel Knock Box Replacement Bar
At long last, RSVP is now carrying replacement bars for their very popular Modern knock box. If you don’t want to go DIY and replace it with rubber tubing from your local hardware store, you can pick up a brand spankin’ new replacement to have on hand.
Krups KM7000 Pro Grinder-Brewer
We tested three coffee makers from Krups and this was one of our favorites! Featuring grind and brew functionality, programming options and the ability to tweak your dosage to improve your overall cup, this very popular coffee maker fit in nicely with our other grind-n-brew crew.
Krups XP5280 Precise Tamp Programmable Espresso Machine
Another Krups model that we dug was this automatic espresso machine that had several surprising features. Gail was not expecting much and this little champ outperformed her expectations. We love its unique tamping mechanism, temperature regulation and diminutive size. As usual, some plastic is involved — but it does feature more metal than is often seen in this class — and the optional cappuccinatore system isn’t anything to write home about.
After we tested this small semi-automatic espresso machine, we decided it was a keeper. Sure, it has a lot of plastic involved. Yes, it’s not a high class machine. But it is easy to use, fairly consistent and has a compact footprint. It’s not every day we get to say that.
We tested a wide variety of scales and elected to carry two: The Salter Electronic Scale and the ADE Pocket Scale. Both of them performed well, consistently read out the same weights regardless of item positioning and are a good fit for weighing portafilters (Salter) or weighing very precise, small amounts (ADE).
2 New La Cafetiere Coffee Press Designs
While we didn’t test these specifically because they use the same great press pot design as the others made by La Cafetiere, we did add two new models to the line-up that are both elegant and funky. The Lexi Bone China 8 cup is ridiculously sleek and modern looking, and we love its high-quality porcelain design. Contrast that against the curvy and classy Unique, a double-walled stainless steel model that we couldn’t say no to when we met with it at the SCAA. While the Lexi is a one-size-fits-all, the Unique ranges from 12 oz – 35 oz options.
La Cafetiere Jack Cups
If you’re a fan of double-walled glass cups, these latte, cappuccino and espresso versions by La Cafetiere are stylish and functional. They’ll keep the cool cool and the hot hot, just how you like it.
This is a pretty standard electric kettle, but it does allow you to select a specific water temp to which your water will boil. Great for specifying mildly different temps for varying teas or even dialing in a more accurate temp for pour over coffee.
Arguably our very favorite electric kettle around, this semi-sophisticated water boiler will not only bring your water up to your desired temp, but it will hold it there. We love this for brewing multiple cups of tea or pour overs without the wait time or guesswork sometimes related to other, more lo-fi kettles.
Capresso CM200 10-Cup Coffee Maker
Ain’t nothing fancy about this simple, straightforward coffee maker, but sometimes we don’t want any more pizazz in our life. Sometimes, our talented jazz hands are more than enough. Sometimes, it’s all we can do to keep ourselves from heading on a one-way trip to Fancytown. And it’s those times when we look to this coffee maker that will get the job done with limited muss and fuss.
Our next round of Krups testing features two espresso machines — one is a pump driven model and the other is steam driven.
We were pleasantly surprised by this little automatic — it has a unique portafilter design, pre-infusion and an automatic cooling cycle between steam and brew. We didn’t like that it has an aluminum boiler, but it’s one of the few automatic/programmable machines under $300. Because of its surprising, unique features and it’s price, we’ll be adding it to our line-up.
This steam machine is pretty standard and was nothing really to write home about. Performs well, makes suitable stovetop-like coffee and has powerful steam. It didn’t offer anything unique over the steam driven machine we already carry (Capresso’s 4-Cup Espresso & Cappuccino machine), so we opted not to carry it.