why are espresso machines so expensive

While comparing the prices of drip coffee makers to that of Espresso coffee machines, there are maximum chances that one question always might arise in your mind Why are espresso machines so expensive?

While you can buy a starter Espresso machine in the range of 200 to 400 dollars but you have to invest more than 1000 bucks if you are looking for something good.

You might be wondering why to invest that much money in a coffee machine when you can buy a Drip coffee machine for just 40 or 50 dollars.

So in this article, I will clear your doubts and list 10 reasons why the heck these Espresso machines are too expensive.

Why Are Espresso Machines So Expensive

how much does an espresso machine cost?

A decent starter espresso coffee model seems to go around 300-400$ and if you want a good one with all the functionalities then you have to invest more than 1000 dollars

Some commercial Espresso machines might go up to 20000$. Hmm! who wanna spend that much money just to have some fancy cup of coffee?

The reason behind the high cost of Espresso machines is that they have to be constructed out of high-quality materials to withstand high pressure and temperature.

If you are a newbie and just want to enjoy decent cappuccino or espresso shots at an affordable price without creating a mess. In that case, you might have heard about DeLonghi ECP3420 and DeLonghi EC155. These products can brew decent shots of espresso without breaking the bank.

7 reasons why Espresso machines are so Expensive?

Since espresso machines must be built to withstand high pressure, their price is so high. Also, espresso machines have some built-in features such as milk frothers, digital displays, and coffee grinders that increase the cost. The branding and marketing also cost a lot of money due to low demand.

1- Quality of material

To achieve stable brewing temperature and withstand high pressure, Commercial Espresso machines are made of high-quality materials that have a high standard, e.g. brass, stainless steel, and metals.

Some manufacturing companies may use industrial plastic in body frames to cut off the price; However, it doesn’t make the difference directly; the weaker structure somehow affects the quality of the Espresso machine in terms of durability.

Espresso is the only unique brewing style that requires high pressure. Normal coffee machines don’t have to withstand higher pressure that’s why they are usually made of cheaper plastic material.

This is one of the main reasons for the huge difference in price between Normal coffee machines and Espresso machines.

2- Lower Demand

Espresso machines are not very popular machines. Many people don’t want to spend more than 100 dollars on a kitchen appliance.

Espresso machines have a very niche market of coffee shops, restaurants, and some enthusiastic coffee lovers.

To keep the company in profit and to cover the overhead production costs, espresso machine manufacturers have to keep the prices high to cover up the low sales.

Also, Low demand means there are not too many options available which leads to lower competition and higher prices.

3- Production Complexity

Drip coffee makers are very easy to manufacture. Even small startups can manufacture drip coffee machines and because of less complexity, they can be produced at a larger scale. The greater the production let them becomes cheaper.

But this is not the case with Espresso machines. Qualified Engineers and technicians are required for designing and manufacturing Espresso machines that drive the production cost higher.

4- Research and Development

All Espresso machine manufacturing companies have to invest a lot in research and development. Customers are unaware that espresso machines undergo a lengthy period of research and development to create safe and desirable models.

Unlike simple coffee machines, an Espresso machine has to withstand higher temperatures and pressure. To ensure that the material doesn’t fail while operating it has to go through various rounds of testing.

And oftentimes, after investing a great deal of time in research, no fruitful real results are found. This also adds up to the cost of an Espresso machine.

5- Extra features

Espresso machines usually have a lot of extra features than a normal Espresso machine. And obviously, extra features come at some cost.

I) Milk Frother

Almost all Espresso machines have a built-in milk frother to prepare milk-based Espresso drinks such as Lattes and Cappuccinos.

II) Coffee Grinder

Not all Espresso machines have a built-in grinder but most of them have it. The Espresso coffee beans must be freshly ground in order to make a perfect shot of espresso. That’s why a grinder is usually a part of the Espresso machine.

III) Variety of settings

Espresso machines usually have a variety of drink options. You can brew a single shot, double shot, Ristretto, Lungo, Cappuccino, Latte, etc with just a touch of a single button.

Some Espresso machines also have advanced features like digital display, wifi, and Bluetooth to program the brew setting.

IV) Temperature Control

Some espresso models have a temperature adjustment controller, which provides full control to the user to adjust the temperature without creating temperature Fluctuation

6- Human Resource

Production Location and qualified labor are the factors involved in driving the cost of the Espresso machines higher.

Many electronic machine appliances are manufactured in low-wage countries like China. In contrast, high-end espresso machines are manufactured in the home county of Espresso i-e Italy where the cost of production is higher.

As well, all the espresso machine manufacturing centers have an engineering department where highly paid and qualified engineers ensure the safety of the machines and improve their design.  

7- Brand Reputation

Delonghi And Breville are the top players in the Espresso industry. If you are an Espresso you might have heard their name before.

These brands have built a reputation among espresso manufacturers for producing high-quality machines.

You have to pay more if you buy an Espresso machine from a well-reputed brand. But certainly, these brands deserve this as they have spent years in research and development to always deliver high-quality products.

Read a complete review of Delonghi ECP 3420 and Capresso EC 100. They are economical and perfect Espresso machines for beginners.

What price is best for an Espresso machine?

Espresso machines really need a lot of research and great quality material to manufacture. You get what you pay for. That is why they are expensive; it doesn’t mean that manufacturers are ripping you off.

Now, the question arises what price is best? Do you need to invest a lot to brew shots of Espresso?

The answer purely depends on your choice. Some features are overrated to be paid for, but it doesn’t mean you can go for a cheaper option. You can easily find a cheap espresso machine for under $500 that can brew good Espresso.

But, if you looking for something more durable and advanced features, you should invest in an expensive model.

In other words, no need to invest in a cheaper model that is likely to break and no need to go after some super fancy machine that won’t produce good Espresso and comes with features you hardly use them.

Invest in the model after proper research and then make a purchase depending on the feature you want in your machine.

Different Types of Espresso Machines have different prices

Now you have an idea about why espresso machines are expensive. Now let’s discuss different Espresso machines to help you choose the right one for you.

Pump Driven Espresso Machine

Pump-driven espresso machine uses the motor to force steam to pass through the coffee grounds at higher pressure.

Prices for espresso machines range from hundred dollars for a simple model to thousands of dollars for an advanced machine. There are two main categories of pump-action Espresso machines:

Semi-automatic, and super-automatic, differ from each other in the type of pumps, the number of boilers, and the electronic controls.

These machines usually cost between 500 to 1500 dollars.

Also Read: 9 vs 15 bars Espresso

Semi-automatic Espresso machine

Semi-automatic machines are mostly used in cafes and restaurants, and they give you complete control over the brewing process. Obviously, you have to be an expert in pulling espresso shots while using semi-automatic Espresso machines.

The semi-automatic espresso machine requires you to tamp and grind the coffee yourself, as well as turn it on and off at the right time. Users can also adjust the brewing temperature and pressure in a semi-automatic Espresso machine

Super Automatic Espresso Machine

As the name suggests, a super-automatic Espresso machine takes full control. It performs all activities ranging from grinding, tamping, and brewing, further emptying the used waste into the internal container.

Some super-automatic models also have the feature of steam and froth milk. Super-automatic Espresso machines are perfect for newbies as the machine takes control of the whole process at standard practices. So not much expertise is required to operate these machines.

Portable Espresso machines

Certainly, portable espresso machines don’t produce the same quality as automatic espresso machines, but if you want a fair shot of espresso while traveling, they are an excellent option.  

Portable Espresso machines are manual and you have to create pressure by manually pumping the machine. They are also much cheaper you can get a good Portable Espresso maker in the range of 40 to 60 dollars.

Check out the list of 10 Best portable Espresso makers

Alternatives to Espresso coffee machines

Suppose you don’t want to pay a high price for an espresso machine and also don’t want to put an effort to brew Espresso. In that case, some alternatives are budget-friendly and easy to operate.

Remember, you will never get a quality espresso drink with alternatives. Still, it can provide you with great espresso shots to some extent.

Pod Machines

Pod machines are simple and easy to operate. And you can get a fairly good shot of Espresso with these machines at the ease of pushing one button. Nespresso is the biggest player in manufacturing pod based Espresso machines

Pod machine doesn’t provide you control over the taste of Espresso, and the quality of Espresso certainly doesn’t match the quality of Espresso prepared by traditional Espresso machines. But if you want to enjoy espresso shots to some extent in the budget, then you definitely choose a pod machine.

The good thing is you can choose from a variety of coffee pod flavors, making it easy for you to find one you love.  

Moka Pot

Moka pots are cheap options to brew Espresso.

However, Espresso you get will not be of quality standard but definitely amuse you to some extent.

While using a stovetop espresso maker all you need to do is put water into the pot and then put ground coffee beans above it and heat up the pot. Steam will create and extract the flavors from the coffee grounds resulting in the preparation of Espresso that will come out of a filter at the top of the machine.

Aero Press

The Aero press is another cheap option to brew coffee. It allows us to brew strong coffee similar to Espresso by manually pumping the pump.

The device is similar to a syringe. It has a cylindrical chamber and a plunger with an airtight silicone seal. Water and ground coffee beans are steeped inside the chamber, then forced through the filter by pressing the plunger.

This machine is portable and perfect for traveling purposes. However, if you want a full taste of Espresso, the Aeropress is not a good option.

Final thoughts

The cost of espresso machines is much higher than that of drip coffee machines and for a good reason.  

The high-quality parts of Espresso machines, more qualified human resources, low demand, advanced functionalities, and the brand reputation are the major factors that drive the cost of Espresso machines much higher.  

So if you want to make your coffee experience more delightful you must be willing to spend a lot of money.


What is so special about espresso machines?

Espresso machines create a pressure of 9 bars to extract flavors from coffee grounds and to deliver shots of Espresso.
That high-pressure brewing results in rapid brewing and high-density flavorful coffee oils in Espresso shots.

Is it worth it to have an espresso machine at home?

If you love rich Espresso shots and milk-based espresso drinks like cappuccinos, lattes etc. and you are skilled enough to operate espresso machines then it is certainly worth having an Espresso machine at home.
You will surely save a lot of money if you have an espresso machine at home rather than paying for espresso drinks from cafes or restaurants.

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Johny Morrisson is a passionate coffee enthusiast and an avid blogger dedicated to exploring the world of coffee.

Whether it's repairing or troubleshooting coffee equipment, reviewing cutting-edge brewing machines, or delving into the latest coffee trends, Johny's writing captivates readers and invites them on a flavorful journey.

When he's not writing, Johny enjoys traveling, seeking inspiration from different cultures and coffee traditions worldwide.