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Jan 11, 2008 10:20 AM

Is there an espresso machine under $100 worth owning...

I want it to make cappucino.

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  1. I've had my eye on this Bialetti stovetop version
    But Crate and Barrel also started carrying a tiny stovetop espresso version that's similar to mine, which is great. See attached photo. You could get a separate wand frother or whisk on the stove like Aida does -

    My experience has been that the cheaper electric machines never produce enough pressure to get decent espresso out of them.

    2 Replies
    1. re: 5 and Dime Eater

      I have that Bialetti stovetop machine. I almost threw it in the trash after being frustrated by it for the first couple of weeks. The gasket in the middle would ALWAYS leak, dribbling a puddle of espresso all over my stove. I took some time to read the hundreds of reviews on and several people had the same problem. The solution is to clean each and every part after each use and then oil the gasket (top and bottom) prior to brewing. Now, I love it and think it's one of my essential kitchen items. And, yes, you'll get a lot of espresso snobs who tell you it's not "real" espresso or cappucino, but it's damn good for what it is. One more thing--make sure you follow the instructions on throwing out the first batch and also, at first, there might be a slight tinny flavor, but that goes away after you use it a few times. Hey, it's Italian--it's got its quirks, but in the end, it makes you happy!

      1. re: 5 and Dime Eater

        I think you need to ask yourself what you mean by "espresso." If you're looking for a noteworthy experience full of definition and clarity in flavor then the answer is: No.

        However, if you're not well versed in espresso and think that espresso is just strong, bitter coffee then the sub-$100 machine will probably suffice.

        You can certainly spend thousands of dollars on proper espresso equipment (I do) but if you don't know the difference and don't care to know the difference then grab whatever machine is handy. In fact, bypass the machine and just for a strong brew.

      2. If you want to deal with only one unit and size is a big deal, probably your best option would be to get a Bialetti Cappuccino Maker listed by 5 and Dime Eater. We have one that we use in our travel trailer when we go camping as the Rancilio Silvia and burr grinder are too big and heavy to move.

        Bed Bath and Beyond probably has the best price if you use one of their coupons...

        Try checking I see LOTS of gently used espresso machines on it... I think people buy them and don't like the work involved. Sort of like people who by aquariums. Again, you will be getting a non-pump steam boiler powered model but it won't cost you much...

        1. No. And not only that but you will have to buy a good grinder also. At the bare minimum you will have to spend at least $300. Search the reviews and info on Coffeegeek. Also you might want to Go to Wholelattelove and see what they have in their refurbished section. Do more research on coffee sites and good luck.

          1. Nespresso has a pod machine now between 200-300. You would neet to get something to froth the milk. The one they have runs around $80, works great though.

            I have two of the cubes, paid $400 each and have three frothers, love them all, nice simple system that does a good job.

            Cleaning is almost a one minute job, just run some clear water through it on the expresso setting, dump the pods once in awhile and wash out the container.

            Drinking a nice latte right now from the cube, cheaper and lots easier than Starbucks, especially when it is pouring down rain in Oregon, like right now.

            1. The short answer is NO....better to get a Moka pot or save yer pennies for a Gaggia or Silvia Rancillio.