Why Are Espresso Machines So Expensive?

Why are espresso machines so expensive

Ever decided to get your coffee game to the next level, only to suffer from a serious case of ticket shock? Anything more budget-friendly just can’t produce a good cup, while trying to not over-spend can still make your wallet about $500 lighter.  Why are espresso machines so expensive?

Is there a good reason for that price tag? Well, several – and most of them are perfectly understandable.

Quality Standards

Since espresso as a drink is a very particular little beastie that requires correct pressure, temperature and grind for a perfect pull, the machine that is responsible for all those demands must be able able to truly deliver. With the majority of other household appliances, such precision is not mandatory, so they are comparably cheaper to produce.

There is quite a bit of Mano in the making of the Macchina

If not completely hand-made (like some models that cost as much as a new car), all machines must at least have some substantial human involvement. The manual labor needed, the more the prices rise. Also, industry leaders like Gaggia and Saeco make their espresso machine in Italy where, even though there is no minimum wage law, the incomes of the workers are much higher than the ones in China. But that is just going with the idea that the worker in question is not considered an artisan, in which case they receive a raise on the spot.

Parts alone can get pricy

Well, a part. Remember that pressure we talked about? It needs to be exactly 9 bars and it needs to be delivered with consistency every single time the machine is used. Regulation of that pressure and temperature is done by something called pressurestat and this guy can easily cost about $100 on its own.

While there is room for error with your Mr. Coffee espresso maker, a good espresso can’t afford it.

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With such a short pull time (10 to 15 seconds), all parameters need to be in alignment and consistent. While any good ye olde heating element might do, the espresso machine will just scoff at it (and maybe throw a diva tantrum).

The Rok is a good example just because it is not a machine. This guy costs about $200 (if you are getting it from their website) and though it is completely manual, you are still paying for years of research and design, as well as suitable construction and parts that can deliver the same 9 bar pressure as a coffee shop machine.

Sometimes it is about the label

Certain espresso machine brands have been around for a very long time and have at some point earned the right for their names to be associated with quality. Sometimes a particular innovation or design is hyped up so much, or at least enough for the price tag to receive a boost as well. No matter what, these machines are also good for sale. And good branding and marketing efforts can increase their value.


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