Please recommend best espresso machines under $1000 USD


New member
Jan 17, 2008
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I apologize if similar questions have been asked before, but I searched the forums and I can''t find the answer I need. I''ve never had an espresso machine before, so I have no experience to go from. I''ve been looking for a good machine for weeks, but can''t find anything that fits this description.

My budget is approximately $1000 for a super-automatic or $800 for a semi-automatic (because then I have to buy a grinder too).

I''m looking for an espresso machine that fulfills the following criteria:

1. Either semi-automatic or super-automatic.

I know with practice you can make a better espresso in a semi-auto, but I also like the idea of just hitting a button in the morning and having my coffee ready. I don''t want any \"plain auto\" machines because I figure if I''m going to lose some quality, I might as well have ALL the work done for me.

2. Can make a lot of espresso at a time - most important

I''ve been having a really hard time trying to find a machine that can make more than 2 shots at a time. I''ve checked and various manufacturers'' websites, but most of the machines don''t list this specification. Ideally, I would like something that can deliver 5 to 8 ounces of strong espresso in a cup in one run. This way I can make myself a super caffeinated cappuccino or if I have guests, I don''t need to run the machine many times.

3. The steamer/frother can be run without having to make coffee

This is so I can put some froth on top of a chai or hot chocolate.

4. Doesn''t force me to use ESE or pods of any sort.

I want to be able to use my own beans and not have to hunt for and be limited to whatever comes in the pods.

5. Would be nice if the water/milk tanks are made of stainless steel, brass, or glass

I don''t like plastic tanks because they absorb flavors/odors, leave everything smelling and tasting like plastic, get mildewy and are hard to clean, etc

Thanks in advance to anyone that''s willing to recommend a machine to me. :mrgreen:


Well-known member
Aug 15, 2005
Central North Carolina
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You're not asking for too much are you??? Seriously I don't think there is a machine out there that'll take care of all your demands.

At least you have a decent budget to work with. I'd definitely say go for a $200-300 grinder and use what's left on the machine. Personally I'd stay away from super autos and autos. They are OK, but do have limitations as to what can be done with them. If you like convenience and consistency then go for one. But if you want great shots and milk based drinks then you won't beat a good semi-automatic.

You won't find any machine I know of that will extract more than 2-3 oz. of espresso at a time because there is only so much ground coffee that can be used at once. If you want anything bigger than that then you'll have to add hot water to your shots or combine several shots together as quick as you can pull them.

Most semi-autos allow the steam wand/hot water tap to be used without pulling shots. Don't know about the super autos.

Good luck on finding tanks made of anything other than plastic.

After all is said and done I'd recommend a good capsule machine, but you said you wanted to have control over what you drink. I just can't make a good recommendation based on what you're looking for. Later!


New member
Feb 3, 2008
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For your price, I think the best machine/grinder combination you can get is what I have. Expobar Office Pulser and Rancilio Rocky grinder. For me, an espresso machine has to have a heat exchanger.

I''ve been using my rig daily for the last few years and other than needing to occasionally clean a release valve, it''s been trouble-free. It has a professional group head, heat exchanger, and large water reservior. This is essentially a commercial set-up that doesn''t require being plumbed into your water and drain system.

Before the Expobar/Rocky, I owned and operated a coffeehouse, where I had a 2 group Astoria. I can produce the same quality espresso with this machine, and I can froth milk just as well--though not quite as rapidly as you would with the commercial machine simply because the Expobar is smaller. I bought mine from wholelattelove, and had great customer service from them.

One more thing. Don''t waste your time with a super-automatic. Most of the time you spend will be in waiting for the machine to heat up in the morning, about 15-20 minutes. Grinding takes all of 30 seconds for two doubles, and another 30 seconds to dose, tamp, and pull a double shot. And you can pull many shots back-to-back with any decent HE machine.

Good luck with your endeavor.