We’ve mentioned both the DeLonghi Dedica EC680 and Gaggia Classic as two great choices for a beginner’s first espresso maker. We know that many will disagree with us on this, these two espresso makers are not the cheapest and not the easiest to use. So on what basis did we decide to recommend them for a beginner?

Perfecting a shot of espresso isn’t an easy task, it takes some practice until you get the ratio and timing right. The DeLonghi Dedica and Gaggia Classic will help you develop your skills, you get to really control your espresso shots manually or automatically. They’re not the type of espresso makers that you’ll use for a few months and then outgrow, these models will last you a long time before the need to upgrade. And that’s why we recommend them as your first machines!

But the question now is, which one of them should you choose? Let’s start by listing their features:

Features of the DeLonghi Dedica EC680M:

DeLonghi Dedica Pump Espresso Machine

  • Very slim design, takes about 6″ of counterspace.
  • Sleek stainless steel housing.
  • 15 bar pump pressure.
  • Quick 40 seconds start up time.
  • Cappuccino frothing system.
  • Automatic stop flow.
  • Pre-set espresso measurement, all can be re-set to your taste.
  • Can be used with manual options too.
  • Water reservoir capacity: 1 liter.

Click here to learn more about the DeLonghi Dedica, read the customer reviews and buy it.

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Features of the Gaggia Classic:

Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine

  • espresso maker with 17 1/2 bars pressure pump.
  • 72 oz water reservoir capacity (about 2 liters).
  • Stainless steel housing.
  • Brass portafilter and grouphead to help stabilize temperature.
  • Only manual brewing.
  • Frothing wand doubles as a hot water dispenser.

Click here to learn more about the Gaggia Classic, read the customer reviews and buy it.

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What Is The Difference Between the DeLonghi Dedica EC680M vs. Gaggia Classic?

Image
TitleDe'Longhi EC680 Dedica 15-Bar Pump Espresso MachineGaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
FeatureSleek Design provides outstanding espresso while only taking up 6 Inch of space
Thermo block technology allows the machine to heat up to the ideal temperature in a quick 40 seconds
Cappuccino Frothing system provides Barista quality foam
Automatic Flow Stop
Stainless Steel Construction
Coffee/espresso machine with 72-ounce removable water reservoir
Stainless-steel housing; brass portafilters and grouphead for temperature stability
17-1/2-bar pump with high-voltage boiler; hot-water dispenser; frothing wand
Single- and double-shot stainless-steel filter basket, tamper, and measuring scoop included
Measures 14-1/4 by 8 by 9-1/2 inches
ReviewsRead ReviewsRead Reviews
LinkMore InfoMore Info

Pressure power:

  • The Dedica has a 15 bar pump pressure which is standard for most espresso makers.
  • The Gaggia Classic has a 17 1/2 bar pump pressure.

Reservoir capacity:

  • The Dedica has a 1 liter water tank capacity.
  • The Gaggia Classic has a 2 liter capacity.

Size:

  • The Dedica is quite compact with only 6-inches in width.
  • The Gaggia is about 8 inches wide.

Usage:

  • The Dedica has both automatic and manual options. It’s overall easier to use than the Gaggia Classic.
  • The Gaggia Classic is only manually operated. Using the switch buttons, you’ll have to manually start and stop the shot. This is harder to do, but it’s good practice.

Which One To Choose?

  • If you’re looking for a fool-proof way to create delicious coffee drinks, you’ll love using the DeLonghi Dedica. Its preset and programmability give you room to quickly make your drink, and if you’re ever in the mood for an espresso brewing lesson, you can use the manual settings.
  • On the other hand, if you’re serious about your espresso brewing skills, you’ll want the Gaggia Classic for sure. It’s a commercial grade machine designed with the home user in mind, and it is able to produce a better shot due to its temperature stability.

Watch How They Work:

DeLonghi Dedica:

Brewing a shot of espresso using Gaggia Classic:

 

Nespresso Inissia Machine

Ever since its release, the Nespresso Inissia has become one of the most popular Nespresso models. It’s understandable as the Inissia is Nespresso’s entry-level machine with an affordable price and a great design.

If you’re reading this post, then chances are you’ve already settled on buying a Nespresso Inissia and was wondering about its model variation, which is what we’ll explain in this post.

Is There a Difference Between the Inissia C40 vs D40?

You probably noticed that some Nespresso Inissia machines have the model name C40 and others have D40. To be specific, here are the exact model numbers and colors (cited from Amazon):

  • Black: D40-US-BK-NE
  • Pacific Blue: D40-US-PB-NE
  • Red: C40-US-RE-NE
  • Silver: D40-US-SI-NE
  • Titan: C40-US-TI-NE
  • White: C40-US-WH-NE

So, why do some have C40 and others have D40 in the model number?

Nespresso Inissia C40 vs D40

There is no real difference between the C40 and D40 models other than the colors and some aesthetic features. As you see in the photo above, the D40 models feature a differently shaped spout and drip tray/capsule drawer than the C40. The colors: Red, Titan and White are C40 models, while the Silver, Blue and Black are D40.

Other than that, all Inissia models work exactly the same way and produce the same delicious coffee.

Click here to learn more about the Nespresso Inissia, read the customer reviews and buy it.

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Read More about Nespresso Inissia:

 

Having your own espresso bar at home, you’ll be making your own delicious espresso and coffee drinks how you want and when you want. It’s not only fun, but it will save you a whole lot of money (no more trips to expensive coffee shops).

To be honest, if you’re looking for the best gear out there, then $500 is not considered to be a high budget. However, we can absolutely work with it. Your budget will go on an espresso machine and a conical burr grinder. The grind and consistency of your coffee will make all the difference in the quality of your espresso, so it’s important not to skip the grinder.

Below, we’ll list a number of espresso makers and conical burr grinders with a sum price of $500 or less. Please note that these prices can change by their sellers which we have no hand in, but we do our best to find you products at these prices.

Best Espresso Makers For $300 Budget : *Cost a little less or more than $300*

Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine:

Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine

This is a favorite among many people, because for its price, this is a top-notch espresso maker. Gaggia is an Italian brand well-known for its high quality. The Classic is a manual machine that will allow you to practice barista skills with ease.

Features:

  • 17 1/2 bar pump pressure.
  • 72-ounce water reservoir.
  • Stainless steel housing.
  • Brass portafilter and grouphead for temperature stability.
  • Frothing wand and hot water dispenser.

Our Gaggia Classic Reviews and Comparisons:

Click here to learn more about the Gaggia Classic, read the customer reviews and buy it.

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Breville 800ESXL Triple-Priming Espresso Machine:

Breville 800ESXL 15-Bar Triple-Priming Die-Cast Espresso Machine

A beautiful machine from Australian brand Breville. This die-cast espresso maker doesn’t only look good, but has enough features to make it such a steal for its price:

  • 15-bar pump pressure.
  • 75 oz water reservoir with a front window that shows the level of water.
  • Auto-purge function adjust water temperature after steam for the best espresso extraction temperature.
  • Triple Prime function releases 3 bursts of hot water to wet the coffee ground for an even extraction and full flavor.
  • Stainless steel housing.
  • Dial knob allows you to select from espresso, steam or hot water.

Also Read:

Click here to learn more about the Breville Triple Priming Espresso Machine, read the customer reviews and buy it.

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DeLonghi Dedica Espresso Machine:

DeLonghi Dedica Pump Espresso Machine

This espresso maker by DeLonghi is exceptionally slim in width, but don’t be fooled by its size, you can use it to make fantastic coffee drinks.

Features:

  • Only 6-inch wide, doesn’t take a lot of counterspace.
  • Quick 40-seconds heat up time.
  • Stainless steel exterior.
  • Auto flow stop.
  • Cappuccino frothing system for a delicious and creamy froth.
  • Pre-set and reprogrammable settings.
  • Can be used manually, too.

Click here to learn more about DeLonghi Dedica, read the customer reviews and buy it.

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Conical Burr Grinders Under $200:

Bodum Bistro Conical Burr Grinder:

 

The Bodum Bistro is a mid-range conical burr grinder that gives you many decent features for its price range.

Features:

  • Choose from 14 grind settings from fine to coarse.
  • Borosilicate glass ground bean container that reduces static ‘jumping beans’
  • Timed grind setting allows you to set a timer for your grind.
  • 220g bean hopper capacity.
  • 11 oz coffee ground container.

Click here to learn more about the Bodum Bistro Electric grinder, read the customer reviews and buy it.

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Capresso Infinity Burr Grinder:

Capresso 560.01 Infinity Burr Grinder

The Capresso Infinity is somewhat similar to Bodum’s Bistro with some slight differences. For example it has 16 settings instead of 14, which isn’t huge, but can make some difference in the result of your preferred coffee method.

Features:

  • 16 grind settings from coarse to fine.
  • 8 1/2 ounces bean hopper capacity.
  • 4 oz coffee ground container.
  • Built-in timer.
  • Available in plastic housing or die-cast housing.

Click here to learn more about the Capresso Infinity, read the customer reviews and buy it.

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Breville Dose Control Pro Grinder:

Breville BCG600SIL The Dose Control Pro Coffee Bean Grinder

  • Choose from 60 precise grind settings.
  • Built-in timer allows you to choose from increments as little as 1 second.
  • 12 oz bean hopper capacity.
  • Holder allows you to grind directly into a portafilter, gold-tone filter or coffee container.
  • Stainless steel housing.

Click here to learn more about the Breville Dose Control Pro Grinder, read the customer reviews and buy it.

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Watch Video Reviews:

Here are some videos of the gear featured above for action:

How To Use Gaggia Classic:

Pulling an Espresso shot using the Breville Triple-priming Espresso Machine:

Full Review of the DeLonghi Dedica:

Review of the Breville Dose Control Pro Grinder:

 

Cuisinox Espresso Cup and Saucer

Despite being a really strong and somewhat ‘an acquired taste’ of a drink, Espresso remains to be a very popular coffee drink. Why? Because Espresso is the base of every popular coffee drink: Cappuccino, Latte, Machiatto and every hot or cold coffee drink out there.

Espresso is made by using a really high-pressure machine that forces boiling water through the finely ground coffee beans. The result is a shot of coffee with a thick layer on top known as Crema. Espresso can be enjoyed on its own or with milk which creates a variation of drinks like latte, cappuccino or more.

Can Espresso Be Made Without a Machine?

espresso-

 

As espresso makers can be relatively expensive, many people wonder if it’s possible to make espresso without an espresso maker. Truth is, no, it is NOT possible to make an authentic shot of espresso without an espresso machine. Actually, the name ‘Espresso’ refers to the fact that the coffee has been made using high-pressure (i.e: an espresso machine). Espresso has to be made using a high-pressure pump espresso machine.

Espresso can be tricky to make. Whether you’re using a home machine or a commercial one, it requires some training to get the ratio right. However, luckily, there are many options of a decent quick and easy espresso at home (you’ll still need a machine).

Espresso At Home On a Budget:

We’ve already mentioned that espresso can be somewhat tricky to make in an authentic way and it requires some practice. If you’re an aspiring home barista and you want to learn the process of making great espresso, you’ll need a manual espresso maker, which luckily is available for every budget. If you’re someone who wants a quick shot of espresso without the work, a single-serve espresso maker would be a great choice for you.

Capresso 118.05 EC Pro Espresso Machine

For the Barista Wanna-Be: If you prefer to make your espresso shot manually, you’ll be happy to know that there are many affordable manual machines to choose from. Now to be perfectly honest, these are not the greatest machines as you won’t be able to control many aspects of your espresso shot like temperature, pressure and other aspects that an expensive espresso machine will allow you to do. But they are a good product to start learning your espresso making and milk frothing skills.

There are many machines we covered, so refer to these lists according to your budget:

Nespresso Inissia Red Bundle

By using a single-serve espresso maker like Nespresso, a shot of espresso is only a click away. Nespresso uses pods that have pre-measured coffee ground in it, insert the pod, hit the espresso button and the machine will do everything for you automatically. Some Nespresso makers include a milk frother (or you can purchase one separately) which will allow you to create a variety of coffee drinks. The milk frother will also create a delicious froth automatically.

The downside of using a single-serve espresso maker (Nespresso or others) is that the pods soon become an expensive habit. But the great news about Nespresso is that there is a big variety of non-official Nespresso compatible pods to choose from that are not expensive. There are also refillable Nespresso pods you can use to brew your favorite coffee and save on pods.

Alternatives To Espresso:

If you like a short coffee with a strong flavor, there are alternatives to espresso:

Vev-Vigano Vespress Oro 4-cup Stainless Steel Stovetop Espresso Maker
For example, you can use a stovetop Moka maker. This is a popular coffee brewing method, especially among Italians who are serious about their Espresso. a Moka stovetop maker is commonly known as a ‘stovetop espresso maker’, but the produced coffee is not really espresso. However, it is very strong and is consumed in small cups, just like Espresso.

AeroPress Coffee Maker

An Aeropress is also a great way to make a short cup of coffee. Using an Aeropress, you can brew finely ground coffee using a small amount of water to brew a short espresso-like shot (still doesn’t make it a real espresso though).

 

Nespresso Inissia Machine

The Inissia is a favorite among Nespresso lovers. It’s been a popular choice lately due to its affordable price and great features. However, with the rise of other Nespresso machines like the VertuoLine, there’s been some confusion over which coffee capsules can be used with the Inissia.

Click here to read our review of the Nespresso Inissia and learn how it compares to other Nespresso machines.

Which Coffee Pods To Use with the Nespresso Inissia:

Nespresso Capsules

  • The Inissia is one of Nespresso’s OriginalLine machines, which means it uses the original Nespresso capsules (pictured above).
  • You can also use Nespresso compatible capsules like Gourmesso or other brands.
  • Another option is to use a refillable Nespresso pods. Those are NOT officially licensed, so use them at your own risk.

Where To Buy Nespresso Capsules: 

Capsules are widely available online or in-store. You can buy your capsules locally by visiting your nearest Nespresso boutique (visit Nespresso.com for locations), or you can buy them from Nespresso’s online store.

You can also buy your Nespresso capsules and Nespresso-compatible capsules on Amazon, here are our buying guides to help you out:

Can You Use Dolce Gusto Pods in Nespresso Inissia? 

Dolce Gusto Pods

No, you can’t. While, at a glance, the shape of the Dolce Gusto pods are kind of similar to Nespresso’s, there are not the same at all. Nespresso’s capsules have a different design, are made of recyclable aluminum. The Dolce Gusto pods are a little bigger and are made of plastic.

 
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