You don’t need to break the bank to get café-quality beverages. In fact, the coffee and espresso market is saturated with tons of machines under $1,250 that will brew your morning espresso to your liking. However, we chose our top 5 espresso machines under $1,250 that we think you’ll really love.
Gaggia Classic Pro
We can’t say enough great things about Gaggia’s Classic Pro machine. The Classic Pro manages to check off all the boxes you could ever want in a semi-automatic espresso machine. It's undoubtedly one of the leading espresso machines on the market—it’s entry-level barista friendly, it’s the most affordable espresso machines you’ll come by and it continues to get raving reviews from satisfied customers.
Some of the top qualities you’ll find in the Classic Pro are:
- The two-hole steam tip - It produces café-quality latte art as good as your local coffee shop, but let’s keep that between you and me.
- The machine grows with you - If an entry-level user, you’ll be happy to know that the Gaggia Classic Pro is a machine that grows with the user. It comes with a single shot pressurized basket and a single and double shot non-pressurized commercial baskets, capable of producing phenomenal crema. As you become a pro with the Classic Pro, you can swap out the baskets to tailor your espresso-making experience to your liking. Plus, a shower screen, a barista pro basket, and a group gasket are all available if you are serious about becoming a pro home barista. These are great items that are specifically made for the classic pro and are available to add to your collection without having to splurge on a brand new machine.
- 3-way Solenoid Valve - This impressive feature dries out the after extraction to avoid a soupy mess when knocking out the puck. The puck comes out it one piece and makes cleaning up your space after brewing coffee a breeze.
- One-piece stainless steel housing - Marc often refers to the Classic Pro as an entry-level machine, not an appliance! Gaggia carefully wrapped this semi-automatic customer favorite in high-quality and eco-friendly stainless steel. Making this a durable machine that will last for years to come.
- Commercial grouphead and portafilter - Not only is the Gaggia Classic Pro a great machine for entry-level users to get the best bang for their buck, but it’s also equipped with the best quality commercial materials. The chrome-plated brass group head and 58mm commercial standard portafilter ensure great heat retention and sports a high-quality feel compared to other machines.
- Made in Italy - You know exactly what you’re getting, where it’s coming from and have complete trust and confidence that Gaggia is producing a high-quality machine with their in-house experts.
Rancilio Silvia M
The Rancilio Silvia M is a machine with a lot of history. Over 20 years ago, Whole Latte Love noticed an older model of the single boiler machine at Dallis Bros Coffee in New York City and knew we had to reach out to Rancilio for a chance to introduce it to the U.S. market and, well, 20 years later, the rest is history.
Here are some great qualities in the Silvia M that we love:
- The Boiler & Adjustable Brew Pressure - The boiler on the Rancilio Silvia M is made of marine-grade brass and has a considerable volume of 12 oz. Not only that, but you can adjust the brew pressure on the machine via the OPV valve inside the Silvia M.
- Powerful Steam Wand - Owners of the Rancilio Silvia M boast about the incredible power of the steam wand. No need to crank up the steam when frothing the milk, the machine handles all the work for you with ease. Another plus is that users can get hot water for americano’s and tea straight from the steam wand giving you more beverage options on this machine.
- Temperatures - The steam boiler can reach up to 280 °F and brewing temperatures reach a maximum temperature of 205 °F.
Bezzera New Hobby
We recently received the Bezzera New Hobby at Whole Latte Love and the first thing we had to mention about the machine was the incredible steam power, the 3-way solenoid valve, and the 3-liter water reservoir. Let’s talk more about these features.
- Steam Power - Not only is the steam wand among the most powerful for machines under $1,250 however it has a two-hole steam tip to give you that airy milk foam perfect for crafting lattes and cappuccinos.
- 3-way Solenoid Valve - No one likes brewing the perfect shot of espresso and when it comes to knocking out the puck, it’s a difficult, soppy mess. The 3-way solenoid valve on the Bezzera Hobby dries out the puck after brewing, draining the excess water into the drip tray.
- 3-liter Water Reservoir - Most machines in this range are equipped with a 2-liter water reservoir, the New Hobby gives you an extra liter of water so you can hold more water and won’t have to refill the reservoir as often.
Gaggia Magenta Plus
The Gaggia Magenta Plus is the perfect amount of barista for someone whose time is a priority but still wants to brew premium quality espresso beverages. By using this machine, authentic espresso is simplified, all while offering users full control over milk frothing.
Each drink made with the Gaggia Magenta Plus can be customized to your desired temperature, brew strength, and volume. You can also choose to brew with pre-ground coffee using the bypass doser, or make two drinks consecutively when selecting the espresso, espresso lungo, or coffee options. A commercial steam wand puts authentic milk-based drinks at your fingertips, making perfectly frothed and textured milk for cappuccinos, lattes, and more. The machine also comes with a full color display with icons that make additional programming a breeze.
If space is a concern for you, no worries. The Gaggia Brera Espresso Machine is a capable and compact machine that delivers on performance. At just 10” wide and 12.4” tall, you’ll have no problem fitting this machine on your counter.
With stainless steel accents, the Gaggia Brera Espresso Machine is a chic addition to any kitchen. The simple icon-based display makes the Brera easy to understand and operate, with buttons dedicated for espresso and long coffee, as well as a power button and coffee strength selector. Another way to adjust coffee strength is with the Gaggia Adapting System, which uses algorithmic learning to self-adjust coffee grinding time. A pannarello steam wand makes frothing milk easy for cappuccinos, lattes, and more. The Brera can also dispense hot water through the steam wand for tea.
If you're new to home espresso, it might also be worth taking our quiz to see which type of espresso machine is best suited to your lifestyle.
What Type of Espresso Machine Is Best For You? Take The Quiz!