Need advice on purchase of espresso machine under $300 budget

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.

#1: Post by jt_innovations »

I'm looking to purchase a new/used espresso machine for my home. We use it at least 1 time on a daily basis. My daughter likes to make foam and froth the milk for her drinks. We have a La Pavoni burr grinder Model MEC-258 that is about 5 yrs old. I would like to find something under $300.00 (please don't roll your eyes) because of the economy and also needing to get the wife to agree on this. So I thought I would ask here and see what this forum could have for advice. I'm not opposed to buying a used machine or even going to Ebay to look or buy.

I talked with a sales rep from 1st-line Equipment and they recommended Le'Lit PL041 Espresso Machine. I read more about it and it seems like it would be a good machine. What are your thoughts.

Thanks for the help.


#2: Post by weasel »

That machine would get my vote and $$$ if I was looking for a $300 machine. I am happy with my purchase from 1st Line.

When I had a problem with my grinder hopper cracking at the base, they replaced it no questions asked. It arrived 2 days later. I am still impressed how it got here so fast. In short I can recommend both 1st Line and the LeLit (from what I read).

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#3: Post by Bluecold »

I'd fix the grinder situation first. The LaPav isn't going to cut it. 18 steps isn't enough.
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jt_innovations (original poster)

#4: Post by jt_innovations (original poster) »

Thanks for all the good info here.

As for the grinder, well that is going to have to wait, plus with out an espresso machine at all at the present time I don't even need to use my grinder.

I also did some searching on Ebay and found lots of machines there. What I find funny it I could not locate any Le'Lit espresso machines on Ebay. Does anyone know why this is.

Also would the forum recommend buy used or should I stay with new?

Thanks again,

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#5: Post by Bluecold »

Le'lit is a pretty new player. Also, consumer machines like those are meant to be thrown away instead of repaired and resold. Like most of the products this day and age.
But, more importantly, do you want an espresso machine because you want better coffee, or do you want a tiny cup of black coffee with a bit of froth on top, regardless of what tastes better?

PS. You could also spring for the Illy MIE system. Expensive proprietary cups, but the machines are cheap, feel nice and are a lot less hassle than every other way to prepare espresso. From the reports i've read, the espresso is pretty good.
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"Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing."


#6: Post by clumeng »

jt_innovations wrote: As for the grinder, well that is going to have to wait, plus with out an espresso machine at all at the present time I don't even need to use my grinder.
A grinder is a core (and probably most important) component of making espresso. If you not plan on getting one you are selling yourself extremely short on making good espresso and the machine you are looking at is going to be a waste of money.

If you really don't want to grind, options are pods or systems like Nespresso which most on this forum feel makes an inferior cup mainly due to the fact that the coffee is stale.

Keep reading...there are lots of great sites providing information on how to make home espresso. Here is a starting point. ... ssomachine
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#7: Post by isitnews »

If I had your budget I would explore the world of pourover/french press/vac-pot coffee. I think, with the grinder you have and quality beans, you would have very good coffee and a lot less frustration. And you'd have money left over.

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#8: Post by wecksell »

I'd recommend a Gaggia Color, which can be had for under $200, or the Gaggia Dose, which for a few dollars more lets you press one button to start the shot, and not have to attend to the machine for the 25 seconds it takes before you'd otherwise have to manually stop it.

You won't get a 3 way solenoid.
You won't get a metal body for the machine.
You will get a great consumer level machine with a one pound brass 58mm portafilter.

Also, find a local store that roasts their own beans.


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#9: Post by BruceB »

If the grinder is a concern then look at the Hario Skerton hand grinder for $40-50 maybe there are a few second hands floating around for less. It will give you the best of both budget concious and good grind @ slightly more than 10-15% of what your hoping to outlay on an espresso machine.

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