I am looking for recommendations on a pro-sumer level machine, to be used by ~10 members of a research group in a university, that fulfills the following criteria:
- allows espresso enthusiasts to pull decent shots,
- is easy to use for non-enthusiasts that simply want to be caffeinated,
- has a reasonably good steam wand,
- is heavy duty, i.e., can survive moderate day-long use with little maintenance for as long as possible, and
- costs less than $2000.
I have read several reviews on this and other websites, but the setting here is somewhere between home and professional usage, and I am wondering whether there are machines that fit this profile?
The long story: We currently have a Breville Dual Boiler, which is malfunctioning. We have had to have it repaired twice for what I suspect is a heating element issue (trips GFCI in outlet while heating up). Breville were kind enough to do it for free both times, but are asking for $499 now, so I am considering whether we should instead upgrade to a more heavy-duty machine. In total, we were able to get 2.5 years out of the BDB. I think part of the reason for the issues we've had with this machine is that it stays on for pretty much the entire day, and also ends up being used after its daily backflush, due to people's different schedules. Ideally, it would be good to graduate to a machine that can withstand this sort of "abuse" (scientists are rather undisciplined....).