Advice on buying an espresso machine

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
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#1: Post by malcolm.mcintyre »

My first visit to a dedicated coffee site, as I was looking for advice on buying a machine. I think I'll leave e-bay alone.

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#2: Post by HB »

This CoffeeGeek article is a good read... How to Buy an Espresso Machine. For those who don't like to read long articles, I'll net it out:
  • Think about your typical usage. Espresso only? Latte lover till you die? One person service? A crowd? Usage dictates the class of espresso machine.
  • Decide on your budget for the entire ensemble including grinder and accessories. An entry level setup is around $500 and a setup composed of semi-commercial equipment represented in this site's reviews is somewhere around $2000.
  • Don't cheap out on the grinder, it's more important than the espresso machine.
  • If you're budget constrained, see inexpensive grinders and inexpensive espresso machines.
  • If you're really budget constrained, consider a good grinder and French press / Aeropress, then adding an espresso machine to the mix later on.
Making espresso at home requires skill. Think about how much money and effort you are willing to put towards it. For some the ritual and "challenge" are as enjoyable as the drink itself, for others the less time and effort spent on getting a drink out, the better.
Dan Kehn