Best options for a home espresso machine

My sister and her husband drink a latte or two each morning. Their current countertop machine has just started leaking, so I thought I’d replace it as a Christmas present.

What’s my best bet? They don’t want any of the pod-kinds, they have a nice burr grinder already. Bonus points if it ships directly to Australia and works on 240V power. Maybe max of $300? I know that puts a Rancilio Silvia out of my budget… next best?

Moderator Note

Thread relocated from IMHO to Cafe Society.

A used Rancilio Silvia?

I’m a recovering coffee snob/geek so maybe not up on the new hotness, but as of the last time I seriously paid attention, the Silvia was the least machine I’d consider, with everything less being super compromised.

That said, the Silvia is not without its own oddities. The boiler is small and not a true heat exchanger model, so for best results, there’s a technique called ‘temperature surfing’ that’s easy to learn and gives consistently excellent results.

I got this DeLonghi, and I’m thrilled with it. Good starter machine, under $100. Won’t satisfy an aficionado, but it costs way less than a car. Has over 5,500 reviews, and 60% are 4 & 5 stars.

I use pods, but they are special ESE pods by Lucaffe. They were created for the espresso industry. These are not supermarket pods or Nespresso pods.

I was going to recommend this Europiccola, an Italian made machine. We bought one in the mid-90s when we were visiting Italy and planning to live overseas for many years. They have apparently gained in popularity as they now sell for $900, so I guess that’s out of the question for you. I ended up selling it at a garage sale for a song.

If they like their current machine (other than the leaking) they might want to consider attempting a repair. Search “(brand and model name) leaking” and you might find its a common problem with a simple fix. Replacing or reseating an o-ring is a simple thing to try.

I like our Breville, although it only gets used a handful of times a year.