Espresso machine advice

I need one. I want to buy one. However, I do not know much about them, and I want to get a good deal. I don’t need anything fancy, just the basic machine with a steamer thingie for the milk.

Does anyone own one or have advice on buying? Someone told me I could go to Wal-Mart or somesuch and get one for under $50.

Please enlighten me. :slight_smile:

I’ve got an older version of this model.

It’s a pump style which means I can fill up the water tank and make as much frothed milk as I want! Well, until the tank runs dry, that is. :wink: (I haven’t had any problems with that however.) I tossed the rubber thingy they stick on the end of the frother wand: it’s supposed to help you make more forthy milk, but I find it just gets in the way and is a pain to clean.

This one won’t make killer espresso, and getting the right amount of coffee tamped down just the right amount in the basket takes a while to figure out.

However, the espresso it makes is perfectly good for making lattes, mochas, etc. with, and it’s perfectly fine if all you want to do is heat up and froth milk.

The only problem I’ve had with mine is that the knob that’s used to select between espresso and frothing snapped at the base. Nothing a bit of superglue didn’t take care of. The model they’re showing on-line doesn’t look like it’ll have that problem since it has buttons instead of a knob.

<< The truth is out there. It’s just not indexed very well. >>

The answer really boils down to how much of a coffee snob you are. If you’re particular about your espresso, you’re going to have a very difficult time finding a good machine under $400 or so.

I tried a $100 machine - one that got rave reviews. Despite Mr. Athena spending a good 4 hours one night making cup after cup after cup of Espresso, we could never get the damn thing to consistently turn out a good cup. We’d make one great cup, then add the same amount of coffee, tamp it exactly the same, and let it run for the same amount of time and the next one would be crap.

We ended up bringing that one back, and going for a Gaggia machine that was around $350 IIRC. It consistently makes GREAT espresso. It’s so-so about frothing milk - but that might also be my technique. I’m not as snobby about frothy milk as I am about good espresso.

Pretty much everything you’d ever want to know about espresso machines can be found at

I’ve had this one for about 10 years. It’s good and not too expensive. I have no clue if they sell outside the Netherlands. Let me know if I can help.

Oh. If you have cats, make sure to warn them before you make your first espresso. The “hizzzzzzzz” scares the bejases out of them. :slight_smile:

I have no idea about the machines, but I think you’re all great for spelling it without a damn “x”. Bless your hearts. I really mean it.

Check out Be careful, you could end up like me, endlessly blending and roasting your own coffee looking for the perfect ristretto…

I strictly drink espresso (no cappuccinos, lattes, etc) and have found the Capresso Espresso Classic quite satisfactory. I bet you can find it for under $200. It took me about a half a day (and a night of jitters) to perfect my technique. I get a lovely, flavorful, crema-covered espresso every time now.

But I use beans that were roasted within the previous month, and use a burr grinder at home just before brewing. I pre-heat the porta filter and sieve and espresso cup too. That makes a big difference. If you do all that, I think you can make pretty good stuff out of about any halfway decent pump machine. Don’t use a pre-packed pre-ground pod system!!!

It easily steams milk too, for my wife’s cappuccinos.

I’ve heard good things about Starbuck’s Barista home espresso machine, but never tried it. It’s pricier.

I’m the opposite of a coffee snob, hell I even drink the powdered crud outta the vending machines at work. I got this el cheapo one as a Christmas gift and it suits me just fine.

Just a tip~ If you find you need to move the contraption during the frothing process for any reason, try not to grab the metal steam tube to push/pull with. Ow! :smack:

You know, Qadgop, I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with a doctor who loved stimulants as much as you do . . .


My regular consumption, 1 double espresso twice a day translates into about 100 mg caffiene twice a day. One 7 oz drip coffee is about 150 mg in each serving.

Back before I gave up coffee, I’d drink about 5 to 6servings, 7+ oz. cups, a day, and suffer horrible withdrawal headaches if I gave it up for more than 18 hours. Now I get about 100 mg of caffiene before work, and 100 mg when I get home, and if I don’t get it, no headache!

You should have seen me some years back, the morning I had 4 cups of strong coffee to try to clear the nasty cold from my head. I also popped a decongestant tab that morning! Then a 3 year old with a chin laceration came in, and I had to sew him up! I had this lovely stimulant tremor that I could control only be resting the heel of my hand on the kid’s chest while sewing!

It healed perfectly, but I never took decongestants before work again after that.

I don’t drink coffee myself but my daughter has just recently bought a new espresso machine. It’s a Sunbeam Crema which is a basic model and cost around $400. Probably not available in the US but I’m sure there are plenty of comparable brands.

To make a decent espresso you need a 15 bar pump pressure, I think you will be disappointed with the cheaper types.

We’ve had this thingie for about 3 years. We used to drink a lot more coffee - now it is a couple of cups each morning from the machine, and that is it for the day. Drinking less and enjoying it more! We had a Krups espresso machine but it sat in the cupboard after the first year - the coffee was just not good enough. Same happened with friends who bought the Krups. Not enough pressure = not enough flavour. Don’t get less than 15 bar pressure if you can manage it.

If our current machine broke and we couldn’t afford to replace it, I’d use a plunger. As good as a low-pressure machine, I think.

Yes, it is indulgent. Want to discuss fresh cream whippers?