Help me buy a good Espresso Machine

A lot of the folks who work at the Home Office are dedicated coffee lovers. Jokes are bandied about regarding my needing to deliver espresso to them when I am in the office. ( This happens every 3-4 months, maybe, for a day).

They have my back and without them I could not function. I want to get them a gift. Not everyone who works out of this office will drink espresso so I am not overly concerned with the need to buy a $ 5,000.00 machine that can service 20 people in 20 minutes. OTOH I cannot worry about offending the non-coffee drinkers who might feel slighted that the gift is not applicable to them.

I have been looking at machines in the $ 600.00 range + accessories. This Gaggia Baby D Espresso Maker is a reasonable example of what I’m looking at.

I know nothing of these machines. Anyone have experience with em? I do not want one that requires a water feed hook-up. The ones in this price range seem to have resevoirs. The company brings in bottled water in the 5 gallon bottles for drinking, so I know they will have decent water to brew with.

Preferences? Bad experiences? Good experiences? Brand recommendations?


I’m looking at theNespresso D300 for myself at home and here at work.

I did a lot of research on before we bought our espresso machine. Our coffee needs and budget were exactly like yours. I looked at their reviews on about twenty different machines in our price range, and their recommendations were overwhelmingly for the Rancilio Silvia, which we bought. I remember more than one reviewer stating that it is a durable workhorse of a machine. It has served us extremely well, but took a bit of time to learn exactly the right grind, tamping, etc. It has a reservoir which holds about 3 quarts of water. The downside is that it takes about 15 minutes to heat up to brewing temperature.

Whatever you end up buying, it is absolutely necessary to also purchase a burr grinder, if you plan to grind your own coffee. Regular blade coffee grinders do not produce a uniform enough grind to give you the results you want for espresso. We went ahead and got the Mazzer Mini (also after exhaustive research), a smallish burr grinder which has also given us great service. It’s possible to have your coffee bean vendor grind for you, but that means you are using a lot of stale, pre-ground coffee as you reach the end of your batch. If you buy pre-ground, you’re stuck with whatever size grind you purchased, even if you decide partway through the batch that you’d like it ground a bit finder.

Good luck to you in your purchase. Have a look at - they’re very knowledgeable.

One thing I like about the Nespresso is that it uses pods which are vacuum sealed individual servinings. You drop the pod in, brew your cup and throw the pod away. Fast and no mess. Indispensable for an office setting.