...as a well-built, cheap, semi-automatic espresso machine? It would be really cool if I could work on drink mixing and latte art from my apartment when I'm not on the job. I'm sort of new to being a barista, so I'm not too sure of what I'm looking for or where to look. I've caroused espressoparts.com and found some that were perfect -- with exception to price. Could anyone recommend some models, or places I could begin looking?

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Hey Jason - yeah that's a great setup and those new Silvia's do look nice

Jason Dominy said:
Easy, under $1k full home setup: Rancilio Silvia and Baratza Vario. Full quality, great espresso, and the ability to make great drinks for under a grand total. And sometimes wholelattelove.com has great deals on refurbished Silvias.
If you're looking for the most bang for your buck, the Le'Lits from 1-st-line.com are hard to beat at their price point.
There's a very affordable combo, the PL042, as well —built in Lux grinder, fairly forgiving group, etc.
The short steam wands can be a pain, initially, but being that there's a steeper learning-curve with these machines, they'll force you to up your skills and find workarounds that will make using a commercial machine seem like cake.

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