So I love hearing about all the wonderful machines people use in their shops on the favorite espresso machine forum, but I have certain other needs. I am a home roaster looking to buy an espresso machine for my house to begin getting used to working with espresso. So I require a few things: Budget no greater than $650, yet a machine good enough to be worth getting to "train" myself on. I really am looking at just getting really comfortable with working with espresso. Also, grinder recommendations would also be greatly appreciated!
I started with a La Pavoni Europiccolo Romantica. It's an old-styled lever-press machine. It's small and you won't be making 12 lattes for friends on Sunday mornings but it has enough power to steam milk and shoot some nice espresso. Ebay for $300. New between $500 and $1000 depending on a few things...
One of the best features of my old machine is the way it looks. You will fall in love with espresso every morning when you see it gleaming on your counter.
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