ECM Rocket, Rancilio Silvia... there are a few out there depending on your budget. The Rocket is nice, It is a staple back in NZ (sold by Laffare in Wellington). I have not seen them in too many other places though'
Some shops sell used machines for about half or less that still work great. There's a place here in Michigan that sells used machines. They had a Gaggia Baby for $150 used and several others. But that's one way to get one. Hope this helps.
Where in Michigan? I'm here for the holidays in Clarkston. Also I just have a GE burr grinder that I use now. I've been reading the reviews for Breville, and it seems that most like it, but some have commented negatively on the filters. Seems like there are many refurbs on Ebay so that raises my suspicion.
For an inexpensive home espresso setup, try your luck on ebay. Sometimes you can find a really good deal on a used home machine.
I found a Rio Vapore (aka Starbucks Barista) for $150 and bought a Bodum Antigua grinder for $60. A few modifications (about $100 worth) allow for some pretty decent crema. If you want decent espresso shots expect to spend, at minimum, $200 for a machine and about the same amount for a grinder.
Rancilio Silvia, like Alun recommend, is an excellent choice for a first home machine.
If you are looking for a high end espresso machine without the commercial price tag, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar is a great one. It's a little more expensive than the Silvia, but has a full commercial steamwand, and portafilter. You also do not have to plumb it, it's pour over.
You guys are still killing me. I'm thinking that I will never be able to attain great espresso. Guess I'll just stick to my moka pot, and keep my life savings. I was thinking that the Kenmore was too expensive! Any thoughts on the Starbucks Barista? And how much would you recommend spending for this model?
Well, someone may have had the right question earlier. What type of grinder do you plan on using with it? It would make more sense for you to budget for a grinder, rather than the espresso machine. Buy whatever you can for whatever you have left over :).
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