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Advice sought - best Expresso machine?

Marmora Man

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For years I have used a stovetop Moka expresso maker. Good in its way and it delivers a mighty caffiene kick but .... it isn't proper expresso and always lacks that delicious crema that separates good coffee from fantastic expresso.

Wondering about buying a standalone "proper" expresso machine that might even include a steamer for Mrs MM's cappuccino's and latte's.

What's best out there? Gaggia or something else. I don't think I want a George Clooney Nespresso system.

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But brands change and models update... Gaggia UK went under last year and although you can find Gaggia on the market now, I'm not sure whether it's another supplier who has bought the right to import from Italy or manufacture under licence. A friend has the old Baby Gaggia and likes it. I have a Francis Francis X1 which I managed to get on the cheap 6 years ago as a sample which is fabulous and infinitely better than the genuinely cheap Krups that I had before.

Most new models take both the 'pods' or proper ground coffee. It does depend on how much of a coffee geek you are. If you're really serious, then you want one that has good bar pressure (higher than 15) and you really want one with a copper or brass boiler/grouphead rather than stainless steel. If you just like a decent espresso and aren't a coffee connoisseur, then any of the ones around the ?150 mark will probably do the job.

One thing to be aware of (and why I think my first cheap Krups died) is that they are very prone to limescale buildup which can seriously ruin your pressure and your coffee. Either get a softener or keep some bottled water just for coffee machine/kettle.

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One of my buddies bought a second hand commercial Gaggia (the one with the two levers on the top for pulling a pint) and made great coffee and frothy milk.

I think you may be able to get a bargain that is cheaper and more accomplished from a secondhand commercial caterers, rather than the twee new one which will not be as good in performance and cost 50% more to purchase.

The greatest disadvantage is the space taken up by it, but it is a great talking point for new guests.

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  • 1 month later...

I would avoid Nespresso and go for a 'real' espresso machine.

Nespresso limits you to pre-packed coffee capsules so you can't try out interesting roasts and blends as you'd like, and you can forget about buying and grinding your own beans, if that's your thing.

It also creates a disproportionate amount of waste because of those ridiculous little capsules, and works out to be very expensive per cup.

We've got a Magimix 'L'expresso' which cost about 150 euros (bought in France, which explains the 'x' and is still making a great cup after nearly 4 years of daily use, at least 4 cups per day.

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