Can anyone recommend anything? Is it possible to get something decent in the $50 price range or would I have to spend much more?
Parents got a DeLonghi for about $100. It made an OK coffee, but it broke within 2 months.
Nothing yet, Pablo, because I don't want to spend more than a $100, but there doesn't seem to be anything good at that price. I just checked today - that DeLonghi actually costs $150 around here, there's also Krups for around $200 that looks OK.
For the 2 times a week that I make coffee at home, I just can't justify the expense right now. I'm dumping my money into other hobbies at the moment.
I have one of the Krups single shot espresso makers. It was $100 when I got it, but when you want more than 2 shots or you are making for multiple people it's a pain, but it is great coffee if you can tamp the grounds evenly. I know people with the $50 units that brew a little espresso pot with 4 oz. but the quality of the espresso is mediocre. The ones that have the double spout(2 shots) are expensive but they are the best, it's what the coffee shops use.
Pablo which model did you get?
I didn't end up getting one right now for several reasons.
1) I'm broke and decided I can't just wack it on the card. Too irresponsible.
2) The model I want is Saeco Gran Crema is now sold exclusively through Costco's web site. The good news is that it is now $199. Other folks will tell you they have it, charge your card and then say the factory is having difficulty delivering. Someone is fooling somebody.
3) The bad news is, even though I have spoken several times to the factory, the boiler tank on this one and the next model up, the Magic, are specified on the web sites as Aluminum. I am not gonna buy a $200+ unit with an Al boiler. The factory tells me the Gran Crema is stainless and all new Magics are stainless - but I have not confirmed this.
When this house deal closes and I don't have $3000+ house payments - I can pay for a few niceties.
The wife had an OK birthday, but that's a separate forum, although I cooked an OK dinner.
Good espresso machines pump the hot water through the grounds at a specific pressure, 12-15 bars I believe. Some boiler pressure machines have relief valves that keep the pressure within that range.
HERE is an ebay store for espresso makers.
Be very careful. Most are very unreliable. We gave up in the end and saved our hard earned. Theres not a model on the planet that you can't read horror stories about and I'm talking of machines costing thousands. Do a search and you'll see what I mean.