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What espresso machine should I consider buying?

Asked by Ken B.

Topics: espresso, coffee gear
The world of home espresso machines is vast and difficult to navigate, with models ranging from plastic-y pod espresso brewers that cost around a hundred dollars, all the way up to "prosumer" models from companies like La Marzocco that can set you back $5k or more. If you're really gung-ho, you can even install a commercial machine in your kitchen, but it will require custom plumbing and a 240V electrical circuit (I've done this, and it was a TON of work).

The models I generally recommend for home use all come from Breville, and range from a few hundred dollars up to $2k. These are the recommended machines of Espresso guru David Schomer, who likes the consistent temperature of their group head.

If you're looking to froth your milk while your shot is pulling, make sure to get a unit with a double boiler. And consider how you feel about grinders: units without grinders allow you to upgrade your grinder over time, but that also means more cost on a separate piece of gear. Any way you go, unless you've had significant training as a barista, the biggest cost by far will be the time it takes for you to learn, experiment, and "dial in" how you pull shots and froth milk. But that's half the fun!

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