I’ve got a fun story about this baby. I have one of these machines, and the only reason that I do is because I picked it up next to my apartment building’s dumpster. It wasn’t in… great shape, but I brought it indoors, cleaned it, and then began the slow process of purchasing all the parts I need to make it run normally. That’s why it’s in the “Things I’m paying for” section, since I’m still collecting parts. At this point, I have everything that I need to use it at a limited capacity, but I just want to say this—don’t lose the parts to your home appliances. They add up when you buy them aftermarket.
At any rate, I love this machine because it is incredibly fast at making espresso. It’s everything you need, all lined up: First, there’s a built-in hopper with grind adjustment so you can dispense the right amount for your shot. Then, you tamp the grounds down using the included tamper, slot the portafilter into the machine, and then you hit either the single shot or double shot program buttons, and it just… Goes. If you want steamed milk, there’s a steam wand in the machine. If you want an Americano, there’s a hot water dispenser right there. Seriously, the ergonomics are pretty well thought-out with this machine.
Unfortunately, it’s a bit pricey. This machine in particular is $699, but I’ve seen it as low as $449 on a good day. Frankly, I don’t know many options besides this machine—maybe an AeroPress with the Fellow Prismo attachment, if you wanted to keep your setup inexpensive, but that won’t deliver real, pressurized espresso like the Barista Express. Maybe you too can get lucky and find one of these next to a dumpster.