I am new to this site. I am looking for an expresso machine for home use. I love mochas, lattes, all of the drinks one might not consider 'real coffee', hence the user name. Anyway, do you have any suggestions on a machine which would suffice for me. My husband loves plain, black coffee, so something that does both well. Also, a great grinder...any suggestions? I have a friend who is looking for a burr (is that right?) grinder. I want to learn more about the whole coffee thing. Thanks for any help! (I think I will be going for a Saeco after reading some things on-line. I originally thought a Breville but might as well get a good one)
Ok, so the Gaggia Espresso is newer? Very reasonable...I had also been looking at the Solis SL 70 or 90 machines. Again, I am completely ignorant to any of these but want something decent from the get go. Also, is there a reasonable one which would do coffee and expresso? What is your opinion on on Solis?
We don't recommend combination espresso-drip machines, because we have never seen a good one (read: one that works at all). We don't expect that we ever will. This is one case where you are better off buying separate units.
The good thing is that, as Colin has mentioned, equipment for brewing 'drip-style' or somewhat similar coffee preparation are both affordable and can be stowed away when not in use -- both the Aeropress and a regular french press are good choices, as is a good manual pour-over brewer (Melitta) with decent fins/ridges along the inside.
If you want to spend more money (Cafe Solo) or get a dedicated DRIP machine, consider the Newco OCS brewers if you can still get your hands on one (Colin recently posted about their discontinuing the models we so heartily recommend).
As Colin also mentioned, some folks find that they like the \"Americano\" as a drink in place of drip coffee; this is simply adding hot water to your espresso.
The Solis semiautomatic machines, like the ones you mentioned, are just fine. We mention the Espresso often because it produces a high quality product (with well-ground, FRESH coffee) for a very affordable price.
The Gaggia Espresso and Baby are classic units that have a legacy of over 25 years.
Still, they have had some refinements over the years.
On the inside, they are all the same; a pump, a boiler and a group (which holds the coffee filter) pretty basic stuff actually. Gaggia does it well and always has.
The Solis SL70 represents some of the best value to be had.
Thanks Dave for your comments as well. Update on the Newco home series:
Although the Newco OCS-8, OCS-8A and OCS-12 series are no longer being made (much sadness in Coffee World!), the owners and engineers at Newco are re-considering their decision. This is very, very new information from Newco - all we coffee lovers can do is cross our fingers and send words of encouragement to Newco!