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alexremington

$300 for a slim just espresso maker - get a Breville Bambino. It makes good milk drinks.


SingAlongBlog

Short answer, no Does she just want better coffee or does she want a hobby? If she just wants better coffee there are easier and cheaper ways to do that. If the latter, 300 is really pushing the low end of the budget for a grinder and machine, even for a lever machine.


AlphaDag13

She just wants to be able to make espresso when she wants one instead of coffee. Definitely not interested in it as a hobby. Too much effort for her lol.


SingAlongBlog

Considering the information that you’ve given, I would just have her find a local cafe that pulls good shots and pay the $3 whenever when the mood strikes. The machine you’re referencing will not be able to make good espresso and you’ll end up getting frustrated chasing after a cup that will be next to impossible to get. Home espresso takes some amount of time and effort, and it’s not without some start up cost


AlphaDag13

Ok. Maybe we’ll just nix the idea all together. We just had a baby two days ago and aren’t really looking to run out just for an espresso for the next few months. Thought the at home option might be good while we at are at home during the winter. Thanks for your input.


Majestic-Translator

Get a moka pot


SingAlongBlog

Sounds like you’re really tired and are just trying to stay awake! What does your current coffee setup consist of? When I’m not drinking espresso I use an aeropress. You can get great coffee out of a pour over or a French press too. No one method is any better than another, including espresso, they’re just different. Congratulations! And happy thanksgiving if you’re in the states!


AlphaDag13

Haha! Staying awake is part of it! Right now we just have your run of the mill 1cup/pot coffee maker. I’ve looked into a pour over and while I’m very interested in it, the first thing we look at it’s how easy the coffee pot is to use. With the new born and two others under 5, we don’t always have the time to really put the time into making coffee. However when the kids are older and more self sufficient I’m interested in looking into really everything that goes into making a good cup of coffee, but right now convenience is going to be key. It’s sounding like that’s going to be in direct contrast of the whole concept of at home espresso unfortunately. Edit: happy thanksgiving to you too!


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SingAlongBlog

That’s the camp I fall into as well as I’ve always favored clarity over body. An aeropress has the benefits of an immersion brew without all of the fines


photohuntingtrex

My wife recommends French press over aeropress, says the result is too clear


photohuntingtrex

If you’re looking for a Christmas present for your wife, you might want to check out hario v60 immersion dripper. I like it because it’s filtered too, but it’s a bit more relaxed than aeropress because there’s no pressing down and hoping you won’t have a huge mess accident.


apeceep

Espresso at home is a hobby unfortunately. Either find a espresso shop she likes or try to find something close to espresso, e.g. moka pot or pressurised machine. With those you can start with preground and upgrade to grinder later.


Nerdy-Pencil

*I’m not a coffee connoisseur* Let me just put that out right away lol. We have a dedicated espresso machine, a chemex pour over, aero press for camping, as well as a Pixie from Nespresso. Honestly the Pixie is small, and relatively affordable. After a few years, that has become our daily driver with espresso and pour over kept to the weekends. We use the pixie for milk based drinks and honestly, it’s the only one that my partner will touch to make her own coffee. Since it’s part of the original line of Nespresso, you can buy non-Nespresso branded coffee to which at Costco equates to about $0.47/pod.


AlphaDag13

That's not bad! That might be the way to go for us until we can get something better. What model do you recommend? I see a few different price points on Amazon.


Nerdy-Pencil

I have the Pixie Titan + frother. I assume you’re in the US. It’s a shame they don’t have the same deals going on there as they do here in Canada. $279 for the bundle in US, while Canada its $200 + a bunch of free coffee to try.


Nerdy-Pencil

Just to ensure it clear though, the Pixie only makes Espresso size drinks, no regular coffees. That’s where we still use our pour over. But in less than 5 minutes I have 2 cappuccinos made during our work week


AlphaDag13

Thank you! This sounds like what me may go with. The pixie is small enough that we can still keep our regular coffee pot. Thank you!!


BlaCkBiRd1068

I picked up a refurb Gaggia Brera from [wholelattelove.com](https://wholelattelove.com) for under $300 - auto bot - love it for the quick fix - double cuban coffee... I'm interested but don't quite have the time & effort to be a hobbyist... yet... Also have the Keurig Duo & cheap burr grinder for missus and company...


EggRecent

Are E.S.E. pads and machines a thing in your area (or generally in the US)? At my place (Austria) they are widely available from the best italian roasters and coffee brands, are cheaper than nespresso, and should produce decent espresso at a machine price of 200-300$. Otherwise I would either opt for a super automatic machine; there should also be solid models around the 300$ mark. If used machines are an option, you could probably try your luck getting a breville barista express for around 300$.


photohuntingtrex

To make good espresso, it’s half about the grinder. Going down the Nespresso route is a good idea in that you don’t need to worry about the grinder since they ground it nice and uniformly for you and sealed it in the pods. However, Nespresso coffee pods are really not the best coffee you could get in your budget. If you Google around you’ll find now days lots of good coffee roasters are selling their coffee in the Nespresso pod format. If I were you, I’d buy the cheapest slimmest Nespresso machine for under $130 (all their machines make the same coffee), a milk frother for $10-20 which you can put in a cupboard and save counter space, and then you have $150 to put towards spending on nice coffee or try different roasters’ coffee. If I were me, I’d start off buying a $300 set up and fall down the rabbit hole of coffee, ending up spending $$$$’s. But I’m not advising that, I’m advising the above if you want to save a lot of time/money/pain/etc. Merry Christmas 🎅☕️


liftsinlulu

The Nespresso machines that do both a ‘cup of coffee’ and an espresso shot are the Vertuo machines and do not have aftermarket pods. They’re ~$1-1.25/pod. The other machine is the Original Line and does exclusively espresso shots for which you could make an americano or latte and you can get aftermarket pods pretty cheap . Both are available with standalone milk frothers. For what she is wanting and the budget I would totally get her a Vertuo machine and frother. Check out r/nespresso for more details on which machine to get (stay clear of the Next Vertuo machine). As I venture out of the pod machines myself I am looking at getting a Brevvile Bambino Plus with grinder but for now my Nespresso is perfectly suitable (despite what others say 😆). Good luck in your quest!


AlphaDag13

Oh that’s a good idea going to the nespresso sub! Thanks for the input I’ll do that!


SaintSacred

If you want to get a quality shot of espresso on the cheap, I would suggest either a Flair58 or a PicoPresso, coupled with a JX Pro hand grinder. You can also get a milk frother and scale on Amazon to round out your setup. If you do go for a Nespresso machine, I’d opt for one with a milk frother and find aftermarket coffee capsules — the ones by Illy aren’t too bad.


AlphaDag13

Oh I didn’t realize there were after market pods! That may tip the scales. I really wish she liked this as a hobby but I know her, she more wants the end result instead of enjoying the process like I do.


Unique_Name_2

I mean, are you going to learn it? I've had a lot of fun making stuff, my gf isn't going to learn to use the lever machine but enjoys the consistent espresso drinks. Though I do get the optics there are tough; hate for it to feel like you got yourself a toy for her gift.


AlphaDag13

I might be interested later on down the line. But I have too many hobbies as it is lol. And when I do a hobby I like to save up and really put the money in to do it. My wife wouldn’t mind if I got into I don’t think because the end result would be good espresso for her lol. She mainly wants the end product. We just had a baby (our third) and was thinking the at home espresso option would be nice while we’re in for the winter. We’re not coffee connoisseurs so we don’t need the best most consistent cup of espresso, at least not right now. We just want a change from coffee a few times a week from the convenience of our home.


Illannoy1n

Aeropress tbh. It’s a tenth of your budget and will make better coffee than any pod machine can. It’s not true espresso but you can make very strong, small cups if you like.


thiney49

[Here is the cheapest machine I'd recommend for your situation](https://www.wholelattelove.com/collections/super-automatic-espresso-machines/products/gaggia-brera-espresso-machine-in-silver). It's called a super automatic machine, and will give you espresso from freshly ground coffee beans at the push of a button. These are the sort of machines you get when you just want to stop going to Starbucks so often, as opposed to the machine you get when you want an espresso hobby. It doesn't make as good of espresso as "real" machines do, but it's definitely better than nespresso, and much cheaper over the long run because it uses whole coffee beans instead of pods. If she wants milk drinks, she has to steam the milk herself, but that's pretty much going to be the case for anything under like $800.


AlphaDag13

Thank you! This really gives me an idea of what we’re looking for. Unfortunately it’s a little bit out of my price range. I didn’t realize that the sub $300 options were so bad😔. It's also a little big. I was really hoping to replace our coffee pot and get an espresso maker in one go. But it's looking like it's not going to be worth it.


np8573

Espresso at home is a hobby, it is not drink making. If you just want a drink, do any other coffee extraction method than espresso. Seriously, anything else. If you want something convenient and labeled as espresso, get a Nespresso. (But then if you do, don't come back to this sub... Haha. Jk. But maybe not.)