Good Question: Help Me Replace My Espresso Machine!

Here's a question from Melodie, and we need your help on this one.

I'm hoping the AT crowd can give me some recommendations for a home espresso machine. For years we've been using these two little (Krups and Melitta) steam espresso makers. [Pictured above.] (Why two? Because my husband and I had them and don't have the patience to wait to make a second while the little thing cools down.) This morning, the Krups, well, krupped out. So, it's time for a decent pump machine.

I don't want to spend a fortune, because I generally drink tea during the week and coffee occasionally - mostly coffee on weekends. Oh, and I need it to be easy. I do have a good burr grinder so would prefer not to use pods.

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Melodie, we are going to say straight up that we have little experience here, so we are cautious to give you recommendations. Most of our experience is with pod machines and those pseudo-espresso stovetop pots. (We generally leave espresso to the pros and use an Aeropress for home coffee.)

The one machine we have some experience with is the Breville Die Cast Espresso Machine. We reviewed it here, and it got high marks:

Breville's Die Cast Espresso Machine

For what it's worth, it also scored highest in CNNMoney's review of some consumer espresso machines. We do like this one's small sleek footprint and its price point, too; you can find them for close to $300 right now.

That's only one machine, though, and it's just a starting point. Readers... what do you recommend, and do you have any espresso-machine shopping advice for Melodie?

Related: Video: The Handpresso in Action

(Images: Melodie and Macy's)

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