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Can anyone recommend a good make of expresso machine?  Ours died yesterday after months of dripping when it was not in use.  It's our second Di Longhi.  We don't really want the sort that operates on pods as I expect that would work out too expensive and they are only really for small cups of after dinner coffee. Some pods came with this machine, but the coffee was too weak.  We tend to have two tea cups each for breakfast.  We used to have filter machines, but as we have very different work hours, it always meant that one of us had to have coffee which had stood for several hours - then it gets a film on top of it and isn't as nice.  So we need something more instantaneous.  Today, I had to use my Bialetti and it took about 15 minutes before it was ready and then more than 5 minutes for it to be cool enough to drink.  I also think that the Bialetti give it a metallic taste.  I suppose 3 espresso machines in 10 years isn't too bad really, because things are not made to last these days.  We don't need anything fancy such as frothers as we don't take milk with our coffee nor have capuccinos etc.  Thanks for your suggestions.

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I'm happy with the Gaggia Classic; four years & counting (maybe not much longer, now that I've tempted fate [Www]).

[img]http://www.coffeeitalia.co.uk/prodimages/gaggia/gaggia-classic/gaggia-classic-res.gif[/img]

I would say that the Gaggia makes better tasting coffee when given 15 mins to warm up.  Also, while ready ground coffee works okay, it is really too coarse for this machine and doesn't produce a good crema.  So, I'd recommend a grinder to go with it.

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[quote user="Âme"]I'm happy with the Gaggia Classic; four years & counting (maybe not much longer, now that I've tempted fate [Www]).

[img]http://www.coffeeitalia.co.uk/prodimages/gaggia/gaggia-classic/gaggia-classic-res.gif[/img]

I would say that the Gaggia makes better tasting coffee when given 15 mins to warm up.  Also, while ready ground coffee works okay, it is really too coarse for this machine and doesn't produce a good crema.  So, I'd recommend a grinder to go with it.
[/quote]

Seconded. 

Personally a 5 min warm up is all I need but I can now go from coffee beans and switching the machine on to a double espresso in 90 secs (I am that sad to have timed it).

Clean and descale every 2 months and it lasts forever.  Also plenty on ebay at decent prices.  Would have no problems with a decent second hand machine if price is key.

If you do go for a grinder get a Gaggia one.  Cheaper ones dont go fine enough for espresso.  If you need real advice log onto coffeegeek.

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My husband sometimes makes instant coffee and I can't bear the smell! I love an espresso after a meal, although one after dinner is no longer a good idea as I'm in the insomniacs' club! I also love a cappucino mid-morning sometimes, especially when I'm out shopping, but a really good one is rather rare, I find. We mostly tend to stick to cafetieres, have a couple of sizes at each house. Many years ago we had one of those glass ones with a big glass top - can't remember the name (or even describe it properly now I've read this bit!), which you heated on the hob; lovely coffee, but I found it difficult to use. Was it a Cona?

My husband compares prices of coffee when out in both UK and France; although price isn't what we base our choices on; a decent coffee at a friendly place is much better value than a cheap cup of coffee in a cafe I don't enjoy!  [:)]

GG

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We love our Nespresso machine but the fact that it ties you in to buying their (pricey) capsules is a real bore.  But the coffee is fabulous, and all our guests agree.

I was told when I was buying ours that the key is the pressure - each machine has a pressure rating and you should go for the highest you can afford.  Sensible when you think about it as this will extract the most flavour from your coffee.

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My nexpresso machine has been put away for the time being. Being coffee addicts we found we were spending far too much on the pods (about 100 euros a month!) Oh but I miss it! If you only have a couple of cups a day (as opposed to six or seven each) the coffee is fabulous. It's clean, easy and the service on the nexpresso website is faultless.

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Had a couple of friends round for dinner last night (I didn't eat them).

I've been living off Senseo for the past couple of months, as it's far easier and quicker than cranking up the espresso machine. For two, it's worthwhile, but for one, I don't bother.

Anyway, I had my first decent cup of coffee in ages. It was like manna from the gods. I'd forgotten how good coffee can be.

(Incidentally, my coffee machines get clogged up a lot, even though I use bottled water 90% of the time. I discovered that putting clear vinegar in and boiling that cleans out the machine very nicely. But I guess most of you knew that anyway.)

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Sorry no - not instant coffee - foul stuff.  I know about it if I haven't had strong ground coffee in the morning.  I'm like a zombie if I have to have hotel coffee.   Going over to France on Brittany Ferries in October last year, I was horrified when the bar didn't open in the morning to serve espresso as it had done a month earlier.  I was desperate for a coffee by the time I'd driven from Ouistreham to Avranches.  How can they not serve decent coffee on a French boat!? Thanks for other suggetions.  I'll take a look at Gaggia and see what Senseo is, as I've not heard of that.  Meanwhile, we have got out our Bialetti which we usually just use for camping.  I'm thinking of getting a smaller one.  The one we have does about 3 teacups full, but I like to space out my coffee in a morning, and by the time I get to the second one it's cold.  So, I may just get a smaller one of those.  I don't think I'd want a pod one, because the Illy pods which came with our current machine were tasteless, and with pods you are tied to a brand.  They might have been OK for a thimbleful, but not a cup. I do like to get Lavazza when it is on offer.  Thanks for all the suggestions.
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I can't recommend my Senseo highly enough. I have been using one for about 3 years since it replaced an expresso machine. I use Lidl's own brand coffee dosettes and it makes a lovely cup of frothy expresso. Whenever friends come they always comment how good the coffee is, including ones that have a very expensive coffee machine that uses the very un-eco-friendly foil pods. For breakfast I heat half a mug of milk in the microwave then put it under the Senseo for the coffee and it makes a superb latté. Excellent product, easy to use, clean, and switches itself off if you forget. The dosettes needn't be expensive either as they are a standard size.
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[quote user="Jill"]Sorry no - not instant coffee - foul stuff.  I know about it if I haven't had strong ground coffee in the morning.  I'm like a zombie if I have to have hotel coffee.   Going over to France on Brittany Ferries in October last year, I was horrified when the bar didn't open in the morning to serve espresso as it had done a month earlier.  I was desperate for a coffee by the time I'd driven from Ouistreham to Avranches.  How can they not serve decent coffee on a French boat!? Thanks for other suggetions.  I'll take a look at Gaggia and see what Senseo is, as I've not heard of that.  Meanwhile, we have got out our Bialetti which we usually just use for camping.  I'm thinking of getting a smaller one.  The one we have does about 3 teacups full, but I like to space out my coffee in a morning, and by the time I get to the second one it's cold.  So, I may just get a smaller one of those.  I don't think I'd want a pod one, because the Illy pods which came with our current machine were tasteless, and with pods you are tied to a brand.  They might have been OK for a thimbleful, but not a cup. I do like to get Lavazza when it is on offer.  Thanks for all the suggestions.[/quote]

Easily. I don't think I've ever had a decent cup of coffee in France in a public place.

Mind you, my standards are high as I owned a restaurant in Australia and used the lovely Vittoria coffee. God, I miss that brand so much sometimes.

As mentioned earlier, Senseo is good, but not a real subsititute for proper espresso coffee. It's very convenient and is much better than instant coffee though.

One of my friends has this coffee machine, you put the beans in the top, press a button, it grinds them and the chucks out a coffee for you. That's very good, but I think it costs €700 or something ridiculous like that.

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[quote user="Jill"]I know about it if I haven't had strong ground coffee in the morning.  I'm like a zombie if I have to have hotel coffee.   [...] I was horrified when the bar didn't open in the morning to serve espresso[...] I was desperate for a coffee... [/quote]

I really enjoy a good fresh coffee, but I really hope I never addicted to that extent... [:'(]

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(I may be masked but I am not a hijacker) - My motto is "If it is good do it to excess" and I used to drink Gold Blend coffee in a mug - 10 teaspoons per mug.

It gave a good buzz but after a few years I was shaking needing more so I went cold lentil and now drink tea. 

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[quote user="Jill"]  Meanwhile, we have got out our Bialetti which we usually just use for camping.  I'm thinking of getting a smaller one.  The one we have does about 3 teacups full, but I like to space out my coffee in a morning, and by the time I get to the second one it's cold.[/quote]

Never really got on with my Bialetti's, I find it very difficult to get crema.

However if you go this toute try their "Grillo" or "mini express".  Both of these pour coffee directly into the cup

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