espresso machines

Been thinking about getting an espresso machine recently. Can anyone recommend an affordable machine (i.e. not much more than around £150) available in the UK?


PS: I assume this is on topic given the forum title, despite lack of Scrivener reference!

After years of messing about with stove-top pots and the sort of machine that’s like a smaller version of a commercial Gaggia, I bought a Nespresso machine five or six years ago, and haven’t looked back. My machine (a so-called “manual” one, by Krups) is still going strong, despite heavy use, but should anything happen to it (touch wood!) I would replace it like a shot. I believe they have models in your price range, although I haven’t looked recently. You can buy them direct from Nespresso, or from the usual suspects (John Lewis etc).

There is a good selection of coffee types to choose from. I used to keep all of them in the house so I could offer friends/family the whole range (like a rainbow of exotic chocolates), but now I have streamlined myself into buying only my four favourite blends, to suit various moods or for consumption at different times of day. People say that the capsules are expensive, but I can’t say I have noticed much difference in my overall coffee expenditure compared to my previous Lavazza habit. Certainly, I have found that family members eventually succumb and buy their own machines after drinking espresso at my house, which must mean they like it because we are all quite fussy about coffee.

For more information, try the following web site, but turn off your volume first because the auto-loaded music is truly hideous:

Thanks for sharing. That’s a useful site for info on Nespresso machines, though you weren’t joking about the music, were you! (just had to peek)

I suppose I’m a bit suspicious about being tied into a proprietary system (though as a Mac user that’s a bit of a joke) and also a bit suspicious of Nestle (the long-running boycott over baby milk etc., a remnant of my student days) but you’ve added to the number of recommendations for this system that I’ve seen.

Any other recommendations out there?

I’ve got a Morphy Richards that I love, current up for just under the £100 on Amazon ( … 11&sr=8-10). It also has the capacity to steam-heat jugs of milk very quickly - ideal for lattes. It produces a good crema (the fine froth on the coffee), and it’s quick, which is important if you want to make for more than one person at a time. Having said that about crema (in case for a moment there you were fooled into thinking I really knew something about coffee), I find the quality of the coffee depends less on the machine, and more on the beans I choose and how fine/course I grind them. When I first got this machine I spent about a week trying out various combinations till I got it the way I like it, but it was worth the effort.

Worth remembering not to leave it for periods of non-use with water in the tank, and descaling every 3 or 4 months is essential if you have hard water, to prevent the coffee becoming ‘filmy’, if you know what I mean.

Hope this helps,

I don’t know what it costs in the UK (nor do I remember how much a pound is worth) but I highly recommend the Gaggia baby–has the innards of the higher end machines in a cheaper, nespresso-ish casing. The used to go for about $200 US, when I was looking for one. I have the Gaggia that’s a little pricier, but I think it’s the same machine and I love it.

I have a little Saeco unit, a model called “Via Venezio”. Love it. Although ours is nearly 10 years old, it’s still going strong. Good crema, good froth. A quick Google search shows that they’re still available and appear to be in your price range.

Regardless of the brand/model you buy, one way to reduce (although not entirely eliminate) the “filmy water” that Sarah mentioned is to use filtered water. If you buy it, make sure it’s filtered, not spring, water. Using filtered water means that instead of emptying and cleaning the water tank weekly, I only need to do it every couple of months.

Other hints:
use good coffee
Practice. Lots. :slight_smile:

I’m another satisfied owner of a Saeco Via Veneto. After the first one stopped working after years of intense use, I bought another one, that makes the same great, creamy espresso.

The resons I don’t like the Nespresso line is that 1) they force you to create a waste by trashing away a plastic capsule for each coffe you drink, and 2) I don’t like the idea of consuming anything branded Nestlé, because of the damage they proudly do to the environment, and to children’s health*. O, maybe the two things are somewhat related…

I’ve some friends designing the Nuova Simonelli machines. I don’t think they are really inexpensive, but they should be very robust (

Paolo … odanddrink … ostro.html