When the Love Bean Meets the Espresso Bean . . .
It was a lovely Saturday morning, with blue skies and white puffy clouds in the sky their area seemed to be so well known for. The sun peeked demurely from behind the clouds as if nature was hinting there could be the appearance of rain later that day. For the moment it was still warm and pleasant and she shed her coat to fully enjoy the sunshine.
On her way to complete a few morning errands Judy decided to pull in and enjoy her favorite espresso café. She could make her favorite coffee at home but she decided that today she wanted the warmth socialization of her local espresso café. It was the hub of the town and she hardly ever walked in that she didn’t run into a friend she hadn’t seen for a while sometime before she left there. This time she had more of a mission than just the usual latte. Judy knew her favorite café that always had espresso machines on display for sale was having a few special bargains on their product she was anxious to explore. She was tired of always finding excuses to drop by her sister’s apartment to enjoy espresso coffee there. It was time to buy her own machine. But the cost . . . well it had always been an issue.
Judy was a thirty-something single professional with light blond hair and bright blue eyes that automatically twinkled at the very thought of espresso coffee. Today her dressy office look caved into skinny jeans, high heel sandals and a bright sky blue casual silk top. She walked in the café. The rich aroma of the coffee beans was the first thing she noticed. It was pleasantly intoxicating. The first thing she did was her usual greeting to Joseph, the head Barista at the Café. He was a very handsome man about 40 with bright brown eyes, who was also the Manager there.
“Hi Joseph! “
“Hey Judy . . . How’s it going for ya? Can I start your favorite drink?”
“Just wait a few minutes, okay? I’m going to do a little shopping.”
The next thing was that she was immediately drawn to the variety of espresso machines on display in the back of the store.
The first espresso machine she noticed was a very sharp looking Jura Z9 Super Automatic Espresso machine with it sleek black lines and elegant design. She looked over the product description placed next to it.
“Hmmm . . . this is one of those ‘one touch’ does it all for you’ machines from Switzerland,” she commented softly to herself. “Wow, sheer luxury. Not sure I could do that one anywhere near soon. It’ll be on my future ‘wish list.’” Judy scanned over the display further. The next one her eyes landed on was the Jura ENA 5 Super Automatic. “Now here is a Super-Automatic espresso machine. Very nice looking, too. “Gentle touch panel . . . easy to operate,” she read. “Oh this one is very compact in size . . . doesn’t take up much counter space.” Judy noted.
“What else do we have here?” Judy studied the style stylish lines of the Jura Impressa C65. “Now that’s an impressive looking espresso machine. I might be showing off a bit if I bought that one!” Judy went down the line studying the machines and product descriptions. “Here’s a De’Longhi ECAM. MY girlfriend has one of these and just loves it! Hmm, it has Its own water filtration system. Now that’s convenient. Judy couldn’t help noticing the price tags. We’ll these are all a little spendy for me right now. My sis’ has a Gaggia Classic . . . now that’s more like it!”
Judy studied the machines carefully. There were several rows of them. “No, I want something different than what my sister has,” Judy murmured softly. Then she saw it. “Here’s a Philips Saeco Minuto Super Automatic Espresso Machine. Judy read further. “No burnt coffee thanks to the 100 percent ceramic grinders.” The price wasn’t too bad. “Ah, look here is one that is for sale that is refurbished for a couple hundred dollars less!’ Judy put a mental note on that one. She continued her research. “Now here is a Breville Barista Express. I’ve heard plenty of good reports on that one. Made in Italy too. It is a little less money. Not too sure, though. . .”
Meanwhile outside on the side walk by the café lawn and rose garden, a handsome young stranger happened to glance in through the glass in Judy’s direction. He decided that Judy was exceptionally attractive. Ian had not actually planned to stop by the café until a little later, but perhaps he would make an exception!
“All this espresso machine shopping has me worn out. I need an iced mocha . . 3 shots!” Judy stepped over to the bar and ordered her iced mocha from Joseph. Meanwhile, Ian cleverly picked a budding red rose, and tucked it in inside his coat. Then he stepped gingerly into the store. Judy had a few sales brochures in her hand and took a seat at a table near the outside area. Ian pretended to be interested in the espresso machine display. He decided he could use that to possibly introduce himself to this very attractive girl he had just spotted. He just thought she seemed extra beautiful and had that extra something, life and bounce that he loved to see in a woman.
“Or is it just the coffee?” he mused to himself. Ian looked over the espresso machines and pretended to be interested. After getting his coffee and a glass of water, he picked up a few sales brochures, and started over in her direction, hidden rose and all. His heart was beating a little fast as he approached her table. Judy looked up and smiled at him. He almost lost it right there.
“Excuse me . . . I saw you looking over the espresso machines. I would really appreciate your opinion,” he blurted out, a little awkwardly. Judy looked up again, cocking a suspicious eyebrow in his direction. “I need to make a decision on one fairly soon . . . mine broke down,” he lied. “May I join you?” At this Judy just gave him a blank look. He was a stranger, but he seemed fairly decent, she reasoned. Then Ian pulled out the read rose and put it in his water glass and sat it in front of her. Judy just laughed delightfully when she saw it. It startled her a little and she had to gather her composure so the coffee didn’t come spurting out her nose. Joseph, the head Barista couldn’t help but notice. He shook his head, and washed cups. She grabbed a napkin in front of her.
“Oh let me help you,” said Ian grabbing an extra napkin.
“Sure,” Judy said. Feeling a little embarrassed. “Have a seat. Very nice rose. Where did that come from?”
“Just outside her here,” he blushed. “I saw you shopping for an espresso machine. So what do you think?”
“Oh, I don’t know. There are quite a few to choose from. So what’s your name?”
“Ian . . . what’s yours?”
I was just planning on coming by here anyway. I was always stopping by my sister Marge’s place for espresso on her day off. I decided it was time to buy my own. “
“Really. That sounds like a good idea. What kind of espresso machine does your sister have?”
It’s a Gaggia Classic. She’s had it about a year. She really likes it,” Judy smiled. Her eyes were twinkling again now but for new reasons. Ian’s eyes were bright and inviting. It was becoming apparent that this was becoming more than just a matter of which espresso machine was the best. “I’m tending toward buying a Saeco Minuto Super-Automatic Machine. I like those one-touch-does-it-for-you machines. They even have a refurbished one here for $200. Less. I might go for that one.”
“I saw that one. It’s still a little spendy. Why don’t you just buy a brand new Breville Barista Express? They run between five and six hundred dollars?”
“Maybe,” Judy replied a bit coyly. “But isn’t that a Semi-Automatic machine?”
“They say it’s very much like a Super-Automatic machine. It has many if the same features,” replied Ian, holding up the brochure. “That’s the one I would buy.”
“Then why don’t you?”
“I think I will, as a matter of fact.”
“I’ll stick to the Philips Saeco Minuto. I think I’m sold on that one,” Judy stated with the sound of commitment in her voice.
Then she shifted the conversation. “So do you live around here? Tell me about yourself.”
“Yes, I do . . . but I’m originally from California.”
“Are you? So am I! What part?” Judy was really getting into knowing more about Ian. After a few cups of coffee and another espresso for Judy . . . then a light lunch at the café . . . Judy and Ian were becoming rather well acquainted with each other’s history. By now Ian had removed his overcoat and had become quite comfortable.
“Well, I must say you are a very delightful girl!” Ian beamed. I can’t just leave it here at this coffee bar. I like you very much,” he admitted, his eyes shining happily.
“I like you too,” Judy smiled.” The she got an impish thought. “But how will we ever know which espresso machine is best . . . the Saeco Minuto or the Breville Barista Express?”
Ian thought for a minute. “You buy the Philips Saeco and I’ll buy the Breville and we’ll just have to try them out?”
“But how will we do that?” Judy asked with curiosity.
“We’ll just buy them and try them out at home.”
“Yeah . . . your place or mine?”
At this point the conversation had gone way beyond espresso machines. By the end of the afternoon they had each bought their favorite espresso machine, and happily exchanged phone numbers.
Ten months later there was a wedding. In their new home they had both the Saeco Minuto and the Breville Barista Express in the same kitchen warmly regarded as “his” and “hers.” They never did figure out which one they loved better. There came a point where it didn’t seem important any more. Both espresso machines made excellent coffee . . . and what they really knew was that they loved each other best of all!
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Best Espresso Coffee Machine — Economy
By Kathie FitzPatrick
If you love espresso, but can only dream of owning one of those elite espresso machines, here are some of the best espresso coffee machines in the economy division. The best espresso coffee machine in the economy class may not last you like the solid stainless steel and highly engineered world class machines, but they will get you started enjoying the wonderful world of home espresso! Most come with a warranty. Be sure and look for it!
De’Longhi ECP3630 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, Stainless Steel (ECP3630)
- Removable 37 ounce water tank
- Self priming operation for minimum start up preparation
- Full stainless steel housing
- 15 bar professional pressure assures quality results every timeSecond tier drip tray to accommodate larger cups
- Utilize De’Longhi’s call center for customized help setting up and maintaining your machine at 1-800-322-3848
- Click here to buy this product on Amazon
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Breville ESP8XL Cafe Roma Stainless Espresso Maker
- Accessories: Stainless steel frothing pitcher Tamping tool/measuring spoon/cleaning tool
- Removable drip tray and grid; Frothing jug included with purchase
- Measures 9 x 9 x 12 inches; 1-year limited warranty
- 40.6 oz (1.2 L) removable water tank
- Stainless-steel espresso machine with 15-bar thermoblock pump
- Dual-wall filter system for excellent crema; froth enhancer, cup-warming plate
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Best Espresso Coffee Machine – Economy
This DeLonghi machine has a patented cappuccino system frother
• Also has a patented flavor savor brewing system
• Programmable timer – 24 hour
• Comes with advanced water filtration., amnd a non-stick warming plate
• There is a tap valve on the side of the unit to choose coffee or steam. This tap valve has also a “0” position which will not dispense espresso, a helpful feature.
Helpful reviews from Amazon:
“We have had several Combination Espresso and coffee makers through the years. They don’t usually last more than a couple years. So we don’t spend a fortune on them. My husband makes Cappuccinos for us each Sunday morning. This by far is our favorite so if it ever goes, this one will be what we buy again. So user friendly with smart features. Love it.”
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“Purchased this combo machine for $118.00 (tax and shipping included) to replace the Delonghi combo machine we had for 7 years.
Very satisfied with the machine, we make drip coffee on a daily basis and espresso at least once a week. We have had it for over a month now, and no problems.
I especially like the automatic shut off of the warming plate, which can by adjusted for the length of time it stays on.
Delonghi redesigned the drip coffee pot lip, the old pot used to drip when/after you poured, no problems the new one.
The large button for the espresso, confused me at the first, I pressed that intending to make drip coffee, but shut it off, once I noticed no coffee coming out. I read the directions and figured it out.”
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DeLonghi BCO320T Combination Espresso and Drip Coffee- Black
This Delonghi BCO320T has a patented cappuccino system frother
• Patented flavor savor brewing system
• 24-hour digital programmable timer
• This nice combo machine has an advanced water filtration. It also has a non-stick warming plate
• This machine has a tap valve on the side of the unit to choose coffee or steam. This tap valve has also a “0” position which will not dispense espresso.
Verfied purchasers on Amazon are saying this about the Delonghi BCO320T
“I think this maker is great for home use. I was a little skeptical because of the reviews, but after almost a month of daily use, I see no real issues. In my opinion it’s easy to operate and clean. The espresso side has a safety feature that prevents the user from removing the steam cap until it has cooled down. I thought that was pretty ingenious. The automatic timer and shutoff for the drip side is also nice. Overall, if you are low on counter space but enjoy both drip and espresso brewed coffee, get this. Side note: If you are concerned about repairs if needed, you can purchase an add-on warranty. It was less than $10.”
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“I saw mixed reviews on this product when I researched it as a birthday gift for my husband. The coffeemaker had finally blown a gasket (figuratively speaking) and rather than buy just a machine that made coffee, I decided to get one that also made espresso. He LOVES espresso and the machine we had died several years ago. This machine is substantial and makes a good cup of java. It has every feature you could want. It takes up quite a bit of room on the counter, so we had to reposition some things (it’s bigger than it looks in this picture – so check the dimensions to be sure you have room), and it’s heavy, so we don’t do much sliding around to clean around it, but we think this speaks to its quality. This is a GREAT machine for the money. You won’t be disappointed.”
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“This is my third cappuccino/coffee maker combo….and the best yet! It makes very good cappuccinos, the process is a little different than my Delonghi I had purchased while living in Europe. It has the capacity to make 2 cappuccinos at once, first make your espresso, then just turn the knob to froth your milk. My last one had to turn on separate knob and wait for that to heat up, very fast with this improvement. I haven’t used the coffee maker yet…love my morning cappuccino. The valve/knob will not open until all steam is released or else cooled down for safety. Tis is not a problem as I put the frothed in water to force steam out to clean the nozzle and then release the remainder if the steam for further cleaning of the frother. Highly recommend this model.”
Well, there you have it: the best espresso coffee machine — on a budget!