Need Help! Which espresso machine should I buy?!

Question: Need Help! Which espresso machine should I buy?
I am shopping for a Christmas present for my gf. She loves ordering cappuccinos and a variety of lattes, so why not make some on her own. I want to get her an espresso machine, but I am afraid that my budget won’t allow me to get a really good one. My budget is about 170 to 200. I don’t mind spending more. If spending another $100 means getting a really good quality espresso machine that exceeds the performance of the models which I am looking at ($170-200 price range), then I’ll definitely consider going to that price range.

Gaggia 12700 (looks great, but not sure about its performance, I am leaning towards not getting this model) Price: $220
Capresso Espresso 115 – I think it provides the best bang for the buck. Hopefully it will last for a while. I bought this one for a gift so far, but can simply return it back to bb&b. The thing that bothers me about this model is that it’s “plastic-feel,” and if it will actually prove to pass the test of time. Price: $170
Delonghi EC702 – This model looks solid and has good ratings. I am actually leaning towards this model right now. But I tend to change my mind every day or so. Price $200

I really can use some expertise, particularly from anyone who owned or used an espresso machine. What brand/models am I overlooking? Oh, one more thing, it is imperative that the espresso machine with a really good frother, and make solid crema. I honestly do not know much about what makes good espresso, but am learning. Could use the help!

Thanks in advanced.


Best Answer - Chosen by Voters

If you want a machine that will last and not a toy then I would consider going for the Gaggia Classic… This is pretty much the bottom line that anyone who is serious about coffee will consider. I wouldn't touch the DeLonghi, Krups or Capresso with a very long barge pole.

If you are getting a decent expresso machine you will also need to consider a budget for a decent burr grinder. Without grinding your beans freshly you will produce disappointing coffee. Something like the Kyocera hand grinder will provide a suitably fine grind for espresso without stretching your budget too far.

I would join one of the many Coffee / Espresso forums if you want more detailed advice. I am a member of a number myself. is probably the most friendly if you are starting out.

I have used Krups machines for years. I have owned an espresso maker and the coffee pot and they have always made good quality coffee and espresso. The first one I bought was a dual coffee and espresso machine. I've had it since 1995 and it is still going strong. The other one I received as a gift and have had it for 7 years and its done just as well. Now I haven't used any of the current models, but based on my prior experience I would definitely buy another one.

I gave my Krups machine some heavy duty use. This model is very similar to what I had.…

I used to have a steam driven, but this pump machine gave a much better espresso. One of the reviews on this page says it does froth well. I remember it doing so from the 1998 model I purchased.

Of the brands you listed, I am only a little familiar with the Delonghi and I have heard only good about it. I cannot tell you about the specific models though.

I hope your gift is well received.

Yay such a good present! I was actually just doing a bunch of research on espresso/latte machines because that is what i want for christmas! the one i have decided on (based on reviews and price) is…

it is a single serve coffee machine but i like that for the convenience (even quicker than stopping at starbucks) and the fact that it barely needs to be cleaned. also it can make you tons of different types of drinks and brands of coffee (including starbucks!) with just the little pod things.
read the reviews, it seems to be a great machine (and the drinks it makes are good- according to most of the 157 reviews.)
and its only $100! well its $150 but with a $50 rebate if you buy before xmas! it is also sold at target i believe so you could go check it out and buy it there so incase there are any problems it would be an easy return.
i hope this helps, and if not then i will lastly suggest using amazon to look up the machines your interested in and read the reviews! thats how i made my decision.
good luck!

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