When I was an up and coming young businessman (as opposed to the crusty old curmudgeon I am today) I had the chance to shadow a bread tycoon in Northern Spain. I won’t go into the details, but for part of the visit I stayed with him and his family outside the city of Bilbao. He was a nice guy and assured my that I should make myself at home.
Even back in those days, I was an early riser, like real early: 4:30 or 5 o’clock. Needless to say the Spanish sleep in a bit longer. Anyway, stuck in this family house outside the city like I was, I had little choice but to twiddle my thumbs until the household woke up.
After an hour or two, however, boredom made me bold and I decided to make some coffee.
What I found in the kitchen was this complicated machine: I knew it made coffee, but I hadn’t a clue how to work the thing. I hesitated a little, but after all my host had said: mi casa es su casa…
Trying not to make any noise I tried to figure the thing out. I nearly gave myself a heart attack when I got the electric grinder going. Finally, a half hour later I had produced some weird variety of watery espresso that caused my host to burst out laughing when he came downstairs a few minutes later and showed me what I was doing wrong.
Despite these humble beginnings, the experience made me a life-long fan of home espresso machines. Once you get started, it seems, there’s just no going back to drip coffee. I’ve experimented with several machines in my time, and there are a few I would highly recommend.
Best Espresso Machine for the Money?
My current pick for best espresso machine for home use is the DeLonghi EC702. I have one at home and one at the office. I gave my brother a Rancilio Silvia for Christmas a few years ago, and I can report that this is another fine machine.
By now I’ve learned how to work the darn things, and it’s much easier then it seemed at first that morning in the half dark trying to stay quiet. For anyone still intimidated, however, there are some great automatic machines out there now like the Delonghi Magnifica or the Nespresso D120.
Whichever way you go, I hope you get as much enjoyment from your coffee as I do. I find it’s one of life’s little pleasures even after all these years.