Was the day finally here when I'd fell compelled to cough up major cash for a quality machine? Or could I find either 1) a quality machine at thrift store / yard sale price, or 2) another el cheapo, or 3) a used Nespresso or Dolce Gusto machine at a reasonable price, and switch to pre-made capsules?
The answer was behind Door #1! I was at my favorite thrift store yesterday and there it was: A discontinued model, the Krups Espresso Bravo, new in the box. For $20. Online, the little metal basket for the machine goes for that much, and even used machines of the model on eBay look to run $70 and up. It seems to have retailed new for somewhere between $170 and $250 when it was on offer.
Just had my first four shots (I didn't set it up yesterday, and this morning I decided I couldn't set up an espresso machine without first having some espresso to wake up, so I used the old one). Marvelous. The (so far as I can tell, 15 bars) pressure was obvious by the sound/speed of brewing. I'm pretty sure the old machine was 3.5-4 bars new, no telling what it was down to by the time I finally found a replacement.
I told Tamara that when we win the Mega Millions jackpot, we'll have an espresso machine with a large boiler, multiple pressure gauges, and a full-time attendant to make sure it doesn't blow up and take out an entire city block, which would constitute a significant portion of the house it will reside in.