Sunday, February 12, 2023

Nice Thrift Store Score ...

I'd been using my latest $5 (or maybe less) thrift store/yard sale espresso machine for maybe a year, and the quality (strength of flavor, amount of crema atop the brew, etc.) was noticeably dropping the last couple of months. My guess, based on listening to the change in drip sound, is that it's not developing as much pressure as it used to. Leaky seal? I couldn't hear a leak, but something is going on with it.

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.

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