Dave Smith wrote:
You have a choice between a steam driven or a pump driven machine, and
the latter are more expensive. I have tried several reasonably priced
home machines that didn't last, but have had pretty good luck with my
Krupps pump driven machine.
Having been to the repair shop many times with machines, I was advised
that they all break down and parts are hard to get, so if you treat
yourself to a deluxe machine you may find yourself with an expensive
piece of garbage in a year or two.
I've had both steam-driven and pump-driven espresso machines. I bought the
pump-driven one because the steam-driven one makes HORRIBLE espresso. It
forces superheated water through the grounds, which brings out all the
bitterness. My pump-driven machine (a Starbucks "Barista") heats the water
to a lower temperature for making espresso, then uses a pump to push it
through the grounds. It uses a separate compartment to generate steam for
the steam tube.
picture of the unit I have, though it cost less when I bought it several
years ago. I haven't had any problems with it breaking down; maybe I'm just
lucky in that respect.