Breville/Sage Bambino Plus
When I first started on my home espresso journey, I had an ancient hand-me-down Krups1, but it made awful coffee2. I donated that to a charity shop, as I thought my Aeropress3 and its “espresso-style coffee” was sufficient. Then I added a Fellow Prismo to the mix to add a bit more pressure (and cleanliness), but this still wasn’t espresso. Then my eye got caught by the Flair Classic, which was much better at making espresso but also much fussier. So I started investigating a bunch of home espresso machines, and I decided I wanted the Breville Bambino Plus… but it was pretty much impossible to buy.
After trying to buy it from a few different places, and trying to order a few other machines, I eventually settled on the Gaggia Classic Pro, which I used fairly happily for about a year and a half.
But there were still a bunch of things I didn’t like about it, such as the lack of preinfusion, a difficult-to-use steam wand, and a water tank design that made it way too easy for fruit flies to reenact Hotel California4. So, last November, when the Bambino went on a pretty deep (20%) discount for Black Friday (and when I was already spending large amounts of money getting my kitchen remodeled anyway), I decided to take the plunge and get the machine I’d wanted in the first place.