Breville ESP8XL “Café Roma” 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine

A quality espresso machine often costs too pretty a penny for people merely wanting to dip their toes into home espresso brewing. If you don’t have several hundred dollars (much less thousands) to drop on a machine with all the bells and whistles, might I recommend Breville’s Café Roma?

This compact 15-bar pump-driven machine makes it easy to pull single- or double-shots of espresso with fantastic crema, and to steam milk for lattes and cappuccinos. That’s it. There’s no built-in grinder or digital temperature control like the company’s higher-end Barista Express, but you’re also paying a quarter of the price.

This guy’s video review covers every detail you’d want to know, including tips on basic post-brewing maintenance:

Three stainless steel filters are included with the Café Roma: single shot (7g), double shot (14g) and pod. The top of the machine acts as a warming tray for up to six espresso cups, but it’s admittedly pretty slow, so don’t expect miracles there.

Get the Café Roma machine for $180 on Amazon.