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An alternative to Francis Francis?

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I had decided to buy my husband a Francis Francis espresso maker for Christmas, but I've started thinking that spending $650 on an espresso machine is a little insane. I'm not saying my beloved doesn't warrant a $650 gift but we have a lot of baby/adoption related expenditures coming up so I'm having second thoughts. My little Krups espresso maker has languished in a cupboard for years now; we never really liked it. Surely there's something between the two ends of this particular spectrum? Thanks for your input!

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  1. Take a look at the membership program Illy USA has - you can get an X-5 with all the goodies as part of a coffee subscription service. The commitment is only for 1 year, monthly, or every other month if you prefer. Either way it's only a twelve month commitment. The bottom line is you get the machine, cups and a years worth of coffee for the price of the machine alone.

    All this would be moot if the coffee ain't drinkable. No worries. Even using the pod system the X-5 turns out an excellent cup of espresso, complete with crema. Keeps me going between trips to Italia...

    Link: http://www.illyusa.com

    3 Replies
    1. re: Foodlum

      Hmmmm. I looked at that a while ago and I think that bimonthly you end up with 180 pods per shipment (10 boxes of 18), which is 3 cups of espresso a day. Seems like a lot, but maybe it isn't. I'll revisit that idea.

      1. re: Dipsy

        I have nothing to add about coffee makers...but a big kudos and congratulations on the baby\adoption thing! I think that is just fantastic...as an adult adoptee, I love to hear about babies getting adopted! What a great thing you are doing!

        1. re: Dipsy

          Regarding the amount of coffee you receive through the Illy subscription, you're right, it is a lot. But, the cans are vacuum sealed and the commitment to the purchase program is only for a year, so, if you have the storage space for extra cans of coffee pods, it is still probably a good deal. I think our "year's" supply of pods lasted about 16 months.

      2. I'm not familiar with this machine. Does it have a pump handle to espress the coffee? Years ago, a manufacturer's rep confided to me that it was really difficult to make the kind of espresso that you dream about without the pump handle.

        And that's not to mention the difficulty in finding really good beans for it. Did you see the recent Consumer Reports feature on coffee, which found that lots of the coffees that people rave about, were not at the top of the list--but that 8 o'clock beans were particularly good?

        (Also, btw, I love your use of language in your message--delightful to see in an age when so much subtlety in use of language is lost or ignored.)

        1. p
          peppermint pate

          Check out www.coffeegeek.com for lots of great info, tips, etc. And best of luck with the baby!

          1. I wanted one of these machines last year to use in my office (I have a Rancilio Silvia at home) and decided to join the Illy program (mentioned by another poster). I have been 100% thrilled with this machine, and the program. You commit to buying at least six allotments of coffee (10 boxes of 10 pods each) at $100 a carton, but this is a better deal than buying them at retail and since each box is hermetically sealed the coffee stays fresh. I have only used two of my shipments so far (they started coming in January), and the coffee has always been great.

            1 Reply
            1. re: James G

              I really appreciate everyone's feedback. Right now Illy is only doing the membership offer on the X-5. It's not as cool as the X-1, but the price is certainly a lot easier on the wallet. I won't ask you all to help me choose a color...that's my other dilemma!