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Saeco Manual Espresso Machine?

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I'm looking to buy my partner an espresso machine for Christmas. The trick? We just got back from Italy and are a little picky...and I don't want to spend more than $450. I have heard good things about the Saeco, but others tell me that I should just buy the De Longhi(?), as I will never use it anyway. I want one that makes great espresso, will last, not break the bank, is relatively fast and doesn't require that I buy little cartridges from a particular company. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

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  1. I would check out www.coffeegeek.com. Most brands have a range of machines and the posters there know what's well made at the moment. Be prepared for the standard -- "you have to have a good grinder first mantra" (which is true by the way). One other option might be to get him a good grinder and a gift certicate toward an espresso machine.

    Good luck.

    1. I love my automatic Saeco Professional. I've had it about 2 years (it's hooked up to the water supply in my house). No problems with it at all.

      I bought the Saeco Vienna Digital as a house-warming gift for my sister last year, and she loves hers, too.

      Both machines produce excellent coffee with lovely crema. I did quite a bit of research before buying initially, and have been thrilled with the brand.

      I don't know anything about the manual espresso makers that Saeco makes, but I'd recommend Saeco over deLonghi, for the simple reason that coffemakers are the only thing that Saeco produces, whereas deLonghi does toaster ovens, etc., etc.