Is there such a thing as a good combination espresso / coffee maker? If so, whose?
So, my parents gave us a food processor for Christmas (baby en route, so we wanted one for our cooking as well as for slicing / dicing / pulverizing homemade baby food). Got one from my in-laws too and because size matters, I'm keeping the 14 cupper and returning the 11-cupper from mom and dad for another appliance.
I'm an espresso fiend. I don't drink coffee; I drink espresso. Hopefully that doesn't sound like an addict's loser crutch. But since I have to get an "us" appliance; we need a coffee maker, too. We've seen a couple of appliances (Braun, Krups) who have both the coffee brewing and espresso making features combined into the same appliance, but the concern is this:
Bugger how the coffee will turn out, I want damn good espresso.
So in order to maintain marital bliss (and in some foreign policy circles I believe the more actual term is 'appeasement'), can I have my cake and eat it, too?
If the answer is 'no', then I'll drop dime on Mr. Coffee for those rare times when we have company that drinks coffee (we don't) and lobby for a quality espresso machine.
Any thoughts on the Illy Francis! Francis! machine and coffee club racket? By the time you're done buying Illy coffee (pods, grounds or beans) for twelve months, you pay about what you'd pay retail for what I think is a quality espresso machine.
Happy Holidays and thanks in advance for the advice.
We did a lot of investigating and couldn't find a combination machine that worked well. We ended up with the Saeco Italia Digital. It has three buttons for a short, long and Americano. You can push the button multiple times for doubles/triples and can program the strength to your preferences. You should be able to set the Americano to the equivalent of a cup of coffee. It should also be great for new parents because you don't have to load beans, water or empty grounds each time. It is a bit pricey, but you can find refurbished machines from the manufacturer on ebay.
If you're willing to fuss a bit, you can save quite a bit with an AeroPress which will make a good expresso-type coffee and also excellent Americano regular style coffee. Coupled with a hotpot or carafe, you'd be in business and you'd taste some wonderful coffee. For $30 it's worth a try; I have one and love it. It really brings out the flavor of almost any type of coffee.
As for combo machines, I am not familiar with them all, but I had one for about three years--it was a piece of junk--and I used to sell them when I worked at Bed Bath & Beyond. I do not think you would be happy with one.
Here are a few considerations:
1. When you buy an espresso machine, you want one with a pump, not one that relies on steam pressure to force the water through. The really cheap machines do not have pumps.
2. You're going to need a burr grinder. I got a Krups that is satisfactory for, as I recall, around $80. I wouldn't mess with those pods or pre-ground espresso or coffee clubs.
3. I use a French press for regular coffee. I don't like Mr.-Coffee-machine-type coffee. Plus the French press is inexpensive and the process of using it is satisfying. I have two, a large one for when company comes and a small one for everyday use.
4. Except I don't use it every day; most days I make espresso, which I greatly prefer.
So if it were me I'd exchange the surplus food processor for the best espresso machine you can get for it, buy a burr grinder, some good whole-bean espresso, and a French press, and enjoy!