Decent Coffee Machine Recommendation?

I know there are a lot of coffee aficionados on OzBargain so just hoping for some quality guidance :)

Our Breville barista machine is on the way out. The grinder no longer works and we are looking to buy a (similarly priced) machine.

We're currently staying at an Airbnb that has a Smeg machine that looks awesome and makes great Espresso, but I just tried the milk frother but it's a bit short and makes a bit of a mess due to the drip tray being so small.

Any other recommendations out there?


  • If you were in the breville price range, can't really beat that in terms of function and price. If you were willing to move up to $1000-1500 , you can look at the Rancilio Silvia and pair with a $500 grinder.

    • Agree…though the drip tray is frustratingly low in capacity, and of course you may have to work a little harder to use it.

      Can I also recommend - if you're only making one or two espressos at a time - a decent hand grinder such as the 1Zpresso JX-Pro…such manual grinders can have an exceptional grind, and cost less than a motorised equivalent. Takes up a little less room and give you a mild workout into the bargain.

      • my friend has a manual and also swears by it. same with the workout haha. he does mostly aeropress

        • lol …yes…for some of us it's as much about the process as it is about the coffee! I enjoy hand grinding too.

          Silvia in use here btw….just heating mine up at the moment.

          Only problem with the Silvia is, it will probably never die, and I won't get an excuse to upgrade in future.

      • Just looked up a YouTube vid on the manual grinder and whilst I think it's a fab idea I think it's a bit too much hard work for me in a pre coffee state! When he mentioned it took 65 turns of the grinder I turned it off 😂

        • Mine seems to be 50 at my preferred grind. I don't wake up with the shakes though. ;-P

  • You want a machine that does everything, or don't mind a bit of manual involvement?

    I hate seeing these things end up in landfill, though I understand the attraction of such machines. After a point, they are simply not economically repairable. There are alternatives that can last decades if looked after (with parts replaced now and then), but they are pricey and usually not as convenient.

    • I'm ok with a bit of manual labour… my current machine was a recon model and I reckon is nearly 8yrs old so has served me well.

    • Spot on about landfill and value for money. I bit the bullet on a prosumer machine and grinder 9 years ago switching over from the usual breville or sunbeam models. Cost me 3k all up. In that time my in laws are now onto their third breville/sunbeam setup. My setup hasn’t needed a single thing other than seal changes and makes superb and consistent coffee. My in laws make mediocre coffee. They know they should invest properly but can’t get off the landfill merry go round.
      I know it’s a lot of money, my wife objected initially because of the up front cost, but she can now see the benefits and says it’s a sound financial decision. My advice is focus on getting a good grinder if you’re intent on getting a cheaper machine like the Smeg - you will notice a lot of difference.

      • Thx for the input… where would you rate the above mentioned Rancilio just out of curiosity? 3k is out of our budget but could manage 1.5k, including a grinder.

        • I rate the Rancilio very highly, I used to have one( drove me nuts that I had to wait for boiler temps to come down after steaming) it’s a great machine but I have to stress don’t skimp on the grinder. Make sure you get something like a Macap M2M.

        • The Rancilio is an entry level machine with commercial construction. The pump, pipes, connections etc are all as you would find in most coffee shop/catering machines (well, many of those will have a rotary pump, but suffice to say the pump used in the Rancilio is a generic part, and easily replaceable).

          The usual mass produced machine will have a thermoblock water heater instead of an actual boiler. My impression is that these don't go the distance, but I might be wrong. One of the best loved Breville machines actually has two stainless steel boilers, though it reputedly has a lifespan of <5 years.

          Personally I rate the Silvia above all of the big store home espresso stuff, but you couldn't say it is better featured - just much better built.

          If you look inside a Silvia you'll see lots of brass fittings and tubing, like the plumbing aisle of your hardware store. If you open up a Breville, you'll probably see quite a bit of plastic tubing and fittings, more like the irrigation section.

          Not to hammer on Breville, they make some good stuff, are an Australian company, and - in my experience with them - offer excellent support - so go there before many others. If I was going to buy a mass produced big brand home espresso machine, it would probably be the Breville Dual Boiler.

          The mass produced machines almost always have a PID, and this helps to regulate temp to a tight range (though with cheaper and weaker thermoblocks in many, this may not help much). The Sylvia has a mechanical thermostat - so the temp in those swings over a comparatively wide range (though note that Rancilio do make a PID'd dual boiler version). The Sylvia requires some level of 'temperature surfing', or the installation of an aftermarket PID.

          The Sylvia has a real brass boiler inside…but only one. Where a thermoblock machine will quickly change water temp between brew and steam, you must switch the Sylvia to steam temp and wait a while for it to heat its boiler up to steaming (and then purge it before you brew coffee again else it will burn).

          Some machines have a heat exchange unit (commonly referred to as HX), where they will have one boiler heated to steam temp, with a pipe running through it to heat up water to brew temp. I rather fancy this cheapish HX unit for its compact form an - dare I say - sexy exposed group head -> (>$2k…and yes, I said "cheapish").

          A dual boiler is the ultimate - with high pressure steam constantly on hand to frizz your milk up as much as you wish (but don't burn it please, nobody likes gummy, burned milk).

          In terms of the the higher quality machines, single boiler < heat exchanger < dual boiler.

          Of course, if you don't drink milk coffee, then you don't need steam and there's not much point in HX or dual boiler anyway.

          If you want to go down this route, check out the Rancilio Sylvia and Gaggia Classic machines. They are the starting point. From there, it depends upon your budget (and is a slippery slope). Be prepared to watch some YouTube tutorials on getting the most out of them. It's taken me a long time to learn to steam milk properly, and even now I'm still working on my consistency (but oh man, when done well, the texture is fantastic)!

  • we have this machine (Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee Machine). I was very dubious about the whole Nespresso thing but i am now a convert. Great machine, pricy but i think you get what you pay for.

    • Hve this machine too and love it but i'm not a coffee snob and if you're into buying your own beans and grinding etc. it won't be great for you.

  • Wasnt this asked last week too?

  • Did a dupe comment search and couldn't see it?