Four years ago I buckled and decided to follow Catherine’s “here what I want for Christmas” instructions rather than improvising. I think it was the previous year’s “puffy coat” gift that pushed things over the edge.
And so Catherine got an espresso machine for Christmas, a nice Gaggia Coffee model that, at least relative to the cheap Consumers Distributing models we’d had before, is built like a tank.
I ordered the machine at the very last minute from Espressotec in Vancouver: they raised heaven and earth to get it to Charlottetown for Christmas, and were very helpful at every step of the way (I wasn’t a coffee drinker at the time and never had been, so they did a lot of hand-holding on model selection).
After four years of vigorous use, and after being dropped a few times, the plastic handle that holds the “portafilter basket” (aka “the thingy that holds the coffee”) finally disintegrated. A quick call to Espressotec revealed the proper replacement handle and 24 hours later it was making its way to Charlottetown.
The Gaggia makes nice coffee, is easy to operate, and Espressotec is, from the evidence, a good company to deal with. If you’re ready to upgrade the coffee infrastructure in your house, I recommend them.