In your quest for the perfect espresso, you may consider stopping and trying the Delonghi Retro Espresso Maker as it is fairly simple to use, affordable and makes delicious espressos and cappuccinos. My only complaint was the fact I burned it out after seven months of use.
4 out of 5 stars
Overall Amazon Rating
3.7 stars out of 5
Before I purchased this Delonghi Espresso Maker I tried one of there cheeper models that was not a pump espresso machine, which had two problems. One, it didn't get the rich smooth crema and two the milk frothing wand was so weak it took two or three times to froth the milk.
What you Get
With the Delonghi Retro you get fantastic espressos that take a little bit of time to master but produce wonderful tasty cappuccinos. I would use Divinci syrups with my favorite being the Vanilla flavor.
I preferred my cappuccinos to any coffee shop, Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks in town. I could control the strength of the espresso, the sweetness of the flavoring and the frothiness of the milk.
What you don't get
This is not a commercial grade espresso maker and will almost certainly wear down quickly if you use it too often. I would make two to three cappuccinos a day which was apparently too many as it broke in seven months. But the times we had together were great. I would recommend this product to a serious coffee drinker as a gateway espresso machine which the intention of determining if you would put big bucks out down the road for a professional machine. I determined I probably will as I take my coffee very seriously.
Don't recommend this product to someone who will make more than two espressos a day. If you do keep your receipt.