It is indeed a very good time to get into coffee. More and more manufacturers are coming out with new and exciting stuffs. This is especially true in the world of home espresso machines. Manufacturers of consumer espresso machines are listening very closely to their customers to incorporate new features that improve usability and consistency of making espresso drinks.
One of the biggest challege that coffee enthusiast face in trying to enjoy espresso drinks at home is cost, and it seem like some manufacturers are listening to their complaint. New machines that comes outs such as the Crossland's, Breville's are catering to this segment of consumers. Another machine that I'm very excited about is the La Nuova Ero Cuadra espresso machine for sale on 1stLine. Here is the link: http://www.1st-line.com/machines/comm_mod/esprmach/la-nuova-era/la-nuova-era-cuadra-espresso-machine.htm . It is a Heat Exchanger espresso machine that has most of the features that most E61 espresso machines have. For instance, it has 1.8L, and a ubiquitous E61 group that is sure to brew shoot and thick shots of espresso. The big boiler assure that it will have enough omph to whip milk into delicious microfoam to make delicious cappucinos. Best of all, the La Nuova Ero Cuadra is sold at $995 (a limitted quantity only). Thus I would think there is no better gift to give to your loved one this Chirstmas season (or you can give to yourself).
Although this is a great espresso machine, it must accompany an equally capable grinder and I could not think of anything more suitable than a Baratza Virtuoso Preciso (available here on Roaste http://www.roaste.com/product/baratza/Baratza-Virtuoso-Preciso-Coffee-Grinder) It is able to grind for a whole range of brewing methods and esprecially well suited for espresso. It got alot of good reviews.
Also, don't forget to pick up some freshly roasted coffee available here on Roaste to brew with your new espresso machines!