Usually after I am asked what the cheapest way to make good coffee is people ask me, that is fine, but what if I want to make espresso? That is a much harder thing to do in an economical way (unless you do what many hobbiests do and redefine your notion of economical!
It may be impossible to make good espresso on gear that costs less than one hundred dollars, but it does not have to be a thousand dollars either.
One of the funny things about gear is that the notion of beginner gear is a bit of a misnomer. The more expensive the gear, the better it is for a beginner (within reason), so if you asked what is a great machine for a beginner, it would tend to be an expensive machine, but, of course, beginners tend to want to spend less than people who have a long standing passion, so beginners do not tend to buy the machines thagt are best for beginners.
One would hope to have a few choices for great machines for beginners that could make excellent or even good shots of espresso as well as a reasonable latte or cappuccino for a hundred dollars or at least a few hundred dollars, but such a machine simply does not exist.
One major issue is the grinder. You can not make good espresso without a good grinder, but that is an issue for another blog post. Even assuming you have a good grinder, there still are not good machines that make shots of espresso and froth milk well for a few hundred dollars.
If you simply want to pull good shots of espresso, though, there is good news. Paired with a good grinder the Mypressi twist is supposed to pull quite good shots. It has drawbacks in that it cannot steam milk, and it requires gas cartridges which are not free, and it requires a little fussing, but it has been compared favorably when used properly with machines that cost well over $1,000! No machine under $900 has a reputation as producing shots that are as good.
The one caveat I want to include is that while I have seen one and while I have friends I trust who own them, I have not actually used one myself. I will fix that and post later what I find out.
For now here is a review of the Mypressi Twist…