Finished with pod machines, bad for the environment. Decided on ground coffee machine, looked at De Longhi Dedica up to now, New Sage/Breville Bambino Plus looks good, but £400!! nevertheless, if it does the job! Need advice from some knowledgible chaps on here...require good machine plus decent grinder, also good Microfoam for Latte Art
I got a Delonghi Magnifica ESAM3300 bean to cup machine recently. It grinds the beans, makes the coffee, and cleans itself. It is as easy as pods, but I get to use any coffee beans I want, without pods.
The Magnifica costs about $525 US, which is about as expensive as the Breville. However, when you do the math, it is not that bad, except that it requires a larger up front investment. Plus, you do not need to buy a grinder.
I compared to a Keurig machine which will cost around $100 US, and uses pods that cost between $0.50 or $0.90 per cup. My favorite coffee beans sell for about $12 for 2 lbs (thank you, Costco), which translates to about $0.10 per cup in the Magnifica.
I computed that the Magnifica initial and operating cost will break even with the Keurig cost in much less than a year. No pod waste either. No coffee grounds all over my counters due to static electricity from a separate grinder.
So far, I love the machine. I get great crema and a lovely cup at the push of a button.
The machine has a dual block system to ensure that the manual steam wand is ready to go. However, I do not know enough to tell you if the frothier produces appropriate microfoam for latte art. It makes good cappuccino and latte, as far as I am concerned, but I am not an artist about it.
My sister has had this machine for over 10 years with no problems, so I am confident in the reliability of grinder, infuser, and overall system.
If you can find a store than carries them, you might see if you can get a demo.
I still use my Keurig, it was free, second hand from family member. I simply use reusable cups I purchased on Amazon for about $10 for six cups. I get my San Francisco French Roast coffee beans from Costco, grind the beans in my Cuisinart burr grinder, fill up the cup, and I have a single cup of coffee. I also have San Francisco Bay French Roast pods, which is compostable, my cost is $.32 per cup. I use these as back-up, in case I'm in a hurry. (I don't live near an industrial compost facility, but I figure they will decompose in a landfill easier than the other cups).