Warning - Advisory!
Re: Personal small espresso machines. There is a large number of cheaply, poorly made but EXPENSIVE machines being cranked out by the major manufacturers especially (we are sorry to say) GAGGIA. We totally agree with the PARTSGURU website in its opinion of GAGGIA personal machines and repeat their sentiment:
"Gaggia Baby models 2006 and after, have frequent leakage problems due to the inferior clamped braided Silicone hose system. These machines are loaded with cheap plastic parts. Plastic over-pressure valves break or malfunction easily. We do not recommend Gaggia models made in 2006 or after."
We would like to expand this statement to include ALL GAGGIA made after 2006. The Gaggia Dose is the prototype of an essentially, throw-away $500 "espresso" machine made uber-cheap. You cannot service them because they fall apart the minute you try to open them up. The amount of plastic, plastic wands, snap grommets, silicone hose, plastic pressure fittings, and plastic valves instead of quality brass hardware is simply amazing considering what these machines are selling for. WE WILL NOT ATTEMPT TO REPAIR ANY GAGGIA MACHINE OTHER THAN THE PRE-2006 COFFEE AND CLASSIC.
THE CLAMPED, BRAIDED SILICONE HOSE SYSTEM is without a doubt, the stupidest choice ever made by the manufacturers of superautomatic espresso machines which includes Saeco and Gaggia which are BOTH owned by Philips and we do NOT service these either. These hoses connect every component of the machine that creates and uses pressurized hot water. These hoses WILL deteriorate and start to leak and the only solution is expensive disassembly of the entire machine and replacement of these hoses using the cumbersome oetiker clamping system - which was NEVER intended for these machines. Dumb, dumb, dumb!
If you want a small reliable machine there are several choices: The Saeco Starbucks Barista type Machine and its many clones which can be endlessly refurbished and is seen frequently for CL from $75-200 is one; another is the Rancilio Silvia with 3W valve, which surprisingly, has no electronics/ CPU to make it even more sturdy; the Francis Francis machines which do have electronic temperature control, and the Ascaso Dream series. If you want more such as a machine with a larger boiler that does automatic water level control (requiring a CPU) you will then be in the realm of literally dozens of dozens of machines starting from $600 and up.
OTHER MACHINES WE ARE NOT TOO IMPRESSED WITH: Espressione, Briel, Koala (Ugh!), and Bodum. We don't work on Breville, Delonghi, Jura, Solis or any superautomatic. We don't want to see any capsule nespresso-tassimo-CBTL machines, either.