I was going to say, concentrate on as good a grinder as you can get and then whatever you can (that’s decent) for the coffee machine, as I think the grinder (at least up to the Niche Zero price level) is the component which makes the single biggest difference. If necessary, get the coffee machine second-hand (taking the usual care with due diligence) because if you sell it in a year or two and upgrade, you shouldn’t take too much of a caning doing it.
Single or dual boiler? Well, my view (for what it’s worth) is that how important that is depends on whether you want milk-based coffee or not (I do) and, to be honest, how many coffees you do in one session. If it’'s just for you (the wife, here, doesn’t drink espresso-based coffee) then I’m not convinced the extra cost of dual boiler gains you much especially for a very fast-heating single boiler when cranking it up, to steam. But if you’re trying to do coffees for a group, then it’s FAR more convenient in work flow. In my opinion, of course.
Another possible option for you …. buy something like the Niche (and I have one, love it and so am biased) and one off something like a V60, Clever Dripper, Aeropress etc. They’re not espresso, but cheap (£30-ish), and make still very good, if different, coffee. Then, build up the funds a bit, get the espresso machine if you still want it.
The reason is that a Niche-level grinder is good for espresso but also, for drip-type contraptions. So no faffing about selling a second hand espresso machine.
One more thing. If not already geared up, as you probably aren’t if moving from Nespresso, don’t forget “incidentals” can add up, like :-
- maybe a better tamper
- WDT (cheap but still a few quid)
- maybe milk jug
- maybe tamper mat
…. and, don’t forget good quality coffee makes a massive difference, and isn’t cheap either.
Ever see a film called, I think, “The Money Pit”? That’s the kind of ride you can be in for going down the espresso rabbit-hole. It’s a fun ride, but the upgraditis can get right expensive, right quick.
And don’t expect it to be as quick and easy as bunging a Nespresso on, either.
Which reminds me …. if you’re using the semi-spherical type Nespresso pods, the new ones not the original “Rollo” type, you can now get a rubbery type cap that lets you refill those aluminium Nespresso pods with ground coffee from, say, a Niche Zero. That might be an option while saving for the espresso machine bit, if the budget doesn’t stretch to it after the Niche (or similar).
Just sayin’. :)