My espresso obsession began back in high school, when I convinced my dad to buy mom a Krups espresso machine/drip coffee combo for Christmas instead of a boring drip machine. I loved making my coffees in the morning, steaming the milk, grinding the beans, the smell of that freshly pulled shot… it’s the ritual that gets me out of bed every morning to this day. Eventually, I received some barista training and realized that my steam boiler espresso would never be good enough again — you just can’t get crema from those boiler-style machines. After blowing through a couple of “disposable” machines, we decided to upgrade to one that would last us a lifetime: the Rancilio Silvia. Miss Silvia (as the label reads) is a serious rig: 9 bars of pressure pumpin’ out some serious brew! What sets this Italian gal apart from most other home espresso machines is that she’s got a brass boiler rather than a cheap aluminum one, and the pressure and temperature systems are fully modifiable (as many hardcore coffee geeks like to do). Oh — and for a machine this major (and dare I say GORGEOUS), it’s fairly priced, $649 here, which is where I bought mine. Of course you still need to buy a good burr grinder, a good tamp, and a knock box which adds another couple hundred to the tab… But I figure the machine has paid for itself in “espresso savings”: $3/day for a latte from a coffee shop would add up to the price of a machine and all the accessories in less than a year! — Megan B.