I like coffee. Most mornings I have a short espresso, and on weekends spend time frothing a smidgeon of milk to have a macchiato. Recently I was reading Easy Living magazine (I was on holiday. I don't usually read it) and there was an article on how to make the best coffee at home. The "experts" reckoned that you should grind your beans with a burr grinder, and then put them into a cafetiere (aka the Bodum plunger style) as you'd have to "spend thousands" to get a halfway decent domestic espresso machine. The optimum pressure to make good coffee was 9 bars, and you couldn't achieve this with a non-commercial machine, apparently.
Well I'm going to contradict Easy Living's advice. What's the point of having a burr grinder if you're going to put your freshly ground beans into a plunger? If you can spend money on a grinder, you may as well get a La Pavoni machine. You don't actually need one with a pressure gauge, but if you can afford it £319 will buy you a machine that'll produce coffee as- good as any you'll get in Italy (and a zillion times better than the rubbish they produce at Starbucks).
These pics are of our machine and as you can see the gauge is up to 10 bars. I like a thick crema as much as the next girl. Our grinder is Dualit and cost £60 on Amazon (though thanks to the strength of the Euro is now listed at £85, ouch) and we get our beans from Climpson & Sons in Broadway market, but you can