Wow, looking at all of these posts, I should have at least put a smiley after that.
I'm just going to state, since I wasn't really on the forum here to defend myself against the latest few posts, I'd like to personally apologize if I have offended anyone. I was merely stating my own personal opinions from my own experiences.
I realize where I made my mistake...
If it has plastic or chrome covered plastic, it certainly isn't high quality, at least in my eyes anyway.
What I MEANT to say was "If it has cheap plastic or chrome covered plastic, it certainly isn't high quality, at least in my eyes anyway."
Amazing how one word (Or the lack of it) can completely change the meaning of a sentence. It's been my own personal experience that any chrome covered plastic will start peeling. I can't think of anything I owned which didn't. Cheap plastic I define as plastic which bends easily, creaks or just generally feels cheap to the touch. (ie. Like the plastic you'd find in a toy.)
Just to make it clear, I never meant to say "Everything that has plastic in it is junk". I meant to refer to very cheap espresso machines which used a lot of plastic in their construction and used plastic parts in places where there shouldn't be... and I've noticed that there is a lot of that.
For example, I've noticed that in a lot of the lower end machines, the steam wand feels like it is flimsy or it contains plastic parts. (Such as low end Capresso or Saeco machines.) This is something you may want to watch out for. I believe they call these "Panarellos" and do not contribute to the overall taste of the drink. You will not see this in higher end machines.
The old mantra is true though, you do certainly get what you pay for. That couldn't hold truer with this equipment.
One thing which I should mention to the OP which is somewhat on-topic is that you should certainly feel what the portafilter feels like in your hand. Cheap machines will have portafilters which feel flimsy and light. The more expensive machines have heavy ones. Maybe this isn't the best way to judge the quality of a machine, but it's a sign they didn't cut costs there.
I wasn't offended and was a little surprised by the level of responses, but thanks for coming back and clarifying; class act.
To the OP, I admit I don't know what's available nor pricing in your area, but it would be good to offer up a general budget to help folks better direct their advice. +1 one to emradguy's suggestion of the how to buy an espresso machine: http://coffeegeek.com/guides/howtobuyanespressomachine
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