A few weeks back my automatic espresso machine malfunctioned and a light of doom came on. Instead of fetching the instructions to remedy the problem I threw the machine out. It always made less that acceptable coffee and the light was a perfect excuse to spend up big on a new Rancilio Silvia V3 with matching Rancilio Rocky doser grinder.
Ordered on the Friday and I picked it up from the PO on the Monday. I knew it was good quality when the post office ladies wheeled it out on a trolley because it was too heavy to lift.
The deal I found at Cafe A Roma (the Aussie importer for Rancilio) left me with everything I needed to brew my first espresso. I didn't really know what half the things were but it wasn't long till I was making coffee, albeit terrible coffee.
After a few weeks of experimentation and practice I'm over the moon with the quality of espresso I can get out of the machine and will never go back to an automatic. The process is a little longer but very therapeutic.
I've purchased a timer that switches it on automatically every morning so that by the time I rise it's nice and hot, ready for me to do my magic. Enjoy.