One of these two things is true: Your home espresso machine cost a small fortune, or your home espresso sucks. (Or, just maybe, you hacked a Rancilio Silvia.) That's because home espresso machines can't maintain consistant temperature and pressure.
If you want good espresso, you need very consistant and precise control over both temperature and pressure. To get that, you typically have to shell out a grand or more for a home machine. This Kickstarter project from ZPM Espresso aims to lower the bar (zing!) and bring commercial-quality espresso to your kitchen counter for $300. Project backers get to buy the machines in advance for $200.
The new home machine will offer a PID-controlled customizable temperature and pressure, pre-infusion, and shot-time settings. But the magic—if there really is magic—will take place in a custom designed and built thermoblock that ZPM is promising will beat any on the market today. Most of the parts will be off the shelf, and the ones that won't ZPM is milling itself—it says the Kickstarter funds will go to setting up "a shop with a foundry to cast the thermoblock and grouphead, and a Tormach CNC mill to machine them."
I'm intrigued, but skeptical. I've basically given up on home espresso because I'm not shelling out the money that I'd need to pull a high quality shot in my kitchen. But this project's already fully funded (and then some!) so there's no real penalty for holding off. If the machines work as promised, I'll gladly pay the $300. In the meantime, I'll let others take the risk and get that $100 discount for doing so. [ZPM Espresso]