First off hats off to Jar and everyone else who have made this thread an amazing resource for both learning and enjoyment!
I've spent months trying to figure out what set up i want to go with - starting with a Baratza/Gaggia combo moving down to a more simple and easy to use one step machine.
I went to med school in Seattle so became an espresso aficionado whilst there. I don't drink espresso for the caffeine but rather for the flavor thus really have one 1-2 x/week on the weekend while relaxing mostly. So I consider myself a low quantity user and talked myself out of a true grinder/machine combo.
My wife, however, is a cup of joe a day kind of gal. Recently I'd been debating a combo machine or two individual units. I still order coffee from our favorite shop (Zoka) in Seattle but definitely love illy espresso and wouldn't mind sticking with illy for espresso and grinding our Seattle beans for coffee. I also do like the idea of pods for the variety and ease of use. Since we don't drink coffee too much, we find ourselves freezing our beans from Seattle as they take a few weeks to be gone through.
After spending 1.5 hours reading this thread from start to finish, here's what I'm thinking of as a setup. Jar and everyone else, your input is much appreciated.
1) For me, espresso is my go to drink and i love illy so I think the Francis X8 will be a good choice, especially now that Illy's added a more single origins to the line up.
2) For the wifey, coffee is her drink of choice so finding a good standard coffee brewer which brews at high temps (dad likes his coffee really hot) is important. Any tips on this?
3) Lastly, the Grindmaster OPOD is relatively inexpensive and gives access to all the pod coffee's out there so maybe a good 3rd tool for the kitchen.
Now, I think this is a bit overkill with 2 and 3. Definitely need the espressos so I think 1 is a done deal. Should I start researching standard coffee makers AND an OPOD or is that overkill? I know this question is a bit outside of this forum (since it may not be a single serve answer and involve a coffee pot).
Just wanted to get your anecdotal collective experiences. I just don't know if we're ready to give up our Seattle coffee since it's not in pod format nor do we have the time to make our own pods.
What do you guys think? Option 1 and 2 and 3 or option 1 and either 2/3? Or something totally different?
Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to this amazing thread and to the OP Jar for such an awesome write up and great pictures (BTW, beautiful kiddos you've got there).