You might be a little shocked and surprised when you start your espresso machine shopping adventure. These machines aren't cheap! Not good ones anyway.
But, if you take out pad and pen and do math, you will quickly decide that a home machine - a good home machine - will pay for itself rather quickly.
Let's assume that you buy just one espresso drink per day at modest cost of $3.50 (I know most drinks run higher and many of us cannot get by on just one per day!) That adds up to over $1277 per year! If you have friends, roommates, family (my wife, oh my wife!), then you can easily see cost-effectiveness of an commercial grade home models.
Plus, when you get good at making drinks (and that's a lot of fun), you can wow friends and family. It beats a card trick most everytime.
A Word of Caution when Buying an Espresso Machine
If you're budget minded, like I am, you might be tempted to snap up a $60 expresso machine at Target. Hey, I love Target too. But you will likely be disappointed by performance of machine. Frankly, I think a good barista can make a decent drink on any machine - but you'll likely wish you saved up a bit over time and purchased a higher quality pump-driven model.
It's true that pump-driven espresso makers are bigger, heavier, and more difficult to use (until you learn to use it). But they'll produce a better cup of coffee. And you will be happier in long-run as a result.
What should I look for when buying an espresso machine?
Machine Look and Design:
Ask any barista; Making a good cup of espresso is an art form. The best espresso machines, largely influenced by their Italian roots, are themselves a work of art. Given wide variety of high performance machines available, you'll want to select a machine that complements your own unique style.