Ah yes, espresso, elixir of the gods...
I'm one of those purists, I take my espresso black. Sadly, in this country (although maybe it's just my city) espresso is considered nothing more than an additive to milk. Therefore, no coffeehouse really cares how good their espresso tastes, and so I'm driven to make my own...The Equipment:
Starbucks Barista burr grinder (Solis 166).
A Steam driven Delonghi, a Bar-9, iirc. Long since retired. (Let us never speak of it again.)
A Pump driven DeLonghi Bar-140F. Thermoblock heated (gag!). Also retired.
And finally, a Baby Gaggia. The only machine I own that brews drinkable espresso.
A frothing pitcher, thermometer, custom made 58mm brass tamper, as well as a multitude of assorted shot glasses, mugs, and demitasses.
My coffee bar is mediocre at best. But I claim equal quality coffee from my cheap Baby Gaggia, to that of the $10,000+ machines in use at the various coffeehouses in my city. These majestic appliances, when operated by uncaring, minimum-wage teenagers, make very expensive dishwater. I tell you; attention to detail is the key! Owning a gas range and a full set of Lagostina cookware does not make you a master chef!
For the most part, my guests enjoy normal American (or Canadian in my case) style coffee, so this is what I've been trying to perfect. I buy my beans unroasted, from 'The Planet; Coffee Roasters' in Calgary whenever I'm visiting family. Nobody sells green beans in Regina, and I never have reason to go to Saskatoon. I do my own roasting in a popcorn popper, only enough for a day or two of coffee. I grind fresh for whatever I'm about to brew. And brewing is taken care of by one of my vacuum pots, of which I own several. This combination has made me almost famous among my community. Trust me, it's good coffee.
See also Good coffee at home