I posted previously with questions about Ascaso espresso machines and my quest to get a great espresso maker and grinder for under $500. I only got one reply but thought I'd share my results with anyone who is in the market for the same. By shopping around I succeeded:
1) KitchenAid Proline Burr Grinder for $75 on Amazon. The red model - not refurbished - is on sale for $99, and if you are spending more than $125 in housewares you get an extra $25 off. For some reason this $99 price is less than the same item refurbished ($149) and the same item in gray ($199)??
2) Ascaso Dream Versatile machine for $400 on EBay. The color selection was limited, but since I'd been looking at the lower end Ascaso Arc for $500 I was REALLY happy. The Dream costs $600 and up elsewhere. It is new and has a 1-yr manufacturers warranty. The Ascaso Arc's were $350 from the same Ebay seller. Only a few of each are available.
Since they are birthday and Christmas gifts for my spouse, I can't report on their function, but they are beautiful. After the holidays I'll report back.
My previous post: