Still, help may be at hand with the Divertimenti espresso machine. I tested it to see if it was possible to recreate that Italian experience a casa and fell in love - it looked so chic that, in a mad moment, I would have happily shelled out the pounds 350 it costs. It was simple to use and clean and the espresso it produces is quite strong, a bit bitter and definitely enough to knock my socks off. My (Italian) partner found it too thin, but then his coffee needs to be like a thick sludge at the bottom of his cup.
And it looks so professional. It has lots of switches to fiddle with and a little pressure gauge that will impress tiddly guests. Its shape is sensuous and, to my mind, very Italian and the machine as a whole is pretty foolproof. The most fun comes from trying to make cappuccinos using the steam pipe on the side to froth the milk. Semi-skimmed is best but we couldn't quite achieve the meringue-like consistency of the "real thing". Your foreign guests may still lament about the flavour of coffee "back home".
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