Since everything I learned about coffee I learned by watching NBC’s Today show, I had to share an article that came across my desk today highlighting some of their top picks for home coffee and espresso machines: Make a great cup of joe with the latest makers – Today: Food –

The article was written by Today food editor Phil Lempert, whose distinguished credits include Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Chat News — with recent articles such as: “ASK PHIL: Getting the Best Flavor With Your Percolator!” (To which my rebuttal would be, “ASK GREG: Getting the Best Flavor With Your Curling Iron!” Percolating is arguably the most damaging method for brewing coffee.)

In the article, Phil reviews a number of machines — including the required disk-o-coffee pod models (“no mess, no fuss, no flavor!”). But I was honestly surprised that he made mention of the Pasquini Livia 90 and the Rancilio Silvia. While neither machine is “new” by any means (they have been on the market for years), both are solid for personal home espresso preparation.

Of course, Phil calls it the Illy Pasquini Livia 90 (not realizing that Illy doesn’t make espresso machines — they just co-brand them). But given the tendency for mainstream food folks and retail stores to treat Krups as the vaunted brand in home espresso machines, this is progress. (Though I do love the fact that their slogan is, “Krups: Beyond Reason.”)

Speaking of Krups and glorified rice cookers that brew coffee, apparently the C1000 Capresso Automatic Coffee Center machine just joined the list of big ticket/cheesy plastic home espresso machines that spontaneously burst into flames — and yet have no risk of spontaneously producing decent espresso. Maybe my curling iron idea isn’t so ridiculous afterall…

UPDATE: 31-Mar-2006
And now Jura Impressa Automatic Coffee Center espresso machines are being recalled for spontaneously bursting into flames. You heard it here first: soon it will be unsafe to drink any espresso with these automatic home machines without wearing an asbestos suit.