old espresso machine, acquired on grocery store affinity points, served us well. For the past few months it's often refused to operate unless nudged or tilted on its side during the warm-up phase. Then it gave up working entirely. Definitive diagnostic disassembly and attempted repair last week proved unfruitful: one of the connections had corroded through, and something else in the thermostat assembly was no longer functioning, likely as a result of all the short-circuiting that had been happening. It hadn't cost us a cent, and had faithfully made between 4 and 10 hot drinks a day for almost four years. We moved it out of the kitchen.
For a few days we tried to make do with the old drip coffee maker. It just wasn't the same. So, kijiji to the rescue: I found a professionally-refurbished Nuova Simonelli Oscar available nearby for just over a third of the original price. It still cost a lot, but it's so nice. It's a beast of a machine. It has far more pressure and steam than its predecessor, and is built for the kind of heavy use our family wants. And it has a heat exchanger, so it stays hot as you pull shot after shot and run the steamer full-tilt. It is heavy, though, and demands quite a footprint on the kitchen counter. But, wow, it does such a good job.