This is the most common question we are asked and the answer is simple…the one you can afford. Honestly, you can always upgrade later if you develop a passion or if you desire, but remember the machine is only half of the purchase (unless you buy a machine with an internal grinder) you have to allow extra $$$ for a Burr Grinder. You will then need a regular supply of freshly roasted coffee.
But first a question for you. Do you have a juicer and if so do you use it? Coffee machines take time to set up, create a mess in the kitchen and have to be cleaned and maintained. If you have stopped using your juicer at home in favour of a pre prepared bottle of juice, the answer to the machine question may have been answered.
If you still want a coffee machine, identify the intended use. One morning coffee for two people or regular dinner parties for 12 people. This is important as all domestic machines have limitations, like the amount of steam it can produce. Whilst you may be able to adequately make two flat whites before work you may find it takes an hour to make 12 coffees. Some machines will need considerable time to re heat between every coffee. Also look at the steam wand length as some will only allow for a 200ml milk jug (one very small latte). Look at all machines and relate them to your own situation, but buy the one you can afford.
It will take patience, practice, and knowledge to make good coffee at home regardless of how big or expensive the machine is, so don’t expect to take it home plug it in and have cafe quality coffee straight away. Practice, learn, experiment and enjoy!