A couple of years ago, I dove into the world of home espresso. I started off by purchasing a used Rancilio Silvia and Baratza Encore on Craiglist for $400. Since then, I've bought, repaired, and sold a handful of espresso machines and grinders. I currently use a Quick Mill Silvano Evo alongside a Rancilio Rocky that has been modified to sit at a 20ish degree angle to reduce retention.

My favorite project to date has been restoring a 1980s Faema Contessa (Family) machine and grinder. Through this project, I was introduced to so many wonderful folks through the forums, Instagram, and word of mouth.

Looking to dive into espresso?
I'd recommend looking into a Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine paired with a Baratza Encore ESP Grinder. The Silvia is a very well-built machine and can often be found used on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. The Baratza Encore ESP is flexible enough to handle a range of grind sizes (french press, pourover, espresso, etc.) and has the ability for microadjustments for espresso. Additionally, Baratza's Customer Service and replacement parts are a huge win for the DIY espresso hobbyist.
In the future, when you're itching to upgrade, the Silvia will be able to hold its own for a long time. The grinder will make the biggest difference with your espresso quality, so upgrading the ESP to a Niche Zero or Turin DF64 would be a great next step.