Delicious expresso shot after shot, the BZ02SDE was not too intimidating even for a beginner to enjoy wonderful espresso at home.
Positive Product Points
Easy for a beginner (me) to dial in a good tasting shot, then reproduce it over and over again; large tank; easy to operate controls; easy to clean; pressure gauge; very fast warm up time (<15 minutes); powerful steaming wand
Negative Product Points
A little bit too much plastic (sides), standard 4 hole steaming wand is a bit too powerful for beginners
Having owned the BZ02SDE for 3 months now I thought I had enough experience with the unit to give a thorough review. Buying from 1st-Line was very easy and the machine came very well packaged. Setup was a breeze. Being an absolute (but well read) beginner, it took about 15 shots for me to calibrate my grinder, and then get the tamp right to make a decent shot. Now 3 months later the coffee is even better (as we are still learning little tricks, and finally found better beans).
First off, the machine appears to be very well made and sturdy. Start-up time in the morning according to the lights on the machine is less than 10 minutes, but I feel the temperature is not right until closer to 20 minutes. We bought the "automatic" model which was straightforward to setup, but requires a few tries to get "just right". The circuitry measures water flow not just time, so it automatically "adjusts" if your tamp is not consistent. This morning I timed and measured a double shot just to see if it had wandered over the last several weeks... after hitting the button, the shot started to pour in 4 seconds and continued for a total of 27 seconds. There was just over 1.25 ounce in each shot glass if you measure to the top of the crema. (The shots were delicious).
The steaming wand is VERY powerful. I had read somewhere (maybe at Coffeegeek) that you could steam a cup of milk in 30 seconds. I believe it. For a quarter/half cup of milk I steam every morning, I can get it done very quickly. This took some time to master, but now it is no issue.
When we have dinner parties I am able to pull shot after shot (sometimes while steaming) with no apparent loss in quality.
The one gallon tank is nice to have, but if you do a cooling flush between each shot, the water goes quickly (not unique to this machine, I'm sure).
All in all, I could not be happier with the quality and performance of the machine. It has far exceeded my expectations, and it has made all of our friends and family jealous of our cappuccinos. I would recommend this model without hesitation.
First rate, very straightforward. Packaging was very robust.