My Gaggia Classic was just not capable of delivering the quantity of coffees (5 dbls) and steamed milk required in a sensible time in the morning rush of a family cafe. Dual boilers were considered too expensive and E61 seemed like too much hassle without plumbing in let alone keep shiny clean! So the choice was Oscar, Agata, Pulser or BZ02. BZ02 seemed out of reach on price until I found a friendly source via the Kaffe-netz forum.
So BZ02, it was. Surprisingly quick warm up - come down stairs, switch on, hit the shower and shave, dress and it's brew time - 15 mins. With the Bezzera group head one gets a low flush ('blank shot' then go) routine before the first shot after idle and then you can pull as many shots as needed without breaking step. The simultaneous steaming helps all the more for time saving. 1/2 pint of milk is steamed in a snap. The 4 hole nozzle is not a handful and the tap can be modulated fine to hold back the boost for small milk quantities. Cup warmer is very effective and a little step between it and the front of the machine stops cups tumbling over the precipice at the front.
I haven't experimented with pressure stat settings yet, but out of the box, the coffee seems on the hot side but isn't bitter. Compared to the PID'd Classic with the same coffee the shots seem to have more zap and crema, but I should mention that the BZ02 is already not with the standard basket. The one major problem as standard was the double basket. In a word - useless. I expect to load a basket from the Mazzer, tap, level, tamp, lock and go. That is not possible with the standard basket. It seems to hold 2/3 the coffee I need. I haven't got time to consistently dose by weight or rely on sweeping a finger slightly in the basket. Anyway, a bigger double basket solves the problem in this case. I use a Synesso Double basket which is, so far, perfect.
The pouring spout is lovely and affords a great view of the pour. It is very easy to see the tiger stripes and foam and judge when to stop a shot if a little wide to use the dual spout on a single cup. It is possible to fit a large tall 7.5 floz ACF cup underneath. When brand new I was not locking the portafilter in far enough - and in fact the pressure in the portafilter was enough to unwind the handle and cause leaks during extractions, with splatters and concern! Solution, wang it in further, at least perpendicular to the machine body and preferably slightly further.
The large water tank (3+ litres) is easy to fill without moving cups and can be converted to take an in tank softener system with Bezzera parts if you need. You can also specify the BZ02R if you want to plumb in. However the drip tray, although large, is shallow and added to the fact that you must tip it to disengage it from the machine limits how much you can leave it festering. Fortunately it is dead easy to slip out. Splash water from the 3way valve dump, where it does not quite land in the drip tray, can collect on the steel chassis. I imagine over time (years) this will rust.
As an engineer, having seen inside the others, the only other option I boiled down to was Oscar or waiting for Musica. In the end I went with the Bezzera because of what the Oscar doesn't have, Vac breaker, OPV and water tap. Musica is larger - arguably too so and more expensive, but remains an interesting option.