The large boiler (0.5 litres) brings a excellent heat stability - and there is a lot of steam vailable. The simple constrution makes( 4 switches - that all) makes it very easy to use. The machine comes with rigid pro-PF's (2 of them - one with a single shot basket and ESE-Cialde capability and one for double shot). These are made from solid brass and quite heavy.
All you have to do is wait until the machine is heated up fully - which takes about 15' from cold - the temp-sign is switched off after 2 Minutes - but you should add some extra minutes - it's worth it.
The ECM is working very stable - once you have found optimal settings(grinding and so on...) it produces optimum espressos when you pull only one shot or you 're having an espresso-party and pull shot after shot! Only when it starts to "snort" (steam coming together with water out of the brewing group) you should cool it down by letting one cappucino-mug of hot water out of the boiler - then everything is ok again. This only happens, when you leave the machine turned on a very long time without pulling a shot - but it can be fixed easily..
Negative Product Points
The Design is - er - kind of "form follows function" - but better than being fancy and unergonomically. The big boiler causes that it takes quite long to reduce the heat from steaming to brewing - which is espcially a problem when you only steam for one cappucino - then you blast lots of cubic-feet of hot, dry steam into your kitchen. One Suggestion: turn off the steam-switch immedealty after temp. is reached, when you only froth a little portion of milk. Keep it turned on, when you need really a lot of steam (like latte-art or a bucket full of froth).
The ECM Boticelli II is a kind of smaller sister of the Boticelli I which seems to be sold in US/Canada more often. The difference is: The B1 s equipped with gauge (don't ask me wether for pressure or temp), a hot-water tub and has some differences in design - only some plastic parts attached. The technics inside seems to be the same.
The inside technic is the very same as a pro-line of ECM although it not equiped withe E61-group. But this advantage secures the availability of spare-parts. It's also built very heavy and quite rigid - You can have it turned on all the day without any problems that it heats up to damage. It's also equiped with a safety switch, which turns off the heating when the boiler runs dry.
The next thing I would not like to miss anymore is a special valve, which releases the pressure from the Portafilter immedeatly after you have stopped the brewing procedure. When the grinding is fine enough and the basket is filled properly it produces so a very hard and dry "puck" giving you at once the feeling how the espresso will be. If it's kind of a mud - throw away the espresso and grind finer - if the puck breaks up and seems to be very dry inside throw away the espresso produced and grind not so fine.
Coming up to the large boiler: Some people seems to think that this is a disatvantage because it takes so long to heat the machine.
As already mentioned you have to calculate approx. 15' to heat it up from cold. But that's it! When you turn it off and turn it on 2 hours later the ECM B2 ist ready-to-go after 2 minutes or less - it's still hot!
Also bringing it from brewing to steaming takes only 2 minutes maximum - if it's heated up properly... The only disatvantage is, that it takes some time to bring the steam out of the boiler - but here some suggestions for that:
If you only froth for one cappucino - turn off the steam-switch immedeatly after the temp. is reached. When you need more steam - leave it turned on and switch off some 30 seconds before finishing frothing.
After that either:
release the steam over the wand (if you have time and/or not much steam left) or release it over the brewing group - which is fast but quite messy.
Remember to fill the boiler after steaming/frothing -so leave the brewing-switch turned on for some seconds at least after water starts to flush after the procedure...
I've bought it from a local store after a very good presentation of the various systems available here in Austria. ( http://www.tasteit.at ). It came with a 1kg-Bag Om-Coffee and some Cialde pacs - which still rest in the cupboard... (as a give-away from Tasteit).
Included with the machine is a throw-away plastic tamper, a spoon and a quite good manual.