This machine makes consistently incredible coffee.
Positive Product Points
--Makes incredible espresso --Beautiful --Fun to use --Leave on 24/7 --Instant steam with great pressure --Cup warmer that really warms cups --Hot water that is really hot
Negative Product Points
--The standard spout doesn't fit well under a Rocky doser grinder. --Heavy-- needs to be located where you don't have to move it to pour new water in.
I was nervous to upgrade from my lovely Silvia-- would I be able to taste the difference? I finally took the plunge and am never looking back. Giotto makes incredible espressos and caps. I am able to produce great foam with no wait time, which is nice in the morning when I am in a rush. Although the little brew handle is mostly for looks (it activates a rocker switch), it is fun nonetheless. The machine takes a lot of counter space, but is very beautiful; pictures don't do it justice, actually.
I use the machine with the standard portafilter handle and basket most of the time. When I want straight espresso, I tend to use a Rancilio professional handle with the Rancilio ridgeless triple filter basket from Whole Latte Love-- this combo produces a result that I prefer because it is a bit thicker and richer. However, using the standard ECM handle produces a bit more crema and a slightly sweeter taste.
The beatuy of the machine is that you can do these little experiments, and the machine's performance is not a variable. It is very steady and dependable.
Three Month Followup
3 months later, I couldn't imagine life without Giotto. I moved to a different neighborhood, with different water and high humidity, and I've had some problems getting my coffee to be as consistently on-the-mark. My foam-making skills have improved though; it's so easy to whip up a cap before work that I find myself drinking them much more.
Especially for straight espresso, this machine is the best.
One note of caution: Be CAREFUL WHERE YOU PUT THIS MACHINE-- my poor wife bumped into the brew head once, and has a nasty scar on her arm as a result. Yikes! We moved the machine, needless to say...
One Year Followup
Fantastico. I have the best luck with Peet's Italian for caps, Americanos, and straight espresso (their Espresso Forte is good for straight espresso). Moved again, so the water issue in my 3 month review is no longer one... back to incredible coffee. I get great crema, great shots each time. I love the machine, love the coffee and foam it produces, and love using it each morning. Try a Rancilio ridgeless filter basket for straight espresso.