Makes consistently great espresso/lattes without a big fuss. Asthetically stunning in the kitchen. Supurb buying experience from Chris Coffee
Negative Product Points
The front of the machine gets hot, but I got used to not touching it. No other pertinent negatives. The water resorvoir is not huge, but with the really easy options to plumb in, who cares!
I did a significant amount of research on this site and on some of the commercial sponsors sites. Seemed like the E61 grouphead makes for a bit more latitude or forgiveness in technique, and still get consitently good shots. This is true for me as well. I was upgrading from a Briel, which I liked for a couple of years. I had made space in our new kitchen for espresso stuff, but at the time I was upgrading from a Krups steam toy, and could not justify the thousand dollars for semicommercial stuff. After using the Briel almost daily, when it died, I felt better about spending on better equipment knowing I would use it daily. My wife was loving her daily latte, also. I almost bought a Livia, but I am very glad I did not. The tiny drip tray would have made me nuts. I like fooling with this stuff, but don't plan to monkey around with the inside stuff. The Isomacs are beautiful machines, and very impressive to look at and operate. With my Rocky grinder I get excellent consistently great shots. Steaming milk is a short learning curve from good to excellent. The newer smaller steam tip is better for the daily one or two shots. For big crowds I put the original tip on and use a large pitcher. Chris will give you the steam tips.True latte art is still a bit difficult, but no one I know even knows what that is so they aren't missing anything with my great lattes/cappucinos. I had my unit for a few weeks and then had it modified for a direct plumb in. Worth every penny. Very convenient, and with the inline softener and filter, my limescale worried are done.
I have never had better reponsiveness, service and accessibility for any product or service. The plumb in options and set up assistance put Chris Coffee in a league of their own. Chris himself, and Roger his tech guy are easy to reach, and always helpful. I sent my Millenium back to get modified for direct connect. I had it back on my doorstep in 48 hours, which included the standard UPS shipping to and from Albany. This blew me away.
Three Month Followup
The coffees I make at my house are better than almost any coffee place I have tasted. I am spoiled now. The Isomac continues to work wonderfully. No hidden issues here. Love, love the plumb in feature.
One Year Followup
I realize that I am fortunate to be able to afford a $1000 espresso machine. My wife and I both take pleasure in great cappucino style morning coffee every day. We have been making espressos lately for guests. The Isomac always makes it to the list of best three things we ever bought. I can't even remember what the other two are. No repair issues. I still get great responsiveness from Chris Coffee when I call or email with an occasional question. The direct connect plumb in is now another essential feature in my book. The machine has no downsides. I would buy another Isomac HX E61 type machine from Chris in a heartbeat.