Love the machine, the store, and most of all, the espresso, day in and day out.
Positive Product Points
Quiet, consistent, controllable brewing parameters, can be plumbed in, built like a tank, all stainless exterior, perfect espresso every time.
Negative Product Points
weighs 72 lbs, but that's really a plus in terms of construction, just hard to hoist. Really, there's absolutely nothing bad about this machine.
The Duetto II makes espresso as good as I've ever drank anywhere, though I confess I've not been to Italy. The PID tightly controls temperature, and with just a little care to tamp and grind consistently, the results are reliable--a perfect shot every time. It's a joy to use--so quiet, simple, and beautiful to look at. The crema is magnificent! All that's required is to grind fresh roasted beans on an as-needed basis. I can't imagine a better machine for the home. The rotary pump is so easy on the ears and maintains perfectly consistent pressure. The machine can be hooked up to a timer so it comes on before you rise, making it ready to go first thing in the morning. Itís easy to clean and itís truly rugged.
Chris Coffee is perfect. Those folks are helpful, prompt, and well-informed. They helped me think through my final decision concerning a grinder as well as the espresso machine, and they were spot on. I will remain their loyal customer.
Three Month Followup
Since purchasing, I hooked the Izzo up to a filtered water line and connected a drain hose to flow into a sink next to it. So much more convenient not to have to fill the reservoir and drain the tray every day. As for the operation of the Izzo, nothing's changed. It still makes the best espresso I've ever had. Some of that's due to the fact that I buy my favorite green beans from SweetMarias and roast them at home, which really puts the espresso over the top. However, I believe this machine extracts coffee more or less perfectly, regardless of the beans or roast. You get out of the Izzo what you put in.
One odd thing. I hooked my coffee gear up to a Honda generator during a 3-day power failure due to Irene. Everything I plugged into it worked except the Izzo and my Cimbali Max Hybrid grinder. Go figure. There must be some kind of special circuit in both of these Italian machines that evaluates the power input and rejected the generator's signature. Had to go to Starbucks for the duration. I worried that the stuttering power prior to shutdown might have damaged the units, but once power was restored, both of them returned to life without any signs of stress. I hope the Izzo is as well built as it feels, because the day it stops working I will cry out "Why me, Lord," and that's from an Irene victim who had his roof destroyed by the storm. Do I exaggerate my dependency on this machine. Perhaps a little, but not much.
If there's a drawback to making espresso this good, its that my wife routinely asks me to make her espresso. She used to be satisfied with her own coffee making skills/technology. No more. I've become the house barista. I complain, but truth be known, it's nice to be needed.
One Year Followup
I've used the Izzo Alex Duetto II two or three times each day for a full year now. It's never let me down. It didn't take long to refine the process and produce consistent results commensurate with the beans and roasts used. I am totally satisfied with this machine, especially since I hooked up the water intake and drain hose so I don't have to fool around with input and output. Of course, for this much money, one should be satisfied. Anything less would be disappointing. By the way, my coffee fiend friends, including Europeans who grew up with excellent coffee in their lives, say the espresso from the Duetto II is "perfect." The only thing I'm dreading is the day when it needs repair, and in my 70s, I have to box up and ship a 72 pound machine back to where I got it. With luck, I'll be in the ground before that happens.