Excellent, would purchase this machine again but given the build quality it may be the last one I own.
Positive Product Points
Solidly built, very easy to use because of the PID control, excellent espresso, powerful steam wand. Very simple to connect to water supply, softener and carbon filter. I use this machine every day and have not had one problem. Very satisfied with the purchase.
Negative Product Points
None so far.
I bought this machine from Chris Coffee just over a year ago along with the water plumbing kit, Vario grinder, and misc accessories after reading many reviews of machines available. This was my first espresso machine and I didn't want to get into the cycle of buying up every few years so I bought as much as I could afford.
Let me say that I am just about the least handy guy around so I was a little hesitant about plumbing in the machine myself but within a couple of hours I had everything set up and ready to go. Instructions were clear and parts supplied by Chris worked perfectly. The only adjustment I needed to make was to the brew pressure since the machine comes set up for reservoir use and assumes 0 head pressure. My water pressure is about 4 bar so I needed to lower the pump pressure to get the desired 9 bars when the shot is pulled. To adjust the pump the cover needs removing but again this was quite simple.
It took a little time to get the new grinder dialled in so that the pull time was in the correct range for the quantity of espresso but after that it is very easy to get consistent espresso. I have sampled may types of beans over the last year but have finally settled on Red Bird as my favourite = 18.5g beans = 30 g espresso. I did play around with the brew temperature for the first six months but now have settled on one temperature for the Red Bird that I like. The PID adjustments for temperature are easy to use. The machine keeps putting out great coffee day after day.
The steam wand is very powerful and can make milk drinks one after the other without breaks. It's nice having the dual boiler setup. It came with two tips, a 4 hole and a 2 hole. I find the 4 hole a bit easier to handle and give a bit more time for getting consistent microfoam. It all happens very fast with the two hole.
Maintenance over the past year has been simple; I back flush with soap every month, run water over the screen after removing the puck, clean and flush the wand after every use and change the cartridges for carbon and softener every six months. That's about it.
Chris Coffee is the standard to which all other venders are measured. I had a great buying experience from them initially where they spent probably an hour in the showroom describing the machine. Over the past year I've had a few questions that are always answered promptly. Any future purchases will be with Chris because there is simply no reason to go anywhere else.