The Espresso Machine to End All Espresso Machines.
Positive Product Points
Summary: Incredibly high-quality machine designed with the serious home user in mind. - Incredibly easy to work with - Highly reliable shot temperature and pressure - Spectacular steaming capability - Visually appealing - Plumbs in nicely
Negative Product Points
There are only two things I can point to as annoyances on this machine, and one of them isn't really fair: 1 - Stainless steel looks dirty very rapidly. I warned you it wasn't fair; any stainless machine will look grubby and require cleaning often. 2 - The drain from the drip tray doesn't seal to the bottom of the drip tray, so if you pour a lot of water down all at once -- more water than the drain can handle -- the tray may overflow a little.
I knew shortly after I bought my Isomac (HX machine) that I'd want a dual boiler. So I've been lusting after this machine for a while. Even after my Isomac failed, I still hesitated for a year before making the Big Purchase. It's a huge amount of money, really, for what is essentially a luxury item.
But that being said: It's Worth It. The build quality is incredible, the usability is unmatched, and it shows in the shot quality. Every shot is perfect every time, with no water dance, temperature surfing, or any other nonsense. While I'm perfectly capable of modifying espresso machines -- I even built one once -- I find it gratifying to own a machine that doesn't lend itself to any user-performed improvements. They really did think of _everything_. This is the Porsche of espresso machines.
If I had to go back in time, and had to make this decision again, I'd make the same decision with a lot less hesitation the second time around.
Chris' Coffee is a great organization. I spoke with Chris himself, and though I know he's running a massive operation, he treated me like I was the single most important customer he had to respond to. If I had to do this again, not only would I buy the same machine, I wouldn't hesitate to order it from Chris.