Everything you need in a machine for a lifetime of espresso.
Positive Product Points
Beautiful machine! Obviously subjective, but I really like the appearance. It is well constructed and feels sturdy. Consistency, it is easy to dial in because it produces the same temp and pressure time and again. Features for the money: dual boiler, rotary pump, PID controller, plumb-in and pour over options, e61 grouphead.
Negative Product Points
Expensive and looking back it appears that I paid full price. Still I love the machine and plan on keeping it a really long time and using it enough that the price difference becomes irrelevant. Having a small problem with the PID controller display. A couple of the bars don't light up now so I have an email out to Chris Coffee and they responded right away. I expect that it will be resolved to my satisfaction here soon.
I think the best thing I can say about the machine right off the bat is the fact that it works like I expected and it has all the features that I wanted. I was shopping in a fairly limited category so it was a pretty easy choice. I knew I wanted a double boiler and E61 group head. I know there are other good ones out there, but I like the idea of a proven design that works well in several machines across a huge timeframe. This machine has not disappointed. It is very consistent putting out stable temperature and pressure. I wanted a machine that I can plump-in however because of my job I move about every three years or so. Therefore getting a pour over machine with a plumb-in option was huge. That said, if I had the option of just plumbing it in and leaving it alone, pour over could have been a disadvantage. Finally, the rotary pump and PID controller were things that I liked the idea of, but they weren't deal breakers. That said, the ability to get everything made this an easy choice. I bought this machine with the intent of not buying another one, ever so I was willing to spend a little more to get exactly what I wanted the first (and hopefully last) time.
It makes fantastic espresso. I am not the best reviewer for this portion as this is my first high-end machine. I am still working on perfecting my basic shots versus adjusting temperature and pressure settings on the machine itself. That said, it has been easy to isolate different factors and get a consistent shot. Being an engineer I like to start with the "specs", get good at that, and then experiment. With the help of a scale, I have been able to vary only the grind and figure out what works for the particular bean. That has helped improve my shots tremendously.
Overall, I love the machine and I look forward to putting LOTS of coffee through it for a lifetime of enjoyment.
Chris Coffee, need I say more? If you have dealt with these folks you know that they are all about service. They have responded right away if I have questions and if they can't answer right away, they find someone who can and get back to you. They are working my issue with the PID right now...I am very pleased with how that has been handled so far.
***Mini-Follow Up*** Chris Coffee sent a new PID and I had it in less than a week. It was easy to install myself and everything was working perfectly in a few minutes. They sent a pre-paid envelope for me to send the old one back so the issue was completely resolved very quickly. Thanks again Chris!