Six years of espresso nirvana with the La Cimbali... looking forward to fify more....
Positive Product Points
Six years of ownership and the quality of espresso just keeps getting better and better.... Great shots. Good foaming.
Negative Product Points
Cost. Had to learn to fix the machine myself - no local service. Buy the Jr, not the Bistro. Foaming milk by hand is fun.
I wrote an original review six years ago about his machine. We still love it. I've changed my e-mail and forgot my password, so am writing a new review.
Useful accessories: Over the years, we have purchased a few items to make our espresso experience better. Following are our favorites: - La Marzocco triple baskets paired with bottomless portafilters - Reg Barber tamper (I ordered direct, and a friend developed a special logo just for us, which I gave to my husband for his birthday) - Stainless steel backflushing insert, which we put into the old spouted portafilter. - Pallo coffee tool. - Large stainless steel cookie sheet - to protect our wooden counter from spills and facilitate clean up. - Turkey baster - to fill up pump suctin line and in-line softener after recharging with salt.
Operation: We use the machine in pour-over mode. Six years later and still haven't plumbed it in. Refilling isn't that bad. For water filtration, we use a faucet mounted PUR water filter. We still have the machine on the large legs and we use a rubermaid container to catch the water that is discharged.
Maintenance: Daily: Clean group head. Weekly: Backflush Monthly: Soak screen Quarterly: Add salt to in-line water softener. Flush with water and re-insert. Yearly: Replace gaskets and screen. Disassemble machine, soak the two in-line screens in CLR. Reassemble.
Other things that have broken: We had wear on one of the o-rings on top of the boiler. This resulted in a steady escape of steam. I was able to visit our local fittings man, who gave me some o-rings to try. This stopped the leak and the machine works as good as new.
Other things that need to be done: Descaling the boiler (I will learn how to do this sometime soon, or will take it in for an overhaul - if anyone wants to provide some insight, please post a comment or e-mail me)
Musing on maintenance: My husband and I had a heated discussion on maintenance. He won and we took the machine in to a local coffee shop that did espresso machine repair. Symptoms were poor flow and a leaky portafilter. The machine is very heavy, and one week later we had a dented espresso machine that was still broken. We went to the shop, and the man said he didn't service La Cimbali and had no parts to fix our machine. We went to the web, and the nearest technician is four hours away. If you are not capable of simple repairs, please check out where the local Cimbali replair person is prior to buying this machine. Manuals and diagrams are poor at best. Today, there are a few sites that give instructions on how to repair a Cimbali, but five years ago these were lacking.
My husband then agreed to let me try to fix the machine. I went to the web, and ordered the new gaskets and filter screen. I also took apart the machine and located the two filters that plug. One is on the right has side of the machine, near the front. The other is near the group head. If you want more specifics, e-mail me..
Bottom line, there is no place like home for a great espresso when you have a La Cimbali....
Mail ordered. Good price, but local service is probably worth something, especially if you have to teach yourself how to repair the machine.