As well as coffee addiction there's the problem of being addicted to using a really fine piece of machinery.
Positive Product Points
A very solid, well built machine, looks professional, just the right size forcounter tops, good counter top clearance, access to the interior parts for service is easy, good size warming tray, connection to water supply and programmable dosing are addictive conveniences.
Negative Product Points
Pressure gauge is hidden from view from tall operators when operating the machine. Requires practise to produce good espresso and frothed milk.
We bought this machine because we wanted an absolutely reliable, long lasting machine that looked good in a stainless steel appointed kitchen and made great coffee. We've owned it for 3 months and so far, no regrets. Growing up in Australia in the 60's there were great espresso bars, most with charasmatic Italian ownership and gleaming coffee machines of imposing size. The university caffeteria made heavenly cappucino. In the late 70's and 80's I had the good fortune to travel many times to Italy and sample their coffee culture. Even Italian offshore drilling platforms came complete with driller proof espresso bars. So we started buying coffee makers and bringing them back to the States. Over the years we've used up 2 Baby Gaggias and 2 La Pavoni's, so we reason at that rate of use, if the Junior lasts the rest of our lifetime, we'll be ahead economically.
Compared to those machines the Junior is a macho hunk. It took both of us to put it up on the counter. The plumbing attachments that Chris's coffee people included made the hook up to the Reverse Osmosis supply straight forward, we found the on switch hidden underneath the front tray, turned it on, stood back and waited. The pump started making a straining noise, a red light blinked and after about 30 seconds the pump fell silent. No water, no apparent temperature increase, no joy. After a few more attempts and checks of the plumbing supply we called Chris's people. We took the covers off with two readily accessible screws in the warming tray and looked inside. This machine even looks good unclothed, but after tracing the water as far as we were comfortably able, still no joy. A local technician hired by Chris arrived and quickly found a valve blocked with glue, cleaned it out, put it back in, turned it on and hey presto we were in business.
My first attempt at frothing milk blew the milk out of the jug. The next several attempts resulted in either big easily collapsing bubbles or scalded milk. Bummer. I had no problems getting good froth with the Gaggias, Pavonis, Livia 90's etc. I gradually learned that you need to keep the pressure up and if the machine has been idle before you use it, you should run some steam out to get rid of condensed water in the delivery tube and dispense a cup or two of water from the head. You can listen to the boiler heating up and bend down to see the pressure before dispensing and frothing milk. My machine is adjusted so it cycles between 0.85 and 1.15 bar. After 3 months I can consistently get good espresso and froth but it's still unforgiving of bad technique. The learning curve continues.
What else. The instruction book is cryptic. The programmable dosing buttons work great once mastered. We are not using the supplied tube for draining and get a little water underneath the machine. Our guests are becoming coffee addicts. Our coffee consumption has gone way up because we so much enjoy using the machine. Decided to knickname it Killick.
Odered online from Chris's Coffee after some phone discussions regarding the plumbing hookup. The machine arrived promptly after ordering and the hook up to the plumbing with the included parts was easy. After the initial switch on, no water went into the boiler. After some troubleshooting by phone with Chris Coffee technicians for obvious plumbing booboos Chris hired a local Phoenix coffee machine technician to sort the problem out thus avoiding the hassle associated with shipping. The problem was fixed quickly and have had no problems since. Full marks for service.
Three Month Followup
Its more like a year now since we bought the machine. The same comments apply as in the initial review. There are some idiosyncracies such as producing some steam and a dose or two to ensure the steam pressure is up to frothing the milk. We now have a situation when we first turn the machine on the steam pressure remains at zero until the condensation is flushed out. Then its back to normal. I suspect a good cleaning will cure this. Otherwise no problems. A solid good looking machine.