If you want a high quality espresso/cappuccino with a worry free machine, The La Spaziale Vivaldi II will do it!
Positive Product Points
Excellent espresso, goes above and beyond what I thought was possible. Steaming is effortless The machine is very tweakable as far as pressure & temperature Build parts are of high quality Very quiet machine Chris coffee and their support are a 10 A forum dedicated to this machine : http://s1cafe.com/wforum/
Negative Product Points
Only one thing I can think of and it does not effect the quality of the machine at all. The gauge is a bit hard to see, would be nice if it was possible to mount on front control panel.
I spent months researching, if I was going to spend close to 2K I wanted to be assured I was not going to purchase something that would deliver nothing but excellent espresso with a worry free machine. It paid off this machine is everything and more then what I was looking for.
One thing that was holding up my decision was if I wanted to plumb in the machine. I was not sure if I could do something like that. It was easy!
Please note that my rating for quality is for the "outer"machine build not the espresso that comes out of it, the espresso is a 10. The two 9's that I gave the machine is strictly for the external build aesthetics. All the internal (where it counts) parts in my opinion are a 10. I really wanted a solid chrome machine that was a work of art in the kitchen, but I settled for a great tasting espresso! :)
It also made my decision a lot easier knowing that there was a web site dedicated to the La Spaziale Vivaldi.
This is my second home machine, my first was a Super Automatic, it is not even close in consistency and quality. I can not compare my Vivaldi though to other comparable machines since I have not used any others, but I can tell you the espressos that come out of the Vivaldi have been equal to if not better then the ones I get from the higher end machines at local coffee shops.
Unless a revolutionary product comes out at this price point I can not foresee a reason to upgrade for quite some time, this machine performs like a champ!
I would also like to emphasize that this machine is just one crucial component in making excellent espressos. You also NEED a good grinder, FRESH coffee and a bit of tamping practice.
Chris and Mary from Chris Coffee are excellent. They also helped me out with the grinder purchase and all my plumbing needs.