Quality in the cup comes from the Barista, the Coffee & the machine... this is the Machine.
Positive Product Points
-Consistency from shot to shot -easy to program temp, pre infusion, and shot time if desired -great build quality -love the dual boiler and simultaneous use w 20amp -I have used a few very high end commercial machines (la marzocco, nuova simonelli, la cimbali) and I am amazed how fantastic the shots are w the S1. (always start with great FRESH coffee!!) -I have sampled shots from the GS/3 and would have ponied up if it tasted/produced better shots. It didn't. -2 year warranty -my wife loves the instant hot water for tea/oatmeal etc... I don't think she would want to live without that feature in our kitchen now.
Negative Product Points
-Possibly could be a bit prettier, sides didn't turn me on at first but now I am happy with them. -I wish it incorporated a shot timer with the single and dual shot buttons like the la marzocco GB/5 that I use. -Magnetic shot timers scratch the steel easily -I think the new vivaldi II with the newly designed top cover looks cooler and may be a better design. The plexi glass is a bit lame, but hasn't been problematic for me.
In my search for a home espresso machine that could double occasionally in a retail setting if needed, the vivaldi II has really filled the bill. I have enjoyed it and have been spoiled by the consistent shots I am able to pull in the luxury of my own home. This machine won't hold back your espresso and steamed milk dreams. Like all things, practice and perfecting your craft will still produce the best results but it is wonderful to have a machine like this that allows you to do it without taking up too much counter space.
Chris Coffee was first rate and easy to work with. I did install water softening and dual filters for the water coming in to my machine. I will purchase through them again... a new grinder is in my near future!