Cremina 2002. Stunning build, excellent workmanship, classic design. Simplicity—though nearly all lever machines are simple. Very little if no PF sneeze. The Cremina 2002 is very easy to use, dead simple to clean, and though the meter is not necessary it is a very useful addition. The steam wand works surprisingly well. The supplied stainless steel goodies are actually useful! The boiler tank holds a nicely large amount of water.
Negative Product Points
It is expen$ive! The level sight glass is sometimes tricky to see. Occasionally a drip or two of water seeps past the top piston seal. Takes a long time to get to a stable working temperature. Small portafilter and baskets equal small portions.
The Cremina 2002 is quite simply the most stable and consistent lever machine I have ever used. It is very forgiving, too. If you have used a lever before, this will be a delight. Everything works smoothly and well. It takes about 15 minutes to get up to pressure, though, and it really should sit at least 30 minutes for the group to get consistently warm. I have used four different grinders with my Cremina and managed to get excellent shots from each, from an ECM to a Mazzer SJ. It is an absolute joy to know that the machine is not the limiting factor in pulling shots.
I have found that some beans like it when I let the machine sit for about fifteen seconds to cool down (after reaching full pressure) before pre-infusing. Other beans work best at full heat. I like to pull three or four blank shots when the machine gets near its lowest pressure. This way, I heat up the PF, cup, and clear the group and also will be ready to pull right after the machine is at the top of its heating cycle. That is key, I think, to start your pull from when the pressure switch cuts out. After I figure out how hot the beans want to be, I usually pre-infuse for about 15 seconds and then do a first pull through 90% of the range, then go back up for a second pull. I rarely see blonding until the very end of second pulls.
I have been using Elektra double baskets for several months and find that 16g of coffee gives close to a single with a standard 50-54mm portafilter.
I bought it while living in Switzerland, and the Cremina is almost as pricey and rare there as here. Though the factory in Mendrisio is understaffed and thus slow, they will eventually get around to parts requests. Parts in the U.S. are sometimes difficult to find, but most folks rarely need anything. I have never had a problem with my machine, but I did get the required components to switch it to 110v operation from the factory. I ended up using a 110-220v converter, though.