The Livia 90 makes good to near excellent espresso and capuccino but is very sensitive to technique. Mine hasn't been reliable with several expensive component failures.
Positive Product Points
Elegant machine One push espresso (for others) Steaming capacity Ease of use
Negative Product Points
Reliability Lack of E61 group head Electronic solenoid Mater pressure stat Heat insulation Useless pressure gauge Small drip tray
I notice that there aren't a lot of product reviews after 3 1/2 years, Since this is my swan song with the Livia 90 Automatic, here goes. I have decided to move on to a Quick Mill Andreja.
I got the machine 3 1/2 years ago after having the original Starbucks (Saeco) Estro for a few years, then the Saeco Magic Deluxe. It was love at first sight - the Pasquini is beautiful in its aestheics, and fits nicely in my kitchen.
Function: I use the machine with a Rocky, set at between 7 - 10 depending upon the grind and weather. The machine, as others have noted is very sensitive to the grind and tamp. The one characteristic of the process was its variability. Madddingly, once you figure out the perfect combination of grind and tamp the weather changes slightly and all bets are off. The temperature/pressure somehow never reached the range needed to produce rich espresso, although it usually made great crema. When comparing it to the great espresso's - say Vivace in Seattle which I recently visited - it was nowhere near as flavored or full bodied, regardless of the beans and roast used. I suspect that this is related to the lack of an E61. Also, the lack of any meaningful pressure gauge makes it difficult to adjust and manage the fine tuning of espresso making. I would say shots varied from fairly good to near excellent.
Steaming power was great, especially after replacing the steam nozzle with a two hole one. My microfoam was limited only by my technique and the milk used.
Reliability: This has been pretty weak, in fact. Over the course of 3 1/2 years I had to replace the pressure stat 4 times, the solenoid twice, the water reservoir once (yellowed and cracked, and now the control board is shot and the certified repair facility near me wants $260 plus $160 labor (ADDENDUM: Turns out this is a very well known problem with the transformer on the mother board. Several options - from $250 new board to $80 replacement of transformer to $10 do-it-yourself transformer replacement). Instead, I have chosen to move on. Support from Aabree was generally excellent before it changed hands, although the cost of shipping the machine across the country always weighed on my mind (only had to do this once). I actually called and spoke with Mr. Pasquini himself in California about all my troubles. He immediately asked me what kind of water I used (filtered) and told me that all my problems (and I mean ALL) stemmed from the water. That, despite the fact that there is NO evidence in the machine for any calcium buildup. He seemed unconcerned with the lack of reliability I had experienced.
Other - the drip tray is too small and makes a mess when changing, full. The cup heater is marginal
I worked with Dan at Aabree coffee who had sold me previous machines. He was very helpful and supportive, although I believe he may no longer be associated with them since they were bought (not positive about this).