Great machine if you do your homework and are not afraid to practice and learn.
Positive Product Points
So far so good. I'd put the coffee I'm getting out of this machine against ANY professional. The no-burn steam arm is a breeze to use and clean up. The dual guages are nice and I use them both to know what's going on inside her.
Negative Product Points
Grrr...with the flush needed to cool her down, the water in the resevior goes rather fast. I'm filling her up at every use. If you can plumb her, you should. I couldn't in my apartment in SF unless I wanted to go with 5Gall bottles.
It seems to me like an old V8 car from the 60's or 70's that doesn't scare you to work on. Replace a part and let her go for another 25k miles. If looking at those plastic machines in Williams Sonoma that go for 3X the cost of this machine gives you the heebie jeebies, then this is the machine for you. A TON easier to keep clean and get great results fast and consitently. Also, Chris @ Chris's Coffee provided a scant user's manual with the machine. I'm assuming the Italian one was utterly useless. Assuming. The one Chris offers is just North of useless only covering basic maintenance. I'm noting wear on the steam valve springs after almost a year of daily use. This will need to be rebuilt so I'm gonna have to intuit my way through that.
Chris's Coffee shipped the machine well and she's a well crafted machine.