I just got the thing and already don't know how I lived without it.
Positive Product Points
Consistent results. Heavy/Solid and feels like it will last forever. Easy to use...with no real experience I was making great espresso in a few days.
Negative Product Points
Water access in top rear by removing cups then removing tray, so not practical for under cabinet unless plumbed in.
The only other machine I have owned was a superautomatic, so not much experience, but I know what the results should be, and with this machine I'm getting great results quickly. My grinder was new too, so it took a little playing around to get the right crema, correct time to pull, and right taste, but for each type of bean, my results are very consistent.
Initially removing it from the box, I could immediately tell that it is a serious piece of equipment. It's heavy and built to last. It's very attractive highly polished stainless and the fit and finish is excellent. It looks great on the counter.
I initially had a spot picked out for the machine under my standard height kitchen cabinets, but immediately realized that with only a couple inches to spare, it was not practical to lift the tray then pour water in from a pitcher. I would need to rotate the machine out from the cabinet to refill. The machine is quite heavy with an extremely hot brew group protruding in the front, so this would not be a good situation. Luckily I had a spot available with no upper cabinet near the sink, which is an ideal location for both filling and easily emptying the drain tray, which fills more quickly than you might think due to the cooling flushes. I fill the unit with water at night and have it turn on via a timer about an hour before I get up in the morning. Even with cooling flushes for each, this has been enough water for two of us in the morning, which is usually about 4 or 5 cappuccinos and an espresso.
I'm getting ok microfoam with the milk, but I think the reason it's not better is user training, and probably not the machine. I'll come back and update this review when I have a bit more experience with it. For now, I'll just sum it up that I have no regrets over the purchase. Except maybe that now I can't stand anyone else's coffee, 'cause mine is way better at home.
Chris Coffee was very easy to deal with. I did much of it over email, called with a few questions, then ultimately called the order in on a Monday around lunch time. It was shipped the same day and I had it two days later via UPS ground, the standard shipping included in the price. Everything was received in perfect condition. I had some questions about grind/pressure/flow and got to talk to a tech immediately who cleared everything up for me.