Awesome, beautiful and well worth the warm up time.
Positive Product Points
• Sturdy construction • Simultaneous pull and stretch. You know... since it's a Heat Exchanger. • No burn steam and water wands. • Individual pump and boiler pressure gauges. • Absolutely stunning... it's so shiny!
Negative Product Points
• None to speak of at the moment.
Where should I begin.
First things first I guess, this is a HUGE upgrade for us. After dealing with a $50 Hamilton Beach Espresso machine for a horribly long time, I finally worked a large prosumer machine into the budget. I was stuck on the Rancilio Sylvia for a bit and realized that while it would be an awesome upgrade from what I was currently using, it was really no different with respect to the time involved in pulling shots and frothing milk. A single boiler is still a single boiler. I wanted something that would ultimately be faster when company was waiting.
The machine is a bit more noisy than I had expected. But this is only during the filling phase. During extraction the machine is quite calm. Given what it's doing, I didn't have high expectations of a quiet kitchen.
The initial shots were stuck in the 4 bar range, no matter how much I tamped and adjusted my style. I also purchased a bottemless portafilter so I could watch the lovingly watch crema drip into my demitasse. Obviously the power of this machine was so great that it was pushing through the puck like it was water... going through water. It was then I discovered that my grinder was not producing a proper grind even when set for espresso. So... I hacked it! Just search for Bodum Bistro grinder hack and you'll find an article in the coffeegeek forums (nuff said).
Now I'm getting a solid 9.5-10 bar 30-32s pull with beautiful, CONSISTENT crema. Oh my God! It's quite awesome.
Look, I'm a food nerd and coffee geek (true to the site). I develop recipes and lay waste to my co-workers diets while going through new things. This machine has been used 2-3 times a day since it was setup in my kitchen and has yet to disappoint.
If you have the money to spend and seriously enjoy the act of setting up your ristretto this is for you. Again, you really need to enjoy the work involved. Otherwise, you're not going to like it and could potentially burn yourself on the grouphead.
I stumbled across this machine while in Portland at Clive Coffee. The folks there were awesome and informative. However, my purchase was online so I don't have any additional input on a purchase at the actual store.