- Rotary Pump - Non-compression steam arm valve - Sirai P-stat - External pump Adj - control OPV - Dual pressure gauges - No-burn steam arm - Plumb-in/reservoir option
Negative Product Points
Still looking...ah! Drip tray too small.
History: Used Silvia for two years; upgraded to Anita. Used Anita 5 yrs; now upgraded to this. I upgraded mainly because I wanted a rotary pump, plumb-in option, and non-compression valves. I did not upgrade hoping I would get better espresso; rather, that I was getting a machine with better components, and hopefully better longevity. All I can say is holy cow Batman. I was able to start off with great pulls (almost identical to Anita - perhaps a bit more intense in flavors). But what I love - these non-compression valves! I only make caps (hence my choice for HX vs DB), and use the steam knob daily. What an incredibly nicer feel and quality component. And I also love the no-burn steam arm! Just wipe the milk off with some water and my fingers/damp rag and dry. I don't know if my Anita had devloped scale that compromised it's steaming ability or what, but Cellini blows the doors off Anita when it comes to steaming - even when set just at 1 bar from the factory. The rotary pump - reason I wanted one is because when I descale/backflush/etc., I no longer have to worry about duty cycle, or perhaps that I'm trading off longevity of the vibe pump with needed cleaning/maintenance. I needed to increase the brew pressure, and started to take the machine apart, remembering the drill with the Anita. Then I remembered rotaries were different; I looked at the Bella Barista Cellini review, and to my delight - the OPV adjustment is EXTERNAL and is so freakin easy a caveman can do it! Speaking of which, see the outstanding BB Giotto/Cellini Evoluzione review here:
I can't compare this unit to a DB, so please understand my glowing review is based on my experience with HX only. If I was only pursuing the perfection of straight shots - I would have opted for a DB. I also rated this an "8" for cost vs value, only because a few of the things I love on this machine aren't necessary for great espresso - only niceties. I gave Anita a "10" in this category.
I also struggled for awhile wondering if I should upgrade my grinder. I've used Rocky for 7 years now - changed the burrs once, and will be changing them again soon. I've never felt like my shots were suffering from the Rocky, although I'm sure other grinders offer more conveniences. I see all the complaints about not being able to grind fine enough, too much differences in steps, etc. - I just can't relate to all these issues. I don't know if I just got lucky with my particular grinder or what. It's very simple to create multiples "steps" between settings - simply twist the hopper clockwise and hold while grinding is half a step. Quarter step - hold the hopper clockwise for half the grind, then release for remainder. Anyway, I ordered a bottomless PF also, and used it for the first time today. This verified I'm not sacrificing or struggling with my Rocky - shot after shot of beautiful pulls right out of the gate just doing what I've always done.
All in all - I'm more pleased with this upgrade than I ever anticipated. I have no regrets about Silvia or Anita - they were steps in the journey. There is no way I would have/could have dropped 2K on a machine right out of the gate w/o divorce papers! LOL. But I feel I have now entered the kingdom of the gods...and have a machine that will bring me years of delight and trouble-free servitude.
I would have liked to support Chris, but Chris currently doesn't have a machine carrying all the options I wanted (Vetrano no reservoir; Alex w/o non-compression valves, etc.). I read some good feedback on Coffee Crew regarding customer support in which Chris AND idrinkcoffee both received accolades for their service. I received wonderful service from idrinkcoffee and recommend them whole-heartedly. Just make sure you address the UPS brokeage fee upfront when you place the order (importing from Canada). Long story - but I didn't have to pay it - and neither should anybody else IMO.
UPDATE 2/22/11: After receiving my VISA bill, it came to my attention that I was charged $40 more than the $2099 I had thought I was paying; I spoke with Slawek from idrinkcoffee.com, and he stated the price posted on the website is in Canadian dollars. This rather bothers me, as I don't see anything on the website at all about paying conversion rates if ordering from the US. I may just be naive - but I've never ordered anything from Canada, and the thought never dawned on me. I wanted to post this so any potential US buyer will not get the surprise I did. The only reason I ordered from idrinkcoffee was due to the review I read from the Coffee Crew, and my determination to support those whom support their buyers. Slawek has been very courteous every time I've spoke with him, and I have no doubt he will provide the most help he can if I have problems. However, now that I've experienced the UPS brokerage fee, and the Canadian dollar difference - I hope if I have any problem, Slawek will be able to resolve by phone - or this could get messy.
UPDATE 3/5/11: I won't bother going into detail, but I have worked more with Slawek on some of my concerns; all I can say is "Wow!" and give my nod to Slawek. I am ABSOLUTELY convinced that despite some of the issues above, I made the right decision when ordering from idrinkcoffee. He followed up on my e-mails, and made sure I was content with this transaction. I'm still glad I described these issues so future buyers can address when they place the order. That being said - I firmly believe any little hiccups like these are worth working out in order to receive the level of support I have from this company. Support people like Slawek/Chris that have shown a determination to excel in customer service/support.