I think that this is the perfect home espresso machine and this is why: no mess (integrated grinder and coffee pattie bin) almost infinitely adjustable - even water temperature, volume consistent coffee every time coffee at the press of one button good pressure means good crema (with fresh beans) easy to clean and maintain good dealer backup here in Melbourne
Negative Product Points
water tank a little small - only half of the volume is useable takes a little knowledge to fine tune the initial setup although it seems pretty good out of the box single boiler means a wait for steam instructions a little 'telegramic'.
I struggled with a manual espresso machine for 7 years. I could make an excellent cup, but never a consistent cup. I made a lot of mess using a seperate grinder. Buying an automatic machine seemed a 'sell out' at first as it took the 'human factor' out of it, but the skill is still there, it is needed to setup the machine and in understanding the effects of my changes. Each cup I make is now consistently good, and it is easier to appreciate the effect of fresher beans, different grinds, blends etc. The machine hasn't missed a beat in over 3 years and is the most valuable appliance in our house. I reccommend it to everyone who just wants an excellent coffee every time. If you enjoy the tinkering and challenge required with a manual machine and grinder then it may not be as attractive, but, hey, I used to be like that too! It cost about AUD$1200 and the price was the same everywhere but the deal varies - ie my machine came with 4 kilos of Cafe Molinari - an excellent commercial Italian coffee