To my way of thinking, Salvatore is the Enzo Ferrari of the Espresso World...my early Salvatore was like owning a vintage Ferrari...and now I own the latest and greatest....zero to 200 in one shot of beautiful espresso!!
Positive Product Points
The "Salvatore" is beautifully made--they encourage that you take the cover off and see the workmanship inside--very impressive--the term "built like a bank vault" comes to mind! Salvatore backs his machines with a 6-year warranty...which I can't imagine needing. Very easy to set up, and operate...pulls fine shots with impressive crema from the E-61 group...and pushes plenty of steam through just the right tip, for making great micro-foam. An added plus is the separate hot water wand--just the thing, for quickly providing a cup of tea to that non-coffee drinker in the group. I must admit that my journey to a Salvatore machine was long, and filled with bouts of upgrade-fever...but, I've reached my mountain top...I can imagine no reason to ever buy another espresso machine.
Negative Product Points
I had been honing my barista skills for the better part of 20-years..and had graduated to the Nuova Simonelli Oscar in the late 1990s. Then in about 2005, I saw a used Salvatore machine on ebay...did some research, and bought it. It was one of the first espresso machines Salvatore had made, when he decided to stop fixing other makers machines, and make his own. And I mean he made the whole thing by hand...including the group head and portafilter--cast the brass himself. When Salvatore first appeared on my radar screen, his shop was in Solvang, CA. And a few years later, my wife and I had occasion to be in Solvang (my brother-in-law had moved there) so we visited Salvatore and his wife, Wendy, at their shop...amazing. The machinery that Salvatore uses to cut and bend the copper and brass, and assemble the espresso machines is all old-world, well worn, and beautifully maintained...and Salvatore walked me through the whole process--showing and explaining as we went. Afterward, Wendy pulled shots from one of their machines in the showroom in the front of the shop. I came away feeling great--not only about the super espresso machine that I owned, but that it was indeed hand made in this country by an Italian artisan who poured his heart and soul into every bit of it. In 2010 my finances were such that I could afford a new Salvatore machine--one with an E-61 group...so I sent my early Salvatore machine back to their shop to be re-conditioned, and sold it to my partner (for just what the reconditioning had cost). I ordered a new Salvatore...waited the appropriate 8-weeks for the build...and have revelled in its workmanship and utilitarian beauty every day, as I make and drink espressos and cappuccinos with the whole family.
the buying experience could not have been easier nor more enjoyable. Having met Salvatore and Wendy, there was a familiarity that made for a smooth transaction.