This machine works GREAT if you have the seattlecoffeegear.com filter, let it warm up, and have a real grinder!
Positive Product Points
Water tank that fills from front or rear. Finish of the machine. Water level indicator light. Auto-fill boiler/thermoblock. Inexpensive. Reliability: Not a SINGLE thing failed on the machine after FIVE years. Drip tray full indicator. Amazingly nice stainless steel frothing jug.
Negative Product Points
Stock filter baskets are for pre-ground espresso coffee or a low level grinder. Needs to heat up for an hour or more for a good cup (So does my Silvia). Thermoblock, and no way to add a PID. Crappy stock tamper.
I have had this machine for 5 years, and I have tried all of the following filter baskets:
Stock baskets - Coffee not rich enough for my tastes but work well with lower level grinders and pre-ground espresso.
Krups MS0907163 - Doesn't fit 16 grams of coffee, holes too big, grinds in the cup.
Breville ESP4 1/2 cup filter - Barely fits 14 grams of coffee, filter too tapered at bottom.
Breville stock 2 cup filter with bottom drilled out - Holes slightly too big, grinds in the cup, doesn't fit 16 grams of coffee.
seattlecoffeegear.com Breville 'unpressurized basket' - Fits 16 grams of coffee, holes VERY tiny, NO grinds in the cup!
Here is how I get a GREAT double Ristretto out of this machine:
Let machine and cups on top warm up for one hour with portafilter installed.
Grind out VERY fine coffee on a real grinder (I am using a Mazzer Mini E).
Use the seattlecoffeegear.com breville unpressurized DEEP basket with TINY holes.
Weigh exactly 16 grams using a good scale (I am using an Escali 600 digital scale).
Use good coffee (I am using Barefoot The Boss or Barefoot Element).
Tamp 30 lbs with a real tamper (I am using a 51mm lava tamp from espressoparts.com).
Extract 1 to 1.25 ounces of espresso in 25-30 seconds.... WOW... almost as good as my PID Silvia!