Pressurized PF Basket Base Removed With Lathe - YIPPEE!
Positive Product Points
Beefy construction, easy to use, nice design elements, attractive appearance
Negative Product Points
Pressurized portafilter baskets, holes in basket too big once bottom has been removed, tray water marker could be a tad more sensitive
This is a good home machine. The steam pressure is adequate and the water heater and pump do their job just fine. The water tray and water resevoir are well appointed into the whole scheme of things. There are two ways to add water either by taking out the resevoir by pulling it out under the group head or by opening a sneaky little trap door in the back, handy if your machine doesn't have cabinets over it.
My main gripe is the pressurized basket and it's odd size. The i.d. of the basket is a smidge over 51mm. This makes the buying of a tamper an expensive business. I would have liked to buy a stock Reg Barber from one of the usual stores online which would have been about half the price (for what would have ultimately been a better tamper) the issue is that I have ginormous hands and need a taller handle which wasn't available at my time of shopping. I found a nice one at espressoparts.com which does the job. It fits the basket well and is a massive improvement over the disposable plastic one provided. I also removed the very bottom of the portafilter basket on my lathe. This combined with the use of a good quality tamper and the learning of some skills through practise has improved matters immensely.
The holes in the PF basket (after removal of the pressurized base) are too big. I am trying to find a basket that is small enough for the PF and has small enough holes to take a real espresso grind. I bought a LaPavoni basket but it was too small (49mm) I saw there is a 53mm model so I'm going to give that a shot, it should still fit in the PF if the spring within allows, that can always go if it has to though.
On the advise of the message boards here I bought a Krups model basket that fit the PF well but the holes were way way way too big. Coffee grounds were gushing through them and into my, what was supposed to be, drink. So please don't buy one of those!
I have to say that I am happy with this machine overall though. I can make delicious drinks with it in a decent amount of time. The thermablock heats the required amount of water very quickly thus avoiding a long wait for an entire tank to warm up. Handy in the morning!