If you want to make a nice cappucino or latte in the morning with a reasonably priced machine, this one is for you.
Positive Product Points
Nice machine to look at Always a crema because of the dual wall on the filter Easy to clean Easy to use
Negative Product Points
The tamp at the end of the measuring spoon is not up for the job. Dual wall filter
I have been experimenting with the machine for several months now.
You have to know that this machine use a dual wall filter system. The dual wall filters create back pressure by forcing brewed espresso through the small holes in the upper layer of the filter and then the small hole in the bottom layer of the filter (in addition to using barometric pressure from the pump) to create a thick rich crema. It always creates a crema wether or not you follow the golden rules of espresso making.
More often than not the crema is light not red brown like it is supposed to be. More often than not the espresso is under-extracted because of the crema displays blonde and white colors in the crema. More often than not, it taste bitter. Espresso is not suppose to be bitter.
To make it better not bitter, I experimented with a few things.
You need to buy yourself a tamp. A standard 49mm will do the job for you. With the proper tamping technique it will make a world of a difference. Look for tamping techniques at www.youtube.com. You will also need to buy a good grinder to make good espresso. I use a "Braun CaféSelect KMM 30" bought for less than 75$ with honest results.
You will have to experiment with your grinder to find the right grind setting. It has to be fine but not powdery or the water will not flow through the coffee. If you don't want any trouble you can always buy pre-ground. If you do, buy little at a time for freshness.
On the messy side of things, because of the dual wall filter you are not left at the end with a nice dry puck after the shot but with a slurry. If you wait for a couple of minutes before removing the portafilter, time enough to let all the water drain, you will have a nice dry puck to dispose in your knockbox (not included).
I was told that this machine can be turn on all the time so you don't need to wait on it to warm up. However, before you first use the machine in the morning you may want to run a short flow of water through the brew head just so that you have the right temperature. Be sure to remove all the old grind that may stick to the brew head before use.
If you want to pull the "god shot" with the "guiness effect" you should look elsewhere. In that case, I suspect that you will have to pay a lot more... or move away from the dual wall filter...
I bought the machine from Corneau Cantin, (www.corneaucantin.com) Centre d'affaires Le Mesnil 1170, Boul. Lebourgneuf, Québec, Canada. The owner who sold me the machine made me an offer I could not refuse. He let me try the machine for one week for 30$ and gave me 30$ worth of gourmet coffee when I bought it.