Good solid machine that makes decent shots and is easy to learn on and easy to clean plus looks great on top of counter.
Positive Product Points
Quick and easy to learn to use. Makes better shots than most Starbucks type of places. Easy to clean. With good fresh beans and right grind will do a great job. Foaming can be done with or without attachment. Hot water function
Negative Product Points
Uses an incredible amount of water. Cup warmers stay on even though switch is off, you have to unplug machine, for me that is not good, but others may like that feature.
I am a newbie making espresso although I have been drinking espresso since I was like 7 but I research and learn fast. Thanks to good websites that talk about espresso and watching Baristas at work I am kind of scratching the surface on what it takes to make good shots. I have read and agree that pressurized portafilters have their problems, I think that with a good conical grinder, a good grind setting and fresh beans, the right type of coffee (in my case low acid Brazil not more than 2 weeks old) not too much pressure on the tamp, you can get some pretty great shots from this machine. I have been to many places and tasted and there are very, very few places that can pull shots decently and it's usually just the owner that really knows how. I know that if I still lived in NYC that might be a different situation, but in Utah that is true. Since I feel that this machine can help you get raves from your friends and do some nice work with a little practice I think this machine is perfect for the beginner to mild enthusiast. I drink strictly espresso or americanos, although I make latte and caps for others . I know that I have a lot to learn still and will probably never truly finish learning but so far so good with the 800 esxl, even the Roma does good, I have that at the office and wind up making 3 or 4 caps for the folks daily (maybe I should charge). I had a clogged filter once when I was using a blade grinder and pulverized the grinds too fine, but have never had a problem since I got a Maestro. One reviewer said to close off the top hole on the frothing attachment and that really helps as you navigate the bottom hole right on the surface, it foams beautifully although I am practicing without the attachment and can get better results thanks to the great articles on CG. I ordered a Krups double filter and I am playing with it and trying different tamps and grinds, but have not found the right balance yet to see if I can get a sweeter shot. I will report again in a while after seeing what can be done. By the way if you are ever in Jerusalem, try "Cup O Joe" right in front of the King Solomon hotel!
Bought it from a discount store and so it was greatly reduced $$. The place even had some spare parts for sale like a brass/chrome portafilter for $4.00 and other goodies.