aesthetically pleasing and sturdy design produces shots that will please most any coffee drinker given that you make two minor adjustments
Positive Product Points
sturdy and aesthetically pleasing design, heats up quickly, extremely easy to use for espresso newbies, does not use much counter space, easy to clean
Negative Product Points
uses a lot of water for steaming (mostly when it drains out after you steam), pressurized basket is not necessary
After using this machine for 9 months I have grown fond of it's operation and have improved its results dramatically by learning how to work with it. This is the first appliance I have owned that had a learning which took months to overcome. I also withheld from writing a review until i could test out the commonly suggested Krups 2-cup filter basket (Model: MS-0907163 - Click Here (www.krupsonlinestore.com) ).
I concur with the recommendation to replace the filter basket, it's a $13 addition that dramatically improves the results from this machine. The other highly recommended addition is a real tamper, you'll need a 50mm which you can find for about $8 at Sur La Table, or online - here's an image of the one that works very well: Click Here (www.koffeeklatsch.com) .
I use the KitchenAid ProLine Burr grinder on setting 7 (after the fine-grind adjustment) with a locally roasted espresso blend and produce great results. The Krups filter reduced the bitterness that I could never seem to reduce by means of all other adjustments (grind & tamp).
Milk frothing works well, I have not experienced the overflowing problems as reported by others - i can froth and produce a light textured milk using the attachment that goes over the wand.
Double ristrettos & double shots can be produced in minimal time and with great results. Pre-warming the cups atop of the unit is nice as it keeps the crema longer when pulling multiple shots if you are presenting to a group of people.
i had a 20% off coupon for bed, bath & beyond which worked well for this single high-dollar purchase.
Three Month Followup
still working great
One Year Followup
the machine itself works as it did one year ago, making it nearly two years old. i now want another machine, heavily due in part to spending too many hours reading reviews at coffeegeek. the breville is not as 'god-awful' as one would think after reading reviews here - it does what it does - and at a cost that is easier to stomach than a rancilio for someone whom has not developed a palette to notice the difference. i keep hoping that one day i'll go to pull another shot and the breville will die on me midway through but that has yet to materialize.