Exceeded all Expectations: Full Battle Tank Design, with the performance of a Porsche at the price of a Yugo.
Positive Product Points
1: Consistently good espresso. "Starbucks? Who?" 2: Value! Nothing at this price point to match. 3: Very easy to clean 4: Versatile: SB Pods, Illy Pods, grind my own. It has all been good! 5: Reasonable footprint. Fit's nicely under the counter. 6: Incredibly, durable, and sturdy design 7: Quick: The time from turn on to espresso is just right 8: 2 Year Manufacturers Warranty
Negative Product Points
1: As with any machine like this, a tad loud. 2: Needs a new tamper tool and scooper. The plastic gets electrically charged and won't let go of the damn little coffee grinds. Tamper is just too wimpy. 3: The long term durability of the product is still a big question mark, though it is clearly made to handle even the unexpected IED. 4: The steamer nozzle is a little annoying when trying to pull out the water reservoir.
Good ------------------- 1: Great Espresso and versatile First, I want to say that this was the best "investment" I have made in a while. Instant returns! I was spending at least $100-150/month at Starbucks. (Verify: 1 $3 latte 1-2 times per day of the month). Now I scoff at the little green circles. With a little experimentation, and I mean only a little, I have been able to generate some of the most amazing shots of espresso on a regular basis. I have tried it with pods, and my own grinds. Both exceeded my expectations.
2: The Value The price point is really outstanding at $399 US. There is nothing at that amount of money, that I know of, to even compare this machine too.
3: Easy to Clean It is easy to clean, with a very convenient and well sized trap for excess steam and water. It even has a nice "FULL" indicator so that you know when you are all filled up and need a change. Though as Patrick said in his review, it needs a little more tuning...
4: Form Factor and Design The design is top notch, with a storage compartment drawer that tucks neatly behind the water trap. It is not a behemoth either, and is one of the few that was short enough to fit under my cabinets and still be usable. Multiple access points for refilling the water was another great design. I got the all Stainless version and it looks great on the counter. The water level indicator is readily available and easy to read. I know I have already said this, but man this thing is SOLID.
5: I wake up turn it on, grab the paper and I am ready to start making espresso. The machine at work, takes almost 3 minutes before it is ready.
Bad --------------- 1: I know my wife is rolling her eyes when I get up in the morning. There is just no way to hide that I am making some really great espresso. I guess it will be like that Folgers commercial, only it will be the sound of my 17 bar pump and the smell of coffee.
2: The given tamper tool and scooper are the only weak spot in the package. Remedied for $10 anywhere.
3: As far as I can tell this is a new product (within the past year). Unlike some of the other systems that have been operating longer than I can remember, this product does not have the tried and true test of time under it's belt. So there is always a risk. But the 2 year warranty more than handles my trepidation is this department.
4: The nozzle for the steamer gets in the way from time to time when I am refilling the water. Nothing big, just a very minor nuisance.
Bed, Bath and Beyond had one left. Had them hold it. Applied 20% off, so I really only paid $320.