IF it blew up I'd go out and buy another one tomorrow!
Positive Product Points
Effortless to use; really. My technologically challenged wife/kids can even make great latte's with this unit.
Negative Product Points
I wonder about the long-term reliability. I also am challenged with finding any internal replacement parts from anyone other than Delonghi. I thought I had a bad steam unit, did some preliminary checking with no luck. Not many metal parts. Makes you stop and dump the grounds bin/tray frequently, even when barely (less than half) full.
I couldn't be more pleased with ease of use, and with as much as I use this machine, it's actually held up quite well for the 2 years I've had it. Don't be a dummy like me and misplace your receipt, as with Delonghi, you get NOTHING if you don't have it and are expecting to get warranty repair. This said, when I was having an internal water leakage combined with a substantial loss of steam pressure, it forced me to try to find a solution myself. I took the case off and found that the O-Rings on the steam unit just needed replacement. Found some at my local harware store, so it cost me less than a dollar to fix, saving me probably a couple hundred bucks in repair/shipping expense (so excuse me while I'm feeling pretty proud of myself..) not to mention being without my machine for God knows how long...although I now find that I should have used the same color O-Rings (red) as the ones I took out instead of the black ones I found, as they are designed for heat. So I'll be taking it apart again soon to replace.
Nonetheless, super easy to use and maintain, consistantly great espresso and latte's, and considering the amount of use, pretty good reliability. Minimal amount of time to get started in the morning (maybe 2 minutes), minimal amount of time switching between pulling shots and steaming (10 seconds), just about idiot proof. I am sure some afficianados (SP?) may lament the lack of control over certain phases of the process, but that's why they make automaic, semi-automatic and like mine, super automatic.
Starbucks: Was normally over $1000. The month before Christmas they put it on sale for $599, then the week before Christmas they had a 10% off everything sale, bringing my cost down to $540. I had my Starbucks Gold Card, which at the time gave you 10% off anything, which got it down to $480. Costco was selling $100 worth of Starbucks cards for $80 at the time, so I went and bought $500 worth of them for $400, in effect giving me another 20% off, so my net cost was about $384 plus tax; SWEET!
Three Month Followup
See one year notes
One Year Followup
I actually owned the unit for 3 years. As far as my lattes, I could not have been happier. Creamy, silky froth, pulls great shots, wonderful Americano's, just wonderful. Now the challenges; the o-rings do wear out and need to be replaced. The biggest challenge is getting them. I saw that Seattle Coffee Gear repairs Delonghi's, so I contacted them. They have them, but won't sell them to me! The claim Delonghi won't let them. So I called Delonghi (which in retrospect I should have done in the first place) they said they have no issue with them selling me o-rings, so one must surmise that they just don't want to encourage home repairs. A few of the o-rings under the boiler are a little dicey to replace and probably should be done by a technician, as the boiler needs to be removed, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out how. I could tell it was affecting my shot quality, and it was leaking a little. The final straw was when I was cleaning the inside of the unit. I guess I got a little carried away, as after I was done, when I put the drip tray with the grounds container in and closed the door, I got the error message "Insert Used Grounds Container", even though it was installed. I probably got the switch wet or something (so, carefully cleaning the inside!). So I sold the unit as is on eBay for $260 (with full disclosure) and have since bought a couple of Prosumer machines. I can't seem to get the grind right, so good shots are somewhat elusive for me. I bought a refurbed Jura S9 that makes crap compared to my Delonghi; thin, watery shots (no matter how much I fiddle with the grind/powder settings) and bubbly, lukewarm froth. So I'm getting another Delonghi; my wife can't wait. And when it starts to leak, I'll ship it to Seattle CG for their $155 maintenance service.