If you have the money for a HX-machine with a E61 group, this one is a good one to buy and start practising with.
Positive Product Points
It's good money for value. Big driptray. the steamwand and the hotwaterwand are movable. It's E61! Fairly big reservoir and boiler for a home user.
Negative Product Points
If there is not enough water anymore in the reservoir, the machine just stops the pump. A good thing, but it can cost you that precious shot. The feet under the machine are rediculous high. But it's fairly easy to change that. The vibe pump is loud (what else) The steamwand gets real hot! (not doublesided, or how are that is called...) A pressure gauge for the pump would have been nice.
After big problems with getting another machine delivered (ECM giotto) and after 4 months we decided to pick up the offer to buy this Spanish brand for a good discount. Thrilled with the looks (although i rather wanted the giotto for the looks) it's a classic design with the E61 headgroup clearly visible, and all stainless steel. The driptray has good capacity, and after getting used to, it's easy to take out of the machine to empty. The reservoir can be lfted ou for easy refilling. After some searching, i found several possibilities to plumb in the machine. Big reservoir or no, it did cost me several shots of espresso, because the pump stopped in midpour. Good portafilter goes with it, but only one so you keep changing the baskets if you want to use singles and doubles (but those porta's are not that expensive to buy, all 58 mm fit) So get the setup, buy a good tamper and start pouring shots and/or train your latte art abilities!
I bought from a dutch coffee shop, that has a fair range of machines to sell, in the city Maastricht. They did find it painful that it was impossible to get the ECM we originally wanted. So i did get the same discount offered on the Expobar. And the delivery went smooth. After sales was good also, i had several questions, and i got good and quick answers from the original handler where the machine is imported in the Netherlands. By mail or phone, good service and from people who know the machines. If you are interested: http://www.expobar.nl
Three Month Followup
See one year follow-up
One Year Followup
I am practising my foaming qualities for almost a year now, and i am getting better, it's not the machine but also the amount of milk, the concentration and so on. What is good is that i know the lever now so well, i knoow exactly where to hold the stemawand and in whitch angle i have to hold the pitcher. It's great fun to make rosetta's and stuff for friends and family. Some even come especially for the coffee, or won't come so quickly when they know they won't get a cup or two. So on all, i am very satisfied, and this story can continue for a long time if it depends on me.