For the price, the quality is excellent and produces an end product as good as machines costing much more
Positive Product Points
It took me forever to find an expresso machine that matched my specifications. i searched hours daily for months. I had the money to buy a more expensive one but wanted the best overall value. I researched and studied machines and frequented forums like crazy as I know the customer knows best.
Major Positives: + E61 + Heat Exchange + 1.8 L Boiler + Lever Arm Control (+Pre-infusion) + Brew & Boiler gauge (Just added on newest models) + Consistent Brew Temp (Also referenced in recent lever review - Added thermo restrictor part on newest models) + No burn steam and hot water wand (Added on newest models) + Low water cut off + Steam power is good and I can make micro foam with this all day... (just wanted to make this clear that its got the steam power - wonderful)
BTW - I got this machine as a part of a more expensive package deal which overall saved me $250 hence the lower price I paid for it than the average $1249.
Negative Product Points
- get a expobar bottomless portafilter for this machine.... - weak direction manual - housing is not as high quality as more expensive machines ($600+ more), for example the steel is not as thick as some of the italian machines, the edges aren't rounded, etc. - can be a bit loud as its a vibration pump, not rotary, some parts not as high end as the higher end machines but again your paying at least 600 more for basically the same performance in an HX machine...
I can't really stress how much this is skill based and how even a sub 500 machine can pump out excellent shots of espresso...however these more expensive well-designed machines (not all expensive machines are well-designed) are more consistent and allow more visibility/tinkering with the process to get it exactly how YOU want it and that is what matters most.
I did my research as everyone who buys a machine did and when your spending over a grand for a machine you really want the best of the best and i doubt anyone on these forums would buy an expensive machine and throw it under the bus but i got to be honest...I AM THRILLED with this purchase and I am NOT easily impressed.
I would have to spend nearly DOUBLE to get a better machine and at that point I would be paying a LOT more for just a little improvement and thats not worth it.
A fantastic barista can take any machine and make good shot of espresso so improving your personal skills/knowledge is much more important than just dropping an insane amount on a machine.
pretty good, however still working out some issues with WLL - good customer service if you get the right person, otherwise its an uphill battle....be as nice as you can and be proactive! They are very busy and seem like it!