Looks great and performs as described in Mark Pince's review.
Negative Product Points
Shot glass and cups don't fit very well under grouphead. Grouphead leaks a bit while machine is in use.
***Broke after 5 months of light use.
I bought this machine based in part on Mark Prince, September 6, 2003 review and in part becuse of the price. This is my first foray into espresso machines and there is a lot to like about the FFX3. The fit and finish of this machine is very nice. I have the ghisa black which is kind of a black fleck stone. The machine looks great in our contemporary kitchen.
The water gets hot fast and the noise level of the pump is not too terribly intrusive. I have noticed that coffee leaks from the grouphead when pulling double shots. This is somewhat bothersome, and I haven’t decided if it is because I am overfilling the portafilter or just the design of the machine. Unfortunately I only have a blade grinder at this time, so the quality of my espresso is suffering. That said I actually still get decent mochas and there is still come crema in the shots that I pull. The steam wand seems to do a nice job of making decent foam I like the little super frother design.
All in all for $200. I am very pleased with this machine and hope to have it for many years to come.
Excellent - Bought it as an open box item from Wholelattelove on Ebay. They did a nice job of packing and shipping on time.
Three Month Followup
So far so good. The unit still looks great and is easy to clean after use. Frothing attachment on steaming wand is makes getting the "perfect froth" simple of an amature like me.
Would like a bit more crema, but this is possibly to to a bad grinder.
Grouphead leaks a little if not on tight.
All - in all a good starter machine and a good value at less than $225.00.
I have lowered my rating on the machine. Boiler stopped working this weekend after only 5 months of light weekend use. I have noticed that many other people seem to have the same problem. I called FF and their customer service was very helpful. They are sending me prepaid UPS shipping invoice to send the machine in for service. However, this means no coffee for the next several weeks!
I really like this machine, but only time will tell if the internal build quality is a good as the fit and finish of the exterior.