Good basic machine for serious espresso. Get a good grinder or a reliable source for ground.
Positive Product Points
Makes good espresso with a good crema if you use good coffee and get the proper grind. Easy to use and seems to be well made.
Negative Product Points
Frothing- Wand is too short which makes frothing awkward. Steam capacity is too small, a second use means stopping and letting the steam cycle run again. Better for users who aren't strongly oriented towards cappuccinos and lattes.
This is my first serious machine and in general I‘m pleased with it. Once I got the right grind I managed to make what I consider very good espresso-better than many "espresso bars". But the right grind needs a very good home grinder-or you have to experiment with local shops until you find one that can supply you with the proper grind. Mark's advice about a good grinder being more important than an expensive machine is true. The "improved crema" device is a waste of time. It actually makes worse crema. Just get good fresh coffee, leave the device out, and you‘ll get good crema without it.
I paid $190 which is a very good price here.
I am satisfied with the machine, but buyers should understand that it is not a machine for after dinner party coffees: in the future I will upgrade to a machine with a heat exchanger so that I make espresso, steam at the same time, and repeat the process immediately (for groups of guests).