A great home machine with plenty of power and quality components, but despite its looks, it must be looked after properly to make good espresso.
Positive Product Points
The Paros is a great looking machine. Grinder (with) adjustment can grind very finely for great espresso. Very easy to dismantle and tweak. You can grind directly in portafilter, so no wasted coffee.
Negative Product Points
Grinder typically grinds too coarse for espresso(unless you tamper with it). Despite having a heavy portafilter, I find that after a year, the plastic handle has come slightly loose. The grinder can be quite messy, and the automatic dispenser is not very practical. Steam rod is short and not conveniently placed. The drip tray fills up very quickly and can be messy to empty.
I got the Paros pretty much on an impulse buy, I had seen it in a local shop and I liked the fact that it had a burr grinder. I also liked the look of it which complemented my Electrolux Cafe Classic drip machine. The Paros was replacing a La Pavoni pro machine which I loved, but I wanted the convenience / consistency of an electric pump... I since found out that what I really needed was a quality grinder and fresher coffee. The Paros was a cinch to set up and pretty much immediately made better coffee than I had previously made. However, my espressi were still too short (a full cup in about 10/15 seconds) and lacked the crema I could see on the coffee kid website. I started to think the grinder was not up to scratch and eventually, got myself a Rancilio Rocky (I told my wife I needed 2 grinders, 1 for regular and 1 for decaf.). Immediately, my shot improved significantly and I was now producing great crema. After a few weeks / months though, things started to go wrong, the crema was getting weaker, and my shots started to taste bitter. The portafilter also started leaking off the sides and when running the machine without portafilter, water was spurting all over the place sideways... I thought the seal was broken, but did not feel confident to have a look myself. One night, after a bottle of wine, and noticing instruction on the web, I decided to take the bull by the horns and open up the Paros. What a revelation. First off, it was very easy and un-intimidating to open. Secondly, I noticed that the inside of the shower head was coated in a thick and hard layer of coffee stuff, no wonder I was not extracting proper coffee, there were only about a dozen holes left in the shower head for the water to go through... Despite many attempts at cleaning the filter, I eventually had to use a pin and clear each and every single hole manually (note this was the shower head filter, not the portafilter basket, the latter would suffer greatly from such treatment, as hole would get bigger and affect resistance to pressure). The lesson here: do not under-estimate cleanliness as a factor in making espresso, and do not leave it too long before you open up the group head of your machine. While I had the Paros dismantled, I also adjusted the grinder, bringing the burrs closer. All of a sudden, I was able to pull great shots from the built in grinder. I still think that the Rocky is a better grinder though; the Paros grinder seems to produce a slightly less even grind. Would I buy the same machine again, well probably not, but only because now I want to upgrade to a semi pro machine like the mini Nova (Wega), Would I recommend you buy one yourself, yes if you like the looks of it, and the convenience of a all-in-one unit at a good price. It looks great and does not look too "techie" in a kitchen. It makes great espresso / cappucino and has plenty to tweak into to make it a fun machine to use. I am glad I learnt lessons on it.
I bought the Paros online from the best-of-italy.com website. Prices were great, and because I had previously bought my Pavoni from them, I had air miles to claim against the price of the Paros, so I got it for about half price (it retailed at 400 dollars incl. shipping otherwise). Everything went smoothly and arrived in perfect order.