Great machine. Great looks. Great price. No problems so far... ...3 months later and still no problems. Still great.
Positive Product Points
Looks Price/value Quality of espresso
Negative Product Points
Fiddly water reservoir
I was a bit concerned about my recent purchase after reading some of these other reviews. People telling you their machines keep breaking down and take an age to heat up tends to do that to you. But after a month of use I haven't any complaints.
This may be a result of it being a slightly newer model (it at least looks slightly different to the one in the pictures), my good luck/others bad luck, or just that I've only owned it a month. I'll update the review after 3 months to let people know.
Anyway, back to the review...
LOOKS First thing you are going to notice about it - it looks great. All stainless steel and a solid compact design make it look great. I didn't want to get another plasticy cheap looking coffee machine so this fitted the bill. Seems to be well built too - things slotting together well etc. No breakdowns ("yet" if the other reviews are right).
INSTRUCTIONS Had to down-grade the usability mark as a result of the instructions. They seem to be slightly confused and use the wrong part numbers occassionally. Possibly a case of the work experience kid doing the translation again.
HEATING UP I've got to say I have had no problems with the heating time. A couple of minutes with the portafilter in seems enough - I've never had a problem with espressos going cold quickly. It does take a little extra to heat the steam for the nozzel but I'd expect that from a compact machine like this.
PORTAFILTER Great. Solid brass and large. Maintains the heat well too. Plastic handle is a bit rubbish.
WATER External so you can see the water level. It's easy to top up - just pull to the side - but fiddly to take out because of the pipes. Downgraded the usability rating because of this.
PUMP A bit noisy but at least it doesn't make the machine rattle. Settles down once it starts to actually pump the coffee.
THE COFFEE (THE MAIN THING) Very good. Very very good. I'm sure the uber-expensive machines produce a better espresso but really, is it $200/$300/$1000 better? A good crema, satisfyingly rich, not burnt... I even managed a decent espresso with some older rubbish coffee I am trying to use up.
OTHER POINTS Heating tray on top is usefull. Drip tray is easily removed and cleaned. Buttons don't seem very sturdy. Comes with your standard measuring scoop and plastic tamper.
****3 MONTHS LATER********************************** Still not broken down - I stand by everything I wrote above. Those people who had ones that broke must have been unlucky (or I have been lucky). Anyway, it's still making great coffee.
Went into shop. Bought it. Was given a free rubber non-slip mat. Happy enough.