This is a beautiful machine. It looks even better in real life than it does in the pictures. This is high-quality stainless steel and chrome that gleams and shines. After 6 months of daily use, it looks like new after I polish it up.
I love the manual operation of the lever; I cannot imagine that pushing a button to dispense a preprogrammed volume of coffee could be as satisfying as pulling on the little lever. The gagues give it such a gee-whiz scientific look.
Oh yeah, it steams really well and produces great coffee; but, you probably already know that if you have been reading the CG reviews.
Negative Product Points
Sometimes it hums away with a soft purr; sometimes it gets noisy and vibrates a lot. The nuts holding the handle onto the drip tray are rusting. I wish that it had a double walled steaming pipe that would not cake on scalded milk so much.
When I bought this machine seven months ago I was a complete espresso newbie, so I have held off on writing this review until I got a little bit of experience under my belt. After this long of a time with it, I now get a few shots a week that I think taste really really good. The rest of the time I settle for shots that are still better than anything else I can find in Houston.
This machine will not, of itself, make good coffee for you. It will not turn stale beans into rich espresso any more than it will pour wine from the water dispenser with a reservoir full of H2O. If you are not going to commit to roasting your own beans or regularly buying freshly roasted beans, then don't bother paying this much for a machine. Illy just doesn't cut it.
I by no means consistently bang out shot after shot of great espresso as I have seen a lot of reviewers claim. But, I have poured enough good shots that when I pour a bad one, I do not scratch my head wondering if it is the machine's fault.
I was skeptical until I received mine, but the new steam tip from Chris makes a definite improvement in steaming performance.
Bottom line: Chris takes care of his customers just like everybody says. Don't let weeks go by wondering about some aspect of the operation of your machine. Just drop him a question by email and you very well might have an answer within minutes.