The Zaffiro is a pure espresso machine that makes fine milk-coffee drinks and does so with the sleek lines of a 1966 Mercedes Sports Coupe.
Positive Product Points
The best aspect of the Zaffiro is its consistently high quality espresso brewed at a consistent temperature. Further, the aesthetic beauty of the workmanship is adaptable to any kitchen decor. Also, though the Zaffiro has developed a reputation for being an "espresso only" machine, I find the process for a cappuccino and other milk drinks quite acceptable. The size of the reservoir is also a positive.
Negative Product Points
The most negative point for me is the time it takes the waterand the grouphead to heat up. I need to move quickly in the morning, so the first thing I have to do when I get up is turn on the Zaffiro. I also find it irritating to put my espresso cups on top then have to take them off to put the water in the reservoir. Finally, I don't like having to bleed the machine to make an espresso.
The Zaffiro hums. And hums while looking rather sexy. The espresso is so much better than my La Pavoni that I was surprised, because I was quite pleased with my La Pavoni. Everything about the Zaffiro seems made to guarantee multiple espressos at a consistent temparature. The size of the reservoir, the size of the boiler which refills automatically, the steady temperature maintained in the grouphead, all work toward that consistency.
The knock on the Zaffiro, the thermostat and the frothing capacity, are not present in my machine (though I've only had it 1 month). The machine is ready to make wonderful foam in less than 2 minutes and, having spoken with the previous owner, has never had a problem with the thermostat (it was built in 2005). It has a powerful steaming wand that makes frothing the milk quite easy and does not burn the milk. The wand is flexible, moves easily and creates access to any size pitcher with ease. I have a two hole tip which is not standard on the Zaffiro but easily obtained.
Finally, the machine's lines are very clean. It is beautiful and the quality of the materials and workmanship guarantee a long life. The Zaffiro also has a relatively small footprint (17 by 9 inches) for all that umph. It fits easily under cabinets unless you wish to put your cups on top. Again, when you need to remove the top to replenish the water, it is a bit of a hassle. Still, the size of the reservoir means you will fill it once every two days (about 4 cappuccini and 2 espressos). Maintenance can take some time, but if you get into the zen of the experience, even that enhances your appreciation for the machine.
I bought this machine used. The previous owner did a wonderful job keeping it in excellent shape.