Excellent value for the bucks, top notch commercial-home quality.
Positive Product Points
Definitely worth the bucks, right out of the box (pulled 2 "prelim" shots) made the best shots I've had in a long time (especially at home!!). Plenty of H2O is needed to prime and get going, but once underway it hums like an Italian dream. Superbly constructed (42 lbs.) like a commercial machine, and easy to use in my opinion. Liked having the bar/steam gauge as well, helps to make the consistency of great shot creation more attainable. Once up to temp it cranks out shots as fast as you can knock,tamp, and twist. Wife loves the hot water dispense, she a big tea drinker. I dig the heavy duty toggle switches and "old toaster" looking indicator lights, truly has a unique flair.
Negative Product Points
Whoever translated the instructions was not from UK/USA, you're in for a good snicker on some of the lines. I was looking for a machine that wasn't so "machine" looking (I really love Elektra's machines, the a leva is one of my favorites owned by a roommate years ago), but the semi-retro appeal of the Zaff' is decent (see the review on this site that mentions an old 'Star Trek' slant to the asthetics). Nothing serious (or minor) to make negative yet about the machine. Takes a few minutes to really warm up for the good shots though. Can they simpy make a better tamper rather than the CHEAP plastic one that comes with it? I mean the back of my scooper works much better than the tiny one they sent...ah well, one for the Christmas list.
Be prepared to laugh at the manual, but read it for sure! The best way to use the Zaff' (and the other Iosmacs I've read about) is to let is heat up for at least 20 to 30 minutes before pulling real quality shots from it. I think this may be typical for the single boiler machines. Once up to temp, be sure not to use the brew head for any leverage on the twist, it does get mighty hot (see the E61 head info on this site) as my wife can attest to! I love the lever activation for brewing, reminds me of an old coffee house I spent time in years ago, sitting across from the barista watching the machine steam away after each lever was pulled. I would definitely advise keeping the drip tray as clean as you can, it just keeps the mess down. Although it is wonderfully deep for those days when many shots are pulled, it lets me procrastinate in cleaning it so I tend to let it get pretty deep with run off. The screen/head is simple to maintain, it comes with a blank to fit on the brew heads. I just can't say enough with how much I am loving my Zaff'. I've used steam powered, heat exchangers, manual lever pullers, and other pump machines before. Isomac has really got their 'stuff' together, I am truly impressed and am looking forward to having the Zaff' for many years to come.
No complaints, Chris Coffee has always had great reviews on this site and they are definitely based on reality. Customer service number one.
Three Month Followup
I have nothing to add in 3 months but excellent results from practically each shot pulled. One strange thing that I have not emailed Chris (Chris's Coffee) about yet is my temp light is out. The machine still works perfectly fine, just no "magic" temp light (the middle one). Not sure if this is a fix I can do myself, I thought maybe it could be a simple bulb replacement. The Zaff does like a medium-fine grind, too fine is too tight a pack after tamping to get a decent pull. The ideal time seems to be about 15 seconds once the first creamy streams begin to hit the bottom of the cup (single shot). Still makes it's best shots after being warmed up for at least 15 to 20 minutes, although I pulled one after it first warmed up (in about 4 to 5 minutes!) and I have to admit it wasn't all that bad. A little "clear" tasting, if that makes sense. Other than that I am one happy espresso/coffee geek!