If you are looking for a no nonsense automatic espresso maker that makes good coffee without much human intervention - this is the machine for you!
Positive Product Points
Simple to use and clean. Works like a charm right out of the box. The first cup of coffee was great. Easy to clean!
Negative Product Points
Door clearance on the front of the machine scratches the drip tray. Noisy! The cup heater surface is slanted. While there is a lip, I would not place nice cups on this if you have an active kitchen. Very small bean hopper (6 oz max)
The machine makes a good cup of espresso right out of the box. We waited a week and then dialed it in more to our liking. It handles the very oily beans without any problems (something I saw as a negative from another user). I have not tried it with some of the European coffees but that is next. The machine is noisy. Use of decaf in the single mode is easily accomplished (great for Mom - etc...)
The machine tells you when to empty the grounds container. If you do this early it makes no difference - it uses a simple counter that only resets when the light is activated. If some of the coffee grounds scrape off inside the machine the drip tray that holds the puck container will not fit back in properly. You have to keep this area clean. As far as the brewing machinery, simple cleaning by rinsing is all that is required according to the instructions. There is a lubricant on the moving parts that will eventually wash off/evaporate. I have not seen any instructions on how to replace this (nor seen any need yet).
Space-esthetics - not a bad looking machine. Becomes the center of attention in the kitchen when someone has never seen one.
This coffee machine is being used in a busy household with three active coffee drinkers - so far so good! It makes me four quick shots as I head out the door without any fuss.
Purchased from my local Starbucks - I would do it again.
Added on 22 Feb 2004 - the price is now down to $595 according to my local store!
Three Month Followup
The machine continues to produce great coffee. I would highly recommend the machine.