Good looking no frills great working machine. 5 years later still pulling great shots. NO REGRETS
Positive Product Points
My wife likes how it looks. Double boilers with respective gauges are a plus.
Negative Product Points
water tank placement and qty it holds. Crappy tamper and to small a milk pitcher. A little pricey, good thing for the 20% discount. I wonder if I would think the same if it had an Italian brand name.
THis is a very good machine, not perfect but I'm really liking it. I specially like the ability to froth milk and make espresso at the same time, comes in handy when we have company. I use a 58mm pro tamper I brought from work as well as a bigger pitcher for frothing(we have a small coffe shop).
I let the machine warm up for a bout 10 minutes so the portafilter gets hot to the touch. I can froth milk to a silky look, it works better (at least for me) than the Faema Due we have in the shop. It does take a good eye and if not careful when streching you can introduce bigger bubles. This is where using a bigger pitcher than the one that comes with the machine pays off. This works great when we have company, no more aerolatte, now I have enough steam to do more than three cups of capp at once.
As for the portafilter and the head they are of comercial size though the portafilter looks a little cheap in contrast to the machine. It makes a good shot of espresso with great looking crema but I do believe it can do better. As of now I do not have a grinder at home (my last grinder was built into my old machine) so it is somewhat incovenient for me to experiment with different grinds but I believe once I find the right grind the shots by this machine will rival our Faema at work.
Likes: great manual, fast boilers and cool looking gauges (don't know how accurate). Very good looking appliance (wife approved).
Dislikes: for the price it needs to have better tools with it and a better looking and built portafilter. I would like the option to hook up a water line. I guess it can be done I just wish it was ready to go from the box.
I hope the baristas at coffeegeek take this machine for a spin, I like to know from a pro how it compares to a silvia or any of the other high ranked machines on this price range.
bought at William Sonoma with a 20% discount. Tried it a the store a few times and decided to take home after a few months of waiting for any pro reviews
Three Month Followup
One Year Followup
This is actually a 5+ year follow up. I could not be more satisfied with this machine. Well is actually my third as it was replaced twice by kitchenaid. The first time one of the gauges stopped working and the second time the frother valve was a little hard to twist.
Still I love this machine, it makes great coffee with ease. It will even froth milk on its own with the right pitcher. I can froth milk and pull a shot within 5 minutes of power on. When we have company there's no waiting big milk pitcher and shots almost as fast as I can tamp them, what's not to love.
But it does have flaws, as I mentioned before the water tank is hidden and not easy to fill. I now use a small plastic bottle to replenish the water tank every other day to keep it fresh. It has the right amount and reaches the tank easily on the side. The froth wand gets mucked fast and I got tired of cleaning it. Now I just keep and extra pitcher with water and sumerge the wand after each use, keeps the curd down and makes for easy clean up.
Well I guess that's it, overall it is just a great machine and hope stays healthy for a long time as I think it will be hard to find a replacement for this home machine.