Excellent consumer machine with good temperature and pressure for a great shot of espresso!!
Positive Product Points
Double Boiler Quick heat up Three way solenoid to release pressure after pulling shots It's beautiful! Large water reservoir Very inexpensive Lots of dry steam if you're into milky drinks Makes EXCELLENT QUALITY SHOTS! Heavy, well built machine Parts can be bought from Parts Guru (same as gaggia classic internals) 58 mm portafilter
Negative Product Points
It isn't a professional grade machine The boiler could be bigger The switches are very poor quality and stop working The steam valve doesn't close all the way and shoots a bit of steam when you don't need it Gauges are poor quality (my espresso temp gauge stopped working). Kitchenaid does not have any support for this (very expensive when new) machine. I would never buy a new kitchenaid appliance after witnessing this lack of support.
I started my espresso adventure with a Starbucks Barista machine, and used to drink espresso maybe once every two weeks or so. One day, I saw a listing for the Kitchenaid Proline on Craigslist for $70, with non-working switches. I thought, what the heck. It's a beautiful piece of machinery and only costs $70, so I purchased it and repaired everything which was wrong with it. This included the switches (I replaced with toggle style switches from Radio Shack), the main boiler thermostat, one of the thermal fuses had blown, so I bypassed it, and the three way pressure relief valve had lost its hose, so water was going everywhere. After those things were taken care of.. WOW. That's all I can say. This machine makes some of the best espresso I've ever tasted. After upgrading to this from the Barista, I have espresso multiple times every day, and have taken up coffee roasting. Also, I upgraded my grinder to a Mazzer Super Jolly from my previous Kitchenaid Proline grinder. This made a large difference in the taste of the espresso.
After a few months, I made my own custom PID for the machine and noticed that it had been running a bit hot and brewing the espresso at too high of a temperature. The PID improved the taste of the shots even more. If you order a generic PID kit off of Ebay and a washer style thermocouple, it will cost no more than $60.. and if you don't mind doing some custom wiring.
All in all, I'm VERY satisfied with this machine. I'm going to upgrade to something bigger and more commercial in the next few weeks, but that's just because I enjoy gadgets, and not a shortcoming of this machine. I highly recommend it if you find one for a good price on Craigslist or Ebay, as they are no longer sold new.
It was.. Craigslist. I mean, it depends on who you're dealing with. In this case, the exchange went smoothly, but the seller neglected to mention that one thermostat was malfunctioning and that the machine was leaking like crazy. Thankfully, changing the thermostat was a $20 ordeal and the leak was simply a blown off hose from the three way solenoid.