Built in grinder/doser VERY convenient, lots of steam and lots of bubbles, large water reservoir, filter on water intake line to reduce scaling problems (easily replaceable,) rubber suction feet really grab (this things not going anywhere!)
Best overall value I could find.
Negative Product Points
I read it was noisy. It is noisy. But with 8 kids who notices? The water reservoir is a pain because when you put it back you have to make sure the water lines don‘t kink.
I drink WAY too much espresso now! But I do eat less sweets.
First I want to thank a previous reviewer for the tip on buying a demo from European Gifts, (and the coffee kid for this site.) Where else are you going to get a 16bar marine brass boiler and a built in low speed burr grinder for only $200? Do the math!
I didn‘t want any aluminum, and selected this unit over the Saeco because it had an aluminum handle and I read the La Pavoni had a brass, but come to find out it is aluminum also, albeit it is coated with a layer of nickel, so I feel a little better. But with the built-in grinder you still couldn‘t touch it on price. You can adjust the grind down really fine, and it‘s great to grind just enough for the brew right into the handle. It even has a little holder that holds the handle in to grind while you run to the fridge for milk!
The housing is plastic but seems well made. The buttons seem sturdy and work well. The parts that count, the head and handle, seem very sturdy and work well. I think the frothing wand should be longer and swing farther out from the unit.
I elected to get the older club combo because I didn‘t think I needed a cup warmer, I wanted a white one to match my kitchen, and I wanted to save a little more money. The newer duet is available for about $50 more.
I‘m no expert, but the espressos and mochas taste just as good as Panera Bread‘s. There is crema on top of the cup, and the espresso tastes great, though I do put sugar in it. I bought Panera Bread beans to do a comparison. At first I thought when the light came on I couldn‘t steam anymore, but I found it just goes and goes! I have 8 kids, and of course all of them want a mocha too, so they all line up to have their milk frothed! This thing is so easy to use my 11 year old now makes our mochas for us. It pulls a 2 oz. shot in about 15 seconds and a double in 30 which seems right on. I actually use the dump trays for grounds. I just keep dumping, and every few days or so empty the trays, another great convenience. If you don‘t want to spend $600 on a pump and grinder, this is a great alternative!