Quirky, but statisfying to the enthusiast who apprecitates the process of espresso and the aesthetics of it's design.
Positive Product Points
- Great for learning about how Espresso is made - Plenty of steam - Shiny - Simplicity of design and process - Once mastered it can make some excellent coffee
Negative Product Points
- The lever has a lot of sideways play in it - You have to push hard on the lever, but the machine is prone to move around - You must be willing to learn and experiment - You will need a good (ie expensive) grinder - Temperature cannot be controlled effectively - You can't make more than a couple of shots of espresso before it overheats and burns the coffee - It comes with a toy tamper instead of a real one
I read a lot of reviews before buying the Europiccola, so I knew to expect a period of learning before I would see any good coffee. I was expecting that I could get good coffee out of it eventually, but I didn't realise how good or soon that could be.
It is a beautiful machine, and you should only be thinking about buying one if you value the aesthetics and are prepared to forgive the quirks. You may also be interested if you like the idea of having more involvement in the process of pulling the shot. You will know almost immediately as you pull down the lever what the coffee is likely to taste like.
I really enjoy the coffee I get out of this machine. It's thick and brown, and a crema like a Belgian beer. With freshly roasted beans and a good extraction there is little or no bitterness, just lots of chocolatey, nutty flavours. I always look forward to pulling the shot and squeezing a strong ristretto into a glass cup.
As for the quirks; it can move around a lot while you're pulling the lever down. There is no temperature control, and without some skill you'll get one cold one, one good one, then all the subsequent ones will be burnt until you let it cool down. So not party friendly. You really need a good grinder to make it work, and it will not forgive stale old coffee.
The tamper it comes with is too small for the updated group, and is very plasticy. You'll probably want to replace it. The head of the tamper will need to be 51mm, which is not a very common size. Don't go any larger or smaller though.
I bought the machine new off some German guy through ebay. He was intending to sell to Germany only, but was prepared to ship it to the UK. Sending money abroad from the UK is unnecassarily tedious if a vendor won't accept credit cards. But I still saved around £100 on the UK retail price.