If you want to learn about espresso and pull some amazing shots in the process, buy this machine.
Positive Product Points
Helps you learn about what is happening when you brew an espresso. Will help you brew better shots with an "automatic" machine.
Negative Product Points
Must have grind and tamp perfect or the shot is difficult to pull or tastes like garbage.
I wanted one as soon as I read a review in a magazine while waiting in a dentist's office. I had only used "moka" pots before, and did not know why it was never the same as the shot at the coffee shop.
Well, it was worth every penny. I purchased an "old style" Pavoni from eBay. Just like an old manual camera teaches you about photography, this machine teaches you about espresso! I now know what is happening during the brewing process and the Pavoni MAKES you want to use it over and over.
The Pavoni also LOOKS beautiful. It's as nice to look at as much as it is to drink the nectar that oozes from this machine.
Purchased on eBay. I did not want to pay the price of a new machine, so I bought a machine that is probably 10 years old and it still works wonderfully.
Three Month Followup
Still working great and making great espresso. Just basic daily cleaning when finished making a shot and occasional lubing and de-scaling is all that is needed to keep this machine going. The gaskets seem like they should last another few years before I need to replace them. I still highly recomend this espresso maker. If you are handy, buy an older one and rebuild it to save lots of money and learn the about the inside of the machine.
One Year Followup
Owned for 4 years now and still make an average of 3 shots per day; a couple of espresso's for me and a latte for my wife. I have replaced the piston gaskets three times in the four years that I have used this machine. The other o-rings I replace when they seem worn, or roughly every two years. I replaced the pressure gauge after two years because the one that I had would not go to "zero" any more, I don't know why. It was an easy fix, but a gauge costs $55. To de-scale, I use clear vinegar and let it sit in the boiler for a while, turn on the heat and empty it all through the grouphead. Then run clear water athrough 2-3 times. I only have to do this once or twice a year. Compared to more complicated "real" espresso machines, the cost of ownership for the Europiccola is very low and maintenance is easy. There really is nothing that can go wrong or break other than the gauge or some sort of "operator error" like forgetting to turn it off (thankfully I have not done this).
The quality of the espresso is still excellent.
HOWEVER, buy a pump driven machine if you need to make more than 3 shots in a row. The Europiccola gets too hot, and any shot after the second or third in succession gets scalded and the taste is off.