My mornings start with a meditation on the art of pulling espresso -- a great start to the day
Positive Product Points
Zen and the art of espresso pulling; I've never felt as part of the process as when I'm pushing the lever.
Negative Product Points
Fussy, not high volume.
This machine is not for the impatient or the huge party giver. It is for the person who wants to be a full, complete part of the process of making espresso/cappuccino, who wants his or her effort, skill, strength, timing to be rewarded or punished as deserved.
I'm a veteran of semi-automatics. I loved my Livia until she died on me; I adored the Isomac and would happily have kept on with it had I not moved from New York to London. I didn't want to mess around with voltage converters so I resolved to buy a new machine on arrival.
I was about to buy another Millenium here in London, when I passed by the La Pavoni display in a store. I'd always admired them from afar, but dismissed them as being far too persnickety. But at this display in Selfridges the demonstrator let me actually try, and with one pull I was hooked.
There is no question it takes time to get this right; the key is the grind -- much finer than needed for any of my previous machines. I consider a Mazzer or equivalent a must.
Other than that, it's simply a question of strength and timing -- and of keeping the machine very clean.
It makes a lovely thick crema (when the grind is right and the pressure of the arm on the handle is right); it steams milk fantastically.
Like everything in the UK, much more expensive than the US. Expatriation has its drawbacks.
Three Month Followup
-- I am still very very happy after six months. The combination of a Mazzer grinder and La Pavoni is, for me, bliss. With the Mazzer dialed in well, I use a "double" dose for the single basket and a "double" plus a "single" (i.e. a triple) for the double basket, tamp and I have really really good results (Danesi coffee is great, I find, with rich crema and a lovely taste). Steaming, while a touch slower than with an Isomac, gives very good results.