As stated by others: great to look at, very solid construction. Built to last - ? (I sure hope so).
Negative Product Points
Not the eastiest to make great foam, but I‘m willing to admit my technique might be responsible. I‘m still studying/practicing/reading about foaming techniques. (I‘ve recently switched to using White Wave Silk soy milk. Different but good, with some redeeming nutricional value, and interestingly easier to get foam!).
I have had this unit for 2 months. I started getting great tasting shots as soon as I made the grind fine enough. I‘m no long term expert, but Boulder is full of great Espresso shops, so my taste buds are relatively sophisticated. I use high quality Italian Espresso Roast, from Peaberry‘s in Boulder. I‘m using an antique Spanish hand grinder, which can go extremely coarse or fine. (I do a lot of French Press, which needs a very coarse grind). The grinder adds to the general complexity, but it just isn‘t that hard. Grind it very fine, tamp it pretty darn hard, pull the handle slowly. If there isn‘t much resistance, either the grind or tamp wasn‘t enough. The perfect ending requires a hard pull that lasts about 15-20 seconds. For double shots I do two pulls, which may or may not be illegal in La Pavoni land, but so far I haven‘t been arrested.
I have not used any other machines worth mentioning. I‘m shopping for a semi-automatic on ebay for work, and worrying about them lasting.
I got a great price - saved several hundred dollars, going straight to Italy.
www.bella-italia.com They were great to deal with, didn‘t take that long to show up.
My "3" rating for Cost vs. Value only reflects not knowing if less expensive machines can produce good results like this. I‘m basically thrilled with the results I‘m getting.