The time had come for me to up the ante in my home espresso stakes. I'd been using a god-awful DeLonghi BAR32 for a while, which was on it's last legs, but my wife would not let me upgrade. Finally, I took matters into my own hands, threw out the DeLonghi (DAMN that was satisfying!) and demanded a new machine. After doing the research and legwork on the fantastic Coffeegeek forums, it came down to a Silvia or this machine. Then fate stepped in, 1st Line popped this baby on sale for $299, which made the decision a no-brainer. All the features of the Silvia (minus the 58mm portafilter) for half the price? Yes, please!
While I can still look on at Expobars and Quickmills with lust, it's no longer with envy. This little baby, paired with a matching PL053 grinder, delivers shot after shot of outstanding espresso. I generally pull two doubles for a big ol' capp each morning, twice that on the weekends - and while the process takes a little while (quicker than the Silvia, no doubt, thanks to the LeLit's outstanding warmup time), the results are shocking to me. I'd gotten so used to "drinkable" espresso from my DeLonghi (and from Starbucks) that I truly didn't know what quality was (yes, beans and grind have helped a lot, too!) Microfoam is a snap with the outstanding pressure from the steam wand - although like everyone else, I do wish it was an inch or so longer.
The only complaint I've had so far has been the gasket. Despite having my grind dialed in, I get occasional leaking from the grouphead, even when I've got the portafilter cinched in there tight. And tight on this machine often takes me way past the 6 o'clock position. Don't mind having to do that, but the occasional dribbling of water is worrisome, and I think I'll be replacing that gasket sooner rather than later. But beyond that? It's delivered on everything I've wanted. Yes, I wish they used a standard 58mm to make buying naked portafilters, tampers, etc. a bit easier, but in reality it just takes a little extra effort to dig them up. And yes, as I've mentioned, the stubby steam wand (with it's annoying and now discarded frother sleeve) will hopefully be swapped out when 1st Line start selling a replacement - supposedly early next year.
What more can I say? If you've grown tired of your Krups steamtoy that you got as a birthday/wedding present, and are as tired as I am getting shafted for a cappuccino at FiveBucks, this little baby's your gateway drug into goodness. Just bear two things in mind - first, this is only half the battle, don't forget your grinder. Second, once you've dialed in your technique and obtained a steady supply of good beans, you'll never be able to drink espresso anywhere but your kitchen again. And even though the $299 sale is over at 1st Line, you can still get this machine PLUS the PL053 grinder for not much more than a Silvia on it's own.