It is bit like a good sports car .. it's whats under the bonnet that counts and this has it!!
Positive Product Points
The quality of the boiler and pump is absolutely superb. It has a great little brass boiler and an ulka pump. I find it pulls a very consistent shot with a bit of practice. Having the built in grinder is a real bit of value and it is a top quality grinder to boot. It actually more normally comes in stainless steel body, check it out at www.coffeeco.com.au. Although the stainless steel won't stop a bullet, like the silvia, it still is a good looking machine, mind you, nobody in my house is thinking of shooting this machine.
Negative Product Points
Although it is a good machine there are a few negative points. Having a 57mm portafilter is a nuisance, why can't all portafilters be 58mm?? As usual the tamper on the machine is a bit "tits on a bullish", you need therefore to find a 57mm tamper (get one from Alan Frew at www.coffeeco.com.au) to get any sort of result. Alan Frew when he sends it to you tells you that you can discard the frothing wand attachment and the crema enhancing disk... I fully agree ... and I would add take off the stupid plastic spouts on the portafilter. Thats about it everything else goes to making superb espresso.
I know you probably don't need to hear this .. but my own experience with espresso before deciding to buy a machine of my own was in Ireland with a big old commercial machine and freshly ground stale beans. Even with this tough start I have always been entusiastic about my coffee. I did a fair amount of research before opting for this machine, it has pretty good credantials. The Illy coffee company actually own Quaha now and the machine is handmade in northern Italy. I think this and the fact that they have used top quality boiler and pump helped my decision. Talking to Alan Frew at www.coffeeco.com.au signed the deal, he assembles the machine and tests it before sending it out .. He gave it a good reliability report having sold a few of these babies over the years.
The grinder is superb it gives very consistent results. I find that it is possible to grind too fine, at the moment the finest I get to is around 3 and the coarsest around 4 on the machine own scale. It is a bit of an experience thing to not overfill the basket and balance the fineness of the grind and the tamp.
When you put good beans through this machine you end up with a superb shot, It is thick and creamy and ... just ... just .. you know words just don't do it.
I can't recommend Alan Frew more highly. The machine arrived with some beans thrown in (about 500g)... and Jesus they were good beans too. Espresso meridionale is a very fine drop indeed. It had been tested .... and get this ... Alan sends you a picture of your machine pulling a shot to show you it can do it!! The machine, beans and advice is second to none.