If you want value for money buy one. If you want looks spend another $500.
Positive Product Points
Great Steam, excellant grinder. Holds heaps of water as does the drip tray. Finish of high quality stainless sleel. Produces excellant Creama coffee, better than most cafes.
Negative Product Points
Its not the most pleasing to the eye, but its not ugly either. The switches are in the reverse operating position for us down in in Aus. (You got to wonder about the Italians some times).
Having owned the machine now for about 2 months, I am able to pull great shots of coffee with a lovely creama 90% of the time. The Stainless steel finish is of high quality non-magnetic stainless, some might say overkill but ha who's argueing. The grinder is noisey but really I can' t see the problem, after all you are only grinding for a few seconds and really it produces a fantastic fine grind time after time. Mine is currently set of number 4, which means there is still plenty of adjustment to be had. The combination of espresso and grinder are perfectly set up to complement each other. I prefer Milk Coffee, Latte or cupachino as do most of my friends. At present, the most cups that I have pulled in one go has been four. It coped easily with the task. By the time I had filled up the porta filta with fresh grinding, the unit was back up to temperature to pull another cup. When it came time to froth the milk, the boiler produced easily enough milk to heat one cup at a time. Again, by the time I delicatly filled the first cup and refilled the jug the boiler light had gone off and was ready to go again. The finish on the machine is excellant, the design maybe a little bit agricultural, but hay I'm looking for value for money not asthetics. I've read a few negative comments about the plastic drip tray, but realisticly it does the job very well. It holds enough water so that you haven't got to empty it every time you use it and its not flimsy at all. I mean, apart from looks is there a need to have it made from stainless steel. As for the water tank, its great, holds plenty of water. As for being a pain to get in and out. Yep it is, but I personally use the kettle to fill it up so I leave the tank in place, problem solved.
If you love coffee, you wouldn't go for an automatic machine for me this offered the best mix of price and quality. The times I don't pull a great cup is because I haven't taken the time to tamp the coffee. Its fun to experiment and I like the challange.
I brought mine from Coffeco, off Alan FREW a pleasure to deal with. He gives you 500gm of Great coffee and he takes the time and care to proof test the machine and set it up to make sure it works. I looked around at some department stores to guage price and the sales people there new nothing. Alan knows his stuff.
Three Month Followup
After six months the machine is still purring along. I just came back from two month in the US where it was near impossible to find a great coffee. First thing I did when I got home was switch the machine on and stick in some fresh coffee. Ahh once again I was in Coffee heaven. I'm still impressed with the machine and would recommend it to anyone with a passion for coffee who wants a great machine without the big ticket price