What are you waiting for? The Anita will not disappoint.
Positive Product Points
This machine has noticeably enhanced my coffee making ability. A significant step up from my Gaggia Classic, and well worth the expense.
Negative Product Points
I refill the water reservoir after every two cups. This is not because I make really big cups of coffee, but because I do a 6oz cooling flush after the first cup, and a 2-3 oz wash after every cup.
As many do, I read a lot of reviews before I purchased this machine. QuickMill espresso machines get consistently good reviews. I purchased at Chris's and first spoke to Mary who recommended the Anita in response to my question regarding what would be a good step up from the Gaggia Classic. I had the Anita in mind anyway. She basically underscored what I had already thought.
My experience with Chris's Coffee wasn't as positive as many that I have read. His response to my e-mails were curt and somewhat patronizing; however, to his credit, he did eventually give me some direction to my questions. My initial question was should I reset the boiler brewing pressure, and if I don't, how will that affect the operation of the machine? I was concerned about brewing at atltiude. Chris initially said that he didn't really know the answer (which surprised me), but after a few e-mails in trying to get some direction he forwarded some links and a response from Dan at Home Barista who said that "the problem at high altitudes isn't that you can't brew temperature at ~200-202 (even if water boils at 199), it's that the traditional water dance measurements are off." Dan then suggested to flush six ounces, wait 20 seconds, pull. Chris chimed in to say that "there is NO BOILER PRESSURE SETTING that will give you perfect temperature to make coffee with. I don't care if you set your boiler pressure down to .8 bar if left ideal your water at the group will still be super heated. " What?? I guess he did have an opinion afterall.
I was left with the feeling that maybe I purchased the wrong kind of machine - that I should have gotten one with a double boiler where the temp for the group would stay the same; nonetheless, the flushing, wait and pull advice has produced some great coffee. I suppose I could get a thermocouple and play around with flushing times to try and get the optimal brew temp....nah.....as Chris said in parting, "Try not to get so hung up on math and science. Taste the coffee develop a routine and enjoy it. Making espresso is not and exact science." So take that all you coffeegeeks!
The learning curve was not so long. I didn't spend a lot of money for a grinder (Capresso Infinity - burr). I haven't noticed any problems getting an acceptable grind, and am getting consistent microfoam as well. I also have been roasting my own beans to even further enhance my coffee experience. I seem to be spending all my spare time making coffee.
It was a bigger machine than I had envisioned, even though the dimensions, weight, etc. are clearly stated. My wife 's first impression was that it looked like something built by NASA that happened to land on our kitchen counter. I figure the machine will pay for itself after 300 pulls (at $3+ a cup from your local barista), which should be happening any day now...
Purchased at Chris's Coffee. Machine arrived in a timely manner and well packaged. Directions were OK.
Three Month Followup
So far so good. I did get a thermocouple just to make sure that the 6 oz cooling flush was giving me optimal brewing temps. Sure enough it was ~194F. Since I am at altitude (6700'), the water seemed like it was boiling when I first opened the lever, coming out at an initial temperature of ~200F, which is about the boiling point at 6700'. I clean the machine doing weekly 15 sec. flushes (as recommended by Chris' Coffee)- haven't used any cleaner yet. It is still performing well as I continue to improve my skills.