Get out the plastic... charge yourself some great espresso!
Positive Product Points
A fine example of form-following-function. Very elegent, but not gaudy. Slight learning curve, but between the CD WLL sends with the machine(and it is a machine, not a toy), and all the advise you'll find here, you'll be pouring crema, sweet crema in no time at all.
Negative Product Points
It's hard to come up with any negatives... the warm-up time was a little issue (for one day) which was taken care of with a digital appliance timer. If you can't manage that... read Mark's "Cheating Miss Silvia".
Yet another commentary.... but it was one of these (well, the many...) commentaries that helped me make an informed buying decision. Everything good you read about these machines is true. They are built to last, and are built solid... in fact, choose your location wisely, because once she's full of water, she doesn't want to move. Which, by the way, is nice when you're cranking down the porta filter. Speaking of which, you really don't need to 'crank-it-down'... the seal is smooth and positive. The water res. is more than enough for doing a few cappas in a row + steam. I only have forgot once, and the pump lets you know right away that it's thirsty...LOUD...normally it is pretty quiet. Previous Gaggia Espresso put up quite a racket compared to the little Miss.S.
To close... follow the advise of many... get a good grinder... I could only afford the Solis Maestro, (also after many reviews), and I must say that Miss Silvia & Mr. Maestro are a fine young couple with many good years ahead.
The folks at WLL were very patient with me... spending shock... but they had a buyer-remorse unit that they were putting through the paces when I called...(Todd was making cappas in the back) cleaned... re-packed... even threw in the LM dbl. no-charge. A+.
Three Month Followup
After 3 months making truely great espresso, latte, and capa's is common place ... very seldom do I produce drain-cleaner (big swings in the weather seem to affect the grind of the bean) Keeping the machine clean seems to be an important component ... every third week with a good espresso machine cleaner,(I make 3-5 dbl. a day... so more if you have a habit that is helping your local roasters' child through college) So, the survey says... two thumbs up ... still crazy after all these years, and to revise my previous score go from a 9 overall to a 10!! Abolutely the best bang for the buck... 0 to great espresso in 8 min., and with the stainless it still looks great too. As a side note, the solis grinder has been a great match... also recommended is the curved stainless tamper from Reg Barber... one piece of hand-crafted art deserves another.