The worst part about a machine like this is that it is more difficult to buy espresso downtown because it is better at home.
Positive Product Points
1.Water temperature is cool enough that it does not over extract the coffee
Easy to clean
Coupled with a lamp timer it is always on when needed. I "need" mine in the morning.
Negative Product Points
It took me about 3 months to really get consistent good shots. I would get them right away, but could not always be consistent. It was kind of a religious experience at first. I knew others had done it but I couldn't get my prayers answered (there are many variables to making espresso and it is difficult to tell if it is the machine, technique, coffee, grind, water, wind from the North East etc.
My machine does not have a thermometer on the machine to tell the exact what the temperature. This could make learning a little quicker if there was one or lengthen it as the case may be. I hear that the newer machines have this option.
The portafilter gasket is difficult to dig out but fairly easy to replace once it is out.
The tip on the steamer wand can take some getting used to. I eventually replaced it with one that has more holes and smaller holes. It is now easy to make consistent foam
I use this machine every morning and make 4 shots of espresso. I have used it for about 4.5 years -no break downs.
The learning curve consisted of figuring out that: 1.there is a slight difference in the pressure just when the light goes off - this can be a good thing to know and use in making the perfect shot
How full to fill the portafilter - because it does affect the amount of time that the hot water takes to make a double shot. I aim for 20 seconds.
That the grind on the coffee cannot stay the same from day to day as the coffee ages a few days, compared to fresh roasted coffee.
How hard to pack the puck and how it feels when the portafilter is engaged to the espresso machine
This last one could be my problem but it seems that if the day is humid or extra hot and dry that the espresso will change and react differently to the tamp and the hot water.