Extemely well built machine - works like all manual machines should.
Positive Product Points
The heavy weight of this unit results in the thing staying put while I load and unload. The el-cheapos move around the counter top requiring two handed operation. The all stainless and brass is unheard of at this price range.
Negative Product Points
The steam wand will drip water when you cold start the machine if the steam nob is not tightly off from previous session. This is easily fixed by snugly tightening knob when done steaming.
Its all there. The thing came out of the box from UPS and begged to be used. I fired up and immediatly overfilled the water resevoir - with no harm done. Was using a lousy blade grinder for the first few weeks then was shamed (by some friends) to get a burr grinder. Starbucks was more than happy to sell me theirs and suddenly the espresso was just fantastic. Mountains of crema resulted. Make sure the machine is well warmed up (10 min?) I dont use the machine as a hot water source (middle switch) because I have an insta-hot unit at the sink but it works well.
I have used a couple other espresso makers but this $395 unit stomps all other under-$400 units.
History will show this unit to be a classic. This is the home machine against which all others will be judged.
Three Month Followup
Moved on to another machine but after 2 years of using Silvia I must add the following: Such a fine machine! Its the leader of the pack in its class (Well, in my opinion). It was a great INTRODUCTION to the ART of making espresso/espresso drinks. Any novice should consider Silvia because of all the items I (and others) have listed. Silvia and I GOT INTO IT when she blew a brew stat a few months ago. Its the only fit she ever threw but I worked with her for a simple replacement and all is well. She does have some wild mood swings (brew temp) and I was ready to PID her (I am an electrician) - even had all the parts in my office - but why? The original is best so Silvia is at the ready in my travel trailer. My new squeeze is Reneka. You'll probably never meet her but maybe, just maybe you might discover her after YOUR time with Silvia.