This is a fine machine, well-built and very feature rich.
This is my first major espresso machine purchase. I had a consumer model for a few years, and wanted to step up to something more “pro-sumer” oriented. I did lot’s of research and landed on this model for a number of key features:
- Front load, non-plumbed, reservoir
- Dual boiler
- 110V/15 AMP setup
- Small footprint
I settled on this model for all of the above and more. La Spaziale has been in this business for a long time, and seems to have a great history of producing quality machines. I found the machine to be just the right size for my kitchen counter. It easily fits underneath the cabinet with enough room to hold my cups on the warmer with ease. It’s also not too deep, giving me some room in front to work my shots. The reservoir is a front load setup (this is a non-plumbed model) and it’s fitted with a water softener in the tank, a great touch. Top loading of water was not going to work in my situation at all. The machine is very stable, physically and is quiet when I am operating it and when it is warming up. The only challenge I found with the build was the fit of the drip tray. There is a slight gap on the left hand edge when the tray is fully inserted. At most 1/8” on the front left end. Not an issue for me. I also noticed that I do need to just slightly lift up the reservoir to fully slide the tray into place. I do find the reservoir to be sufficient for my needs, and when I did run low on water, it automatically cut off the machine with a visual warning on the LCD panel explaining the water deficiency. Very good protection from any potential dry firing of the boilers.
This model includes a great deal of controls and the machine timer is very convenient giving me several windows of on/off time per day. The setup allow for different time settings for every day of the week – and a copy function, which is very convenient. There are a number of other controls available, including temperature controls for both boilers, counters for various functions, like shots pulled, and service related controls. I like the Group Clean control and use it often, and this does not go into the shot counter. The only nit I have on using it is having to scroll through two full screens of controls/options to get to it. It’s really a serial progression through the menus – no skipping anything. And for most options, this is not a problem – you don’t have to change them much once you have them set. All of the controls can be upgraded with new firmware when needed. I haven’t needed to do this yet, but given the setup and operation of the machine so far, I would expect it to be a pretty easy process. (I am a technology person, so this kind of procedure does not worry me – it may worry you if you are not all that into doing technology upgrades.) The dual boilers heat up within a matter of minutes after the initial warm up, with temperature staying very constant. Initial warm up takes about 15 minutes with the steam boiler taking the most time on a cold start. I did find that using the volumetric controls had me puzzled for a bit. I had assumed that they would have been set to a more normal shot pull setting from the factory. Since this was my first full-fledged pro-sumer espresso machine, I thought I could get something close to a decent shot using these main controls. I normally don’t go and start changing my new car’s fuel injection system after driving it off the car dealer’s lot, I kind of expect it to work well. So after a few misfired shots, I did manual shot pulls to better gauge my new machine, my beans, my grind, and my tamp pressure. If I was in a café pulling shots with this machine all day/evening, I could see making changes daily to support a good pull. But, I pull three (3) to five (5) shots a day. I have decided to stick to manual pulls for now as I find my beans/grind need adjustment every other day or so. A note in the instructions would have helped me understand that option/control setup right off the bat. Every other word in the instruction packet I received with the machine was excellent – very clear, well edited, and easy to follow. I referred to them a number of times as I started getting used to everything. The milks steamer works very well – getting me to a wonderful froth in no time at all. I have to think that the four (4) holed tip is the key to that.
I also really like the way it looks. I have the black model, and the black portion of the cover has tiny sparkles in it, and the stainless steel finish is highly polished and has a very solid feel. It fits my décor very well.
All in all, I am getting what I consider excellent results. My shots are coming out great, and the machine really allows me to crank out some wonderful drinks. I highly recommend the machine.