I highly recommend. The low price and ease of use make this an attractive alternative.
Positive Product Points
Low price, good looks and well constructed, easy to get lots of crema consistently, rapid steam feature is great.
Negative Product Points
The portafilter is a little cheesy -but it works great!
At $215, this machine pays for itself by limiting trips to the local coffee chains. The espresso is better than what the teenagers serve up in Starbucks as well as what most the busboys serve up in your typical Manhatten restaurants. However not quite as good as your favorite coffee shops or those top restaurants. What‘s great for me is that, with the pressurized portafilter you can get a decent cup of espresso from that old preground can in your fridge. It would be nice to keep freshly roasted beans in the house and grind them right before use, but that‘s not realistic for me. (I don‘t cook or do my own laundry either,which would also be nice!). In addition, the convenience of the rapid steam is like having two boilers like in the commercial machines because you can go back and forth from brewing to frothing. I look at it this way, instead of being ashamed that I own a machine with a crema enhancer (I admit, its unauthentic), I am proud in that by having this machine I am probably in the top 98% of coffee afficianados (surpassed only by the purists who own the Silvias, Livias, and Gaggia Classics, etc.) You‘ll be amazed by how much you can impress your guests with this machine (However, if any of your friends own a Silvia or the likes, offer them a glass of wine when they come to your house instead of espresso and you‘ll be fine).
The low price tag and the fact that this machine does not require a $250 grinder gives me $450 which I can spend at coffee shops when I want the truly perfect espresso(as well as the atmosphere which you can‘t get from any machine). I feel that the no fuss element of the machine allows me to get more use out of this machine than i would with the higher end alternatives.