Great manual machine for beginners (kind of like the Honda Civic of cars)
Positive Product Points
very easy to use; consistent espresso shots (I have used several different kinds of beans); warmer holds 9 cups & works great (I cover with a tea towel to trap the heat); big water reserve (~ 1.5 L).
Negative Product Points
would like to see less plastic in the construction
This is my first machine. I bought it based on having used the old Giannini Spidem at the family cottage for the past three years (I think Saeco bought the model, as they are virtually the same). I am the only espresso drinker on the house, so it suits my needs. I have entertained groups that included up to six espresso drinkers and the machine was able to handle the volume. It always produces a nice 'crema' (that impresses the friends). I actually use regular ground coffee for my wife and she says it tastes great. I would recommend to anyone looking to purchase their first manual machine. I intend to keep it for a number of years, despite the temptation from more expensive models (I plan to spend the extra money on a nice grinder - probably a Rancillio Rocky).
www.creativecookware.com is great for buying in Canada, as there are few web sites offering free shipping to the north. Ordered on a Sunday afternoon - received via FedEx Tuesday morning (included free cups & beans).