Can make a solid espresso. But lacks the control needed to tweak your way to a GREAT espresso.
Positive Product Points
Easy to use. No tamping necessary. Pressure and temperature automaticly regulated.
Negative Product Points
No adjustability. The only variable the user can alter is the grind. Filter appropriate for double shots only. Non-tamped coffee gets all over the group. Will not knock out of portafilter. Hard to clean portafilter.
Special regulated portafilter requires no tamping. This is nice for consistency, but deprives user of a variable to adjust if espresso is not as desired. Coffee gets rousted while espressing, which means you need to clean the group every day, and coffee does not knock out in a convenient little hockey puck.
Produces solid crema that lasts to the end of the cup. Works a bit differently than traditional machines, so community espresso knowledge is not applicable to this machine. No tamping. Double shot runs in about 20 seconds. Often 15. Pump sticks if you grind or tamp to espress longer than this. I think the pump has a rate limit, so that even with NO coffee, it takes almost 15 seconds to produce 2 oz. water, so it is hard to experiment with coarser grinds.
Can make solid espresso, but next time I would go for a machine with a bit more control, and a traditional tamping-required portafilter.
Costco was about $50 less than other on-line retailers, and had NO shipping charges.
Three Month Followup
I was not entirely in favor of this purchase, but my wife wanted a fairly easy to use machine. I would have preferred something where we can adjust water temp. and tamp. However, we are still making espresso superior to most coffee shops in town. If you want an easy-to-use machine, I highly recommend this Saeco.