Even though this machine is not as attractive as some other machines, it is very easy to use, which means I'll use it! It also keeps me out of the coffee shops, where I pay nearly $4 for a grande!
Positive Product Points
Removable water tank. Ready lights. No hot surfaces. Great steaming.
Negative Product Points
Had to raise machine a couple of inches on bread board so frothing pitcher fits underneath. Instructions difficult to follow.
I have owned a La Pavoni Professional for several years, and while it made great shots, I always seemed to burn myself on the exterior of the boiler. Plus, to remove the water, I had to pick it up and pour it over the sink - that thing is heavy!!
So, I looked for an espresso machine that was reasonably priced and had a removable water tank. I purchased the Saeco Aroma from Costco online in February 2007, and am extremely pleased with it. Plus, I have not burned myself on the exterior of the machine - the exterior surfaces don't seem to get hot enough to burn you. But if you prime your machine correctly, you will get hot espresso.
When I first set the Saeco Aroma up, I had a difficult time fitting the milk frothing pitcher underneath it and removing it without spilling the milk and foam because the end of the frothing wand was too low. I purchased an inexpensive breadboard that is about 2 inches thick and put the machine on it. It works well now. I am able to easily froth milk and remove the pitcher without spilling anything.
The instructions were difficult to follow, and there are a lot of steps to operate the machine. To make things easier, I created bullet points on multiple sticky notes and stuck them to the cupboard above my machine so I could follow those instructions until I got the hang of it.
I purchased it online from Costco and received it in a few days. The company was also offering a $50 discount, and you can't beat Costco's liberal return policy. I felt like I couldn't go wrong ordering it from Costco.