Great deal for a cheap superauto if good Cafe Crema and Americano's are the primary goal.
Positive Product Points
Great value for a low end budget superauto - nice aesthetics for a plastic box and very functional. Makes very good Americano's and Cafe Crema's when fresh beans are used. Easy to clean and easy to use.
Negative Product Points
Doesn't make good espresso - there appears to be a crema enhancing filter that creates abundant fake crema but the espresso is too dilute. Grind can be adjusted to a fairly fine setting but it's not possible to shorten pull time or increase amount of grounds used for each shot. Steaming capability is anemic and sputters regularly, introducing water into the milk. This machine is best reserved for Americano's and Crema's - forget about espresso, cappa's and latte's.
I needed a machine for the office, to be shared by a number of people, only one of whom has any interest in or aptitude for making espresso the right way (he has a Livia and Rocky at home).
Our colleagues just wanted " a good cup of coffee" and this fits the bill. It delivers an excellent Cafe Crema ranging in volume from 6 to 10 oz depending on where you set the dial. I clean the innards once every week and the only tweak was turning the grinder down to 2 for a finer grind. As mentioned previously, the espresso is mediocre and even with patience and practice, its ability to steam milk is marginal.
If one does steam milk, it's necessary to drain off about 4 oz of water from the steam wand after steaming before an espresso shot can be drawn - this brings fresh water into the boiler and gets temp down to proper espresso range. An admirable feature is the warning light that flashes and prevents you from drawing a shot with water that is too hot. The bad news is that the shots are just fair. It appears that it may be using a "crema enhancer" - the shots are loaded with a crema like foam but it lacks the color and striping once associates with proper crema (it's definitely not the beans - I use these beans in my Isomac Tea and get abundant reddish-brown crema with striping).
We tried a straight varietal once - a French Roast Mexican altura (high grown) bean. It was even better than using the espresso blend. IMHO using a varietal or a drip style blend might deliver more satisfying Cafe Crema's from this machine.
Think of this as fantastic, easy to use and easy to clean machine for making excellent "regular" coffee a cup at a time and it's well worth the price. If you're looking for a decent latte or espresso shot (perhaps something as good as a decent Starbucks or better).... get a conventional machine and grinder or spend the big bucks ($1,000+) for one of the better superauto's. For our limited needs it has proven to be ideal (better than we'd expected for the price).
Bought from Aabree and very happy with experience - received order promptly and well packed. Had one technical question and it was resolved promptly by a phone call to their tech support department.