Terrific entry level machine with a mega-steamer for the milk-based drink fan. But has price risen too high?
Positive Product Points
The SL-70 is extremely easy to use. It was a step up from a Krups toy machine and allowed a bit of the barista experience to be enjoyed, especially with a non-pressurized filter. The machine has the ability to produce decent espresso shots. With the powerful steamer, this machine can make very good milk-based drinks.
Negative Product Points
The 53mm non-commercial portafilter is a drawback. I had to repair switches twice on this machine, with the second time upgrading to the commercial switch panel. The repair was easy and I was able to do it myself with only the parts cost coming out of pocket. I believe the commercial panel may be a fixture on the newer models, but you might want to check to be sure. Although a more solid machine than the Krups steam toy, it is nowhere near the tank that is the Silvia.
Sorry for probably the most tardy review in coffeegeek history. This one is a few years late, but I felt I should share my experience.
This is a very nice niche machine. For those who want a taste of being a barista without the fuss of trying to please a finicky model like the Silvia, this machine may be for you. It especially excels at milk based drinks due to the wonderful steaming capacity. Paired with a Solis Maestro grinder, this machine kept producing quality caps and lattes. The machine served me well, producing 3+ caps / lattes almost everyday for 5 years until a recent breakdown.
The price increase since my purchase 5 years ago seems steep (lowest I've seen as of this review is $499.00). This seems to take this machine to the next price level and may make potential customers think twice. This directly affected my cost / value rating. As for buying again, I checked "No" solely based on the current pricing. At the price I paid for it, I considered it a great value and a bargain.
My current problem with the machine involved the inability to get water through the group (coming through the wand instead). Rather than consider a send-out repair, I was anxious for an upgrade and went with the Rancilio Silvia.
***UPDATE*** I was fortunate enough to have some good advice provided me in the Forums and was able to fix the problem myself by tightening the valve. The good, old SL-70 is back in service and has been gifted to a friend.
1st-Line Equipment is sheer pleasure to deal with. Jim is quick to answer e-mails with suggestions and help for both pre and post purchase. I was so pleased with the purchasing experience 5 years ago that they were the only company I considered for my recent Silvia and Rocky purchases. I would highly recommend them.