A fantastic machine for a great price, you will love this machine.
Positive Product Points
Extremely well put together. Pulls a beuatiful shot every time - easy to use in the moning. Consistently good quality / taste and feel of the shots. Massive amounts of hot water and steam. Easy to dump / refill the tank and easy to see exact level. I'm extremely happy with this unit and so is my wife. Extremely quiet and does not disturb others when sleeping.
Negative Product Points
There were only two negatives, and one is a preference I have. Negative number one - the cup that holds the coffee (remmber I'm a beginner) is not secured with a spring clip or other device and we like to knock out the grinds into the trash directly. It takes a firm grip to keep the shot adapter in the handle when being knocked out. ( This is easily fixed by a knock box, but I have a very compact counter.) Item number two was the frst unit arrived Dead on Arrival, this was exchanged immediately and was diagnosed over the telephone by a really nice salesperson at Bartaza.
After a detailed search of the internet - which led me to this site, I settled on the Solis or the Silvia ( Rancilio ? sp ?) Due to personal choice I wanted a store that was local rather than online to buy a machine from. After striking out at all the local stores I e-mailed a cousin of mine who is a professional chef. She responded back to try Surfas, which was only 15 minutes from my house. They were fantastic at demoing the machine and had sold me on the unit. They sell at a match of any internet price and in fact were already selling it at the "correct" price so this was a no brainer.
First impression - first unit had steam, but no water coming out !! Called Bartaza and they immediately diagnosed it as a loose wire from shipping, apparently happens all the time and can be fixed in 20 minutes in the field, but I just did an exchange at Surfas with no problem at all.
Second impression - unit works great, easy to set up, easy to clean the parts, is fast and simple to use. Imagine trying to get your family going in the morning while measuring tempature, and standing over the machine while it brews. I love the preset shot sizes as I can prep something else in the kitchen and its easy for the wife to use.
Taste - it's all subjective, but the shots are smooth and better than anything we've had before.
Grinds that I've tried:( using the instore grinder) Your mileage will vary ! Peets: Decaf Special - #5 brews very nicely for us. Decaf Special - #4 brews a little too strong for my wife but fine for me. Major Dickensons #5 brews very nicely for us, maybe too mild for me. Major Dickensons #4 brews a little stonger, maybe a little bitter. Italian - #4 - probably needs to be ground at #5 Starbees: Gold Cost #2 on a Ditting - undrinkable Decaf Sumatra #3 on a Ditting- undrinkable
I Live in the Greater Los Angeles Area and was looking for a store rather than an online place to buy a machine, just a personal preference. I stumbled across Surfas, which is a gourmet and restruant supply store that has been in business since 1937. I dealt with Frank there who demonstrated the machine by pulling shots for me and a number of customers and employees who wandered by after smelling the fist shots and asked for some. They were fantastic at service, but the biggest problem is they cannot keep the machines in stock, he ordered five and sold three in two days.