The Spidem Divina SuperAuto is a good machine for people who want good/decent espresso without the hassle...
Positive Product Points
Pros: -Looks great... nice space saving design -Easy to Service and Clean -Frothing is excellent -Cold Start Time- 2 minutes (time to heat up) -After frothing you can immediately brew Espresso -Espresso tastes great- as long as you know how to tweak the dose and amount of water, etc -Overall seems like a solid unit -Easy to use controls. Press once for 1 shot, press 2 for a double.
Negative Product Points
Cons- -I originally thought I had a problem with one of the sensors on the unit. This wasnít the case. Hereís an undocumented feature--When emptying the coffee drawer make sure the unit is turned on. Apparently the unit counts the number of espressos made and will turn the warning light when it gets to 13. If you empty the coffee drawer without turning it on, it will not reset the sensor to 0. The distributor of Spidem, Euro-selectproducts, helped me solve this problem. -The manual just sucks. Having owned a Spidem product before I wasn't too surprised by this. Believe me they have improved on the manual 10 fold when compared to one I have for the Spidem Trevi Combi unit-the translation is much better. If you are not a techie, make sure that the company you are buying the product from can help answer your questions. -The bypass shoot works but only if you put in the exact amount (use the supplied measuring spoon). If you don't it will make a mess inside the machine.
Having owned several Espresso machines since the 80ís, I decided it was time to get a SuperAutomatic to replace my Spidem Trevi Combi Machine (which by the way still works). After several days of researching (reading reviews like this one) I ended up selecting the Spidem Divina based on its functionality and cost. Also I must admit that my existing Spidem Trevi did play a factor in my decision. I've had really good luck with Spidem products, so I suppose I'm a fan.
At first I was somewhat leery of a SuperAuto but after 20 (or so) lattes later, I'm very pleased. I've run this unit through the paces making several drinks a day. I've had a couple times where the "Coffee Drawer" warning light came on when it should not have. I get around this by opening the main access door, remove the brewing mechanism and immediately put it back in- works for me. The manual doesn't really do a good job of explaining how to fix problems. I've got "engineering blood" so I'm capable of figuring these things out myself. What about the Espresso? For me it tastes good enough. Iím not an Espresso connoisseur by any means but I can tell good coffee from bad- years of coffee drinking experience. If you use good coffee, tweak the dose setting and adjust the water quantity, you can get good espresso from this machine.
Tip- I noticed that the brewing mechanism uses food grease to lubricate the moving parts. Itís very apparent if you inspect the brewing mechanism before heavy use. In my own humble opinion I think one would want to periodically re-lube the parts with fresh grease, yet there is no mention of this (that I could find) in the manual. To re-lube the parts, you can purchase the special grease from RadioShack (yes the Shack) for $3.50 a tube. I intend to once month re-lube the parts.
Overall, I'm interested to see how this unit holds up over the next few months. If I remember I'll update this review.
I purchased this unit online @ 1st-line. The online purchasing experience was fine and I received notifications immediately. I did attempt to contact 1st-line regarding the warning light and never got a response. This disappointed me to say the least. I did receive my order on time (2 day delivery) as promised and was very pleased. Six espresso cups were missing from the order. I called 1st-line and they apologized and said they would correct this.
Three Month Followup
Since my last 3 month update I've had no problems with with my Divina. It works well and I believe I've finally found the right roast to use with it. The biggest advantage of this unit is that I can crank out Espresso quickly. Would I do this again? That I'm unsure. For me coffee is a luxury and somewhat of an art. I think I may have been better off getting a "manual" machine to address my changing needs. If you are concerened about the fuss of making espresso then this machine is a good choice- there is no fuss. Also 1st line is good to work with and very responsive with emails.
One Year Followup
8-4-06 update: Within the last week I've been ponding why this machine never really produced good espresso. It made okay espresso but nothing like my old machine ever did. In the last four days I've been making my wife take blind tastes test of espresso from my old machine versus the Divinia and sure enough the old machine won every time. So I decided to tweak the Divina's grind settings, the dose setting, etc. but nothing worked. Still the darn old manual espresso machine worked better. As I was fiddling with the grind settings I decided to set it at zero(finest setting) just to see what happened. Well it brewed a shot just fine and I noticed it sort of tasted better. Then it dawned on me that my grind setting knob wasn't calibrated with the machine properly. Meaning the zero setting was not the finest at all. I have read other reviews where people couldn't even brew a shot when set to zero. Being a guy I decided to tear open the machine to figure this out (note- I'm past my warrenty). Luckly it's only three screws you need to remove in the bean hopper in order to re-adjust the knob setting. I re-positioned the knob from zero to 6 and put it back together. I then fired up the machine and while I was grinding I turned the knob to #4- you can only adjust the grind setting when the machine is actually grinding. After doing this I'm actually getting good tasting, great smelling reddish amber looking espresso; also a nice thick coating of crema.
I thought I would pass this tid bit along for other Divina users. I believe when my machine went into repair this may have got unadjusted or perhaps it just came from the factory out of adjustment. Who knows. I think I'll use this machine more now. Take Care God bless
Feel free to contact me if you need advice on doing this step. Once you see how the knob gear lines up with the grinder gear it is pretty straight forward.