I couldn't be happier with a coffee maker, it is a lot of money for a cup of coffee, but, the value of convenience and quality is tremendous.
Positive Product Points
Very attractive machine with a smaller footprint than some of the others I looked at. At this price was the only super-automatic that I found that had instant steam and a ground coffee by-pass doser. The use of this machine is fairly intuitive for a beginner for this type of machine.
Negative Product Points
The user manual is difficult to read and not very detailed. There is no instructional videotape that Capresso includes. The Water tank, while it does hold the advertised volume, senses empty when a little less than half full. This requires a more frequent refill than expected.
I began to search for a super-automatic expresso machine to enable me to make a single cup of coffee with fresh beans whenever I want it, and to enjoy a cup of cappucino now and then. This machine certainly hits the mark. From the time I unpacked until I made my first cup of coffee (delicious with factory settings) was truly a matter of minutes. The owners guide was not thorough, but the use of the machine and it's icons is reasonably intuitive. The speed for warm up (after the initial time) is exactly 2 minutes. There is no delay between brewing coffee and getting steam for cappucino. My only earlier experience with frothing milk was with a $30 Braun maker. This is a dream, perfect very fine foamy milk each time. I like soy milk for my capuccino, and this works perfectly also. The clean up is a breeze. Simply empty the dump bin and rinse it out when the light comes on to tell you it's full. This happens about every 12 cups or so. Adding water is also easy. The machine sits on a fairly tight space on my counter (about 16" wide). It is on a swivel, so I turn it around and lift out the water tank, take it to the sink to fill it up. The shape of it however, has caused me to slosh a little water on the floor on the way back to the coffee maker. The by-pass coffee doser only accepts enough coffee for one cup at a time. This does slow me down a little when making a few cups of decaf in the evening for company. The dispenser has a wide range of adjustable heights, it allows a full size tall travel mug to fit underneath easily, so I can take my coffee to go. The Coffee dispenser pulls out of the machine for a weekly rinse-off. It slips in and out easily. The water-hardness strip that came with the machine is very confusing to read. We had to guess about the scale, because there is no lablel on the reagent squares or package to detail which pad is number 1,2,3 or 4. I am not certain that this is important at all.
I live in a fairly small city that doesn't have any specialty shops that carry this type of machine retail. Only Williams-Sonoma locally has any expresso machines at all, (Jura & Capresso) and they didn't have a demo for a taste test. On a trip, we found a store that had a Saeco Machine for a demo, but I didn't want to buy and lug it home on the plane. I spent weeks studying reviews and comparisons on internet sites. I found this Spidem Divina advertised as a brand new model to the U.S. and it looked good. When I found this retailer selling on E-Bay, I gave it a try. She was very courteous and helpful. The transaction was perfect. I highly recommend trying this type of experience.
Three Month Followup
One Year Followup
I still love this coffee maker and would recommend it to anyone that wants a wonderful cup of coffee or cappaccino with fresh beans at a moments notice! We have had a couple of minor glitches with this machine, the water reservoir signaled empty before its time due to a oversensative float. One call the US distributor and a new one was sent immediately! Then, we had a complete failure of the machine to operate exactly 1 year and 1 day after original delivery. The distributor again demonstrated exemplary customer service by repairing it under warranty and returning it to us in a reasonable time with very frequent updates on the progress.