-Slow steaming -Short drip tray (you have to empty the tray after every use) -Weird portafilter size -Small water tank
After a cup of latte every morning for the past 5+ years this baby had to retire. It is a great machine for someone who is starting out, but I would rather recommend spending a little more such as the Rancho Silva if you have some spare cash; however if you can get this machine for under $200 then go for it. It will last you for some time as it did for me.
Making the Espresso Drink
I had this machine on a timer up for about 30mins before I actually begin making the coffee every morning. In my experience, the machine seems to be more stable and consist by having it up and running. The instruction for the machine stated that you steam your milk first and then brew the coffee. For those who are into Art Latte, this can be a challenge here. You would have to brew the espresso first and then steam the milk. You can work as fast as you can just for one and only one drink such as a cappuccino before your espresso gets cold. If I was to make more than one drink then I would steam my milk first.
The preprogrammed single/double shot is easy. You just push the single or double button and voila! Here is where I really choke my machine. Overtime, instead of just pushing the single/double button I hold the double button down (this is how your program your double shot) and forcefully brew myself a 2 oz shot using a grind #6 from my MDF grinder or else I will get less than 2oz. The machine is weak during the middle and the end of the extraction partly due to my choking but the Athena is clearly not a performance giver.
I have mastered micro forming over time though I really hate the wait in between switching from brewing mode and steaming mode. The steaming performance is slow which is good for beginners, but bad if you are in a hurry.
Cleaning is very easy. You chuck the puck, rinse your portafilter, do the portafilter wiggle and you are set to go. I always empty the drip tray and refill the reservoir after every use.
Making several drinks is very time consuming with this machine. It may take up to about an hour to make 3-4 drinks with cleaning included.
I bought this at a Starbuck store so many years ago...