Best machine for price/support/warranty though I'd sell it after 2 year waranty is up.
Positive Product Points
The only under $200 machine worth a crap in form and function. (if you can get it on sale.. forget $250-300) Remember.. you can barter with Starbucks managers!
very fogiving of type of grind, tamping, etc.
huge resevoir.. very handy.. me like big tank water!
A crappy $29.99 burr type grinder set to "espresso" (HAHA) is all you need.
always get a respectable double shot
Will make any clean kitchen look better.. people don't even need to know what it does..
Local support!! 2 years parts and labor!! Hello!
Usually resales on Ebay for what you paid for it.
Negative Product Points
not much room for experamenting thanks to pressurized head. This is also a pain to clean.
Watery frother.. Honestly you start to foam, the READY light goes off and you got a farting foamer. This is the weakest problem with the machine.
Pump is kinda noisy.. but being a man.. I like noisy things..
If you don't go stainless then expect rust in 5 years (but you will more then likely sell this on Ebay in 2 years for the next best thing.)
Not much to say that hasn't already.. :) It came with a VHS tape. .. remember those?
Starbucks usually has a big stack of these on the floor that the manager wants GONE! You can use that to your advantage.
I'll just add that any machine above this one requires a thing called "art." and with "Art" you got it, or you don't. Ms Silvia doesn't do art for you.. this machine is the artist.
Overall, this is a good starter machine for budding espresso lovers, but you will soon grow out of it and demand more. Though the jump will cost you close to $500 and a pro grinder which will cost as much as this machine.
Went to Starbucks and got the store manager. item was on sale for $250. barted it down to $200 and a free pound of beaners and 4 crap shot glasses.
You can't go wrong with a Starbucks purchase or Customer Support.. those people are always caffienated!
Three Month Followup
Going good. Cleaning is easy.
One Year Followup
runs a little shakey after a year but still works great! The frother still adds to much water to the mix but that was a known problem before I got it.
I'm not sure if this is still the bargain it once was as home expresso has really taken off because the high cost of mediocre coffee but with my morning Mocha Latte, and after lunch or Dinner Espresso or Latte that is 4-8 double shots a day for a year not much to report.. which is good :)