For cost considerations, ease of use and overall attractiveness you can’t go wrong with this machine.
Positive Product Points
Ease of use, consistent, attractive
Negative Product Points
Steaming large amounts of milk dilutes liquid
The Barista was purchased for me as a gift, in the past I have owned very inexpensive coffee/espresso machines so I really can not compare this unit to other espresso machines. The unit is coming up its first year anniversary and I wanted to share my results with anyone that may be in the market for an espresso machine.
Un-packaging the Barista was a snap, the unit is not heavy, is quite compact and finding a location in my kitchen was a simple task. I immediately was taken by the sophisticated styling of the machine. My Barista is copper clad; just one of the many colors available for this machine and the styling is modern with clean lines. The instruction manual is straight forward and only 16 pages in length letting the user dive right into making his or her first espresso, latte or cappuccino within minutes of taking the Barista from its packaging.
There is no need to tamp your ground coffee to 20, 30 or whatever psi or to be fussy in any way while using the “Rapporto” filter system that is included with the Barista. This unit was made for people like me (I like espresso but don’t like hassles). This is a pressurized brewing system and the guess work has just about been eliminated although cleanup is a little messy between shots. I have found that I can estimate measurements for a single shot versus a double shot and have success with little trouble. The process is by all accounts quite foolproof. The water reservoir is quite large and will allow you to make many espresso and cappuccino drinks without the need to constantly refill the tank.
The steaming process is good but is probably the Achilles heel of the Barista; the steaming process introduces moisture into the milk and can dilute liquid if the process takes too long. I have found that it is best to steam small amounts of milk in order to achieve maximum desired results.
The machine has been in use for eleven months and gets used on a daily basis, more on the weekends, has not broken down and the brews have been very consistent.
I do not know what all the fuss about creama is but I will go on record saying this machine produces this long lasting desired affect every time while friends machines costing hundreds more are unable to obtain similar consistent results.