First let me describe how I came to decide on purchasing this machine, as I am by no means a coffee guru, and my palette is far from refined.
I am a business owner with little time for fidgeting with or replacing poor quality items. I own apartment complexes and so spend 60 - 80 hours per week maintaining, repairing, and replacing everything ranging from sheet rock and tile to plumbing, wiring, and HVAC applications. Over the years I've found that having good quality tools and equipment that can stand the test of time is far more valuable than saving a few bucks by purchasing items of lesser quality.
My last coffee maker was a Krups dripper with a stainless steel carafe that lasted for nearly 10 years. It finally gave up the ghost one morning, and I set out to find myself another machine that would last. I was looking for a machine with a thermally insulated carafe, quality construction with durable materials, and the capability to make good coffee with a minimum amount of fuss. Don't get me wrong; I do enjoy spending the time to use a press to make a good cup of coffee on occasion, but in my daily grind I just don't have the time or inclination to wrestle with a chemistry set to make my coffee in the morning.
After some reading on this site and others, I decided that Krups didn't have any appealing machines to offer, and was drawn to the Capresso. I found a store in town that assured me they had the MT500 in stock, so I went to pick it up and found that they only had the "Plus" version available, so that's what I got.
It was easy to unpack and set up, and I had a pot of clean water pumped through in no time. The control panel is very good looking and easy to use, with buttons that produce a nice tactile feedback when pressed. At first I didn't really like that the panel is oriented horizontally rather than vertically, but soon found that I rather prefer it being horizontal, as it is less visually obtrusive that way. Not being able to see the clock from across the room is not a problem since pretty much every other electronic device in the house has a clock on it these days.
I must say, it is an attractive machine. It's attractive to me in the way hot rods are attractive; it's all polished metal and clean lines. It really stands out. People immediately reach out to touch it when they see it. The photos on the Capresso website do not do it justice.
As for function:
Again, I am no coffee guru. I appreciate the difference between a good aromatic cup of coffee and the brown liquid served at offices and truck stops, but I don't obsess about whether my beans come from Guatemala or Polynesia or anywhere else. That being said, my wife and I agree that the coffee this machine makes is the best we've ever had, whether from a dripper or a press or otherwise. We use reverse osmosis water and the gold-tone filter that came with the machine.
The coffee is nice and hot with a brewing temperature of 192°F to 198°F as measured with a Fluke digital thermometer, with significantly more aroma and richer flavor than our old Krups produced. The carafe keeps the coffee at a temperature ranging from piping hot to steamy warm for several hours.
Regarding the drawbacks reported by others:
Yes, the carafe lid can be a little difficult to screw on, but not so much as to be a bother at all. I may spend about two extra seconds getting the threads to line up than I would otherwise - certainly nothing to complain about.
Pouring with the lid in place is indeed slow. When the lid is turned to the "pouring position", it can take an annoyingly long time to fill up a good-sized cup. Attempting to back the lid out another full turn to the pouring position basically results in the lid being totally unscrewed. Thus, I usually just go ahead and unscrew and remove the lid before pouring.
I have not had a problem with over-tightening the lid as reported by others. Nor have I had any trouble gripping and turning the lid by the raised tabs on its perimeter. Capresso must have either changed their design or the people that have complained about it in the past have excessively weak hands. Again, certainly nothing to complain about.
Pouring the water in the top of the machine is not a problem at all. Yes, the opening is a little narrower than my last machine, but it is a drawback I've been able to overcome by, well, just taking a little care not to spill the water. Unless you're using a fire hose to fill the tank, the size of the opening really is adequate.