Let me premise this first by stating that I disliked the rating system here because none of the ratings ask specifically about the TASTE of the coffee, which is what drives me. Quality, Usability, Cost v. Value, Aesthetics, are fine, but there is no detail on how you feel about that first brewed cup in the AM. This should include bitterness, aroma, grind used and other criteria.
I have been drinking coffee for a LONG time and although I am not a snob, I like a good, strong cup that is not bitter. I went to my first Krups in my early 20's and have had Brawn, Krups and recently my Cuisinart bit the dust (and my French Press while waiting for the Moka Brew). I never felt the taste of the coffee was nearly as good from the Cuisinart as it had been from my previous coffee maker (AromaBrew). One of my favorite types of coffee is greek and those dregs in the bottom are wonderrrrrrful.
When researching a new coffee maker, I wanted to find one that heated at the right temperature to get the most flavor from the beans. I could not afford the Technovern, and was interested in the reviews for the Moka. I ordered it from Amazon for a much cheaper price than most places. It took a month for them to get it in stock and send it.
I followed the book in getting acclimated with it (which is NOT my style), because I wanted to get it right. It was also helpful to go back to Mark Prince's review, which had useful step-by-step directions.
Let me state, this makes a good cup. Strong, not bitter and reminds me of a really good drip with some of the great flavors I remember from my grandmothers percolator (after some good pumpkin pie!). It's good. I can't compare it with Tech, but I like it better than my previous Braun, Krups, and Cuisinart. I purchase whole beans from several places (JavaJacks most recently) and grind them right before brewing.
On the downside, it IS awkward getting the water into the BOTTOM for brewing. Yes, it goes into the bottom. But it is not as bad as I thought it would be based on some other comments. It's NOT good that it only makes 8 cups (the directions tell you to only put 8 cups into the reservoir for brewing, but the pot goes up to 12!
As far as fitting the top on and closing it for brewing, there have been no problems so far and I don't find that it takes any longer than using any other type of brewer.....maybe a little less than a percolator (which my mom uses) but about the same as my Cuisinart/Braun/Krups.
I have found the filters at various places online for about $5, but they are just circles that you could cut from other filters (I wonder if a gold, flat filter could be found???).
My suggestion: If you like a good strong, non-bitter cup and are on a budget or can't go past $100, try this. It may be a bit difficult to find, but worth it.
Future wishes: Auto-shutoff, larger brewed pot and maybe a carafe. But I bought it knowing these were not part of the current product.