A well designed little machine. Affordable for the beginner, capable for the full coffeegeek.
Positive Product Points
Simple for occasional use. Not many moving parts. basket held into handle with wire spring. (uncommon for a budget unit?) Good value-for-money Looks as good as a Philip Stark lemon squeezer, and I drink a lot more coffee than lemon juice! Unlike other low-cost machines, no risk of residual pressure when removing the PF from the group.
Negative Product Points
Standing around waiting for the shot to go through. Contacted Presso about a spare part and they never got back to me.
My Presso has taught me a lot about coffee and helped me take another step toward coffee-geekdom. This review is a lot about my experiences of using this machine as my main (3-times-a-week) espresso maker. and how I finally broke it! I also have to admit that I'm not a "super taster" and although I like coffee a lot, I doubt I'll ever be a connoisseur.
From my perspective, this machine was a revolution when I bought it several years ago, very different to my boiler based espresso machine I was using at the time. For the first time I could decide on the right amount of water for the shot.
Now, not having got onto coffeegeek.com until recently, I didn't know what a good shot was, or how to control the results. So, I dialed my grinder to the finest setting and filled the to the brim, then forced it in. This meant that the shot took a long time to come through.
I resented standing there for anything up to a couple of minutes waiting for the water to go through, so I designed a wooden holder to keep the handles down at the sides and therefor the pressure on while I set about foaming the milk. This was a good compromise. I also found that the shot would go through faster if I dumped the water into the basket and let it soak in before pushing the arms down to develop the shot.
The prolonged pressure finally got the better of the piston and it split while my fiance was using it. The crack went straight up from the corner of a vane to the top of the piston. I had the fortune to have bought a part machine from the discount shelf of a TJ Maxx store so I could repair the unit.
With In my stock version of the unit, I wasn't getting crema, just a foam that rushed out at the last minute. I may use the broken piston to try some of the modifications mentioned on this site. (I do wonder if the air gap was designed in to act as a spring and removing this would shorten the life of the Presso)
Now with a little more experience and knowledge, I use a slightly coarser grind and get good results from the Presso. This is usually just when we take it on holiday, as I've bought an electric pump unit for the normal use.
I haven't had any of the corrosion problems that mentioned in another review.
I would recommend the Presso to anyone who wants a machine for travelling. I would also recommend the Presso as a tool to understand getting a good shot (adjusting grind and tamp) before buying a $500+ unit.