Useless unless you spend a few hours fixing the cylinder; then it's a great bargain
Positive Product Points
Very well built, life time warranty, nothing that can break. Machine can be modified to work properly
Negative Product Points
The stock machine has a fatal flaw and cannot make espresso
A lever espresso machine for $100, and guaranteed a lifetime. Is it too good to be true? Yes and No.
Yes, if you use the machine stock:
Shot temperature is no problem. This is a pourover design, and flushing through about 6 ounces of boiling water will get you shots of around 90C to 92C. If you need hotter; heat the water in a saucepan and heat the PF by dipping it in the pot. You need to have the basket out, filled, and tamped, and make the shot immediately after heating the PF.
Pressure is no problem, 35 pounds on each arm will get the required 9 bar.
Dose is no problem - the machine comes with a double basket that holds 14 grams, a 7 gram scoop that's also a properly fitted tamper. All in a nice chromed brass PF that weighs about as much as those from Solis
But the shot, oy! Way too Guiness -- 100% perfectly white foam (not crema) that vanishes in three seconds flat. The culprit is the piston design. When all the way down, there's 2.5 ounces of airspace between it and the shower screen. The shot proceeds by pressing the levers all the way with gently rising counter-pressure as one compresses the air. Then a short wait. Then Pffffffft as the white stuff shoots out under the rapidly decreasing air pressure.
No, if you modify the machine. I ordered a teflon cylinder from McMaster Carr, whittled and filed it down to shape, and epoxied it into the bottom of the piston so it took up most of the deadspace. Once this was done, I got very respectable shots, most as good as my Peppina. These are shots that are on par with Pavonis or Elektras, and will beat any small pump machine, including a stock Silvia. Be advised though that there's no steaming and that the effort is at the extreme pita end of the convenience scale. However, at 4 pounds weight, paired with a Turkish Zass, it makes the ulitmate travelling machine.