I had a Starbucks Athena which was starting to show its age (8 yrs). Milk was taking a long time to froth so I could not make coffee for guests.
I spent at least one month scouring the internet looking at espresso machines. Originally, I was looking at the QuickMill Anita. I like the price ($1000 US) and the insulated boiler. However, I found out that this product is only sold through one exclusive dealer in Canada, whose price was rather high at $1400 CDN (it should only be around $1100 CDN). Since they never responded to my emails and their grinder prices were high too, I looked at other products on the market. I was looking at the Livia and discovered that the BZ02S was essential the same unit (according to other reviews anyways). Its price was good and 1st-line shipped to Canada. I also ordered a Rocky Dozerless along with it at got $50 off.
One thing that I like about the BZ02S is that the group is not as exposed at most e61 machines. Since I make coffee with my 3 year old, this is a nice safety feature. I was attracted the large boiler since we mostly drink milk drinks. However, I found out quickly that the steam tip that comes with the unit is useless and bleeds too much steam off. This causes the pressure to drop, while also making a complete mess. Luckily, I ordered the 2-hole tip from 1-st line too. This seams well, but something in between would be nice for steaming larger amounts of milk.
We also make a 12g shot, which falls in between a single and a double. Luckily, I also ordered a second portafilter from Espresso Part Source since we make both singles and doubles. They had a 12 g double basket. I spent a week trying to make good shots with the portafilter that came with the BZ02S with no luck. It was not until I used this new basket that it all came together. The shots are still a bit quick at 15-20 s, but I am working to them longer and not leave the coffee bitter. In addition, I find that I need to let about 2 oz out after the machine sits and 1-1.5 oz in between shots.
Originally, I was planning on putting the machine on a timer, but it heats up relatively quickly and I just turn it own in the morning when I get up. About 20 minutes later it is ready to make its first cup. We shut it off in the afternoon after the last cup.
Overall, I am very happy with the machine. It is easy to use and our coffee quality has improved dramatically. I also switched grinders at the same time, so I think this has much to do with this improvement. Nevertheless, the simplicity of the HX machine makes it so much more enjoyable and faster to make our Lattes. I do feel guilty about the machine staying on all day, but I found a German site that indicated that it used about 100 w in steady state, which is about the same as the Junior (which has an insulated boiler). I think of this like leaving a light on. However, we drink several coffees and teas throughout the day, and to me anyway it justifies this.