Handsome, rugged and dependable...it is the COWBOY of espresso machines...(inside joke!!)
Positive Product Points
Nice, clean appearance, extremely durable, totally consistent. Although this is the first (and only) machine I've bought, it has met all my expectations.
Negative Product Points
When pulling multiple (3+) shots, steam pressure drops and unit must recharge.
I purchased this unit in early 2000 for my drug store/gift shop/fountain/espresso shop. Most of our business is from tourists, many from foreign countries. Not many locals drink espresso here in the boonies. COWBOYS don't drink espresso ya know!!
Prior to this machine, we had a cheepo Krups unit and a battery-powered blade-type grinder...could have done a better job with a machete! After trying for a year to brew a reasonable shot, selling just a few each MONTH, we gave it up and looked around. The Bezzera (labelled Marcuzzi) unit was my choice. I had researched (mostly on the internet) several machines and this one seemed to offer good performance for the price. Pods seemed like a good choice for a low-volume (<10 per week) espresso site. For those of us who don't crank out a few hundred shots/day, pods are a pretty good alternative if you buy good ones. If we had stayed with the "fresh-ground" system, there was NO POSSIBLE WAY for us to give our customers fresh beans to grind and/ or roast. In fact, just getting fresh beans in Idaho would be quite a job!
Anyway, at this point, I say we've had B-A++ grades on the espressos we're selling and I credit the machine for some of it. I'm also blessed with very good workers. We recently had a group of Italians suggest a few things to improve our presentation, but the flavor was, according to the translator "very good...just like Italy". We use Musetti pods and have had excellent customer acceptance with them. We've probably gone through 10+ (1500) cases of pods in the time we've had the machine and it has worked extremely well, though I had to have a fitting repaired after a year or so of use. The repair was covered under warranty, but shipping it to Texas and back to Idaho was costly, but it has worked perfectly since then.
The machine is extremely sturdy and simple to use. The only thing I would add would be an automatic frother. Building the froth is the most difficult talent to develop in new users...but it IS a lot of fun!
We paid about $1200 for our machine and it has been a good investment for us. Our espresso business has stepped up to 5-10 shots a day. Our unit is definitely capable of much more than that, but the demand tends to come in clusters...a carful of Italians for example, each wanting a triple!...so we're thinking about trying to locate a used one for the "rush" hour. I'd be interested in another Bessera if you know of any around.
As self-acknowledged amateurs in the barrista game, we are, nevertheless, interested enough to want to learn more about how to do better. We still have to look up how to make some things in our little "Espresso Bible" and/or involve the customer in getting things made just the way they like it.
When we bought the machine, I knew NOTHING about espresso machines, but the vendor, Espresso RSI, Inc. was very patient in explaining the operation and service of it. They shipped quickly and responded to my subsequent inquiries. Customer service was very good.