same machine, same warranty as new, same parts... 700.00 less!
Positive Product Points
Performs as advertised, makes GREAT espresso, capuccino etc. Looks good in the kitchen without taking up too much room. Very easy to keep clean and maintain. This machine does it all, from grinding the beans to heating/steaming the water to loading and tamping the coffee to brewing amazingly fast. One reviewer put it best when he wrote: "It does everything except buy the beans for you..."
Negative Product Points
no cup warmer, which unless you pre-warm your cups some other way can ruin a perfectly good espresso! Plastic body holds up well, but it's still plastic. The auto-frother is a bit difficult to remove from the steamer/hot water outlet and I worry it could break. (I now leave it on permanently and clean it inside and out while it's still on the machine)
I know this is an older product, but these days it can be easily found on the Internet as a "factory refurbished" item priced about 700.00 below the cost of one fresh from the box so I thought I'd throw my two cents worth in. I did extensive research before buying this all-in-one coffee center and though I DID read the other review on this site warning of problems down the line I figured for the price it was worth the risk. (I didn't have to pay the full 1300.00 for the machine.. at 599.00 the refurbished models are a bargain!)
The machine arrived with all parts in place, and I still get the full one year warranty offered when these were still available brand-new. There were no scratches or anything else to give this away as a factory return. The machine is simple to operate and has performed better than I had hoped. I've only had it a month at this point, but it's been heavily used in that time to make just about everything advertised! The machine is quite versatile and gives the operator a wide range of options including water temperature, serving size and of course strength. I've found espresso's to be best when I let the machine do the grinding and ask for a 6.0 oz xtra strong serving! I know 6 oz is a lot for an espresso and might not be for you, but it gives me a great shot that is not TOO thick. It also happens to be a perfect shot for Latte's or Capuccino's. For Cuban coffee I use considerably less water... xtra strong and only 2-4 ounces maximum.
The steamer/hot water function is great. Steam heats up a cup in seconds, and the hot water pumped out is perfect for brewing tea. The machine WILL let you know when water is low, but does it before it's fully empty so there is no waiting for the next cup after you fill the holding tank. Even from its completely cold stage in the morning I can have a steaming cup from fresh grinding to heating the water to brewed in just over :60 seconds! That is a huge bonus for me as I leave for work around 1:45 AM each day.
I've read some reviews that complain of too little crema. This is NOT the case with my machine! It makes gobs of crema in all modes. I always brew only home-roasted coffee, always Arabica with not a hint of Robusta, so the crema is real and not the result of a bean blend. The micro-frother works well but does produce more than a few large bubbles. All in all it is more than adequate and much better than many people can do on their own. (excluding most members of this site, of course!)
I'm amazed at how easy it is to clean. I really do nothing except empty the tray when the machine tells me it's time! The used grinds box is very large and the tray catches all excess water produced during the brewing process. I am particularly fond of the fact that it rinses its internal workings every morning when I first turn it on or anytime I turn it on after it has been off for more than two hours or so. I can also order this "rinsing" on demand using a concealed knob that also allows for such things as temperature control, cups served counter, full cleaning, water hardness selector, auto shut-off control, languages used etc.
So far I've had no problems and am extremely pleased with the coffee it produces. When you compare the price to other similar offerings available today there really is no choice!
The refurbished models are currently widely available on the Internet. Search, and you will find. NOTE: most, if not all of the sites selling these should explain that they are ALL shipped by Capresso, so you won't be able to use anything other than UPS ground for delivery. In addition, it might be as many as 10 business days from the time you order until the item is actually shipped. I ordered mine through Zaccardi's and was pleased to note they did NOT charge my card until the day the package was actually shipped by the factory. I don't think I would have spent 1300.00 for the machine, but at 599.00 it is well worth the investment IMHO.