Damn the torpedoes!! Full steam ahead!! This ain't a machine it's an appliance! I like the weight of this thing and that shiny stainless is MIGHTY purty! SOLIDLY built!!
Negative Product Points
My chief complaints would be the lack of the second pressure guage found on the Giotto II, the plastic fence used on the top and the size of the drip tray. I would have liked to have seen a removable rig akin to the Teá or the Millenium instead of the plastic fence.
What a fantastic tool!
My own brewing experience had been centered around a Capresso 101. A colleague and I worked the bejesus out of it and drove it into the ground.
My three months of research led to Seņor Giotto. Jim at 1st Line answered any question I generated.
As per every other review, the manual is spotty at best. I had done enough reading to be able to successfully stumble my way through start up. It came out of the box pretty much ready to go. Apparently the first to go in any box mishandling is the drip tray. Mine was in great shape and slipped into place firmly. Reservoir was topped off, switch thrown and waiting began until up to temp. I probably churned two or three double baskets until I got a respectable shot. The tamper that came with it SUCKED. Just not wide enough, I could get over the plastic. Problem was solved with the timely delivery of a 58mm rosewood HAMMER.
I am now at closer to six weeks than a month and have yet to find a true groooooove. The REAL tamper improved my output, but I am of the opinion that it is my Solis 166 that is keeping me from REALLY kicking cup. I've adjusted grind back and forth but continue to FAIL in the crema arena. I haven't played with the pressurestat yet as I am fairly confident that any shortfalls can be found with MY ability not the machine.
At 59lbs, this baby got GIRTH! It has been coined the "Gredunza' by my subordinates, with apologies to Dr. Seuss. It is a thing of beauty WHEREVER it sits. All that sparkly stainless takes the breath from most of the visitors to my office, and continues to inspire me to keep it polished.
The cup warmer does a credible job even after I placed some rubbery drawer liner on top to prevent cup scratches. Not a cappucino builder so I am unable to comment on the steamer ability. Hot water dispenser does the job wonderfully.
Fantastic experience with Jim at 1st Line Equipment LLC. The machine travelled quite a road to get here and Jim left me feeling more than comfortable if something went wrong.
Three Month Followup
I am nothing but pleased with El Seņor. It took a while to find my groove with the Zass handmill, which simply illustrated the need for a REAL grinder. Problem is solved when my share of the refund check goes to a Mazzer Mini.
I've been successfully using this year's Yauco Selecto to set my benchmarks. I will be ordering some different stuff here shortly and then I'll really be stretching my legs. I'm getting more consistant with my coffee making and look forward to every one. No matter what I come what up with, my process improves. Of course I look forward to seeing how other people do this when I get back to the world so I can compare what I do with a known quantity.
Nit-picking, over the course of a busy day the drip tray really is too small.
Other than that I have no real issues with my machine. I am happy with what I spent and what I got. It continues to make people stare when they pass by and it'll be a member of the family for a long time to come.
Grazie ECM y 1st-Line!
One Year Followup
TEN YEAR Follow-up! (4/22/2012) STILL a happy Giotto owner/operator. Machine has weathered moves from Guatanamo Bay, CU to Groton, CT to Jacksonville, FL with EASE. I routinely backflush and de-scale. ONLY problems I've had were with the pressurestat - took a little bit to diagnose but had some help from Jim at 1st-Line and Jose at Fontana Coffee in Altamonte Springs, FL. Once diagnosed I found the appropriate part and ordered it. Less than thirty minutes after disassembling the unit, the new part was in and WE.WERE.BACK.IN.BIDNESS. Can't say enough about the quality of the build of this machine. Got my money's and MORE than enough quality coffee to justify it's expenditure.