This mofo is hot, and he makes great, consistent espresso.
Positive Product Points
This thing is just hot. It's sexy, of course, and more importantly it's actually *hot*. The giant group, front and center, is warm to the touch hours after turning it off.
Negative Product Points
The drip tray sucks - or, rather, it stagnates. Water builds up and threatens to overflow. Apparently there is a plumbing-in option that other reviewers have noted too, but with no detail forthcoming from any reseller or from ECM.
After starting out with a gaggia baby, I wanted a serious espresso machine. I wanted consistent, beautiful ristretto shots to drip sumptuously from the spout. So I sold my gaggia to a friend (it's still going after 3 years) and upgraded to this beast last March. At first, I was leaning toward Livia. She's supposed to have better steaming power than Giotto. But I only have an Italian-sized cappuccino most mornings - that's 5oz of milk, about 10 seconds of frothing. No problem.
The point of this machine is espresso. Giotto, behind the bar of the caffè-torrefazione in Florence, doesn't really understand why you would want a rich cappuccino after 10am. The bakery next door has already run out of sweet breakfasty pastries. Giotto gives you a peculiar, rather disdainful look when you order a latte; he shrugs, and makes one like you've never seen or tasted before, with a (coincidental?) leaf motif in the top. But when you go back the next day, and order simply a caffè, Giotto produces a mysterious, thick elixir. You sip at first and then down the rest. The taste lingers on your tongue for half an hour. Back home, you stop ordering espresso because you always get "your money's worth," a giant 4oz double shot that tastes like burned water. You think of Giotto, back in Florence, who walked back to the roaster in the back while you sat at the bar and let out the beans to cool, producing that acrid, intoxicating smell of fresh coffee. You realize that until you can move to Italy, you can't have good coffee. You need Giotto at home.
I was generally pleased with Burgess in my single transaction with them. But they seemed more intent on selling the product than on coffee. I'm very pleased that now I can buy parts and get support from Whole Latte Love and 1st-Line. I would have bought it from one of them if I'd had the choice.