Very beautifull machine, with the famous e-61 group.
Negative Product Points
Very little to be negative about, save for a poor instruction manual. Otherwise their web site will promptly respond to my/your questions.
I bought my Giotto in October from Union Coffe in Montreal. It now sells for $1650, Canadian $ and is very well priced considering some crazy prices some dealers wants for it. Union Coffee as also a web site.
After some 7 months with the machine I recently discovered that all the milk foaming issue and complaints from some reviews is due to the fact that the machine takes a good 45 minutes to an hour to warm up. Even if the pressure is up to 1.2 after 10/15 minutes, the Giooto has not reached its regular temperature. Just put a candy termometer and/or a milk temp. gauges trough the one of the holes on top and find out for yourself....
I simply bought an electronic timer that starts the Giotto at 7 am; when I get to my office by 8 am or later, the Giotto is ready to give a great coffee and steam! I also let out some steem for 4/5 seconds to make sure I do not have a false pressure reading. When the Giotto has been on for a good hour the milk issue is a non-issue; I use a cold metal container for the milk and fresh cold milk! The foam produced is a "wet foam"to use the jargon of coffee makers. I will not produce a head of dry foam for me (using 2% milk) but I am rater quite content with the" wet" foam.
The Giotto will also work better with a full tank of water that also helps in making the electrical contacts perform better so that the machine does not sputter on and off. This however is a minor issue. I use filtered water from a Britta jug. I still would feel better if I found some water filter in order to further prevent calcification...
Compared to my Gaggia Tebe at home, the Giotto seems to extract more taste and complex undertones. Altough this is a subjective comment, I feel it doe make a better espresso than my $275 US Gaggia.
I do use a high quality conical coffe grinder and regularly go to Union Coffee in Montreal to buy fresh coffee.
All in all , I feel that the Giotto is a classic: beautifull, tastefull and a little capricious like many good thing in life. The people at ECM are very nice and do promptly respond to my questions.
Sometimes I think I want a bigger machine with a rotary pump and a bigger boiler. Its a matter of curiosity mostly...But really, unless you have a restaurent (or loads of money to spare) why would you get a machine that soaks up about 2,000 watts or more and requires even more space!! I will stick to my Giotto, thank you!
Very good buying experience. The thing I found out going around the various coffe shops in Montreal is that it appears that most coffe shops are either more into machines and have lesser coffee or the reverse. Union coffee has excellent coffee rosted on the premises and carry great espresso machines such as Gaggia, Saeco, Rancilio and ECM.
Three Month Followup
3 months later I am still quite pleased with the ECM Giotto. But curiosity got the better of me and I sold it to get an Elektra professionnal machine, one group, with a rotary pump. I would gladly have kept the Giotto, but could not afford to have both. The Giotto is an excellent machine and would recommend getting one in that price/quality/beauty/performance range. In Montreal, you can find one as low as $1,500. Can. and that is a bargain since some stores in Canada want $2350. Can for it !
One Year Followup
Fast forward to October 2004. I am in the Faema store in Montreal, speaking to the owner of the store who sells the ECM Giotto. While discussing the machine, he mentions to me the upgrades to the new model over the early model The steam and water wand are of much better quality and the drip tray is chromed now.
The store owner also mentioned to me something that should interest any owner of the GIotto or any similar machine that could have a direct water connection. The owner explained to me that the direct water connection makes the pump work less hard because of the water pressure already in the city water line. By having a direct water connection, the pump will last longer. I presume from this discussion that a similar macine with a direct water connection would/should deliver a better water pressure....
While I sold the machine and now have a 77 pound commercial Elektra at the office (see review), I would go back to one because of its beauty and quality of coffe it makes. Also the ECM Giotto (or a similar one) is less cumbersome in the house. But this time I would have the water directly connected ( with a ball valve for safety purpose). Might later replace the Gaggia at home for a Giotto again...