The Microcasa perfectly blends the art and science of making a perfect espresso.
Positive Product Points
Great crema and excellent espresso Great microfoam...and easy to foam Attractive (very) Easy to use Easy to clean and maintain Minimal counter space
Negative Product Points
Flaking inside reservoir (happened within the first couple of months...likely due to minerals in our well water...since changed to Luso bottled water and have not had further damage) Drip tray plate extremely scratched and worn from (daily) 9 mos use
I purchased the Elektra Microcasa primarily on the strength of CoffeeGeek's exhaustive (1 year) and very detailed review (see CoffeGeek's product review, March 2004); and the pre-customer service I received from 1st-Line - providing me, a novice 'coffeegeek', with candid comparisons, pros and cons of the Microcasa.
I replaced a Baby Gaggia which I used (and abused) daily for 8 years. On my first day the Microcasa produced a far superior espresso...using the same beans (Illy dark roast espresso grind) I used that morning with the Baby Gaggia. I am now grinding my beans daily (with the Mini Mazzer I purchased from 1st-Line), brewing great espressos, microfoaming milk like never before, and thoroughly enjoying my daily cappucinos and espressos.
1st-Line also provided excellent after-sale customer service....helping me get started and answering a myriad of questions. Without hesitation, they quickly fixed an inexplicable (and random) leak...problems happen; the key is how well people and companies respond! They also helped me with another problem - scaling - by introducing me to Luso bottled water. Luso is the best - in personal taste comparisons with Poland Springs and other bottled water, as well as our own well water (which likely caused the scaling in the first place).
It's a real beauty. I gets lots of compliments on its striking appearance (I have the copper and brass version)...and even more on the quality of my espressos and cappucinos.
P.S. My bean of choice these days is Intelligentsia Black Cat blend - also recommended by CoffeGeek.
Excellent pre and post customer service from 1st-Line - see my comments above.