If I were rich I would buy one for all of my friends!
Positive Product Points
Everything! The steam wand is fantastic, the head is easy to clean, it's not too loud- really not loud at all and is certainly much quieter than our sink disposal. It is easy to adjust brew temperature. Espresso is so much better than anything I have made at home before.
Negative Product Points
Okay, if I have to put something here it would be that the low-water alarm can be a bit annoying but that is a safety feature.
I was new to espresso machines when we bought the Alex Duetto II, having used a Moka pot, drip maker, and a Handpresso before stepping up to the major leagues. I had some concerns about spending so much money on something new to me and something with a required level of skill to use properly. No need for the concern about use! Get an open filter to see the flow and expect to go through a pound of beans as you climb the steep part of the learning curve. By your third pound of beans everything will start to become intuitive and you can fine tune the technique. After the 10th pounds of beans you'll be cheerfully brewing for everyone who walks in the door. The downside, of course, is that you 'll be hesitant when ordering anespresso/coffee any time you are out because it will almost never be as good as what you can make with the Alex Duetto II. That is a serious disappointment, by the way. Going on vacation after becoming a bit of a coffee snob, well, you feel robbed standing on the porch looking over the river at the mountains and drinking a hot beverage instead of an awesome espresso.
Maintenance is very easy on this machine. The filter and gasket, while not easily removed, are easy enough to remove when you want to give it a good cleaning. The recommended maintenance includes routine backflushing. I do that maybe once a week, with the cleaner backflush once a month and have had no problems. I do remove and clean the screen every 3-4 months though, so maybe that is the trade-off. Also, I use only distilled water in my machine as our water is quite hard here. I think the distilled water eliminates a lot of the maintenance concerns related to mineral build-up.
Excellent! Great service from start to finish. Chris' Coffee is without a doubt one of the best retailers I have dealt with, ever. Exactly the experience you would hope to have- like walking into the Ritz without all of the attitude.
Note: I put in $2000 for the price paid, though I actually don't remember what I paid.
Three Month Followup
Everything is still great about this machine. No maintenance issues and it still looks new despite daily use.
One Year Followup
Fantastic machine- no problems, no adjustments needed to date. I wish the water tank were larger, or that I had it plumbed in, but that is only because I insist on using distilled water rather than the hard tap water. Be prepared to rethink your favorite coffees.
Negatives: If it were a bit shorter my full-size coffee cups could be set upright and the cabinet doors would clear them. As it is, I lay them on their side and all is fine.
Positives: Everything else. No adjustments required, cleaning is easy, materials still look new (some discoloration of metal on the interior, purely? cosmetic).