slight fit and finish issue. My dual gauge is slightly off level, barely fits the bezel. Many people wouldn't notice, but my son did.It hasn't bothered me enough to try to adjust it.
I have seen many posts in the forums where posters were fighting to get good shots, and a number of problems. I don't know any other home espresso folks, had zero experience and this machine pretty much helped me get going more easily than I anticipated.
No "water dance" to learn - it's a saturated group head, just pull one or two warming flushes ( I use them to warm the shot glass and cup) and pull your shot. I am using a Super Jolly. When I started using Counter Culture beans, every problem I had went away, and it was easy to get dialed in. Am using a convex tamper which may work better due to the screw hanging down from the dispersion screen.
There's a super forum dedicated to the Vivaldi - the documentation is far better than I had hoped for, this thing has a great manual. The forum isn't super active, but there's a lot of info there, and I have never seen anybody that posted a problem not get help pretty soon. http://www.s1cafe.com/
If you want to get "near perfection" you're going to have to come up with two to four or five times the money. This is some of the most bang for the buck out there.
I suggest buying the water pressure regulator valve from Chris when you get the filter/hookup. It will help you set your preinfusion perfectly in addition to getting a more consistent pressure, and reducing pressure on your fittings and the machine. If you've never used the John Guest fittings they are a trick. Work great, quick and easy - more so than I expected. And I'm a guy that just redid his entire house in copper and wouldn't let them use plastic.
The John Guest fittings work kinda like Chinese handcuffs where the pressure works to make the joint tighter. Slick deal.
I did get the drain kit from Chris. It's working perfectly. I show detailed instructions of how to do an easy install with several pics on a thread in s1cafe forum. If the hole in the tray is not correct in placement or size, you likely will have issues.
BTW, using a good grinder, set right, correct dosage - I settle the tamper with a slight nutating motion, then I only tamp finger tight, using my fingers on the edge of the portafilter to make sure tamp is level. Great shots.
Great experience with Chris Coffee. Excellent advice on which tamper, filtration, water, etc.
Great service. Will do business with them again. Kinda like going back decades in time where people used to care about their customers.