A compact and reliable commercial machine that adapts easily to home use.
Positive Product Points
Decent amount of steam for simultaneous brewing and foaming. Once pump pressure and temperature have been dialed in the machine is rock solid. Built like a tank with nice proportions. Fits on a countertop under most cupboards (And keeps the plates in the cupboards warm!). Small footprint for a commercial machine. Very reliable. Draws 1500w at 120v, so suitable for home installation. Adjustable feet for levelling the machine. Stainless parts are very high quality and easy to clean. Good amount of clearance between the group and drip tray. Steam wand lever has very fine control. Parts are easily obtained locally (Vancouver, BC) Professional features like water level gauge and pressure gauge are nice to have.
Negative Product Points
Side trim is plastic (though quite durable). Relays controlling water intake can be a little noisy. Sump can fill with residue unless cleaned out once in a while.
The Nuova Simonelli Personal 1 is a heat exchanger type light-duty commercial machine. It needs to be plumbed in (at least for fresh water supply). Mine drains into the kitchen sink. The Personal 1 is the predecessor to the Mac 2000 machine, and has the same footprint.
Very good quality build with all copper pipes and boiler.
Once the pressure and temp have been set up with your grind to your liking it stays locked in even after years of use. Very little maintenance is required beyond regular cleaning. You can't clean it too often, especially the shower screen in the group. I suggest having a spare screen or 2 so that you can swap in a clean one and keep the machine down as short a time as possible. Keeps the coffee tasting good! Only use cleaning products intended for commercial espresso machines, like Cafiza. I replace the group gasket in mine every 8-10 months. They can be a bit of a pain to get out, but it's best to not let it go too long, as it gets even more difficult as they can get very hard. I found it's perhaps easier to remove the old gasket when the machine is warm, but I install the new gasket when it's cold to avoid burns from the hot group. I always have a few group gaskets on hand.
The good-sized boiler provides a solid supply of steam; you can steam eggs with this one. I also find there is very good control over the steam with the steam lever. I can steam a very small amount of milk (100ml) in a very small 250ml vessel, as well as large amounts in a bigger jug. This is great when steaming only as much milk as one needs for a single cappuccino.
Very suitable for home use due to running on 120v. Make sure you don't have any other appliances on the same circuit or you will be resetting your breakers.
Mine is a manual machine, so I can pull shots longer or shorter as needed. I would definitely recommend a manual machine over an automatic for a home application.
As with any commercial machine you will need a commercial grinder to have a reliable and consistant supply of finely ground espresso. You also need a good tamper - very important!
It's great to have plenty of clearance between the group and the drip tray so that coffees can be brewed directly into the cup. This machine can accommodate a cup up to about 4.25 inches, or 11 cm high.
Cup storage on the top of the machine means always having a nice warm cup to brew into. If you locate the machine underneath a kitchen cupboard it will also keep whatever is in that cupboard warm, so I keep my plates up there, as opposed to drinking glasses. :)
The bottom line is that I can consistently pull great shots from this machine (22-28 seconds typically) and get beautiful crema and delicious drinks every time.
I bought it used in a private sale. It was some time before I was able to install it and when I finally did I discovered the pump had seized, and so I had to have a new pump put in. Since then it has worked reliably for several years in 2 locations.