professional power and super stable temperature in a compact machine that fits in the home.
Positive Product Points
Small footprint for a commercial machine True commercial power simple to operate and maintain very tough build and finish
Negative Product Points
Drip tray is not 100% effective, some water gets in the machine. Steam wand does not rest over the drip tray
I have never owned or used another commercial machine so it is possible that any such machine will perform as well as a Mac 2000. However I am very excited about the power this machine brings. I use this at home in a dedicated coffee bar area. To make it simple, I can continuously brew and steam milk indefinitely and never have to wait on the machine. Having the machine plumbed in and connected to the drain makes everything much more convenient. I like being able to thoroughly flush the head and clean the portafilter after pulling a shot and not worry about dumping the tray or filling the reservoir. The brew temperature is very stable, I only have to do the HX flush if the machine has sat idle for a while, and I can't pull shots fast enough to cause a drop in the brew water. The espresso comes out as good as I have made with my Europiccola, and a lot more consistent, though it seems to be very sensitive to the grind. I have to reset my grinder every day! The cup warming area is large and effective, cups that are left for more than 10 minutes are warmed to an acceptable temp. The steam and hot water levers are great. To operate you pull toward you and they close when you release unless you pull them to the full open position.
The drip tray is a little too small and some water gets into the machine. It is very easy to pull the tray out and clean underneath, but if you forget to do it regularly the sludge will build up. The steam wand is a couple inches to long so it sprays all over the counter and floor when clearing the line before steaming. I bent mine sideways and now it will rest over the tray where the water is captured. I don't really know what else to say about the operation, it works very well and there is no compromise or fiddling. I can walk up to the machine grind and pull a shot then clean up in less than 3 minutes.
I bought the machine used and spent $200 to replace every piece of rubber and plunger on the machine. I also descaled all the parts in solution. Before I did this the brew temp was low despite maxing out the pressure stat. I suspect the scale build up was effecting the efficiency of the heat exchanger. After rebuilding it is all in spec, and it stays constant. All the components in this machine are top notch. It has the best pump, volumetric counter, pressure stat, and other electronics. The boiler is solid copper and all the plumbing is the soldered compression type fittings. No cheep stuff. The wiring is clean and logical. I bought all my parts from Emerald City Espresso and they were very helpful. Their prices were great as well.
I bought on Ebay this machine and a NS MDX grinder for $1000. It was the sellers first sale and he didn't give a good description or show good pictures. There was no picture of the grinder, in fact all he stated was that "The grinder is included". After talking to him I learned that it is was a commercial quality grinder. I had been patient and waited for months to find a deal like this. As I expect with any Ebay espresso machine purchase a complete rebuild was necessary.
I arranged for the seller to drop the machines off at a UPS store where they would pack it and ship it for $140. UPS damaged to machine in transit and I was able to claim the insurance. Luckily I insured it for $2000. In the end I was able to make the repairs and come out ahead in the deal. THe lesson learned was to make sure to use a good drop off store. Had the machine not been packed at a UPS store I would probably have had a much harder time claiming the damage.