Easy of use. Quality of build. Virtually unlimited capability.
Negative Product Points
Could use a two hole steaming wand as standard item.
There have been many positive review written about the Livia and this is another.
I had a starbucks barista which is a very good machine. I was put off by waiting to steam milk, then make espresso. Making coffee for more than two people became a drag. I decided to upgrade. The Livia was available through the Illy coffe club for less than eight hundred dollars. THis involves buying pods every two months for a year. I brought my barista to work and use the pods there. Pods are not as good as fresh ground, but they fit in well with an unplumbed office as they are easier to clean by a long shot. But I digress.
I was impressed that the Livia was ready to go in just a few minutes after opening the package. If you keep it on all day, it is ready instantaneously which really is a luxury. There are relatively easy methods to try and keep the tempreture curve flat: to whit, letting off some steam and making a blank shot. I really don't know if these methods work as I don't have the capability to measure the tempreture throughout the shot, but I rely on the collective wisdom of coffeegeeks. In any event, the shots are quite good and occasionally brialliant. This has less to do with the machine than the grinder, the beans and the operator. The machine has the capacity to make excellant shots at any given moment.
I appreciate the ability to backflush with easy as well as the drieer puck offered by the 3-way valve.
I have only owned the machine for three months, so I don't know about reliability. It is attractive and seems very well made.
Others have had negative reactions to the silicon turbo froth attachment. I found that if I modified my technique and did as suggested in the manual, it works very well. By this I mean that I keep the tip down in the center until the milk is lukewarm, then introduce air for a relatively brief period of time and then put the tip back down in the center. This is a different technique than the traditional swirling method, but this is a different attachment. In any event, things happen fast when you are steaming with this machine and a two holed tip works better for traditional swirling than the four holed tip that comes with the machine.
Others have criticized the shallow drip tray and tepid cup warmer. I see what they mean, but it doesn't seem to be a big deal.
The resevoir is large; the machine turns off automatically when it is empty.
I have not used other machines, they may be better, but it would be hard to see how. I wager that at this level of machine, the operator is more important in creating good shots than the machine.