Worth every dime, and every dime I've spent on it since.
Positive Product Points
This is a fine piece of equipment. You can leave it on all day. With a water refill every other day my wife has all of the hot water she needs for her morning pot of tea, and I have access to beautiful espresso upon demand. Over time the Livia has rewarded every technical improvement I've made to my brewing technique.
Negative Product Points
At $1,000 or more, most of the peripherial equipment that's included with a new machine needs replacement or upgrade. This includes the plastic steaming tip, the tamper, and even the cheap plastic coffee scoop. The shallow, thin plastic drip tray began showing signs of hot water damage after a year's use. The directions that were in box when I bought the machine were useless. The black silk screening on the Livia dissolves and rubs off if you mistakenly use an ammoniated stainless cleaner to remove your oily finger prints.
I decided to write this review because I've had my semi-auto Livia for two years and I noticed that many of the reviews available on the site were written after a realitively short period of acquantance with a new machine. To get the down side out of the way first, I've found that my Livia's outstanding design weakness is wide fluctuation in the temperature of brewing water at the group head while the pump is on. This condition is particularly severe if the machine is not allowed to warm up for at least a half hour before use and primed to switch the boiler on before a first shot is drawn. The pressure gauge is no help for anything but hot water at the tap, and the factory's claim that the machine can be ready to brew in ten minutes is just odd. New owners need to remember that they've paid dearly for many pounds of steel, bass, and copper with this machine, and that, up to a point, the warmer that all of that metal gets, the better their espresso is going to be. I always prime the Livia for a few seconds and dry the group before I fill and tamp my next basket. The subject of running water through the machine brings up one other annoyance that is worth mentioning. Other reviewers have pointed out the machine's thin black plasitc drip try is shallow and, for the way the machine begs to be used, inadequate. I agree. In addition, after about a year my drip tray developed an area of white heat damage under the group head pressure relief spigot. It's ugly, and, I suspect, brittle enough to break one day. All that said, I would enthusiastically recommend purchase of this machine to anyone one who asked. Using bottled water, I've never had a hint of a problem with any of the basic mechanicals or electricals on my Livia, and from the very first day the "average" shots it produced were superior to the best shots that I ever got from my Gaggia Espresso. In fact, I am such an admirer of my Livia that I devoted half of a vacation day last year to a drive across L.A. to seek out Guy Pasquini and praise his machine. He seemed slightly bemused by my dedication and enthusiasm. In Pasquini's back room repair shop I got to inspect all of the Livia's assembly details. It was especially interesting that most of the machines that were undergoing repair at that time seemed to be La Cimbali commercial units. The Livia is a fine, classic, piece of culinary equipment, like an O'Keefe and Merritt stove from the 40's or 1960's Trident Cutlery. After owning a Livia, it is a rare buyer who will ever feel the need to purchase another espresso machine
I haven't needed to deal with Peet's since I bought this machine and discovered that it was imported across town. They did a nice job carrying the carton out from back and setting in on the counter...gave me two pounds of really dark roast coffee.