I've not compared similar units, but I really can't imagine anything much better. It's producing amazing shots, amazing lattes, and it looks great!
Positive Product Points
Looks very very nice!, fast going from shot to froth to shot to froth, insulated swivel wand, no tighten knobs very nice!, good upgrade kit to direct water connect (I would highly recommended this), extreme quality microfoam, very high quality shots, seem very well built (I went inside to do the direct connect myself) Cup warmer nice, doesn't seem noise to me, when you pull the shot it makes about the same noise as my grinder (Metcaf also bought from Chris' Coffee) No mechanical problems so far. Free shipping.
Negative Product Points
Two slight negatives I can think of... the manual, and I think this unit should include a smaller tip for frothing one latte at a time. (See details below)
I've been roasting my own green coffee in the shed for 6 months with a cheap roasting setup. This is my 3d home espresso machine. Had a Gaggia (low end), then a Silvia. The move from the Silvia was a big upgrade especially if you froth a lot and have multiple drinks to make quickly. Since I haven't used anything else this good, it's a bit hard to rate build quality and cost v value etc, but they seemed very favorable to me.
The manual really needs to let the consumer know about frothing tips for different quantities of milk. With the critical correct tip to match milk volume, this machine can make a microfoam to die for. Latte art galore! I froth 4 oz of milk in a small pitcher with the small tip sold at Chris's Coffee and it's just right. I haven't used the tip that came with the machine much, but I would say it's for frothing a minimum of two Italian sized latte's. (4oz milk each X 2) Takes a lot of web reading to get the whole process down.
I would also highly recommend buying a naked portafilter. To me, it's critical to checking if you're packing evenly and pulling a good shot. Of course freshly roasted quality beans is a must. (maybe the machine should be sold with one)
I've been on several trips over the months and tried lots of coffee shops. I mostly order double espresso shots, but quite a few lattes too. Only twice did I find a coffee shop that could get close to the quality I've come to enjoy with the Andreja. One was a no name coffee shop in Ypsilanti Michigan, and the other was Intelligentsia in Chicago maker of the famous Black Cat blend. What can I say. I'm very happy with my purchase.
Chris's Coffee was great. The Andreja was well packed, and arrived quickly. I called Chris' Coffee four of five times after the purchase to ask questions. They answered the phone quickly and were very accommodating, friendly and knowledgably.
Three Month Followup
No problems so far
One Year Followup
I had a small issue with the Andreja. The sensor probe that tells the machine that the water level is low, was sluggish. I called Chris Coffee and got immediate and good info to fix this issue myself. I removed the probe and put a blue scowering pad to work which got the deposits off and the machine was back to normal. I broke an overheat sensor which Chris Coffee sent a free replacement.
I still love this machine. With a smaller frothing tip I can make latte art, and also pull very very nice shots of my home roasted blends. ... akiley