I recommend the Andreja Premium and I recommend Chris' Coffee Service.
Positive Product Points
The machine is beautiful, looks great on a black granite counter top, and is very simple to operate. Direct plumbing is available. Machine warms up quickly.
Negative Product Points
Drip tray screen could use a redesign, water can track across the top and then down the front to the counter top. (I guess they figured this out since there is a new screen available now)
I got tired of the several hundred dollars a month my wife and I were spending at the coffee shops. So I did alot of research, added up one years worth of coffee shop bills to get a price limit, and found the Andreja Premium. It really was hard to decide which one to buy; there are so many great machines. These are the reasons I bought the Andreja Premium over the others.
Direct plumbing Insulated boiler Stainless steel construction Large boiler Good reviews and reputation
I started looking at the Rancilio Silvia; but the machine is small, not plumbable and I had a bigger budget
I really liked the way the Isomac Millennium looked; but it had some terrible reviews and itís not plumbable
I got really interested in the Expobar Brewtus; double boiler, good looking... but its not plumbable and there are no reviews
Then I found the Andreja Premium and Chris' Coffee Service. The Andreja Premium was everything I needed in a machine (well thought I needed, being a novice - thinking what you need and knowing what you need are two separate things) and so far it has proven to be everything I needed in a machine and I came in on budget.
It took some practice, but now my lattes, cappuccinos, and americanos are equal or better to what we were getting at our local coffee shop and far better then what we would get at starbucks.
I never got a chance to use any of these machines before I made my purchase, and I had only used a $50 steam driven machine before this arrived. With the Andreja Premium I went from 0 to making the best cappuccino I have ever had in about 1 week. I rate this machine as easy to use and easy to learn.
Purchased from Chris' Coffee Service. Things went great. Everything was well packaged and everything arrived in time. The plumbing kit was very easy to install following the instructions provided by Chris (They would have installed the kit for me, but I was remodeling my kitchen at the time so I needed the machine to be portable for a while).
Three Month Followup
One Year Followup
I have owned the machine for two years now. Over those two years I have used the machine every morning and afternoon (except for our yearly two week vacation and the occasional weekend trip). I would estimate that I have made the equivalent of 1600+ lattes.
Not one problem with the machine. It has never failed to function.
Single boiler works just fine. I do have to waste water when using the machine if it has been on a while but its only minor and considering that most of the household use is once in the morning and occasionally again in the afternoon, its not a problem. We typically don't leave the machine on all day, but on days that we have it has never vapor locked on us.
The most espresso drinks I have made at one use was 15. The machine was not the bottle neck I was, it performed flawlessly.
The direct plumbing kit is the best thing, do it if you can. It is extremly simple and even if you live in a rental would be easy to do without angering your rental manager If you are considering a machine that can not be direct plumbed, don't.
I can't think of any negatives - After two years the machine works the same as when it was new out of the box.
All in all it was the best purchase I made in 2005. I would recommend this machine to anyone that was in the market for an espresso machine.