If an HX machine is the machine of choice for you, it will be difficult to be unhappy with an Andreja Premium!
Positive Product Points
Size - Despite not fitting under a cabinet well unless plumbed (not an issue for me), it is rather narrow and does not over-power the counter. This was something that was of concern for my wife.
Aesthetics – Some machines have a stamped out metal appearance. The Andreja has a “craftsmanship” look and feel to it. Many guests have complimented on how nice it looks.
Features – No Burn Steam Arms, Non-Compression Valves and having the capability of being direct-plumbed.
Negative Product Points
The only thing we VERY much dislike with the machine as silly as this will sound is the gel-plastic name badge. A machine with the looks and appeal of the Andreja deserves some sort of metal name plate like the Rocket/ECM Giotto or the like.
Like many that post hear, this purchase involved countless reading as this was our first espresso machine purchase. Everything I could get my hands on was read and studied. I made spreadsheets and first compared SB, HX and DB machines, then different makes and models.
At the time I purchased in Dec 2010, the Andreja was the best value by a good 10% at the time I researched in terms of features for the money you spent. Actually I was leaning towards the Quick Mill Anita initially but when you factor in the value of direct plumb capability, non-compression valves and the non-burn steam arms the Andreja was the better value not to mention the rounded lines not present on the Anita.
The only other HX machine that came close was the Giotto. I simply liked the design aspects a little better but the machine was ~10% more and did not have direct plumb capability although they do have a higher end model that does costing even more. Stating that this was our first espresso machine, I am not a credible source to compare this against other models with regards to ease of use. I will say however, that the only shot we have been unable to drink was the first one we ever pulled.
Even being a novice, I will say the espresso that comes from this machine is better than anthing I get from my local coffee houses.
Finally to comment on the steaming capabilities. Our Andreja Premium came with the 4-hole steam wand. Although many will not believe it when I say this that we can steam fat-free milk nearly as well as we can whole. I read about a lot of machines that were weak in their steaming capabilities but not with the Andreja.
We purchased our machine from Chris' Coffee Service. Not sure I can say anything about my experience that will differ from the 100's of positive posts about Chris. His staff was great and yes, as everyone says, Chris reponds quickly himself via phone and e-mail. Enough said they are fantastic.