This machine is da bomb - If you can afford it and you love coffee - do yourself a favour.
Positive Product Points
• Beautiful - (Chrome) this machine is a work of art • High-quality build - commercial quality knobs and levers • E61 Group (weighing in at just over 4kgs by itself) • A steam factory once the machine has warmed up • Fast Recovery shot after shot
Negative Product Points
• Small drip tray (Fills up very fast) • Plastic tamp, spoon and cup warming barrier (Should be metal - To match the quality of the machine)
Just to clarify those prices above:
Average Price: $1,695.00 (USD) Price Paid: $2,400.00 (AUD)
The first thing you notice out of the box is that this machine is quality from start to finish. Mine came with both single and double portafilters - the portafilters are as you’d expect heavy-duty commercial quality; they feel firm and like the machine are beautifully finished. (The tamper and spoon are functional what more can I say - I don't like plastic)
Once the machine was hoisted onto the bench it was time to fill it - the reservoir holds 2.9 litres of water and is removable however I find it easier to fill it in place (I only use filtered water - it reduces the need for maintenance and helps make a truly great cup of coffee.) The machine was turned on and it began to self prime – (Did I mention - I love this machine). The boiler holds 1.8 litres so the reservoir needed a top up once the priming was complete. The machine has a real Heat Exchanger made from nickel plated copper and needs a bit of time to heat up properly - I'd say it requires a good 30 minutes to three quarters of an hour before it reaches its optimum operating temperature. Once on I'd suggest leaving it on for the day.
I first read about the Giotto a couple of years ago and thought that it sounded like the ultimate home machine. It is a true semi-commercial machine designed to make a lot of coffee - I love my coffee but I don't entertain and I don't really drink that much that I needed to go out and get something of this size. But there is more to owning a real coffee machine than its coffee making capacity. This machine is a work of art - it is also the first machine that I have owned that can really produce micro fine froth no plastic turbo frothing appliances for this baby. On top of that there is no guess work or mods required to get the right temperature - once the machine has properly warmed up - pull 30 - 60ml of water, load the portafilter with freshly roasted coffee and pull your shot – the machine features progressive coffee infusion which will pre-moisten the coffee preventing channelling. The temperature is spot on thanks to the E61 group and the extraction has the silky consistency of warm honey - it's magic.
I've also read a number of articles saying that the Giotto has problems producing steam; that may have been the case prior to the premium but this puppy can produce steam like a train. It will have you micro-texturing foam like a pro in no time.
After buying my last espresso machine from a large chain store I wised up - this time I looked around for price and service and found both in Mista Barista http://www.mistabarista.com.au/ (Located on Queensland’s sunny Gold Coast) - Steve is a fully accredited barista, who trains, sells and demonstrates the product - he even delivered and helped me setup. I can't recommend Steve highly enough.
Three Month Followup
Perfecting my Technique
One Year Followup
My opinion about this machine hasn't changed much at all - 12-months on I still think it is the best looking appliance in the kitchen, it produces the perfect cup time after time. I stick mainly to cappuccinos and prefer freshly roasted Brazil or Columbian Beans, the only time I make a bad cup is if I'm having an off day - i.e. operator error.
Roughly a month ago I had my first problem with the machine - I turned the machine on - the pilot light came on but the water in the machine didn't heat. I called the supplier (Mista Barista) and explained the problem; Steve made a diagnosis over the phone - the boiler element had died, within a few days the part was delivered and installed (all under warranty) - now that's great service.
I only have a couple of gripes with the machine - the cup warming area on top of the machine scratches easily, and the drip tray needs to hold more.
But overall - I really can't fault the Giotto - it's a work of art that produces great coffee - what more could you want?