The Giotto Premium is a fantastic coffee machine. Highly recommended!
Positive Product Points
This is a beautiful looking and well made coffee maker that would be the gleaming centre piece of any kitchen. It is very easy to make fantastic coffee with finely textured milk provided you give the Giotto enough time to warm up. The machine produces ample steam and the "cool-touch" steam wand is very easy to keep clean.
Negative Product Points
- Pump is noisy - Design and quality of water tank could be better
I love my Giotto Premium and have been drinking far too much coffee since I installed it a month ago. I have not owned a coffee maker of this quality before and would not normally pay this much for a kitchen appliance. However, I fell in love with the appearance of the machine after seeing it in a specialist coffee store and my partner bought it for me as a combined anniversary / house warming present. I prefer the appearance of the Premium machine to the Classic model, which seems to have smaller steam and water valve handles.
The machine was very well packaged and in pristine condition when we installed it. It comes with two very high quality portafilters, a blind filter disk for back flushing, a useful cleaning brush and a much less useful plastic tamper. We bought a proper metal tamper to complement the machine.
I had not used a machine with a proper E61 group head before, but had no trouble learning how to make good coffee with the Giotto. Online articles about E61-type machines were a more useful source of information that the instruction manual, which is quite basic. I was used to a low-end machine that would quickly get blocked if I used finely ground coffee, hence I started off grinding the coffee far too coarsely for the Giotto. During the first few days, I also found that the coffee I was making was too bitter - I have since learned that this may be a consequence of not giving the group head enough time to warm up. The machine reaches optimal pressure within about 10 minutes, but it takes about 30 minutes for the grouphead and portafilter to reach the correct temperature. If the machine is left idle for too long, the grouphead becomes too hot and it is necessary to flush some water through to cool it down before making the coffee.
I was disappointed by the level of pump noise - I get up early in the morning to turn the machine on so that it is hot enough to make my coffee before I walk to work. The noise of the pump is a bit annoying first thing in the morning, although it generally runs for only a few seconds before the boiler is full.
I was also a bit disappointed by the water tank, which is make of a cheap plastic and is a bit awkward to remove and clean. My model has a valve on the bottom of the reservoir that engages the water supply as well as an 'out of water' sensor. (Apparently, earlier models use soft plastic pipes that hang over the edge of the tank). The valve works fine, although when the reservoir is removed and reinstalled, a small amount of water seems to escape and drip out of the bottom of the machine. I was worried about this at first, but dont think it is a major problem.
Cleaning the machine has become a pleasurable ritual, like polishing a prized sports car (unfortunately I canít afford one of those) - I have developed a cleaning routine that includes back flushing with a cleaning detergent once a week. I am very careful to keep the grouphead clean and run some water after every shot to prevent coffee residue from baking on.
After a month of practice I am able to produce superb coffee with the Giotto most of the time - occasionally if I'm rushing I donít fill the portafilter correctly, draw too much water through the grounds or pull the shot too soon before the machine is hot enough.
I look forward to many years of coffee drinking with the Giotto. I will never go back to a cheap machine.
The machine was purchased from KoffeeOne in Rozelle, Sydney. Peter was very helpful and provided us with some useful written instructions about cleaning and maintaining the machine.