Love it and I pray it has put an end to upgrade fever. I think it has. Hope others support Salvatore, he is a true craftsman!
Positive Product Points
A full blown Heat Exchange machine. Charming home made build quality, tons of steam and the ability to churn out the shots. Relatively small size for a HX machine.
Negative Product Points
Small somewhat rinky-dink resevoir (it is a 64oz Nalgene bottle). The resevoir is also un-insulated so it gets hot like everything else once the machine is up to full temperature.
I had a rule; I would never spend over $150 on a machine. I was able to stick to that rule with great success for 2 years as many Saeco/Estro machines can be had used on ebay for under even $100 (I paid $50 for a Saeco Maestro) All those machines with some work can produce an excellent shot as well as great milk drinks. Finally I got a wild hair and spent $350 on an Isomac SuperGiada. While it was great looking and well made it didn't produce a shot any better than my $50 Maestro, quite frankly, aside from its aesthetics and the 5oz brass boiler and bigger resevoir, it essentially had the same guts as most other pure home pump machines. Within a week I sold it and began the hunt for something truly different, an HX machine. I found it in the form of a Salvatore Famosa. It was a 2-3 year old machine but in great shape, and the price was right for a full blown Heat Exchange type. Salvatore is a craftsman living in Central California turning out 100% hand crafted Espresso machines. That in itself is a reason to buy as far as I'm concerned, as he truly does hand make each machine, very charming. As I gathered from my research, most HX machines take a good 15-30 minutes to get up to temperature, this one does too. Once there, it turns out the shots one after another, and like all HX types you can steam milk at the same time. Steam production is on a whole new level. I like to steam in the mug I am going to drink the cappuccino in as it gets the mug nice and warm and the drink stays hot. It takes about 20 seconds to steam 5-6oz milk. Other than that it is a bomb proof, easy to handle machine.
Ebay, no problems.
Three Month Followup
Still kicks a$$!
One Year Followup
After 10 months of flawless operation, the machine broke - turns out that where the autofiller connects to the boiler had plugged with mineral deposits - very hard water where we are - despite filtering it. The result was the heating coil inside the boiler fried. fortunately I live about 30 minutes from Slavatore's shop and was able to buy a new coil and install it myself - back up and running now and loving the machine more than ever. It was torture using a dual purpose machine for 2 months. I know Slavatore's machines are a bit rich for some people's blood, but if you can afford them, they are the best money can buy!!! His latest Famosa is a work of art!