A great machine with a few tweaks becomes the ultimate home espresso machine.
Positive Product Points
Solid, well engineered, great looking espresso machine, with E61 grouphead, results - outstanding espresso / cappuccino and a great looker.
Negative Product Points
Tall heavy machine barley fits under counter making refilling of water reservoir difficult. Standard Pod adaptor head interferes with full portafilter and hurts shot quality - see detailed commentary for solution. Pump is a little noisy. Manual is fair at best.
I had been looking at a semi-commercial espresso machine quite a while and when my Solis SL90 finally stopped working I was very motivated to upgrade. I will not go into the details of the La Valentina as Dan Kehn's review is extremely detailed in this area. With some help from Dan, I decided on the automatic version of the La Valentina as I make many milk based espresso drinks and it makes it extremely convenient.
Initial impresses are WOW, what a beautiful machine. It is a substantial machine and beautifully made. I immediately fired up my Mazzer Mini and started pulling shots. After dialing in my grinder I was making very good shots. It came with a two-hole tip on the steam wand and making steaming milk was a snap. I used it this way for a while and never was able to make the proverbial god like shots. I also grew tired refilling the machine as it never seemed to be able to drain the water reservoir and it was a chore to pull the machine out from under the cabinets and refill the water.
I had 1st line convert it to a plumbed in model. The La Valentina come standard with a pod adaptor head and while it was there, Jim replaced it with a standard screen. Once I got it hooked up to my water supply, I immediately started pulling shots, and they were the god like shots I have been reading about. Having an endless supply of water is the final piece to this machine to make it my ultimate espresso machine.
Overall, I would recommend this machine to anyone and make sure before it ships, have the pod adaptor head replace.
1-st line was patience with all of my calls and great to work with.