Reliable little starter machine for newbies and experts alike.
Positive Product Points
Heats up fast
Built-In Grinder is very convenient
Consistent pour with full screen
Good variation of grind
Negative Product Points
Single shot extractions are inconsistent. It's best just to use double shot for everything.
Waste reservoir fills up fast
Steam wand isn't instant. It has to build pressure with the steamer on.
Location of water tank is a slight inconvenience on a crowded counter
All in all, I love this machine. I use it about 2 or 3 times every day. It is durable and easy to maintain, and makes a great espresso. The burr grinder is quite versatile. You can grind from coarse almost the whole way down to Turkish Coffee grounds. The accessories are durable and well-made, so you don't have to worry about things breaking or cracking, even if you drop them.
The unit ships with two 'beginner' double-walled screens, which produce a very consistent extraction. I personally use the normal double-shot screen. It's really hard to over-tamp with the double-shot screen. The single-shot screen is a real bear to work with, because it is very easy to over-tamp. I avoid using it entirely.
The steam wand doesn't build pressure unless the steam function is turned on. This means you need to either put the wand in the milk while it's not pumping steam (it actually shoots water out at first), or you have to put it in the milk while steam is pumping out, which is a messy affair.
Once the steam is flowing, it will heat the milk quite quickly. Care is needed with manipulating the location of the wand to be sure you dont scald your milk before it can reach consistency.
Once you get used to these little quirks, the machine is quickly going to be your best friend. The unit can go from cold to coffee in just two minutes, so it's great if you're in a hurry.
I bought this at Macys. Since they are a department store, I didnt expect them to be knowledgeable about coffee machines. I just walked in, picked up the box, and went to the counter.