Don't be tempted by its low price and good looks. Possible to get a good shot if all conditions are absolutely perfect, which is like, impossible.
Positive Product Points
This is a beautiful machine at an excellent price. Wonderful design touches like the hidden drawer, filter eject button on the portafilter, front loading water tank that is easy to read. Fast warm-up time. Can put a big mug under the dispenser for latte.
Negative Product Points
Too finicky for grind/tamp. Almost impossible to get a good shot with their crap double-walled filters. Steam wand leaks, and this is a brand-new machine! Very difficult to control steam...wide diameter wand makes it difficult to control for a single cappuccino, and it spits too much water. Supplied tamper does not fit the filter (too small).
It is possible that the machine might not heat the water enough for proper extraction (shot temperature noticeably cooler than our Saeco).
Our local Costco had these for $200 Canadian, which is actually less than what the Breville Café Roma sells for at the local Sears. We are currently using a Saeco Armonia that I bought last year for the same price, but there are a few shortcomings, and we thought it might be worth trying a more "prosumer" machine.
What a disappointment! We went through 4 different grinds and different tamp pressures and could not get a decent shot. Steam quality was horrible. Always had to use the pinhole tool to clean the double filter practically after each use. No response from Breville tech support via email.
I was tempted to follow the advice here and elsewhere to dump the double-walled "crema" (yeah, right) filters in favour of the Krups filter, and get a better tamper that actually fits the filter, but that would have meant I would be the only one in the house who could make coffee.
Our Saeco Armonia is ridiculously easy to use and maintain. Their pressurized crema filter really works, no need to change filters for 1 or 2 cups and only needs descaling once or twice a year. Steam is weak, but no problem controlling it for a small amount of milk, and it produces great microfoam if you are patient. Yeah it's not as pretty or seemingly robust like the Breville, but ANYONE can get a good shot out of this machine....no fancy grinder or tamping required!
The Breville is on its way back to Costco for a refund.
Costco is always a good buying experience. No risk shopping!