All in all I find this machine more frustrating than convenient.
Positive Product Points
Convenience over Quality Great steam Looks good
Negative Product Points
Built in grinder is useless unless you like fast brew coffee (forget espresso) Difficult to get consistency because of internal dispersion screen Machine quits too early on some shots (ejects puck)
I bought this machine for my wife after reading some of the reviews here on coffeegeek and elsewhere. I have used the unit for a little more than a year now so I think I am qualified to report my impression of this product.
Initial setup is easy enough. Plug it in and fill with water and coffee. The water reservoir holds plenty ~64oz and I could put ~3/4lb of beans in the hopper. Note: an 8oz pour takes about 5 seconds using this setup. I quickly upgraded to a Solis Maestro to provide a better (finer) grind. By grinding externally and dropping 2 scoops of coffee in the top coffee chute, I was able to get some very good shots (~20 second pulls). However, I continually struggled with the machine not behaving consistently. One morning, the machine aborted 3 consecutive shots before I discovered the dispersion screen (described in a less than stellar manual) was clogged.
Now I start the machine every morning by turning it on (~ 1 minute to warm up) and running the cleaning cycle ~3 times until the water is clear and the machine has fully warmed up. I clean the dispersion screen with a damp paper towel every day after the cleaning cycles have completed. I set the Maestro at three clicks coarser than the espresso icon. I pour 2 heaping scoops of fresh ground home roast into the coffee chute and push the single button (water dial set at 2). I usually get a 15-20 second pull with lots of crema using this methodology. Note: the machine can’t tell the difference between brewing cycles and cleaning cycles, so the “clean me” light comes on about once a month despite the fact that I only pull 2-3 shots a day. The manual informs me that the light will come on after ~200 brew cycles. The steam takes about 30 second to come up to speed.
I had to call support once after the machine quit working. It turned out that the beans had lodged in the grinder chute because I had the grind set at the finest setting. It seems that the machine will abort with no backpressure or too much backpressure. Support person was on a mission to make me feel stupid about calling for help.