My first espresso machine was a Rancilio Silvia, and I used it for years. When I moved to the US, I had to leave it behind and this year, I finally decided to get a new espresso machine. I did not want to spend more than 700 USD for a machine which is the price class for a new, unmodified Silvia.
From my experience with my previous machine, I was actually looking for better temperature control and a builtin clock, temperature surfing gave me fairly good results, but pushing buttons with a stop watch in my hand is nothing I want to do every day anymore. An Auber-PID'd Silvia exceeded my budget and I'd prefer a built-in one anyways.
I did a couple of weeks of research and came across (no pun intended) the Crossland CC1, which comes with very impressive features and is usually sold at 699. Since it is a relatively new machine (introduced in 2011), people might have doubts that there might be issues like many new products have, but I got my Silvia shortly after it was introduced to the market as well and that one has proven to be reliable.
I am using the CC1 in combination with a Rocky grinder and I use it with Vivace Dolce, Vivace Vita and various Espresso blends from Sweet Maria's which I roast at home.
The CC1 is a well-built machine, it is quite heavy (30 lbs), which is likely due to the fact that the case is mostly stainless steel except for the drip tray, the water reservoir, the buttons, the steam know and the LCD. That also means, you'll need to wait at least half an hour to heat this baby up.
The first step after plugging it in and filling water into it is setting the 3 programs, which allow for temperature, pre-infusion time, wait time and shot
time. Since you only have the two push/dial buttons for that task, the process
is a little like setting a digital watch (if you have one of those), but you don't do that too often, and the settings survive power outages. The temperature control and shot timer alone made me really happy about my decision, I have much better consistency without sacrificing quality.
I like the steaming functionality a lot, thanks to a thermoblock, the CC1's steam is ready quite quickly and you can steam a long time. Note though, the steam pressure is comparatively low, so you'll steam longer, but have more control. You can move the steam wand in all directions, which is very useful, my first-gen Silvia did not have this feature so I had to move the pitcher more carefully. One thing I don't like is the steam knob - it feels cheap and flimsy, and it is the only part of the machine that does so. That said, I hated the steam knob on the V1 Silvia as well, the V3 has a steam knob and wand that I wished existed when I had mine.
I have used the CC1 for 5 months now and my experiences have been very positive, I pull 2-3 double shots each day and backflush it regularly. It behaves like I would expect from a single boiler machine, and the time to make a milk-based drink is significantly shorter than on the Silvia, so I don't feel bad keeping people waiting when I have guests. It's by no means high volume though, if you regularly serve coffee to guests, I'd say go with something more expensive.
If I had to pick one defining characteristic of this machine, it would be the consistency and predictability of the espresso shots, which gives me a good start into each day.