The Beast belches and roars out good milk foam and small batches of strong espresso even after 18 months of regular use.
Positive Product Points
Easy to use controls. Easy to set up. Easy to fill large water reservoir. So easy to steam milk that my 12 year does a pretty good job of it after only a few tries. Stylish profile. Fast. Flexible design makes espresso from grounds or coffee pods and also produces hot water and steam through the steam wand. And for the tea drinkers, the boiling water doesn't taste like coffee residue. Fun to use. Very satisfying sound effects. Produces satisfying frothed milk.
Negative Product Points
Coffee basket is too small; it only makes 4 oz. of strong espresso at a time. Coffee grounds between batches are soggy and have to be scraped out of the coffee basket. To get strong espresso requires you have to use espresso beans (duh right... however, this is compared to our little old Mr. Coffee espresso machine that produced 6 oz of hair-raising espresso at once using the cheapest Cost-co beans we could buy). Some might say it's noisy but I like that part. Some people hate the steam wand, but it's doing right by me. The on button feels a little flimsy.
We call our new consumer-grade espresso machine The Beast because it belches and roars. It's like a new pet. But don't confuse this with a puppy; it's more like a dragon youngling. We moved up from our $30 Mr. Coffee ECM-160 (we had 3 of them over the years) because our 3rd unit only lasted for 11 months and we got tired of sending dead appliances to the dump. I am satisfied with this machine: It's easy to use, easy to fill, and makes satisfying almost consistent micro-foamed milk. My husband isn't as happy with it. He likes a big cup of espresso strong enough to put hair on your chest and this machine can only produce smaller batches to meet his specification.
Amazon is always dependable. Would hate to have to return this.
Three Month Followup
Good machine. Still works great.
One Year Followup
We have had this machine for almost 2 years and it's still going strong with regular but light daily use. We make 2-3 cups of espresso and 1 cappuccino every day and 1 or 2 chai tea lattes a week. It quickly foams a third cup of almond milk to an acceptable microform (155 degrees f.). We wipe the metal wand with a damp towel after every use. We have come to enjoy the dragon like sounds it makes and would miss it dearly if it dies.