If you can't make good espresso with the Mcal, at least you know it's the operator.
Positive Product Points
Everyone knows it's beautiful. What it also is:.............. Solid and simple. Few things to go wrong. I finally have a machine that I can LOOK INTO the boiler and determine when/if I need to descale.
Negative Product Points
Small drip pan area. If the Mcal had something to work as a heat sink other than the group head, it would be nice. However, it's not difficult to work around.
This is my first lever espresso machine. In the past five years I've been using an Isomac Tea II and I had come to the decision that I wanted to get away from water resevoirs pumps, and all the parts waiting for me to change them. I have always appreciated quality and simplicity. (I wish I had handles on my car windows.)
My learning curve on this Elektra Mcal was about four or five days and I think that if you have experience with good espresso machines of any type, and have learned the importance of grind, tamp etc. then there's not much to learn here. Do I pull the occasional sink shot? Sure, but I always have.
I'll tell you what. This is the only time that I have had my wife bug me to pull a double and split it with her. I dunno, maybe it's just the romance of the lever and the fact that I have that personality. Maybe it's remembering standing at the counter to get my morning shot in Naples over sixty years ago and watching the lever come down and my eye opener hit that cup. Maybe it's just as abstract as hell. I just know I won't be looking back.
This is the third purchase from First Line by me. First : Sylvia, Second, Isomac Tea II, and now the Elektra Mcal As always, Jim P. never failed to answer my questions and give advice. Most of all, THE TRUTH!
Three Month Followup
I've found that the Elektra MCal dislikes up dose. Actually, it HATES up dose. 14 gr. or less works best for me.
My best pulls usually result in around 45 or 50 ml. These are the ones that you can savor the flavor for fifteen min. before it leaves your mouth. I've worked around the heat problem with an OE "Third Shot" heat sink. I also put a heat tape on the group head. With these two items, it's easy. I only like the product more. I have no regrets.
One Year Followup
This followup is a lot farther out than a year, but I wanted to do this update even if it's never read. After these years of use, I now feel that the small drip pan is of no importance. I suppose I was just used to the Isomac Tea's huge recepticle. I have to upgrade my ovreall rating to Ten. I have yet to have any problems.