Probably more style than substance, but capable of making decent (not great) espresso; a high-maintenance trophy-wife.
Positive Product Points
Styling - a classic design (in basic black).
Negative Product Points
Manufacturer support. Lack of labeling (front panel switches/indicator lights).
Having done much research on the site, I was looking for a first espresso maker to develop my skills. This may not have been the best choice, but with the good looks and a decent price, this is my "starter" machine. Being an engineer from the slide-rule days, the natural starting point was to completely disassemble the unit, looking for things to improve along the way (as well as the cleaning-up of each individual part). This is where it got interesting in a hurry. Apparently, the previous owner had never performed any maintenance on the machine. Steam wand was plugged, boiler was coated with scale (aluminum boiler), and there was a bit of slight surface oxidation on the ferrous parts (read rust). Okay - not a problem here, having rebuilt everything from the engine in my Lotus Europa to many Canon SLR's, this was a mild challenge. The only problem was getting parts from the manufacturer. Being the older aluminum boiler model, they did not have everything that I needed. I substituted a dispersion screen and outlet nozzle from a similar model espresso machine and made some minor modifications to improve water flow out of the boiler. As an aside, there is a service company that represents the Italian manufacturer in the USA - not my idea of a business model suited to getting customers that "warm-fuzzy feeling". Got her all back together without a problem and worked on the brew temperature. The circuitry is rather sophisticated for temperature control; a center well in the boiler holds the thermocouple and feeds a solid-state controller. Adjusted the variable resistor to get the closest to 90Centigrade in the portafilter (snaking my thermocouple up the hole in the bottom of the portafilter). After all of this, I've had decent results with the extraction and steaming abilities of Francis. Certainly the small boiler is a negative from temperature stability and steam output, but it has been a learning experience for me. Most of my shots have a fair amount of crema, only after careful grinding/tamping. Have used the ESE adaptor for the can on Illy pods the seller included, but was not overly impressed with them in comparison to careful grinding/tamping;seems more like a convenient way to get espresso for someone that doesn't want to "get their hands dirty". It has been a bit like dating a supermodel and finding out she doesn't know that France is in Europe - you just gotta live and learn. Imagine the newer brass-boiler machines are superior to the aluminum from the scaling viewpoint, so I wouldn't recommend this model to the faint-of-heart. Now, lets check on the pricing of that Livia........
Hey, it was a nice lady on eBay that just didn't take care of her machine.