High Quality machine for price. Excellent shots, even for an amature. The machine ships with great instructions including a CD-ROM that walks you through all aspects of using the machine.
Negative Product Points
Plastic body, but looks OK. Drip tray is very small. I don't have other machines to compare against, but this seems to be an area that could be improved. The steamer wand also seems to be a bit awkard for it's position. I ordered White, and got closer to a dark cream or almond. Not sure if the online pic's had been doctored since they only sell White / Silver(gray) / Black, so not sure if I got the wrong color or this is someone's idea of white.
Since I am new to espresso, I'm not necessarily qualified to comment on the technical aspects of this machine. I did significant internet research in selecting this machine and can say I found very few negative comments on this machine. It also seems to have the best internal quality parts. The price compromise seems to be the external plastic housing and possible cheap accessories.
The Quality of the shots is very good, even for someone with little experience, such as me! I don't use the "perfect crema" device and have had excellent crema on of my shots. I'm still learning, but this machine certainly seems to have the capability of producing very high quality espresso.
I purchased from Kitchen Universe and had an excellent buying experience. The product came on time and I had no issues. They had the best price (at that time) on the machine, no shipping charges. So I will be buying from them again!
Three Month Followup
After 3 months the machine is still doing a good job. One minor issue seems to have crept in with regards to holding steam. I've only recently noticed this and not sure if it is a problem or not. The drip tray continues to be the most irritating aspect of the design in that you must empty it fairly often or it will flow over. Having said that, I'm still pleased with the machine. I've used it almost every day, so it has gotten a pretty good work out. I've actually modifed my ratings slightly to better reflect my understanding of the machine overall at this time. I still feel strongly this is a great machine for someone new to espresso. I've had great success making all the basic drinks, although my ability to pull high quality shots that taste really good stand-alone still needs work, but I don't think that is the fault of the machine! : )