It's the Rocky of coffee makers: a bit rough around the edges, perhaps not that attractive, but rock solid quality and great results.
Positive Product Points
Inexpensive, makes decent coffee (see detailed commentary), DURABLE and RELIABLE
Negative Product Points
I'd like to be able to steam more milk before priming; may be me still not knowing the machine that well. I got the Gaggia MDF grinder to go with it, and am irritated that the portafilter doesn't stay on the grinder arms while it's grinding. I'm lazy, and want to do that, but it will fall off. Irritating.
First up: I'm not a coffee geek. Geek yes, coffee geek, no. I do not drink espresso, but LOVE lattes. I got this machine 3 years ago without knowing anything about machines based entirely on this website. I have been very happy with it (and happy with the Gaggia MDF grinder I got with it).
Mind you, the coffee I make from this sucker probably would taste terrible to most of you, as I don't go through all the insidious warming rituals and whatnot. But to me, it's still better than many crappy coffee shops.
One of the things I REALLY like about the machine is the durability and reliability. I am a slob. I don't like to clean things. And I'm lazy. I don't like to do maintenance. And I'm forgetful. I often forget to do things. So when I can go away for the weekend, forget to turn the machine off, and have it on and hot the entire weekend, but still work like a champ, that's impressive. I would have thought I'd have ruined it. But after several of those instances (thank goodness I didn't burn my house down, maybe I need an outlet timer?), it still makes a brew that's as good as the day I got it.
So, after three solid years of using this sucker, sometimes once per week, but for the last year several times a day, it's still going like a champ. It is a champ. I wish everything was built this solid.