Great middle-ground machine for the price, just watch your parts carefully.
Positive Product Points
This machine is a pretty good buy for the money. It produces a much better shot than my Krups ever did. It looks great on my counter mostly due to the fact that I got the silver edition. It's been pretty flawless since I bought it. I've never had aproblem with it .
Negative Product Points
The main hitch I have about the machine is the frothing wand. It has a funky rapid froth attachment, that uses a compression washer to hold it on to the wand. If you lose the washer, which I have done already, the whole attachement is useless. The replacement for the little part I lost is a whole new attachment at around $15. The only other thing is that it is loud when trying to converse next to it.
Overall the product is agreat espresso machine. I use mine every day and feel lucky to have moved on from my Krups Bravo with the boiler system to a pump system. The Gaggia is a little more of a process than the Krups but the outcome is always worth it. I get about 3 times more Crema than I use to with the Krups and I'm pretty much a novice still. The weight of the machine is light and make it easy to move, but also makes it louder since it is a plastic housing. If they make a sleek looking model like this in a metal casing I'd be all over that. You really can't beat the price for what you get though. I'm pretty tough on machines and the only thing weak on this machine is the wand in my opinion. The nozzle tends to be the weak link for me. I do miss the threaded end nozzle my bravo had. It was extremely easy to froth with it or you could add the attachment and froth way too fast in my opinion. The Carezza's nozzle is a compression fitting and if you remove it, it is just an open ended tube. I've been frothing with just the tube because I lost the washer for the nozzle. It is loud as anything I've ever heard come from such a small appliance. With the nozzle it is very quiet but powerfull, but as I stated befor the attachment tends to froth too fast for me. I seem to end up with chilly frothy milk = chilly frothy cap or latte. If you have the means to spend a little more I would go a little higher end and find a machine with a standard nozzle and make some attachment that fits over it, if you need the extra froth.
My transaction at wholelattelove.com was super quick and easy. I highly recommend going through them. The price couldn't be beat either.
Three Month Followup
So far so good, I love this machine but as my addiction grows so does my need for a more "commercial" machine.