A real, pump-driven espresso machine for $70! Pump is the same pump found in machines costing three times as much. You can produce real, Guinesss-effect shots with this machine with a little practice and a good grinder. Portafilter is the same 58 mm size as commercial machines. Unlike many low-end machines, it does not use a pressurized portafilter -- a definite plus if you're trying to learn to make great espresso. Generous, removable water reservoir.
Negative Product Points
The included plastic tamper is practically useless. The pump is loud -- I've seen more expensive pump machines that are much quieter, but the noise is not atypical for a consumer-level machine. Instructions included with the machine are inadequate. Thermoblock design heats the water quickly, but there is no way to control the temperature, which seems to vary greatly. Cheap plastic construction.
I've found that with a little practice and a good grinder, you can pull real Guiness-effect shots out of this machine.
Don't even bother reading the included instructions or watching the included video -- following the directions will result in nasty espresso with no crema.
Some have modded their machines, but even without hacking, you can still produce good shots consistently. You need to first heat the machine up with steam switch on and the portafilter in place. Turn the steam switch off, dose and tamp your shot, then pull a blank shot with the empty espresso pod basket and portafilter in place. Pull the espresso pod basket and portafilter off the machine, insert your dosed and tamped double filter basket and then pull your shots. Grind should be fine, and tamped to at least 10 PSI.
If you're looking to pull a high volume of shots, forget this machine. You need to spend money on something more expensive. But for first-timers or even veterans looking for a real pump machine for cheap, get this machine.
WalMart sucks. Not all stores carry this machine, and the ones that do only stock like 2 or 3 machines and they seem to be gone in a few days. Takes them like 3-6 months to get more. Staff is clueless about the machine. Save yourself the hassle and buy online.