Generally, good creama is not hard to obtain with a bit of practice. Steaming capabilities are good.
Negative Product Points
Water temps. too hot. Pressurostat is a bit unstable and finicky. Stainless steel casing great eye appeal but scratches easily. No water level indicator. AC terminal in machine shorted/melted.
This review may appear negative but let me first say that I like my Isomac TEA, it's a great machine. I just want it to be better!! When I decided to replace my 10 year old Gaggia Dandy I looked at alot of machines both in person and on-line. Lots of reading put temperature stability at the top of importance. I thought buying a machine with an E-61 group head guaranteed temperature stability, unfortunately, that's not the case. I bought this machine in, October 2000, from Caffe Orsini. Max just started importing Isomac and no one else carried them, hence the higher price than most people pay today. Before the Isomac arrived the three biggest improvemnts to my espresso capabilities have been a better grinder, a better tamper and home roasting. While I thought the Isomac would be the fourth and biggest improvemnt it has not. I say this in the only area that really counts, taste. While the Isomac is much more consistant it has only but a few times given me the flavor that I had obtained with my Gaggia, inconsistantly mind you. I expected BIG things from the TEA and when it was not giving me the results I expected I went looking for a reason. I started to look at water temps and after doing extensive measurements via the "Schomer" method I was finding that the water temps. were much too high. The longer the machine stayed on the higher those temps became. It took anywhere from 15-30 seconds of flushing to get near a reasonable temp to start a shot. Barring a major modification to the unit I started with the easy fix first. I run the machine at about 0.9 milibars. While this still does not fix the problem it has brought me closer to where I want my shots to taste. I would go even lower to about 0.8 milibars but the pressurostat will not stay within that setting and the pressures rise above 0.8 milibars after a few days. While I found the stainless steel a great feature at the beginning I cannot say I still do. It scrathes very easy and ou spend alot of time shining the TEA! Outside of the AC terminal box inside of the machine having a melt down, literally, the machine has operated flawlessly. It is a bit noisier than I would have liked and really needs a water level indicator to prevent the ole' "shotus interuptus". Would I but this machine again? Knowing what I do now about temperature stabiliy in general and as it applies to the Isomac TEA, I'd have to say no. For those who are not too concerned about temperature I say it's a good machine, sturdy and trustworthy. For those who need a bit more, look elsewhere.
Caffe Orsini has been a good group to work with. They fixed my machine w/o any problems. I suspect now that the TEA is more common place they will give a better price.