This machine is the gateway to a new level of espresso addiction!
Positive Product Points
Beautiful machine opened my eyes to what espresso can be. I get a head like a Guiness on Vivace Dolce. It's got all the elements to help you figure out how to make espresso like an artiste! Chris' Coffee is a pleasure to work with - I'm ready to franchise! Seriously, I'm not a real expert like others on the site but this machine has everything you need to become an expert and serve a party of 8. The heat exchanger makes it nice to switch from espresso to steaming.
Negative Product Points
Not an automatic. You've got to give yourself time to figure this out. Get the pressure right, the grind, clean it, etc. The water indicator shut-off is a little annoying but not a big deal. My brother-n-law's Amica may have more steam pressure. A little noisy but that may vary by machine
Overall, couldn't be happier. This machine can do anything I can ask and has all the capability to grow with me. I still can't make latte art (is it the steam pressure?) but my espresso has a mean head on it. Paired it with the Isomac grinder which is very loud but always fresh ground. The Rocky seems better and I'm less apt to play with the grind which may influence my interest in playing around too much.
Originally was thinking of a superautomatic but then my brother-n-law pointed out that I could get more machine for less money. Not plastic, Feels solid. Nice to have the cups warm. Instant steam and back to espresso. Hot water on demand. Fit'n'finish is nice to and pretty easy to keep looking nice. Look forward to plumbing but refilling doesn't really bum me out. Huge water tray is nice. Like having both guages and all the lights. Very fun to use.
My espresso tastes like the beans smell.
These machines are a little complicated and for a first time buyer Chris' makes this an enjoyable experience. He runs his business the way it ought to be done. He and his team walked me through issues that I had with my grinder and the espresso machine. Done wrong you could be bitter, done right and your on the way to geekdom.
Three Month Followup
I continue to be very happy with the machine. Frequent cleaning gets the best results and making sure I get a little over 9 bars when I'm pulling a shot.
I look forward to plumbing it in as the large water resevoir empties out faster than I'd like but it's only a daily thing that I need to do.