good quality machine for the price that froths very well and produces consistently good coffee
Positive Product Points
Very good steam Consistently good coffee large drip tray
Negative Product Points
you have to purge the steam wand for 10-20 seconds to get rid of moisture before steaming milk
I used a gaggia coffee before this and occasionally i got a really good cappuccino. Results though were inconsistent. In truth I was learning on that machine and in-between I had a pod machine (lavazza espressopoint) so maybe I was just a bit better when I bought this.
Can't be much doubt though that this machine is also a big part of the equation and I have to say that whilst I used to read comments about the gaggia with people saying it gave them cappuccino as good as when they went out my cappuccinoís were almost always better when I hit starbucks! I mainly got bitter results and I probably needed greater skill on that machine. I was close to giving up hence the pod machine which i thought might give me perfect results every time. Pods though didn't seem that great either (bit weak) and the variety was dire.
After 3 months with this machine I am definitely making better coffee than loads of places I go to. It's quite pleasing to taste them and think "yes-mine taste better than that"
I get some great doubles and recently singles. Iíve been getting fresh roasted coffee from hasbean.co.uk, but also beans from asda (walmart) are also quite good. I think this machine gives a consistently nice flavour from the beans. I partner the machine with a fracino (rebadged cuunil tauro) grinder with great results.
The milk frother is superb. I would fully recommend getting a thermometer because since doing that I swear the coffee gets better. I heat the milk up to 140 Fahrenheit or just over and it then reaches the correct temp thereafter without any need for further heating. It seems much easier to get the correct kind of milk. Micro foam. Creamy. Tons of soft fine foam at the end of the cup. I no longer boil the milk which gave an odd taste nor do I under heat it. Poured in with the coffee and yes -that's damn fine coffee and it looks beautiful as well. Golden brown swirls on the top. Work of art-soon devoured.
So I am very pleased. Smooth tasting creamy cappucino's-who woudn't be happy. I think there is still a learning curve on the machine. The lights are easy to read. Refilling the machine is no problem as far as I am concerned. I reduced the pressure to about 12 bar as per
I have to purge the steam wand for 10-15 seconds of all water to ensure that the milk is done properly but it's a routine that seems fine to me. I also have to use a long plastic drinking container when doing this because the steam is so powerful. Itís almost too powerful but it's manageable.
Cleaning the machine seems fine. My biggest problem may have nothing to do with the venus. Occasionally i get leaking out of the top of the portafilter and with some coffee coming through the spouts at the same time. On the gaggia I had this a lot and was always replacing the seal. It tends to be when I change the coffee and I suspect I grind too fine which causes a massive pressure build up. The first time this occurred I ground courser and descaled the machine. It was fine.
It occurred again this week and i didn't use the machine for 4 days. I cleaned in the area where the portafilter is inserted, with a wet rag. I ground courser. I inserted the portafilter tighter and i made sure the portafilter itself was free of any stray coffee grinds and again coffee is coming out of the portafilter as it should and everything is hunky chunky again. Changing coffee does always seem a problem and god knows how much coffee I have wasted over the years getting the right grind before finally it comes out in the right time-20-25 seconds and looks right. Sometimes you lose three to 5 doubles before you get it about right! All part of the experience i guess. Honing it to the right grind can also be quite good.
Overall-this machine saved me from giving up. I'm not sure I could get better coffee from another machine and so Iím happy now for many years before and if it ever gives up the ghost. Quality machine. Makes damn good cappuccino and better than many outlets serve you. What more can you want?