I paid more for this espresso machine than my first sportscar and I feel like the wheels fell off!
Positive Product Points
Great crema espresso shots and 5 oz cups every time. Looks great and easy to maintain. Nice readouts and impressive filter system.
Negative Product Points
Poor frothing mechanism for a pricy machine. Only one hopper for beans - must decide on espresso or regular until hopper is empty. Could use larger water reservoir. Makes weak coffee for larger 8 oz. cup. Temperature is 145 degrees - could be hotter!
My old Gaggia froths circles around this unit for one tenth the price. The X-frother I was forced to buy is a joke. The cleaning and maintenance outweighs any advantage it affords. The 2 oz. shots are great and the 5 oz. cups are perfect everytime, but it ends there. It advertises that it is possible to make 2- 8oz cups at a time. I have found that after 5 oz. there seems to be the same amount of coffee but only additional water is added resulting in a weak cup of coffee. The shots average 140~145 degrees, not very hot, forcing you to heat the milk with the useless frother or the microwave. The bean hopper should accommodate more than one type of bean at a time and more than 16 oz. of water in the reservois would help make this unit more useable for parties or functions.
I saved several hundred dollars by buying new on e-Bay but no service if I try to return it.
Three Month Followup
The entire family, including the dogs and cat are now addicted to caffeine. A nearly perfect 5 oz cup of coffee is produced with every absent minded touch of a finger. I'm using the aforementioned useless frother to heat the milk or cream in order to keep the coffee temperature above 150. The dark oily coffee beans for espresso clog in the bean hopper and require some prodding. The machine advertises that you can use two scoops of powder in the powder hopper but each attempt to try a double has resulted in me vacuuming the system out. Good results but inferior packaging. The plastic parts are showing signs of wear.
One Year Followup
My initial review describes my somewhat painful analysis of my “honeymoon” with this extravagant prima Donna of coffee machines. I find myself now, almost a year (and over 3,000 cups) later, feeling like I’m in a marriage of convenience, staying together for the ‘little ones’ which, in this case are the nearly perfect shots. The 3,000 cups however has taken a grave toll on the inferior cheap plastic parts of this luxury machine. One of the tiny tabs on the bean hopper has broken off and is not replaceable without a major cosmetic facelift. The crack in the water container can be easily fixed with silicone or duct tape for that matter but there is something fundamentally wrong with doctoring up a machine that costs as much as an all inclusive 3 week holiday to Barbados. Where did the Swiss go wrong? They used to make such great watches and army knives that would literally last a lifetime! It is still one heck of a super automatic that, for better or worse, still has a place of prominence in my kitchen as well as on my palette. I must confess though, that I occasionally daydream of waking to the unmistakable sound of a la Pavoni Europiccola steaming a perfect head of froth.