I have been flirting with this machine for at least a year now, so when I saw Home Outfitters drop the price of the KitchenAid ProLine Espresso machine by $200 and KitchenAid was providing another $100 off, I jumped at the opportunity. Unfortunately, I didn't read up on this machine here at CoffeeGeek until after I bought the machine.
I was offered another $50 off when they discovered they no longer had any units in the box. They did have three units on display, so I picked the machine that looked imaculate, and with great anticipation, I rushed it home.
After reading the users guide from front to back, I proceeded to make my first cappucino on this machine. I followed the directions for priming the machine, and used a scale to ensure I used the right amount of pressure tamping the portafilter. The result, a very tiny amount of really nice espresso with lots of crema after 25 seconds. No problem, I tamped it too hard. Over the course of 2 weeks, I tried different combinations of tamping pressure and coffee grinds with no success at all! I was getting so frustrated! One day, out of frustration, I went back to Home Outfitters and bought a Proline Bur Coffee grinder, figuring the built in grinder on my Saeco Crema(I had been using this while I looked for my Philips coffee grinder that I had stored away) just wasn't cutting the mustard.
Again, I read the manual from front to back, and started grinding my coffee at the factory 7.5 position. I was very impressed with the grinder, but the coffee came out much too slowly. I varied the grind and the pressure again over the next week, but to no avail. Nothing I did would work.
Now, a bit of history to explain my experience. I am not a newby, just learning the ropes. I started off with a delonghi machine about 11 years ago, upgrade to a Saeco Classico, shortly afterwards, and then bought my Saeco Crema after I tried "fixing" the Classico one disastrous morning. It was beyond salvage. I still have the Saeco Crema, which I am using at this time, while I look for a suitable replacement. I also have a stovetop expresso machine and a stovetop steamer that has traveled with me to Buenos Aires, Brazil, Calgary, and travels with me whenever I leave home and think I will have some kind of stove such as when I go camping. I have no problems making good microfroth, even with the Kitchen Aid unit. I just recharged the small steamer resevoir after each cup, and although it was slow, I had very good results. I also had no problems making a really good cappucino from my Saeco Classico machine, which had no froth aid and no crema pressurized portafilter.
I became convinced that the problem was not myself after 3 weeks and many pounds of coffee with no success. I called KitchenAid (now owned by Whirlpool) and told them my problem. They gave me the name of a local authorized repair store in the area. I went there, only to find out that this place hadn't serviced KitchenAid products for 2 years! I knew of another location that I had brought my KitchenAid Blender to for repairs, so I brought it there. I immediately went out of town on vacation for 2 weeks. When I returned, I waited another 2 weeks, and was told by the technician that there was a problem with my unit, but it was only servicable in the factory, so I would have to call back KitchenAid to log a case, and they would take care of things.
You might ask me why I didn't just return the unit to Home Outfitters for another one. That is a very good question, and one to which I have an answer to. You see, I was a KitchenAid fan. I liked their products, so I really wanted this machine to work. But Home Outfitters, at this time, was purging their stock, and still didn't have any non demo machines available.
KitchenAid logged a case for me, sent me a pre-paid Canada Post Parcel Post packing slip, and I had to find a box to pack this unit and return it to the Missisauga plant. I shipped it on August 27th. On August 29th, it arrived in Missisauga. I didn't hear anything for a week, so I called KitchenAid. They didn't know, and said they would call me back the next day. Nothing...2 days later, I called back. Still no news, call back in 7 more days. I waited, and waited, and waited and called back. Still nothing. On Monday, September 24th, I called back again. I was not happy. I told them that if they hadn't done anything with it, to please send it back to me, and I would return it to the store. I was called back 2 hours later, and told that they tested it, and it met their specifications. I said please send it back to me, and I would return it to the store.
I did that this afternoon, and got my money back...just. It seems I had 90 days to return it. I bought this unit on June 28th, and returned it on September 27th. During all that time, I only had it for 3 weeks!
After sales service is critical, if you have any problems. This is one of the worst after sales issues I have ever run in to. The fantastic KitchenAid ProLine Warranty no longer exists under Whirlpool. By the way, Whirlpool also owns Maytag now...so buyers beware!