Great for a workplace VIP room, not the kitchen... Bosses, buy it for your workers.. they'll love you.
Positive Product Points
Combination Drip Filter/Espresso unit. Looks better than two seperate machines. Drip filter side works really well with handy features. Great workplace machine.
Negative Product Points
An equivalent Krups esspresso & a separate filter machine would cost less. An equivalently priced espresso only machine would deliver better quality. Drip filter jug dribbles when poured (must pour slowly). Espresso is up to Krups (pump driven) standard.
Overall I've been very happy with my machine. I received this as a gift however I know that I wouldn't have been disappointed if I had bought it. I've had it for over three years now and have used it everyday with a variety of coffee's and grinders. I believe the niche for this unit is not for home but for the workplace. Bosses if you decide you want a 'semi-decent' coffee machine at work for employees or to impress clients then this machine is a good choice. It's a compact unit that offers those who don't know too much about coffee the ability to drip away as usual, and for those who see the value in it (probably everyone after a few months) the chance to have some semi-decent shots at work (I wish my workplace had one !). If it's clients you are out to impress then this delivers more than passable quality coffee and is a compact black, stylish looking unit that would nicely adorn any VIP room. I've owned this machine for over three years and with it's daily use I've had no problems with it yet. I've heard bad reports on Krups' customer service but as I said, I've had no problems with it. I have seen reviews from people who had trouble with it, but from their descriptions it would appear they are at fault. There are quite a few reviews on www.wholelatte.com which are worth a look but aren't written by professionals (or salesmen). If it does need something simple (like a brew head gasket for example), www.nelsonappliance.com apparently is the way to go. I've descaled it and cleaned the brew head screen a few time because I was bored. The drip filter side of this machine is very good and in a workplace will probably get the most use. It's easy to use with a swing-out basket, you can remove the jug during brewing and it will auto-pause and features timers to brew coffee for you in the morning. The jug dribbles if it is poured too fast which is poor design if you ask me. The espresso side is only up to Krups' pump driven standard. This machine is no Rancilio or semi-commercial unit but as I said, I don't believe that was the intention. The espresso side uses a Thermo-block (opposite concept to a heat sink) to heat the water and a crema-enhancing device to make the drinks look good. These work fine but leaves a drink slightly behind the quality of a commercial machine. Standard plastic construction and flimsy portafilter with removable baskets and plastic locks... but it looks ok. That all said, if the other variables that go into the production of a good espresso coffee are kept to a high standard (bean freshness, grind quality, user skill etc..) this machine wil make in my opinion a very nice espresso, I've enjoyed it at home for years and could only wish I had access to something like this at work. I currently use a Rancilio Rocky grinder and freshly roasted beans with good enough results. It isn't doing the grinder justice though. At this stage I can't justify upgrading to a better machine... break damn you.. break ! The frothing wand works ok for making two cappucino's worth of milk, before the steam pressure gets too low. There is a forthing aid included which works fine for learning (if you read the Milk Frothing Guide on this website you won't need it). The reason I believe this is NOT a viable home unit is the not the price, but the value of the machine. Most (but not all) coffee drinkers, once they get the taste for it, will enjoy espresso based drinks (even if it just an Americano) over regular drip filter coffee. To spend US$299 on this unit and only use it for Drip coffee would be ridiculous. To spend the same and only use it for espresso would not be stretching your money as far as it could go. A similarly priced plain espresso machine would provide much better quality. Unless you use both sides regularly, you are better off buying one, or the other, or even both seperately. In the workplace however it would cater for a diverse range of coffee drinkers. Overall I'm very happy with it. It got me into the world of gourmet coffee nicely and guided me nicely along the road to addiction.. admitting you have a problem is the first step to a cure (or buying a Silvia).
I received this as a gift, it was purchased in Norway for an amount I don't know.