I will continue using this machine until it wears-out again and parts are obsolete. As long as I continue to get the crema and taste I've experienced during the last few months, I see no immediate need to invest in an upgrade.
Positive Product Points
This machine is easy for beginners to get started but requires improvisation in order to get a quality 1.5 ounce shot of espresso. It is small but not too small. Froths 12 ounces of milk very quickly and nicely. Parts are easy to buy. This espresso maker is fairly easy to clean.
Negative Product Points
The lower group head wore out after 3 years of consistent use. I've had to experiment in order to obtain consistenly good espresso with crema - I'll explain below.
I've used this machine since Fall of 1999. From day one, it has produced quality micro foam. I've more recently discarded the perfect-froth attachment. I feel I get better results without it. Making good espresso with this machine has been a greater challenge that I've only recently overcome with great success due to info. gathered from Coffee Geek member posts.
My machine has the standard home pump (15 bar?) which works well but lacks a feature(s) offered by some of the more expensive and advanced group heads such as the E-61. If I understand what I've read, the E-61 allows steam/moisture to pre-wet the tamped puck before the shot is pulled. This helps the tamped coffee in the portafilter avoid cracking and allowing steam to pass through the coffee too quickly which avoids "pulling" the espresso from the ground beans.
Once I was armed with the notion of pre-wetting the puck, I began to give the finely ground and firmly tamped coffee in the portafilter of the 887 about 3 - 4 very light sprays of water from a clean 409 spray bottle before inserting and twisting in the portafilter. I'm convinced that this pre-spray makes all the difference by keeping the coffee puck from cracking during the pull which produces very good crema and espresso with a very good taste.
I also preheat the entire machine before making espresso by running the pump and boiler through an entire cycle of water. I use the reheat time to pack the warm portaflter basket.
The only problem I've noticed is too much pressure in the portafilter after my third pull within 20 minutes. I bet the machine temp. was too high and I probably tamped the grounds too hard. The result was a blast of steam from between the top of the portafilter and the seal in the grouphead. Still, not a serious problem and even so, the crema and taste was better than the local coffee houses.
N/A I bought this machine cheap at a local charity silent auction.