Excellent machine, fun, but definitly a learning curve
Positive Product Points
Very fun to use, interesting, very hands on, allows the barista to be very "in touch" with the coffee.
Negative Product Points
Very hands on, difficult to get anything consistent, time consuming, no real temperature control, over heating issues.
I purchased a used 1972 off of eBay for a very good price. The machine came with the double basket missing, and as I quickly found out it is near impossible to pull singles on this machine. Because of the high cost I went with an Olympia double basket and chopped the portafilter, what a difference! The shots were much more consistent and were wonderful. This machine is very unforgiving of operator error, you must be on your toes at all times, especially when actually pulling the shots. The grind must be good, no cheap grinders, it needs to be a little finer than for most other machines. This machine does overheat, and care should be taken to get as close as possible to the target temp when pulling shots. Because the group overheats the machine should be unplugged between consecutive shots and possibly cooled with an ice cold wet rag. Fresh beans are a must; cheap, old crap will turn out worse than you could ever imagine. Overall pulling shots are definitely a learning curve, but you can get absolutely amazing results. As far as steaming goes this machine produces gobs of steam on demand (no waiting for it to heat up). The steam wand, however, isn't flexible and its in a slightly awkward position. The OE tip is strange and difficult to do anything but heat the milk with, I highly recommend buying an aftermarket acorn tip. With the aftermarket tip wonderful results can be achieved. With this machine I've made some better drinks than I have on some commercial machines, there is just a steep learning curve, and it takes more time to prepare a drink.