Sensational looks, consistent and great espresso and cappuccino after you get used to it
Negative Product Points
Difficult to clean, extra portafilter really expensive, stock steam nozzle is crap, low capacity
Well I've owned this for about eight months and I'm pretty satisfied. It took a couple of weeks to get used to but now I can get very consistent results. A lot of people say the result is better with a burr grinder and they are probably right, but since I spent all my dough on this machine I'm still using my old blade grinder. I noticed a huge improvement after I started home-roasting Vietnamese coffee (83% Arabica, 17% Robusta) to full City Plus Roast using the time-honoured popcorn machine method. In case it helps others, my process to use this machine - 1. Fill 3/4 full and turn on 2. weigh 12-13g coffee and blade-grind for 22 seconds 3. Tamp using moderate pressure (I really should replace the POS tamper they provide). Then before pulling the shot I foam the milk. I use about 145-150g (around 5oz) skimmed milk in a 10oz narrow steel jug (wish I had a taller jug, I sometimes splash it when foaming). The stock milk foaming tip is crap so I bought a replacement from Orphan Espresso. The hole in that new tip was too big so I went back to the original and blocked two of the three holes by snapping toothpicks in there, leaving only the leftmost hole. For milk foaming there is plenty of advice on the net (that doesn't need repeating by me) and following that advice re tip depth in the milk, folding the milk, making a whirlpool etc I am now getting very good and repeatable microfoam. I find with two holes blocked the steam of course comes out much slower and more controllable, hence avoiding the steam running out as others have mentioned. After foaming the milk I pull the shot, then dump the milk on top, trying to cause some turbulence to mix the coffee with the foam. It takes about 10 minutes from turning the machine on, to drinking the coffee and I do enjoy the ritual (and challenge) of making it. I wish it came with two portafilters (so I don't have to clean when making two coffees) and considering buying one online at the eye-watering price of around $120 plus shipping (I wanted to find a second hand one on ebay but no luck so far).
Online purchase from coffeeitalia.co.uk, nothing to complain about.