Beautiful machine, beautiful espresso, Control like I have always wanted.
Positive Product Points
This is a review for the Stradivari Professional model not the PC-16, but the PSC-16. Love this machine! Well built. Weighs more than standard Pavoni levers, with no traveling around the counter. Group seems a bit more powerful in heat sinking. Aesthetically pleasing. Curve of lever is a bit easier for shorter people to get the leverage needed.
Negative Product Points
Group Will Overheat. You may get up to five good shots. But the group definitely still overheats. Cannot adjust the boiler pressure!!! (all millenium models are like this) Cappucino Frother attachment-worthless! Better foam from normal steam arm.
I have fallen in love with this monster! It definitely has some negative aspects but overall for a one or two person usage espresso machine there are none better. I have found that the lever is easier to pull for a shorter person than the Euro's or Pro's straight lever. (I have a friend who uses the Euro who is quite short and had to build her own short table to allow her proper leverage.) With this lever she had less trouble on a normal height countertop pulling shots, though she still had some difficulty when pulling with a very fine grind. Temperature surfing is possible (hard, mind you, but possible), through turning off the power and pulling shots. Another useful technique is to open the steam valve to blow off some steam after turning off power. (It can be hit and miss though, don't blow off too much) Group cooling using the cold towel method works somewhat but also is hit and miss. I really wish there were a way to adjust the boiler pressure, but as with all post millenium models of the Pavoni levers, it is impossible to do so without shipping it out to a repair place. (attempting it will mostly likely have you shipping it off anyway, so I don't recommend it) Pulling four shots results in (with proper technique) four drinkable shots. The fifth one is a bit towards the bitter but usable as a cappucino or latte shot. I have highly enjoyed the coffee I am pulling on this machine. I have used Hx's and Dual boilers in various cafe's and the lever is just so much more enjoyable. It gives that extra control over the process that pump machines will never be able to reproduce. Steaming is easy on this machine, provided you use a small steaming pitcher. I would not recommend using anymore than the 12 or 14 oz pitchers. Any larger and it is very hard to get the wand into the milk. Using small quantities and making small 6-10 oz lattes or cappucinos produce excellent results. The automatic frother is nearly useless though and creates very flat tasting milk with big bubbles as opposed to froth. Stick with the stock wand and it will be quick and easy micro foam. (As good or better than I can produce on professional machines at work. It is possible to get around 17 grams of coffee in the basket. (considerable improvement over the pre-99's.) I feel that the purchase of this model is more an aesthetic choice than one of improvements over the other pavoni levers. It is very similar in function to the Euro and Pro models. Mainly it looks different. If you are looking to purchase it because of it's look more power to you. If you want it for improvements over the other models, the differences are not pronounced enough to make a big difference in the espresso itself. It is about $200-300 more than the other professional model. Though I got mine for about the same price as the older pro. Look around on the net and you may be able to get it for a price similar to mine. Overall I am very pleased with this beautiful and productive machine. The learning curve is somewhat high, but for someone who wants to mess with all the variables involved, this is the machine to buy.
Ebay Seller. "super*sale" The seller was very easy to deal with. Very prompt with email answers. Shipped quickly, with very good packaging. Good service.