Excellent quality espresso drinks for a great price. Easy to use. Small footprint.
Negative Product Points
Note the best fit and finish. Somewhat flimsy looking. Need to study up on how to optimize steamer, but it's worth the effort.
I was a La Pavoni snob, but wanted a semi-auto machine. So I checked the usual retailers' websites for some time, and was talking with Jim at 1st Line just when this machine was on special. He touted it as performing comparably to some much pricier machines. He was right. He did warn me about complaints concerning the weak steamer and the useless frother. But said a new steamer tip was coming this Spring.
The machine doesn't look like much, but--after some experimentation time--it consistently produces excellent-tasting espresso with good crema (not like La Pavoni, but what does?). The espresso flavor is complex and rich (I use a wide variety of medium roast beans from Thanksgiving and Stumptown).
It's very easy to use. Easy to keep clean. Doesn't take up much counter space.
The steamer function was the big negative until I found a discussion on CoffeeGeak about how to time the steaming to maximize the power (start steaming before the indicator light says the machine is up to temperature--in retrospect, I say "duh!"). Now I have no complaints about the steaming performance. Excellent microfoam.
A more minor negative--the machine is made of thin gauge stainless steel and looks and feels a bit flimsy.
If I had three houses, I'd have two of these (and keep La Pavoni in the third).
1st Line is first class. Knowledgeable, responsive, forthright.
Three Month Followup
One Year Followup
I'm still very happy with the Le Lit. It performs better as I learn its nuances. It makes consistently good espresso with lots of crema. The steam wand (with frother removed) creates good firm microfoam. It has been very reliable so far.