Fast. Cheap. Not good, but at least not worse than Starbucks.
Positive Product Points
-Lightweight. -Compact. -Hasn't exploded on me yet.
Negative Product Points
-Steam driven ie not a real espresso machine. -Must bleed pressure before refilling water or portafilter. -Small basket size.
I am a home coffee roaster and usually make a cup of coffee using a french press. I purchased this unit because it was the cheapest off the shelf unit available, back when I didn't know the difference between steam / pump / HX / manual.
I roast most of my beans into Full City +. For espresso I allow around 15-20 seconds of 2nd crack before dumping the beans to cool. I like to see a few beans begin to develop an oily surface, but with the majority of them still dry.
I am surprised that, for a steam driven coffee maker, most of the time the liquid I produce from this device tastes better than the espresso they make at the movie theater, family restaurants, or Starbucks. Which means most of the espresso out there is truly awful and not made with beans that are 2-4 days, or just roasted into charcoal.
Unfortunately the 53mm stainless tamper I bought to use doesn't fit, and costs more than the machine itself.
If I decide to upgrade, I see two options: Le'Lit PL041 or an entry-level HX such as the Expobar Office Lever. Pumps start at $100-$200 so I might as well save the money and put it towards something real.
Now, if I could do it again, I would've chosen the $80 Delonghi pump espresso machine to start with. Now it is too late because I already have one piece of crap and don't need two.