-Makes espresso comparable to the local coffee shops (better than some, not quite as good as others). -Very easy to use. -Steams and froths well. -Good pump machine for those who can't afford to spend $100 or more.
Negative Product Points
-The grouphead must be wiped between shots, even with well tamped grounds. -The steam wand produces hot water for the first 5-10 seconds before producing steam. -The steam wand swivels out, but not up, and the tip sits a little too low for convenience.
Please note, this is not the same model pictured.
I bought this as a step up from my steam toy because it was affordable, and I needed a pump machine. I have been very pleased with it so far. After 3 weeks of use, I can say it produces a good quality espresso. Better than some of the local coffee shops, not quite as good as the best local shop even using their beans (roasted in the store, so I know they're fresh). I can get a decent crema, but I think I'll be able to do even better with a little 'fine tuning'.
Some tips for this machine: -The pre-use cleaning process as described in the manual didn't work for me. With no grounds in the basket, the pump would not draw any water from the reservoir. I thought at first I had a bad machine. I decided to try running it with a pod, and it started to work. It seems like it needed the resistance at the output end to prime the pump. Keep 1 pod to prime the pump. -The pods it comes with are absolutely horrible. Lose them as fast as possible, but keep 1 like I said above. -This machine comes with a plastic insert for the portafilter, supposedly to reduce spattering when the coffee exits the portafilter. I have tried it with and without the insert. Not only does it seem to spatter more with the insert, but I seem to get a better crema without it. I recommend putting it in a drawer and leaving it there. -There is a plastic 'frother' gizmo for the steam wand, like on many low end espresso machines. Like on those machines, it doesn't seem to make any difference.
Overall, this seems to be a very good machine for the price.