If this machine is in your budget, or you can find a refurb, it is a great value for anyone.
Positive Product Points
. Excellent, high volume producer. . Lot's of steam produces well frothed milk very quickly. . Great draw, pro quality portafilter . Large drain, no need to constantly empty during a family coffee run
Negative Product Points
. Needle valve and O ring look susceptible, I fill the reservoir in place . I use purified water and sometimes need to add a few grains of salt for the electronic indicator to sense water in the reservoir . Portafilter rotates toward steam wand
Unlike most of the folks commenting here, I'm an experienced home roaster but a comparative novice at espresso. I moved from a $50 Walmart machine, to a Delonghi Bar 140, to a Gaggia and found that, although the quality was much higher, the Evolution just wasn't able to produce 4 or 5 shots and steam in any reasonable time.
I own a Point of Sale company that is now installing POS in coffee houses, and made a deal with a shop owner to trade for my Oscar as part of a system purchase. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!! The baristas at the shop did have to offer me a lesson or two on tamping and portafilter fill levels (nothing more frustrating than seeing water pouring AROUND the filter when you tamp wrong, or brewing dishwater in 10 seconds because you undertamp).
Now that I "get it" this machine is the last I'll look for until it gives up the ghost one day. Easy to use, great quality, volume production and consistency. Yes, the plastic shroud doesn't light up my home decor, but the taste and smell of freshly made espresso does.
The coffee shop owner actually has two of these that he takes to regional trade shows so he can sell you great espresso while you shop for your home, garden, or boating supplies, and he also swears by their ability to handle commercial level cart service.
Nuovo Simonelli is US headquartered 10 miles from my location and takes extra great care of the coffee shop owner who helped me get this machine. I have no frame of reference regarding what would happen if you bought this machine in, say, upstate New York, but they sure are easy to work with from here in Washington.