If you can get a used one at a good price, it is a great machine to get you started.
Positive Product Points
Silvia-level internals Reliable Easy to maintain
Negative Product Points
Dated styling No cup warming tray
This machine was posted for sale by someone in my office, after reading up on it a bit I couldn't believe what a deal it was. I snapped it up before anyone else could.
After 2 years, the machine just keeps steaming along. When matched with a decent grinder and good beans, I can pull shots better than 90% of the cafes in town. That is unfortunately more of a commentary on the quality of cafes around here. I've had shots of the same beans from a well set-up Gioto and I'd say the Nancy is 85% of the way there. Temperature tends to drift a bit, and the machine definitely benefits from a good warm up period before pulling shots.
Steam production is good for this class of machine, it just takes a while to get there. For lattes, it is probably over a minute after pulling the shot until I can get decent steam. Once it gets going it steams like a champ. And yes, the steam wand is very exasperating. A truly awful design, it straight out the side at about a 40 degree angle.
For just me or maybe a couple of friends this is perfectly servicable machine. But it really isn't up to taking care of a large dinner party. Not enough boiler capacity and too long between shots and steaming.
But in the end, for the price I can't complain. I'm happy with the quality of the espresso for day to day drinks. I had been thinking of upgrading to a more robust machine, until I paired it with a Rocky instead of my usual Barista grinder. The difference was noticable enough that I'm convinced that my money will be better spent on a new grinder. My new Mini is on its way this week. My old Nancy will keep chugging along for another year until I can save for a new machine. And hey, I already have friends lining up to give it a good home when I'm throught with it.
Bought this machine from someone at work who barely used it. It was in great shape, and has been very reliable since.
Three Month Followup
One Year Followup
May 2014 - More like 9 year follow up. I passed this Nancy on to my Mom a couple of years ago, and with good maintenance it is still being used every day. After over a decade, still a good consumer machine for a couple of shots a day.