Well, a good while back, my wife decided she wanted an espresso machine. She works at a book store that has a coffee bar, and had been cross-trained to make espresso. So, I found a cheap little steam toy at a thrift store and brought it home for about 3 bucks. Hey, I'm a cheap skate, I'm a layed of IT guy, and I figured it was another thing that would just collect dust but it would make her happy to have it. I then wen't on line to find out how it works. Well, you all know the story....least you do if your here, because I found out it didn't work. I could make a shot of espresso, with just a tiny bit of crema, and if I threw enough milk at it nobody would notice. But for the obsessive and th obssesed that is never enough. After getting a cheap burr grinder(I know..I know), I started searching eBay for a deal. And I found this machine. It hadnt gotten horrible coments, and although it was ugly and dirty, it was cheap. And better than a steam toy.
So, I get it in the mail, and after going all over the planet trying to find someone who had a filter basket for it(it only came with a single), Saeco didn't have one. one of the other places people raved about in alt.coffee had one. I happen upon a place that had a parts list for it. I looked to call them and found they had the same area code as I did. just across town.
Anyway, heres what I found. With the fresh beans, ground as fine as the cheap burr grinderwould go(after modifing it), and after tamping it to and excessive amount(most likely do to the grinder), I can get a really decent shot of espresso out of it. It does a decent job of frothing milk, as well. for less than 50 bucks, I cant complain.
about a month ago the thermostat for the steam side failed, which shuts the whole machine down. when you turn it on, the light comes on like its already heated up. To open the machine, there are two screws located near the front(one beneath the edge of the almost useless built in tamp. The lid snaps in in the back. Thermostat was cheap and easy to replace.