Perfect crema every time Fast heat up time Great Starbucks service
Negative Product Points
Lacks steam power Noisy pump Must bleed steam and brewhead every time Ugly plastic looking box Way overpriced Cheap portafilter
My La Pavoni Europiccola had to be brought in for servicing recently and I decided to try the Athena because I am looking for a machine that's capable of pulling more than a couple of shots. My first reaction was the cheap plastic look and feel of it. Reading the instructions, then watching the video, there was a difference in how one primes the system. You have to prime the pump everytime you make a shot! This is a pain in the ass plus it is too noisy. The steam unit is not powerful enough and doesn't hold a candle to my La Pavoni. However, every shot has perfect crema, not matter how much you try to blow it! This is due to the pressurized portafilter. The shots look great in a shot glass. And, they taste good, if you don't know that much about great espresso. Most people don't. Many people equate crema with a great shot. This is not necessarily true. My La Pavoni makes a much better tasting shot than this machine and it has much less crema. This machine is for the seriously misguided consumer who doesn't want to spend any time making themselves knowledgeable about what is available and what a good espresso machine should be about. This ain't it. Even the programming feature that allows you to measure the amount of your shots doesn't work correctly.
Do yourself a favor and spend your hard earned money on a real machine that will give you years if not a lifetime of great coffee and service. Try to get an all metal bodied machine. Nothing less than a Rancilio Silvia for only $50 more than the Athena is money much better spent. And, the Silvia is at the low end of decent machines. Don't let these marketers take your money. Do your homework and get a product that is supposed to give you great coffee and last for decades. I have my La Pavoni for over 20 years. Get a machine made by one of the great names. Spend a little more and you will be much happier for a longer time!
Every company should be as easy to do business with as Starbucks.