This is a must have if you can find one. Even for $199, it is a great machine.
Positive Product Points
$99 Consistent shots Large H20 tank User friendly Did I mention $99 for this kick-a&@ machine?
Negative Product Points
Mucky grounds after pulling a shot (messy to clean), Low steam wan makes it challenging for larger steam pots.
As with the other poster, I got this machine for 99.00! For 99.00, anything is better then the Krups steam machine I was using. They can't even be compared. I tried to find another machine for a family member and Starbucks is completely out of stock.
This machine is fantastic (again I had a steam machine). Since I purchased it, there has been a lot of test shots and trying to get things just right. It did take some adjustments and learning, but once I got the hang of it, it produced great quality coffee. My complaints are minor, and are more adjusting to a much better quality machine (making two shots at a time instead of 4, priming and cleaning the machine after each use). I do wish the steam wand was a bit higher to accommodate larger steam pots.
The grind of the coffee makes a big difference. I have a Cuisinart Burr Mill and it is not great since it does not grind finely enough for espresso. I took the advice from one reviewer and added the 3 #6 lock washers and it has made a huge difference. Now that I have the grind right, the shots are that much better. I also modified a bit from the directions in the manual and tamp the coffee - it makes a difference.
I am still working on fitting the new machine into my morning ritual, but I have no doubts I will master the procedure to be efficient to get out the door on time! This was a fantastic buy and is great for an entry level barista. I highly recommend this machine.
Great. The employees were as excited as me when they saw the pricetag. It was an exciting experience as I had been looking for a new machine. I also considered the Gaggia Baby and Classic machines. In the end, you cannot beat the price tag on this and the quality you get.
Did I mention $99.00 for this machine?
Three Month Followup
3 months later and I still love this machine. The shots are consistent each time (provided the grind of the coffee is consistent). It is better to let the machine warm up for a bit. Even if the light is on, I wait about 15 minutes as it makes a difference. The coffee itself, as most of you know, is key too.
Steaming milk is not as consistent as the coffee shots and I have a hard time getting the same froth each time. It does well with 8 oz of milk, but if you are doing more than one coffee at a time, it does not have the strength for 16-20 oz and the froth is minimal. I've followed all of the instructions for frothing and still find it challenging.
Although the H20 tank is big, it decreases quickly with the recommended 4 oz to clean the steam wand and the clean the brew head. I usually only use 2oz.
This is a great machine if you can still find them. I just picked one up last week for a family member. I love it and still have the same positive view of it as I did 3 months ago.