better than all the other machines I could find locally at a simillar price.I'm pleased with it
Positive Product Points
amazing frothing of milk. very sturdy.very impressed
Negative Product Points
good, but not great espresso but I've only had it a week so I may yet learn how to get the most from it
have put together a reivew of three machines which I tried at home recently so that you can balance these off against each other. The first machine was a DeLonghi Professional which I purchased for £149 form Argos.I thought the general build quality of this machine was horrid although the overall look and feel was great. I felt the pump vibrated too much and did not like that parts which that looked metal in the picture were black plastic dusted with silver paint. The steamer on the machine was not great either as it leaked water through the valve however it produced a great espresso. So if you want a machine that looks good, produces a great espresso and aren't too worried about a good froth this machine isn't too bad. I took this machine back in part because it had clearly been used by someone before me ( parts opened, condensation in tank etc). The next machine was a Krups XP 4 020 which i paid £69 for Apollo 2000 . I've had a Krups machine before, and just like my previous model this machine was built great and felt well engineered.The espresso again was good however I again had even more issue with frothing as although it frothed milk quickly through the plastic frother the froth went flat too quick and the milk tasted like it had separated to milk and water. I believe this can be because it heats up the milk too much and thus breaks down the proteins.. My key issue with this machine was the plastic taste and smell of the initial drinks even after washing the machines and flushing it through. It took the machine a week to air off from new by which time I decided I was not confident in the Chinese plastics used so I took the machine back and went out to find a new machine with a bigger budget. I was probably a little harsh on this Krups as I could have lived with it if I had to. For it's price it's probably a great machine with good after sales service. Anyhow looking around the usual haunts (John Lewis/Selfridges) etc I discovered the choice was get another Krups, a Gaggia - so which Gaggia is a good machine - I always get confused by their range so I avoid them. I find it hard to believe you have to double for a machine with a brass handle. Do I need a brass handle or not and if so give me one on all models. I'll ignore the Nespresso machines which would be great if they were not from Nescafe/Nestle. So I walked into Starbucks and put aside all my views that Starbucks is too American to be able to make good coffee (I do drink their coffee regularly though when in retail mals. I asked for a demo of their Starbucks Barista machine and the service from thereon was amazing. If only I lived in the US, I could get used to this. I was offered free mugs and coffee if I purchased the unit, I was given a full demo and tried the machine myself and decided it was the machine for me. I think seeing the made in Italy mark on the machine helped as by this time I was really against buying another Chinese product. So I got the machine home, set it up and found it certainly froths the milk better than I could ever expect. The build quality is great and I enjoy using this machine. It somehow feels like a small commercial machine whereas all the others felt so flimsy. My only issue, and yes it's a big one at the moment is that although the espresso is good it's not great. I'm hoping this is more to do with me getting used to the machine and how it likes the beans grinding ( I've only had it 24hours) and less to do with the fact that the pump is I am led to believe only 12bar ( although I only know this from other reviews I've read). Surely it's not all about the pressure rating of the pump ?? Once I'm used to getting good espresso out I think I will love this machine. My only regret now is that I don't have a good La Pavoni stockists near me then I could have chosen from their entire range and not just this Starbucks badged machine (made in 2005). From someone who has used four machines in the last month, this Starbucks machine is great. Go for it if you want to be able to make reasonable espresso but good creamy cappuccinos and the like.
starbucks trafford centre, manchester...ttruly outstanding service, they even carried it to the car. would recommened to anyone