Good starter machine for budding espresso lovers, but will soon grow out of it and demand more.
Positive Product Points
Tank large enough which is a BIG plus. Very easy to use. The steam wand is stuck to a ball joint which is very handy indeed. Fast heat-up, enough steam.
Negative Product Points
Crema enhancing portafilter is.......hard to clean. Stylish curved back but cups will fall off the heating tray if u are not careful Starbucks' tamper doesn't fit their machine at all. Espresso farts.
I bought my machine for NZD 550 with trade-in (They take ANY coffee brewing devices u can imagine, so I gave them my 20 yr old drip machine^O^) while the regular price is $698 for the black one and $50+ for stainless steel. They are exactly the same btw (a fair ex-rate 1NZD=0.50USD).
It's very easy to use and I find it even better if u follow coffeekid's how-to cheat his Rancilio Silvia. i.e. push the steam button and get it hyped up b4 you do your shots compare to doing your shots straight after the ready light is on after priming.
The large water tank helps a lot when you think about all the priming, cleaning and so on...not just the 1oz of heaven you pump into your cup...
I somewhat agree that the portafilter is a bit dodgy.....and since i couldn't get my hands on a non-pressurised portafilter, i sold this machine at a good price and got a Silvia (go read Silvia review). Considering for what I paid for and what other machines in its class offer (most of the other machines in this price range uses crema enhancing portafilter anyway), i'd say i shouldn't compliant on that. Who doesn't want an E61 Rocket/Giotto or Livia 90 if one can afford it! It't only fair comparing apple with apple! Not to mention how much u paid for.
Overall, this is a good/decent starter machine for budding espresso lovers, but will soon grow out of it and demand more.