In short, the machine has functioned flawlessly, it produces the best coffee Ive ever had, and makes the Gaggia Synchrony Digital I was using before seem like a bad dream (not really, but I feel ashamed that I compromised both my integrity and taste buds for a super-automatic, push-button, lazy-mans version of espresso). The extra work is well worth it. I have found myself inventing excuses to leave the office a few minutes early in order to get that afternoon cup filled sooner.
As youve undoubtedly gathered by the other reviews, the instructions are laughable (
you should lift up the lever until its maximum, in order to let the coffee comes in a continuous way and Open up a little the steamer knob in order to leave the water of condensation), but very few things about the machine are not intuitive, so toss the instruction book and figure it out.
How Long Have I Been Using This Product?
1 - 6 months
What's Best About this Product?
Ease of use, consistancy, and it looks great.
Some Helpful Tips For Using this Product:
Use a high-quality burr grinder (there's no substitute), keep the machine scrupulously clean and let it warm up at least 20-25 minutes.
I have my machine plugged into a small Intermatic timer (Model #DT-17, about $20) that fits in a wall socket and is set to come on about a ½ hour before I wake up in the morning, turns itself off before I go, back on about a ½ hour before I come home at night, then off automatically a couple of hours later, it has up to 14 on/off settings for the week and its never failed me.
As far as the suggestion on this website to remove the interior reservoir to refill, this can be tricky (or impossible) to do if you have your machine halfway under a kitchen cabinet as I do. I have been filling mine using a funnel that I hold sort of diagonally over the reservoir and carefully watch so that no overflow occurs - it works very well.
The water tank feeds the boiler by a rather long plastic tube that hangs down into the reservoir. Hypothetically speaking, if one thought that the internal reservoir was too small, a hole could be drilled into the left/rear of the unit (with the cord unplugged and the reservoir removed), the tube threaded through the hole and a larger exterior reservoir could be used. The only problem with this would be that the interior water-level sensor would be defeated and if one didnt watch the exterior reservoir, a dry boiler might result.
My Experience With Using This Product:
The Coffee I've Tried With This Product:
Sweet Maria's Yirgacheffe Grade Two, Puro Scuro Blend, Liquid Amber, Classic Italian Espresso Blend, Puerto Rico AA 19+ Yauco Selecto - all home roasted. Maria rocks! (Tom too)
Some Improvements I Would Recommend for This Product:
A couple of minor quibbles: The drip tray doesnt slide into place very easily after emptying. It has to be rather carefully balanced on metal edges with not a lot of room for error if its a 32nd of an inch off, one side falls down. It would be nice to see some sort of simple, formed channel for the tray to slide into. Also, there are a few sharp edges here and there, but none too bad. A water level gauge would be nice.
Some of the Other Machines I've Used:
Gaggia Synchony Digital
The Type of Grinder I've Been Using:
The Make and Model of My Grinder:
Rancilio Rocky w/doser (but I should have got it without).