18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Expensive - but brilliant, 11 Jun 2013
I spent a long time looking at various coffee machines, and like most people came to the conclusion that a quality grinder was important too. I really liked the design of this machine, before I found out it was endorsed by Heston Blumenthal. It saves countertop space and reduces mess.
It's very easy to use - the grind 'fineness' is set on the side, the dose is controlled by a knob on the front and the tamper is cunningly suspended by a magnet. The razor tool is useful for checking your dose and tidying your puck. My favourite feature is the pressure gauge which gives you a great indication of how your shot is going - if the pressure is too low or too high you can start varying things. Once you've got it setup for your particular beans it's super easy - press the portafilter into the grinder, tamp, load into the group head and press a button to pull the exact volume you want.
When you get really into the detail, you can adjust the temperature of the water and tweak the shot volume to your heart's content. It comes with pre-infusion, but it doesn't let you adjust how much. You do need to use fresh beans - they make this point in the manual, don't bother with the supermarket, go to your favourite independent coffee shop and buy some direct from them. I'm also not a massive fan of the portafilter size - i'd have liked a full commercial 58mm. The UK version also misses out on the pressurised baskets that come with the American/Aussie versions but with a grinder this good you shouldn't be using them anyway.
The Bottom Line
The machine heats up quickly, makes great coffee and has a tonne of features, but if all you want is a quick coffee before work you can be done in about two minutes. It's expensive, but well worth the money.