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on 29 June 2009
This thing is seriously good.

Until I got this machine I'd never been able to re-create for myself the sort of coffee one gets in a coffee shop; didn't matter what type I tried (filter, cafetiere, steam expresso) nor which beans I bought, it never quite got there.

But this machine delivers. A wonderful range of choice of strength or type and what comes out is fresh and tasty. Really tasty.

And it's easy to use too. A wide range of setup choices and good a range of "defaults" each of which is also programmable (how much espresso, how much milk, how much froth). Work out which you like best and set the quantities which just fill your favourite cup and from then on it's just a case of put the cup in place and press a button. And if you want a change just change the settings and have a bit more milk, a slightly finer grind, a slightly stronger flavour - whatever.

I got one for my office (it sits beside my desk on top of a two-drawer filing cabinet - soooo convenient; fill the water tank in the morning, fill the milk holder, check the beans and then a fresh coffee whenever I hit the button) and within a week my wife insisted we get one for home too.

Visitors will love it - no more just "black or white?" choice - you can offer them anything they'd be able to order in a coffeeshop.

Drawbacks? Well none really; it's a tad noisy while it grinds and creates your cupful but not too annoying. It's not small but I find it doesn't intrude, either in the office or in the kitchen.

Unexpected bonuses? The frothy milk really is frothy and stays frothed (the machines where you have to use a steam nozzle to froth your milk somehow never seem to maintain frothiness). And the little area on top where in the picture you can just see two rails is where they recommend you keep a couple of cups so they're ready and warm when needed.

It's not cheap, but if you've read this far that's not an issue for you; good quality is presumably your concern and I don't think you can go wrong buying one of these.
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on 1 October 2007
I have wanted this ever since i got a demo in a department store, but put it off ... as it is 'quite expensive'. I did have a Tassimo Nespresso Machine, that i thought was great, but it is quite wasteful, (and anything but the coffee was awful most notably the 'Late' discs). However it did the job of a reasonable coffee quick, easy and Much better than instant rubbish.

So wanting more i upgraded to a cheap and cheerful (under £30) espresso machine. it was great, good coffee - but.... It was a bit of a faff to do, and clean. Then it broke after about a week.... but it did enough to prove i really wanted nice coffee........

Then i saw the Prima Donna... what a beauty, relatively small and it does everything.... full programmable to your cups and strength, it cleans itself, it even turns itself on in the morning to heat up the tank and your cups. I'm sure you can probably program it to do your ironing and pick up your shopping if only i could find the function.

This thing is amazing and worth the money for what it does..... it comes down to how you justify it.... I figure you spend more on a sofa and a TV... and neither of those help get me up in the morning...

You can spend half the money on a REALLY nice manual one... but you'll never use it as you have to faf about with grinding and cleaning...

but then i am lazy.....
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on 5 June 2008
Quite simply this machine has no equal on the domestic market. It is the answer to the problem of making quality expresso coffee every time. We have tried a series of machines from the quixotic "chrome peacock" to the workaday "pod" machine, but this is far, far superior.

With this machine, you simply pour the coffee beans in one end, press a button and a perfect cup of fresh expresso coffee emerges within seconds with a perfect (and delicious) "crema" every time. It is highly adjustable, so for example, you can select "long" or "short" expresso, and you can easily vary the strength(6 options) just by pressing a single button.

If you take milk in your coffee, the jug system is ingenious and simple to use, again using a single button. It effortlessly produces that wonderful, creamy, thick foam that you normally only see in commercial outlets. Moreover, it does this within seconds for cup after cup, eliminating that tiresome fuss experienced with lesser machines. The result tastes like a professionally-made cappuccino or latte.

More prosaically, it tells you (on the small electronic screen) when to empty the coffee grounds or fill the tank (both very simple procedures). It also rinses itself when you switch it off. It looks good too: it is a quality item, well made with very high specification chrome and plastics. It is not too big: it has plainly been designed to sit comfortably on a domestic kitchen work surface and it does so very happily, without looking disporoportionate.

In short, while this machine is obviously expensive, it produces commercial quality coffee with a fantasic crema and/or foam at the touch of a button, consistently, and without fuss. If you love expresso coffee, it is well worth the money.
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on 25 January 2009
I can only agree with the other (good) reviews, no problems so far (Bought Dec 2008)
Just one niggle, the nozzle that you slide the milk jug onto, needs lubricating LIGHTLY with SILICONE GREASE (Available from a SCUBA Diving Store), this makes the jug "glide on" instead of pushing the whole machine around the worktop as you attempt to push the jug into place.
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on 5 July 2010
After reading all the reviews on this & many other models & studying the specifications I decided that this ESAM 6600 would be the best model to suit my requirements. I wanted something 'bean to cup' capable of being customised to my tastes but programmable so that I can produce the same cup each time at a single press of a button.
Thanks to the people that gave the feedback on the Krups model that blocks up so often as I was originally thinking of this model but I need something robust as I intend to take it to my holiday home outside of the UK.

After all the research all I had left to answer was the temperature. It was the one thing that several people raised & I like my drinks hot. I found a colleague who has one & he said he thought temperature is fine but it does depend on the type of cup. If you use a heavy stoneware mug & put a single Expresso in it then it will lose temperature quite quickly. I then found a store that demonstrated this model & went off to try it. After one Expresso & one Cappuccino, admittedly in paper cups, I had almost scalded my mouth! I've had the unit only three days so it is early yet for a full review, but I can say that all coffees including the Cafe-Latte are plenty hot enough especially in a bone china cup. I have also found out that if you did want to get it hotter, you can use either the rinse cycle when you turn it on, the hot water button or even the clean cycle of the milk carafe to pump hot water or steam into your cup to rinse it with first. This heats the cup & the spouts before dispensing the coffee.
Bye the way the coffee is great!

Update - After a month of use my machine has gone off to the holiday home & I am missing it already. It proved excellent, I tried all the coffee types & found them all great. I also tried different beans & loved the columbian ones best. I even started to make a double dose in an insulated mug & drove the thrity minutes to work before drinking it at my desk. This is a big compliment as we have a Costa coffee at work. Overall I found the consistency of it's production very good. It is quite big but fitted into a corner on my worktop fine. It was also easy to clean. Looking forward to using it on my next holiday.
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on 17 July 2009
This machine is fantastic. I have owned it for over a year now and am really pleased with the quality of coffee that is consistently produced; there has been absolutely no deterioration in the taste over this time. It really is as good as that from a coffee shop. Best of all, I can actually make a decent cappuccino, something that has never really been possible from any of the other machines that I tried before this one.

The drip tray has an excellent capacity, so no more pools of water on the kitchen surfaces and the stainless steel solid construction looks great and is also very easy to clean. A descaling product needs to be run through the machine periodically (the frequency depends on the hardness of water in your area and the frequency with which the machine is used). I live in a soft(ish) water area (2 on the scale) and find that, even though we have a lot of coffee, descaling is necessary only every 8 to 10 weeks, so the running costs from this exercise are quite low. All of the internal parts of the machine are easy to access for removal of any residual coffee grounds, which helps to ensure there is no impact on the taste of the coffee produced.

The only negative comment that I can make about this machine is the fact that the beans are housed beneath a stainless steel lid that you have to open before you can ascertain whether the hopper needs to be refilled (and there is no warning if the beans do run out until the machine has tried to grind air for a whole cup - it does not give a warning if a couple of beans can be ground, even if that is not enough for a full serving of coffee) - very minor and this is honestly the only negative thing I can say about it.
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on 1 February 2009
Very pleased with the machine and getting some really excellent coffees from it. Easy to set up and to operate, althoug a little quirky. I have no regrets with my purchase. Its well made and sturdy, access to all the things you need to do is from the front or top, so it sits nicely on the kitchen worksurface in the corner and does not need to be moved at all. It's used every day and looks good for many years of use.

For those considering buying I would point out these things:
There is no facility to manually steam milk with this machine. You have to use the supplied milk container and the function is automatic, however:

- Milk temperature is not hot enough for me and there is no way to adjust it. Coffee temp can be adjusted, which partially compensates. There is no such concern if you want espresso or Americano (which they call long coffee). If fact you can change the temparature of the coffee and store the change in memory. Not so for the milk.

- So don't expect to be able to steam milk for hot chocolate, for example, and get it anywhere near hot enough.

- The type of coffee, e.g Cappachino or Latte, you want is pre-progammed on buttons which then automatically delivers the apropriate mix of milk and coffee, however the milk container needs setting as well and that setting needs to be manually applied, it tells you to do it but why not have that automated as well?

The machine tells you when it needs intervention - more coffee beans, more water, old grounds container emptying and so on. The best thing to do when one of these messages comes up is to do all of them together. When you're after a quick coffee it's rather annoying to be told to empty the grounds container (you cannot proceed without doing this), then only to be told once you have finished doing it and try for your anticipated coffee again, that the water needs filling....! It only works in serial!

Having said that a little practice gets you wonderful coffees and you can program the exact type of coffee you like and store it under any of the buttons - only thing is they are prelabled and you cannot change the label as its printed on the machine. I think it would be better to have a generic labels like coffee 1, 2 & 3. There are three of them so you could have individual preference settings for up to 3 people or perhaps you just like different styles of coffee as the mood takes you.

All in all, now I have figured it out I am enjoying coffee that is just as good as the coffee shops - no, better as I can use my favourite beans. Try doing that in Costa-Star-Nero-Fortune!
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on 5 January 2009
I chose this machine based on the reviews listed and can only agree with all the comments. Apart from filling the water tank, cleaning the milk jug and emptying the own coffee grounds this machine does everything else for you. Coffee can be modified very easily to your exact taste and you can even time the machine to warm up ready for your early morning cup.
Worth the money given the effort involved in using and cleaning pod/ground coffee machines I have had previously.
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on 6 August 2010
Will upload a short vid of this making a latte and an espresso. I had a Magimix Cafe Robot bean-to-cup for 5 years, and whilst its been ok, its not a patch on this baby! I now use that in one of my gites in France! This baby's staying my MY kitchen!!

We tend to drink lattes but guests at our house(in France) prefer espressos, and this pops them out with smashing eficency. I love the way you can keep the milk in the fridge in the milk pot!

Hope you like the vid, i have only had the machine a few hours and havent set the milk volume to fill my cup yet so dont worry if there doesnt seem enough milk..this is adjustable.

Allie
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on 5 May 2009
I purchased this machine after having struggled with inferior models for many years. I guess curiosity got the better of me ... I have always bought the best of the best and forgot about the rest ! ... This is the best... the one and only for me. It talks to me, we share the experience of the making, the aromas of real ground coffee; fresh and enlivening!
It is so "simples! " You can adjust everything, the strength, the volume, the temperature ... it tells you when you need to descale, fill the water tank, empty the grounds container, fill the beans ... just everything ! - Buy it .. go on ... spoil yourself, you deserve this machine .. I've had mine for 6 months now, and it's worth every penny !
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