I have tried several semi-automatic espresso machines and have returned 4 before I found this one you have to spend the money. It makes great coffee but the froth just can't steam 8oz of milk for a latte and put out a quality Latte. So I purchased the Jura froth PRO Automatic Milk Frother and it makes a great Latte. Coffee is excellent and iced lattes are quick and easy to make and I have saved $$ through the years. I would purchase one again it pays for itself if you drink lattes and iced drinks at Starbucks within 3 months. I have owned this machine since Dec. 2008 and happy with the purchase.
1) After much research, I purchased the F9 at Williams Sonoma, primarily because they used to have a policy that you could return anything, at any time, if needed. So, I figured that if ever I had an issue, I could just return it to my local Williams Sonoma and get a replacement rather than returning the machine to the factory and waiting. Turns out I did indeed have to do this once for an electrical issue, which was actually an issue I had with the wiring at the outlet--not the machine afterall! In any event, I don't think Williams Sonoma still has that same open-ended return policy. Be sure to research the return policy wherever you make your purchase!
Super automatic espresso machines generally will produce superb macchiato, cappuccino, and chocolate drinks in addition to espresso drinks (such as ristretto). You will pay for the convenience of super automatic, automatic, or semi-automatic espresso machines, but they are a convenient way to produce and re-produce great drinks. Typically, super automatic espresso machines cost from $400 and up. These espresso machines come in multiple styles and sizes. Some automatic espresso machines provide a compact form factor which can attractively sit on a kitchen counter, whereas others are large and best suited to for the truly serious espresso aficionado or as a commercial super automatic espresso machine. The choice is yours.
My daughter and her husband thought this was a great product. He likes his coffe real strong so can adjust it to his taste. She likes tea so the steamer is great for her. (I hear she is getting back into the cappacionos!) Also with dual spigots on the machine he can make 2 cups at a time for him and his best buddy in the early AM. I have'nt tried it yet, but when I do I'll give a report on it. This machine runs around $1200 new, I bought it refurbished for $400. Heck of a deal!
I'm coming up on a year with this machine in December. It can be a little picky about the beans (not oily). But with lavazza super crema beans, it performs quite well. I very seldom get a shot that I don't like. I vary my drinks day to day, and enjoy straight espresso, cortados, lattes, and occasionally coffee. It doesn't disappoint in either of the modes. I don't like that if I program my drink (2 shot espresso) and double tap the start button, it will simply pull double the volume, and not do a full 2 cycles of the double shot. There is a noticeable difference in the quality of the shots when I do this.