Lello 45900 Ariete Espresso/Cappuccino Maker - Anyone Have Any Experience With It?

Q: Two major drawbacks (from user reviews on the above page): -"The portafilter is what Ariete calls their "Thermocream" design." So it has a crema enhancing portafilter. Whether or not this can be removed or modified is unknown. -"I would like to add that the Group Head (the thing the portafilter attaches to when you put it on) is not solid metal. Parts of it are plastic." This would indicate a possible design flaw that could limit its useful life. Thermoblocks are not the best, but they can work, and as you say, for a starter machine it might be OK. The little Krups I picked up at a thrift store actually makes a very decent cup ... for $8 or so. ;-) Additionally, "Save $25.00 when you spend $125.00 or more on Kitchen & Housewares or Bed & Bath products offered by Amazon.com. Enter code CLEAROUT at checkout" so the final price may be as low as $105. It would be hard to convince a new barrista that they need to get a $200-300 grinder to use with their $100 Espresso machine!

A: This is exactly what people need to be convinced of. They should start with an entry level pump machine & a $150-300 grinder. As they get tired of the Espresso being produced, they'll move up to mid-level & maybe even more expensive Espresso machines. As they do they'll have a grinder capable of producing consistent grounds to try with the new machines. If they're buying new grinders every time they move up, they'll be hard pressed to say whether it's the new Espresso machine or the new grinder that's making the difference (good or bad) in what they're drinking. Limit the number of variables & it's a lot easier to make up your mind to keep the new machine or return it. As a group (such as alt.coffee is) we have always stated (and I will, once again) that the grinder is at least as (if not more) important than the machine.. Let's see if I get it right this time: You can make decent Espresso with a quality grinder and a mediocre machine... but a great machine will perform poorly with a low quality grinder... [reread and approved..]. For the OP of this thread, I would suggest reading chapter 79, "The cost of grinder frugality," and chapter 80, "Starting the New Year - 1/1/2006." The two of them together cover the subject at hand- economy machines and grinders.| & yes, I know it is only $130.00 and has a 950 watt heatin element, Ariete makes some very interesting machines; we've discussed some of them before here, occasionally under different names (they make a common Francis Francis lookalike that is often rebadged by other companies). Alas, their machines emphasize looks over function, and some of them are cheap Chinese imports. I think the price is about right for a bottom-end pump machine - Briel and DeLonghi also have or had machines at this level - but I think it would be better to spend a bit more and get a Gaggia, even a refurbed one.