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on November 29, 2006
Actually we've owned it just under 2 years. I bought this espresso machine as a Christmas gift to my husband in 2004. I agree with everyone who says that it looks great on the counter. It certainly has impressed everyone who has seen it. Very substantial and heavy. For the first 10 months it made a crackin' cup of espresso and cappucino.

Around the one year mark we started to see a definite decline in its performace. The first thing we noticed is that the espresso wasn't getting as hot as it used to and the pressure was declining. If we wanted hot espresso then we had to let it warm up about 10 minutes. That seemed a bit odd but we adapted. Then the milk frother started to leak water really bad the moment we turned the machine on. (And yes, we let all of the steam escape by opening the valve after we used it.)

Yet everytime we turned the machine on the water would pour out even though the valve was closed tight.

And tonight the machine completely ka-put on me as I was making an after-dinner cappucino. I turned it on, let it heat up, pressed the button and it sounds like the pump has died. WAAAAAAAHHH

Just for the record, we used this machine 1-3 times a day practically everyday. I know that's a lot of use but I really expected a better track record for the cost. Now I have to climb into the attic and pull out my old $30 Mr. Coffee espresso maker until I find a replacement for the Espressione.
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on June 30, 2004
I received my grace machine after much researching on which machines had the most power, pump size and materials that the machine is made of, (not the plastic or metal covers) but on the inside. It heats up so fast that some times I get confused if the hot light means ready or not. I have not found an equal to this machine for the specifications for the money. I would recomend it to my mother and to a total stranger like you.
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on March 27, 2004
This unit originally came with a damaged brew head. It leaked around the filter basket and eventually the brew head fell out. I sent the machine back to the manufacturer who returned it "repaired". Instead the unit now cannot even heat hot enough to make steam properly anymore, let alone espresso. I would not buy this machine again. Interestingly I see another review on here saying that the brew head was on an incline and leaked when he/she received it. That is what I saw as well. Since the brew head is not really exposed when shipping, I have to assume that the damage comes from the factory like this. Extremely poor quality control.
Update 10/2005 - After the above story, I contacted Amazon who sent me another unit (Thanks Amazon). It worked fairly well for about a year. Then a hose inside blew out. It was of an odd metric fitting that no hardware store had (OSH, Home Depot, etc). I eventually just circumvented the frother to eliminate the leak (could only make Espresso since then). There's not much crema coming out of the machine anymore so I'm going to buy a Gaggia Espresso for $150 less this time. We'll see if it is any better.
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on November 20, 2004
I purchased this machine only 4 weeks ago and let me tell you I have never had this amazing of an experience using an espresso machine. It should be called "Amazing Grace". The amount of crema or "scuma" you get when making an espresso is incredible. I have had machines over $500 in the past and they do not even compare to this one. If this one was $500 it would be worth it, and for only $300, that is a tremendous deal. The steam pressure is great, I am able to froth a 24oz. pitcher of milk in under 2 minutes. Nice thick froth, that when I put on my spoon and turn over, it does not fall off.

I have done research on machines for a while looking for a good one to get now and found that this one is made by Grimac in Italy. They have been around for a long time specializing in commercial machines. Well they spared no expense in this baby. It has all the quality and features you want.

A sturdy metal housing, stainless steel cup warming area, stainless steel back splash, stainless steel drip tray. Heavy brass coated in chrome plating filter holder and a clear lexan back so you can see the water level in the water tank (thst is a great look). An a special filter basket with a valve to give you amazing crema every time no matter the grind.
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on January 2, 2005
Purchased this machine because of great looks and reputation of manufacturer Grimac who makes commercial machines.

This metallic body machine features semi-commercial quality components, is well suited for a business or an upscale consumer. Can easily produce many continuous espressos and cappuccinos. ESE adaptable for use with ground coffee or coffee servings (pods)! We purchaed the ESPRESSIONE 100% Arabica espresso pods and found them great.

Super machine you will really enjoy using AND looks great on your countertop.
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on January 19, 2004
Thinking I had done all my homework before buying this machine, I was thoroughly disappointed. The first one I recieved arrived damaged. Amazon did an excellnt job of replacing it right away and the second one arrived within 4 days. This one also arrived damaged but not as much as the first one so I decided to give it a try anyway. After pulling it out of the box my first impression was the general construction of the machine was cheap, more plastic than metal. I began reading the instructions thinking it would be relatively easy to start using. Wrong, I spent 3 hours trying to get it to work properly. The main problem I was having is after making the coffee, which never came out strong enough, I would go to release the filter holder and the residual preassure would blow coffee grinds and water all over the place. Having experience with commercial grade expresso machines I new what was suppose to happen. Thinking I was doing something wrong I kept trying with the same results. After 3 frustrating hours the pump and motor stopped working all together. This time I sent it back for good and will try another brand.
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on January 30, 2004
The Grace espresso machine is just great!
It makes great crema for the espresso and froths beautifully.
It also does a great job with espresso pods, which I am addicted too!
I would definitely recommend this machine to anyone.
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on August 28, 2007
I purchased this unit in Dec.'04 for my girl friend, who was a pro barista , for Christmas. The quality and performance of this unit is excellent, so far. She says it has plenty of pressure to froth milk in a short amount of time unlike cheaper home units and it heats up real fast. We use it several times a month but not daily. Some reviewers who use it multiple times a day everyday have had problems but those type of users should already be into a commercial unit, in my opinion. If this machine broke I would fix it because it performs so well. Highly recommended for moderate use.
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on October 30, 2009
We used this a total of about three times within the first few months of getting it. Usage is confusing and directions are some of the poorest written ones I've seen. Tried to use it again tonight after a couple years in storage. Doesn't work at all. Pump isn't producing hot water. Frother doesn't work. Pretty disappointing - especially for the $400 price tag.
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on January 21, 2007
I had my eye on this machine for some time as a replacement to a very serviceable Krups machine.

On the good side, it makes excellent espresso (and I'm a huge coffee snob that lived in Italy for 4 years): not boiling hot, nice crema, good flow. The coffee baskets (it comes with both pod and regular) are solid and well cast. The machine also looks nice, almost like a coffee shop machine (although it's a bit larger than I thought it would be).

On the bad side, for $[...], I thought it was a little bit flimsy. The plastic shell is rather lightweight (I don't hold out much hope for it holding up for almost 10 years like the Krups machine). There were also some loose screws that I had to tighten up when I took it out of the box. The surgical hoses that have to be snaked into the reservoir are also a bit cheesy.

If you're looking at this for home use, and you're tolerant of finicky appliances, than this machine will both look great on your counter and make great espresso. If you're looking for a machine for a restaurant or office environment, you might want to find something that will take the abuse better.
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