First of all, these machines are actually coffee machines that will prepare you the perfect espresso shot, cappuccino, etc with the push or touch of a single button, unlike semiautomatic coffee makers. So when you press the button, the machine will ground whole beans, adjust the right dose of ground coffee to be used, but also place and then tamps the coffee and finally brews it and dispense it.
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.
Everything about the Gira 5 is perfectly designed and engineered to produce incredible coffee drinks at twice the pace of other units. If we had a need for this much coffee this is the model we would buy, but our current consumption simply doesn’t warrant it. The Giga 5 is very popular in office settings but we also know families who entertain that have it in their home.
I have owned this for about 9 months and gotten nearly 1000 uses out of it (it counts for you). It can equal most coffeehouse product you are likely to find, but as others point out, it is far short of what an enthusiast can create from more traditional equipment. You may also find the crema coffee settings to be something of an acquired taste (but you can make an Americano in just one more step, which is always great).
The ECAM26455M features dual stainless steel-lined thermoblock heating in order to provide steaming and brewing power for your espresso and other drinks you wish to prepare with it with a very low cycling time. Compared to regular boiler systems, the thermoblock system is capable of much lower warm-up times paired with on-demand and efficient water usage.
I had avoided automatics for a while simply because pulling a shot seemed like such a romantic notion. Hah! Switching to a schedule that kicks off at 5:45 AM makes anything 'automatic' look a whole lot sexier. I am setting aside $$$ so that when this one finally fails (and that should be a while - this machine demonstrates superior engineering), I can dart right to the store and buy another.
02/12/2000 - Purchased Capresso C1000 unit at William-Sonoma for $899. Manually cleaning the internal screen after every few cycles is no big deal. The User’s Manual documentation is a bit over-engineered and could be simplified or reformatted for easier reading and troubleshooting. You do not want to use oily coffee beans as they will stick together and clog the burr grinder. The grinder is also bit noisy, yet produces the perfect cup of pressure-brewed coffee or espresso every time. After using this for a week, I’ve never enjoyed coffee from anyone else including formal restaurants. It was initially pricey but definitely worth every cup.
While it might seem odd to mention, some people do like to use pre ground coffee with a bean to cup machine, at least occasionally. A common reason is to get a cup of decaffeinated coffee from time to time, without needing to empty out the beans from the hopper, make a drink then switch it all back again. Similarly, if you have a brand of pre-ground coffee that you like as a change from your normal freshly ground beans every so often, the Impressa F8 has you covered.