I would say this is a great deal/machine at this price point.My friend has this exact machine and uses it daily to make milk based drinks, which its perfect for. The real plus to this machine is you get fresh ground coffee which is key to good espresso (just remember even roasted beans go bad fairly quickly) and not to mention the ease of use.
If your interested drinking straight espresso shots, i think that's a whole other monster. If you went with a semi-auto machine you would need to go the non pressurized portafilter route, like the Saeco aroma with a new/modified portafilter. But with a non pressurized baskets you need to get a burr grinder capable of grinding fine enough. i think your in the neighborhood of 500 bucks with this set up and i am not sure on how much your shot will improve over the vienna.
I owned one of them until a couple of years ago. it is a great machine, even when I paid $400 at the time. You have to remember to keep it clean ( I myself always used distilled water so no calcium buildup), use good beans (medium roast), set to coarser grind for better crema. Illy beans are the best but pricey. On these machines you can pull out the brew group and clean the thumper inside with your hand. This is a big plus. After owning the machine for three years I sold it to a happy new owner.
By the way the deal is not exclusive to woot, I have seen them sold by major coffee retailers at that price before.
Wow. I just bought one of these from Amazon and it came yesterday. I groaned when I saw the woot post, but actually I think I did okay. Amazon has it for $499 ish, but in their "Amazon Warehouse" section of the listing (under used) they had four "Like New" models for $298. Usually when amazon says "like new" in warehouse deals, it is just an open or dented box, not a refurb. So, I got that machine, plus the square trade warranty for $44, for a total of $342, shipped. I'm probably just trying to make myself feel better; if I had seen the woot product, I would have snagged it.
Concerning the coffee, yes, if you are after the perfect espresso shot, you won't be happy. But if you want a really easy and somewhat legit way to make lattes or cappucinos, or very very good coffee, this machine does well. I used to own a Jura (more expensive) and I'm pleased with how the Saeco measures up; the Saeco seems easier to maintain / clean.
For me, it comes down to this: I'm in a hurry all the time and I hate to grind beans, find the filter, measure water, and wait for a pot to brew. With this machine, you hit the power button, wait 45 seconds (put your shoes on or something), then hit a button and get an excellent cup of coffee. Can't beat it.
BTW I think this is my first slickdeals post; it took something about coffee to get me out of my shell.
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