Interesting. I was tempted to get the Aldi machine when I was there last week, but then I remembered seeing a youtube review some years ago describing it as a bad machine. But if one is making coffee drinks like Americanos, Cappuccinos, etc, might it be an okay machine once a person has figured out how to best use it?This is a nice thread and a longstanding one. I wonder if I have responded previously. I have owned a La Pavoni Europicola going back decades, that has been in need of repair for probably three decades now. When I got it it needed repair and I had it professionally done, but it held up for less than a year. I have bought parts for it, and would normally think of myself as relatively handy, but I could not get it fixed by myself. I have not been able to find another reasonable repair place locally and it seems like an expense and hassle to send it to New York. It was not so easy to learn to use, but it sure made fabulous espresso when it was working. I will get it fixed some day.
I had a Starbuck's Estro Profi, which I guess is really Saeco, that was highly reliable for years before it went south. I took it apart a couple of time, but could not figure out what needed to be replaced to fix it. I thought it did pretty well with espresso shots and foaming milk, and had a nice built in burr grinder.
I am now using a $79 Aldi Ambiano machine, which looks about what Amazon sells as a Gevi, not the more sophisticated versions sold under that same name which look like they would be a lot better. I find it to do okay, decent strength and crema, and okay at foaming milk (bubbles are large) although it is very fussy. The coffee needs to be absolute powder and packed hard into the portafilter. The machine has a delay after the brew button in pressed to put some hot water on the grounds before running a shot, but it works better if one lets hot water sit on those grounds a lot longer than the machine would automatically do. Nothing as good as the Profi, much less the La Pavoni, and I am probably fooling myself as to whether this should really qualify as espresso. But when this one breaks, I will just toss it, and that makes me happy.
I started to buy the Aldi machine just to experiment with, but did not since I recently got out my old La Pavoni Europicola in an attempt to master/re-master(?) it. I am starting to get some decent shots, but not as consistently and not as good as my Rok/Presso machine. I mention the Rok since more than one online reviewer rates it lower in comparison to other lever machines they are trying, which I can believe as I have seen that stated more than a few times, however these reviewers have not taken the time to learn the machine and pay less attention to the workflow which is pretty easy. I still like to use it more than the La Pavoni, but hopefully that will change soon.
The most important measure is making a tasty cup of coffee.