A second issue is sort of related - electronic stuff, especially when it comes to bicycle components. Larry's NOT a fan of electronic shifting, no matter what brand it is and has faced criticism and been called a Luddite as a result. This espresso machine issue is a good example of why he dislikes electronic shifting. It's all about SERVICEABILITY. Sure, in this case the Gaggia was put back into service BUT only after visiting a specialized service facility. At home we have an ancient Gaggia Classic Coffee, one that Larry can literally "open the hood" on and diagnose a problem, order the parts and repair it as he has for years. It does take some skill to operate vs the iperespresso machines. But these electronic things, when they fail, can rarely be repaired and certainly not on tour in the middle of nowhere! One of the essences of cycling to Larry is the simplicity and serviceability of the bicycle as opposed to pretty much all other toys - automobiles, motorcycles, etc. A decent mechanic can put a bicycle back into service quickly and usually very easily but electronics add a whole new level of challenge...and how often must the offending part simply be tossed and replaced rather than repaired or adjusted? More arguments can be found here, just scroll down to Sept. 2's entry.
Final note on ILLY espresso. There are hundreds of capsule espresso machines out there and we've tried a few of them, but NONE make espresso as good as Illy. It's kind of the Ferrari of caffe, the most expensive and the best. If you just want a morning cappuccino, any of the machines that create espresso and steam/froth milk will probably be just fine, as the milk covers up a "multitude of sins" when it comes to mediocre espresso. Just ask the folks in the USA whose name is now so closely associated with it, their name ends in "bucks" but you won't see any of those stores here in Italy. If REALLY good espresso with no skill required is your desire, we think Illy's iperespresso is worth the extra cost. It is for us, we paid full retail for both of our machines here in Italy - anybody out there looking for a barely-used FrancisX7? For now it's on loan to Heather's colleague who lives below us.
Disclaimer: As previously noted we get nothing from ILLY other than the courtesy of an account that lets us share the world's best espresso with visitors to our office at a lower-than-normal cost.