This unit is a great little device for making strong coffee (somewhere between espresso and regular coffee, closer to the espresso side) in an elegant way, and it's designed to last a long time.
The coffee produced is extracted using steam that is generated when the bottom part of the pot gets heated from placing the unit on a stove top. You have to experiment to find the right low-to-medium heat to get the best results. Too low and it will not boil, but you probably want it just above that and not too hot. I have found a setting where it will boil in 5 mins, and then the coffee comes up in 1 minute or less. So, a total of 6 minutes, which is not bad at all. As mentioned, what's produced is close to what we call "espresso" in the US, but it is not the same thing. It is not as strong and with not quite the same taste as full-blown espresso created using an automatic or semi-automatic espresso maker. It's much stronger and more flavorful than regular coffee, though. I used the same Intelligentsia Coffee House Blend (a great coffee) through my French press and then the Moka pot, and the taste difference was eye-opening. Apparently, these stove-top coffee makers are the norm in Italy, and practically everybody has one.
If you enjoy taking your time making your coffee, this is a beautiful unit that creates great coffee (and apparently it gets better over time, as the coffee oils seep into the aluminum). And as mentioned, it's actually not that slow. It's a nice "coffee ritual." It's made in Italy. It only has three parts, which are easy to clean and look virtually impossible to break, so it will last.
The only potential downsides are:
(a) you need coffee ground to the correct size. Either you should get pre-ground Illy Coffee or else you should get a good grinder that can grind to just above espresso fineness. When using whole bean coffee, our old blade grinder does not work well at all with this (sometimes it's acceptable, sometimes hardly any coffee comes out), but we have a Vario on the way, so all is good... But it is a given that a grinder is extremely important regardless of what method of coffee brewing you use. So -- get a good grinder!
(b) you can only make the same amount of coffee each time. For example, we have the version that says 6 on the side (6 cup?) and it makes just enough for my wife and myself. (It doesn't actually make 6 cups, as far as I can tell -- it's more like 2 cups for us). That is, you cannot just put in less ground coffee and less water to make less coffee. If you do that, the mechanics of the steam don't work and you won't get proper coffee as a result. So, make sure you get the correct size for your use.
This thing is so cheap and well-made that anyone who loves coffee should have one around to try out or for occasional use. Ours will get regular use, alternating with our French press. I was very happy to find this.