From my experiences with the lever machine, espresso will be less bitter with less body than a semi-auto machine, more like drinking from chemex or drip, there will be no burnt smell as the heat profile will drop by the end of the extraction, the temperature will not shoot up at the end like most hx machine. Slower or not depends on the user, as I see alot of bars in Italy are still using the lever machine.
Thanks for the comments. The coffee shop that just got this lever machine is going to be opening soon and they are not going to have pro baristas running the machine. Most likely it will be high school and college age kids. It sounds like the lever machines are great as long as the person who is running it knows what they are doing. We don't have many Italians in Northern Wi. Mostly people of German, Norwegian and Polish backgounds. My concern is that the lever machine might not be great in the hands of someone that is not going to really learn the craft of pulling good shots. Any other helpful thoughts?