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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Izzo Alex II  
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Topgun
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jan 2013
Posts: 7
Location: Kansas City
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Fri Jan 11, 2013, 3:55am
Subject: Izzo Alex II
 

I'm in the market to purchase a new machine.  I've been researching for a few years and have narrowed my selection down.  I'm pretty solid that I want a HX machine and not a DB.  I'm digging deep into comparison between the Izzo Alex II and the QM Andreja Prem.  I can't seem to find as much info about the Alex II as the Andreja Prem.  I've read good reviews about the Andreja Prem.  I would like a source that I can put these two machines, specs, reviews, etc. side by side so I can make my best decision.  Can anyone point me in the right direction or possibly share which is better in their opinion, share the difference between the two? (ie. the Alex is 72lbs and the Andreja Prem is 46lbs.... why?)
I've also read great reviews and forums about the Izzo Alex Duetto, especially the 3.0, but that takes me into the DB class that I don't need.
Thanks for your support.
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DavecUK
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,466
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Jan 11, 2013, 12:35pm
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II
 

I suppose a big question is why are you sure you want an HX as opposed to a Dual Boiler. Once that ones answered, then you have to ask why you want an Alex (Rotary Pump) vs an Andreja (vibe pump). If it's the Vibe vs Rotary thing, it really doesn't matter too much especially if you want to save some money. No difference at all in the taste of the end product and a vibe pump may even be more forgiving of channelling due to it's slower pressure ramp.

Once the above 2 questions are clearly answered in your own mind, you next have to ask yourself why your even considering and Andreja Premium vs another type of vibe pump HX. The Andrejas are well overpriced for what they are and don't produce better coffee than other HX machines, in fact the boiler orientation can actually make recovery time slower and I have found the machines no more reliable than most other brands (in some cases less so). I have reviewed loads of Quick Mill machines over the years and have found many basic errors in design that they were very slow to address, disappointing for products carrying a premium pricing structure (in the UK market)

A very good HX machine is something like the ECM Barista, simple, well made, well priced, reliable and well performing.....looks nice too.

The upshot is, if you want an HX there are better value for money machines than either you have mentioned....performance will be pretty much identical all things being equal, but the ownership experience might be more rewarding with some machines.

If you decide that a dual boiler is something you do want, again there are lots of machines available. The separation of brewing and steaming is a very good thing and the E61 group although designed for commercial machines with much larger steam boilers works really well with dual boiler systems. Large commercial HX machines have a completely different temp dynamic than small steam boilers, especially as they give decent steaming at much lower idle pressures than a small HX, this makes a huge difference to shot quality and temperature stability. This makes a small boiler HX a very tight compromise system.
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Topgun
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jan 2013
Posts: 7
Location: Kansas City
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Fri Jan 11, 2013, 7:57pm
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II
 

Thanks Dave for your input.
I guess I can narrow down my thoughts to this.
I don't really know what I want, but when I research and get a good idea what I think I want, I base from that and like to move upward in quality and features somewhat.  That gives me a comfortable feeling about the product I just aquired.

I'm by far an expert, but an over achiever about learning the art of making espresso.  I am though, and expert coffee drinker.  I have a friend that has Rancilio Silvia PID and I have pulled shots using his machine.  Comparing our thoughts about the Silvia, we both agree that a single boiler is not enough.  I've discussed double boilers with him and he has convinced me that db is overkill for our home use application.  He recommended the HX and said it will heat faster and be able to make shots faster.  So with that said, this is where my HX thoughts have originated.  I've also notice the DB units are higher in price vs. HX.

As far as the pump, I believe the Rotary will produce less noise rather than a louder Vibe pump.  I can use more recommendations on pumps.

I definitely want to go with the E61 group.

I want both reservoir and direct line capabilities.

Some machines I've placed on my comparison list are:

Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Izzo Alex Duetto 2
Izzo Alex
Izzo Alex II
QM67
QM Andreja Prem
QM Verano
QM Anita
QM Alexia
Rocket Giotto Evoluzion V2
Rocket R58

I like the style and look of these machines.  Some other machines might fit the same features, or even be better, but the style killed it for me.

I have not, until you posted, reviewed the ECM Barista.  I like it's style as well.  It's price is higher than the Alex II and the Andreja.  It prices closer the Rocket models and I backed off the Rocket machines because I thought they are over priced.  I can be wrong here, but not having the knowledge is slowing this process down.

Keep in mind, I'm looking for a machine that will be on my counter, 1 or 2 shots/day 6-10 weekend shots, milk drinks, and sometimes tea.
I'm not looking for a commercial machine to run in a road side, single sofa coffee shop.

If a db would be a better machine for me, then I will focus in that direction.  I've notice they are 5-600$ more than the HX machines.

These prices are US prices, so they will differ than the UK I believe.

When I compare the Andreja and the Alex II, they are both HX, E61, around 1400w, resevoir/direct capability, rotary pump, etc.  the primary difference I notice is the Alex II is $200 more than the Andreja.  It also weighs in at 72lbs vs 46lbs of Andreja.  I don't know where the extra weight is coming from, etc.

I appreciate any input, opinions, advice, etc. that will assist me in finding the right machine for me.

Thanks
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RussK
Senior Member
RussK
Joined: 6 Jan 2013
Posts: 41
Location: Mississippi Delta
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Alex II
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Type B
Drip: Bunn DV TC / Chemex / Hario...
Posted Fri Jan 11, 2013, 8:52pm
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II
 

I am not going to try to sway you one way or the other on the DB or HX matter but I will give you a few of my thoughts. About four months ago I upgraded from a Silvia to an Alex II. Overall I love the Alex, it is certainly much more of a machine than the Silvia. My reasons for buying a HX machine where similar to yours,  higher capacity, better steaming and somewhat cheaper than a DB. I looked at the Andreja , the Vertrano, the Giotto, and finally the Alex. I liked the rotary pump and the ability to plumb in the Alex and the Giotto and Vertano. The Andreja has a vibe pump and it can be plumbed but not switched back and forth like the others and also you have to buy a kit to plumb it in which makes it a little bit more expensive than the Vertrano which is a rotary. I would certainly recomend plumbing in if possible because it makes life SO much easier. The Alex is $1995 (At Chris' Coffee) and CC is offer the Duetto 2 for $2250 while supplies last and I have to admit the learning curve on the HX has been somewhat challenging for me. Now let me stress that it has not been THAT hard but it was an adjustment from the Silvia. The DB would be a bit more of a set and forget type of operation. I cannot comment on the performance of the Duetto but my Alex has great steam and pulls great shots when I get it right. one ither thing is the PID on the Alex II. Obviously on a HX the PID does not directly control brew temp but it nice to be able to adjust boiler pressure with the push of a few buttons and there is the fact that in theory the PID is more reliable than a mechanical pressurestat. When I purchased my machine I was assured that the performance of all the above mentioned machines would be great and I believe that to be true. You would most likely be happy with any of them but I will say that Alex II is a lovely machine and have not regretted buying it.
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DavecUK
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 1,466
Location: UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Jan 11, 2013, 9:41pm
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II
 

In the UK the ECM Barista is cheaper than any of the other machines you mentioned....interesting, not much is cheaper in the UK compared to the US. The other person mentioned the Duetto 2 at only a little more than the Alex, if that's the case I would go for the Duetto 2.
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sn_85
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2011
Posts: 134
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Andreja Premium
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:17am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II
 

Just an FYI but the QM Andreja Premium is a vibratory pump, not rotary.  Either the QM AP or Alex II would be great choices and are essentially equal in price once you factor in the cost of the plumb-kit for the AP.  I too went through the same decision process as you did, DB or HX didn't really matter for me but I went with the HX simply b/c it was in the budget and I got a smokin deal on my AP from Chris' Coffee.  I too, wanted the ability to plumb down the road so that did leave me with only a handful of options after sorting out my list.  

One thing you have to consider when getting an HX is the cooling flush.  It's easy enough to do, just flush until you don't see the water dance anymore and it's more of a straight stream, probably takes like 8secs.  However, I did want more accuracy with my flushes and brew temp so I got one of the EricS E61 brew head thermometers.  With that I probably flush around 8-10 oz before the first shot (only when it's cold) to get to where I want the temp to be and sometimes that does get to be a PITA only because I am still using the resevoir and it's under a cabinet so I need to slide the machine out to refill the water.  I end up having the refill the rez more often than I'd like with all the flushes and whatnot.  Keep in mind this would be a non-issue if I was plumbed in and if my machine was on an island and not under a cabinet.  You'd still need to flush with a DB but certainly not 8-10oz worth.  

Overall I'm extremely satisfied that I bought the QM AP as it does everything I want it to do and met all my requirements (no burn steam/hot water wands and optional plumb).  It will eventually be upgraded, just my nature as I'm always looking for the next latests and greatest, but that is a long way off and it would have to be a pretty damn significant upgrade (i.e. LM GS/3) for me to consider.  The grinder would be the next to upgrade before the machine.  I think you'd be happy with either the AP or Alex2.  As well I couldn't tell you where all that extra weight comes from in the Alex2, the AP is already a beast as it is.
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RussK
Senior Member
RussK
Joined: 6 Jan 2013
Posts: 41
Location: Mississippi Delta
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Alex II
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Type B
Drip: Bunn DV TC / Chemex / Hario...
Posted Sat Jan 12, 2013, 9:50am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II
 

There is one other point to consider and that is size.

The Andreja is 11 1/2 inches wide and the Alex is 14 1/4.

I was a bit startled when I pulled my Alex out of the box but have grown used to it and actually kind of like its rather commanding presence.

Of course that is cosmetic only and does not change the performance any other than with its case being double walled it keeps the outside cool.
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Topgun
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jan 2013
Posts: 7
Location: Kansas City
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:01am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II
 

Okay, brain crashing due to not having a fresh shot!
Where to start....
I appreciate everyone's information and opinion.  This is the direction I intended this thread to go, so my words to you.... Thank you

I read in a post that the QM AP has a vibe pump.  I've been previously misinformed, I thought it had a rotary.
Can I get a more specific detailed comparison between rotary and vibe pumps?  I really don't know the difference.  What about noise levels between the two and performance?

When I reviewed the QM models, I understood the Alexia to have a vibe pump and as they went up the list, the rest were rotary.  I have read about the various QM models and differences. Out of the QM models, the Vetrano is a direct plumb only option.  Are there others that are direct plumb only as well?
My final intention is to have a direct plumbed machine with a dedicated filtration system attached, but it's not in place yet therefore, I need a reservoir to get started.  This leads to a dual function (direct plumb/resv) machine.

When I started this thread, I based my comparisons between the QM AP and the Alex II.  As I previously said, their features and funtions are basically the same, except for the pump, which I've learned from these posts.  
The QM AP is $1795
Alex II is $1995
so $200 difference isn't a huge difference, but when I capture the idea of a DB from this thread, then I can also put the QM67 into play at a price of $1899.

What's everyone's take on the QM67?

In addition to changing my mind that a DB is something I should consider as well, I should compare a couple of those models.

One person has posted considering the Alex Duetto 2 at $2250.  I did see that price in my original comparisons.  This is where I came up with the DB units being higher in price.

If I do decide to go with a DB unit vs. HX, then I'll probably have to start another thread comparing DB units.  One thing I do know, Russ Dave & SN85, the Duetto 2 is $2250 and the Duetto 3 is $2495.  For a $200 increase, imo, it will be worth it to go for the Duetto 3 due to the "upgraded" changes they have made for the 3.

One thing for sure, I can see you guys are gonna run my tab up an extra $1000 from where I started, but that's okay.  Coffee, similiar to beer, if it's great, the price to pay goes up.

Thanks
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Topgun
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jan 2013
Posts: 7
Location: Kansas City
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:06am
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II
 

Sorry I forgot to include this, Dave, the ECM Barista, is priced at $2200 here in the US.
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RussK
Senior Member
RussK
Joined: 6 Jan 2013
Posts: 41
Location: Mississippi Delta
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Alex II
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Type B
Drip: Bunn DV TC / Chemex / Hario...
Posted Sat Jan 12, 2013, 2:07pm
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex II
 

One thing for sure, I can see you guys are gonna run my tab up an extra $1000 from where I started, but that's okay.  Coffee, similiar to beer, if it's great, the price to pay goes up.

Yes, but that is part of the fun. ;)  And just think, we have not even started on grinders! Lol

Take a look at this http://www.chriscoffee.com/products/home/buyersremorse there is a Giotto and a QM67 there at a discount,

I purchased my Alex II as a demo model from CC and it was flawless. If I understood correctly I got full warranty and a 2 week return period.

I will say like many others that Chris' offers great service
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