An indefatigable workhorse -- a Clydesdale sheathed in the body of a thoroughbred!
Positive Product Points
Simply gorgeous, easily programmable buttons for volumetric dosing, loads of room for tall latte cups, 6.0L boiler provides plenty of steaming power, capable of endless back-to-back-to back drinks: an indefatigable workhorse -- a Clydesdale sheathed in the body of a thoroughbred!
Negative Product Points
I haven't found anything serious yet in terms of operation, although it is a sensitive to updosing. Also, it does require a 20 amp plug, which might necessitate some kitchen re-wiring, but if you're contemplating a machine of this caliber, that's a minor point.
The Elektra "Sixties" models (A3 = one group semi-auto in stainless, T1 = one group auto [volumetric dosing] in stainless; the GL/GL1 model is copper-and-brass, semi- and auto, respectively; both are also available with 2 groups) are one of the most beautiful machines ever built (IMHO, of course), falling a fraction behind (and several thousand less than) the original Faema E61 Legend/Jubilee. It is a true commercial machine, rather than "prosumer" -- more so than even a GS3, which was after all designed for home use.
The machine arrived from Chris' Coffee Service solidly packed and protected, delivered strapped to a small wooden pallet -- everything arrived in perfect condition! After some re-wiring (to install a dedicated 20 amp circuit and a 24 hour timer), and some plumbing (including drilling two holes through the granite countertop for the in- and out-flow connections), the machine was ready-to-go. The machine's "brainbox" is protected from heat and water by being positioned below the drip tray; the control panel of the T1 is controlled by a small key to unlock and program six of the seven buttons on the touch panel. The illustrations would indicate (left-to-right), ristretto, normale, and lungo for a single shot, the the same for a double, followed by the seventh ON/OFF manual control button. However, I have the buttons prgrammed as follows: 1. short spritz (for cleaning the group screen after/inbetween shots), 2. a true single shot, 3. a medium flush after a short idle time, 4. double ristretto, 5. double normale, 6. long flush after a long idle time.
It does require about an hour or so to thoroughly heat up (thus the 24 hour timer), but once ready, there's no stopping it! The four-hole steam tip makes creating microfoam a simple and consistently repeatable dream. The machine is very quiet, thanks to its rotary pump, and can run forever. It does not like updosing, but doubles at 14-14.5 grams are brilliantly clear, focused and complex -- unlike what I've been able to achieve on any other machine -- and, again, easy, consistent, and repeatable. Certainly every shot is NOT a "god shot," but I cannot recall the last time I pulled a "sink shot."
When company comes over, it used to take "forever" to make drinks -- so much so that I'd often have a press pot at the ready to use instead of making espresso. Now, no matter how fast as I can pull the shots, the Elektra is always ready to go! The ample tray atop the machine easily holds six porcelain espresso cups, six porcelain cappuccino cups, four Bodum double-walled latte glasses, two 3-oz. stainless steel pitchers, and a shot glass -- all very toasty and waiting for use.
It's a joy to use, and after six months -- while I may not look forward to getting up in the morning, waking up is much easier knowing what's downstairs waiting for me . . . .
Purchased from Chris' Coffee Service, along with a water filtration system. I pulled the trigger last July before the price hike (combination of US dollar tanking, the Euro soaring, and more), and while there is no pretending that this machine was cheap, as always when dealing with Chris' Coffee, Chris himself, Mary, Roger, and everyone there made the entire process easy and as painless as possible. Anytime I had a question before AND after the sale, they've been there with a cheerful smile and friendly explanations and/or assistance. Outstanding customer service!
Three Month Followup
In all honesty, I don't think I can add much more -- the machine continues to perform flawlessly, and I've yet to pull a sink shot. Seriously! (Not, at least, in terms of pulling a bad shot. Shots may go into the sink for other reasons, but a bad shot that's the machine's fault isn't one of them!) And on a reasonably consistent basis, I am stopped dead in my tracks by the quality of the espresso. It's a "terminator" -- it's put a complete and total end to my desire to upgrade . . .
One Year Followup
The Elektra looks -- and more importantly, PERFORMS -- as great today as it did the day I bought it. I'm pulling at least 4-5 shots on it every morning, and at least one in the evening; on weekends, it's getting used throughout the day. The steam power is unstoppable. The hot water tap is a great convenience -- both for tea and americanos, and in the kitchen for cooking. I have no complaints, no criticisms, and more importantly, I *still* have NO desire to upgrade to a "bigger, better" machine, no desire for a DB, no desire to PID my Ekeltra . . . Sure, I might lust after a Mirage Idracompresso by Kees van der Westen, but I know it's a fantasy, and not a necessity. Barring its destruction in an earthquake, I now own my last espresso machine . . .