This machine is amazingly stable. I can pull 6 shots back-to-back with perfect consistency. The Brewtus looks great, all shiny stainless. Steam wand is a cannon, makes everything else I have tried seem like a toy. The Brewtus makes great espresso. Pressure gauge is a helpful addition. Digital temperature readout is nice. No surfing, dancing, or tip-toeing to produce consistent shots.
Negative Product Points
The fit and finish is poor…the drip tray does not fit easily into position. The water vessel is not well thought out. It is very difficult to remove/refill when the 65lb system is placed under a cabinet. I use a long spouted watering can to refill but it can be cumbersome at times. The water sensor (Pressure sensor) shuts the machine off when water is low. Sometimes the shutoff occurs during a pour. The vibe pump is noisy.
I had been using a Capresso C1000 super-auto for several years so I was not sure what I was in store for with an E-61 machine, but after using the Brewtus for a few weeks I can honestly say that it produces the best espresso that I have ever tasted.
The Brewtus arrived double boxed. The manual gave clear instructions on how to get the system started the first time (the pump needs priming at times). I filled the machine with water twice to fill both boilers, and after about 20 minutes of warm-up, I was pulling shots.
I went through a pound of coffee before I found the right combination of grind and tamp to get a good pour. I was grinding with Rocky set at around 15-20 with the Capresso but the Brewtus needs around about 7 to get 1-2 ounces in ~30 seconds. The naked portafilter really helps to tune the brew. Seeing the actual extraction helped me recognize that I had little sprayers until I ground the coffee finer.
After perfecting my brew technique, I started working on frothing milk. I thought I knew how to froth milk but the steam power from this system blew me away. I immediately moved from my trusty 12-ounce pitcher to a 24-ounce. The milk seems to go from about 120 to 160 degrees in 3 seconds so it takes a little practice to keep from scalding the milk. I am looking forward to trying a 2-hole steam tip when WLL gets them back in stock.
Recommendations after 2 months of use:
I started using a triple basket on the naked portafilter. The triple seems to produce the best and most consistent pours.
The tamper that came with the unit is not very good. I ordered a nice stainless model that really works well and looks good too.
In a word…plumbing…the machine is too heavy to move easily and the water bottle needs to come out of the top of the system. I have about 2 inches of clearance under the cabinet and I can’t see through the stainless to determine the water level.
I purchased from WLL. It is absolutely painless to do business with WLL; I will continue to order from them at every opportunity.
Three Month Followup
My comments after almost 2 years:
I have used the Brewtus daily pulling at least 2 doubles for the last ~ 2 years and the machine has been nearly flawless. I have the machine on a timer so it comes on early and cuts off after ~3.5 hours or after I have finished making coffee for me and my wife. I have enjoyed the quality of the esspresso and the great looks of the Brewtus and I would recommend it for anybody looking for a pro-sumer quality esspresso machine. Now I know what mouth-feel is...
I tried the 2 hole steam wand but it was much too powerful and the milk did not have time to get fully infused (my opinion) so I remain using the single hole. It takes longer but the quality is much better IMHO.
I have had to replace the vacuum relief valve after ~1.5 years (~20$) but it was not difficult given the nice detailed instructions from WLL.
I still want to have the system plumbed...
One Year Followup
Comments after ~6 years:
The brew element burned out after ~5 years. It was a difficult replacement but WLL was very helpful providing detailed instructions on how to test and replace defective parts.
I used a 1.5" 6-point socket on the heating element. I required an impact gun to break it loose. I had some trouble getting the new element to seal. I recommend using generous amounts of Teflon tape on the base of the heating element, not just the pipe threads.