If you can afford the $700 it's a PERFECT machine before jumping up to the $1,500 machines!
Positive Product Points
Wow..great power, great shots, and a fun machine for parties.
Negative Product Points
What's with the tupperware for the water container? And I top gives a little when you put cups on top.
A great machine that allows you to stream, froth, pour hot water for tea, and brew...all without waiting. The heat exchanger works great! You also have a much better grouping and the unit is easier to backflush then the siliva or startbucks.
The only issue I have had is the somewhat cheap looking water container in the machine. It's tupperwear! And the water lines tend to pop out of the water. I quick fix...a small tie used for computer wires. (it's plastic and cheap). This allows you to hold the hoses down and still remove the tupperwear when you need. If you want me to send you a photo let me know.
Other great feature is if the machine is one and the pump tries to draw water the unit will shut off if there is no water to left. This reduces the chance of the machine burning up.
But my first shot was perfect, the stream makes PERFECT froth with loads of power left over. It's a perfect machine for home....and even a small deli.
Oh...the manual sucks!!! But Whole Latte has one they have done that is much better.
Three Month Followup
I'm still very happy over the move from the Silvia. The ability to steam and brew without waiting for the water to cool down or heat up is a BIG plus for me. The ability to make 3, 4 or more drinks for guests in 5 minutes let's me enjoy my drink with them.
Great froth, great shots, easy to use, a self monitoring pump (in case you are out of water it shuts it off), and a nice looking "mini" pro version.
The machine is fun, easy, and packs power.
Still love it!
One Year Followup
After 1+ years Iím still using the manual Expobar every day. Over the last year I have processed about 500 cups of espresso and frothed gallons of milk. The unit gets better with use and practice.
The Expobar is impressive without taking up the whole kitchen. With the stainless steel and black accents itís a classic look that fits just about anywhere. The only other machine I would consider would be a true commercial $1,800+ unit like the Ranchilio S24. The Expobar is $600 and you really couldnít ask for a better machine for home or small office use.
The machine is a little loud when I first turn on the unit the pump starts. Part of the reason is that the top has a vented metal sheet and sometimes rattles a little more then it should. I have tried to adjust it, loosened and tightened the screws but it still remains. Itís a small issue and does not affect the performance.
Once I returned after not using the machine for a week and when I turned on the Expobar nothing happened. I thought a fuse or something worse had happened. Todd from Whole Latte Love told me to tug on the little red plastic ďwireĒ on the boiler up and down. It worked, the machine was back up and working without anything more.
I still have no idea why Expobar didnít make the top of the machine a little sturdier and I wish they would replace the Tupperware water container. But this is such a small detail it should no detract anyone from buying a unit.
Cleaning the manual version of the Expobar takes a good 30 to do but nothing hard. The automatic version makes it a little easier but still time consuming.
---------- Positive (+)
Great shot of espresso just about every time.
After playing with the frothing I am not able to make it froth fine enough to practice Latte Art. I still need lots of practice but they key was to froth near the top till the temp reaches 100(f) and then sick the wand down to the bottom till I get to about 155(f). I get some great results this way with all types of milk.
The single boiler works great. I have no problem going form brewing to frothing and back again. You give up a little control on temperature but when you have a party of 8 to make drinks for and you donít want to spend $1,500 for a true double broiler the Expobar works great.
I love the idea that I can turn it on and leave it alone for most of the day. Since the system can detect if there is water in the reservoir Iím not afraid of the pump blowing up. I wouldnít let it auto start without me being up and awake but itís a great safety feature.
Summary: Price, functions, durability and quality; the Expobar is a great machine that fits well at home or the office. It gives you great quality shots, wonderful frothing, and good design. The Expobar gives you near commercial features for a high end consumer price. I have gone through the $250 Starbuckís machine, to the lady Silvia, and not the Expobar. Sure, itís not my last machine but for the price/value itís the best Iíve seen.