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Isomac Rituale - Ryan McNamara's Review
Posted: May 26, 2004, 1:39pm
review rating: 6.0
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Isomac Rituale
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More About This Product
Arrow The Isomac Rituale has 6 Reviews
Arrow The Isomac Rituale has been rated 8.57 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since February 18, 2004.
Arrow Isomac Rituale reviews have been viewed 39,258 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Benson Tongue 7.64
Dan Piette 7.12
Rick Waits 6.64
Chet Wisniewski 6.14
Ryan McNamara 6.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.2
Manufacturer: Isomac Quality: 8
Average Price: $1,075.00 Usability: 10
Price Paid: $899.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Chris' Coffee Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 6 months Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Powerful performance that is affordable for the class of machine.
Positive Product Points

Great E61 Group
Beautiful Stainless Steel throughout
Dual Pressure Gauge for Boiler and Pump
Large Drip Tray

Negative Product Points

Faulty Power Switch (replaced myself with promptly sent part from Chris & Roger)

Detailed Commentary

This is my first serious machine, and I very happy with the quality of the espresso it can crank out consistently.

Out of box, this was an easy setup. The Rituale was packed well in the box, and while heavy, was not hard to get out of the packaging and up on to the counter. It came with single and double basket portafilters, the requisite cost-saving, diminutive plastic tamper, water hardness strips, a water softener, and a blank basket for backflushing. I bought a rosewood 58mm tamper to go with it and haven't really used the single portafilter.

The top warming tray, as noted elswhere, does slope slightly forward. There is a slight triangular shape to the cover due to a back wall about 1 cm tall that adds height to the back to sit flush with the side panel. A strip of metal in front that forms a front lip keeps cups in place.

The power switch was a minor hassle since I knew the core machine was perfectly fine (and useable when manually holding the button in).  The case was somewhat difficult to remove due to the weight of the thick stainless steel panels that rest on the screws and keep the form of the exterior. Actually, the difficulty is more attributed to reassembly than removal for these reasons. I was somewhat surprised by the flimsiness of the power switch assembly, which just hangs on the right side panel with the gripping power of flimsy gaskets. However, the boiler assembly is solid and formidable.

Yes, the Rituale is wonderful, and I enjoy doppio goodness right away every morning without *$ and paper cups. Iced coffee drinks for summer are a breeze. I haven't used the steamwand very much due to the weather, preferring my old bodum piston frother to use cold milk. My limited experiences with the wand are all positive: powerful and efficient.

I really like the pump pressure gauge for adjusting my grind. Contrary to other reports or rumors I have encountered, the low placement of the dual gauge has not been a problem: I can see it without strain and there has been no splashing from the drip tray or pressure release on the group.

The drip tray is massive. The water tank is a slight hassle (some sort of visable gauge or meter would be great but is likely impractical and would be unreliable), but I find that I can maintain the water level without much thought.

I want to report that it warms up and is ready to go more quickly for me than expected, within 20 minutes if I ever turn it off for any reason. However, if the auto shut-off sensor for the watertank goes off, I let the machine settle down for 5 or 10 minutes before turning on after refilling the tank.

This is the beautiful beast of my kitchen, and I love it. I hope that there are no reliablity issues that deprive me of the sweet essence I am already spoiled by.

Buying Experience

Chris & co. have been helpful - they know the machines down cold and were near my old place. The replacement switch was on my doorstep the day after I called them.

Three Month Followup

The machine is running flawlessly. I am tempted to turn the screw under the water tank to decrease shut off sensitivity, but I've just had to pay more attention. I wish there were a water gauge for this purpose.

I was concerned with durability after my problem with the power switch, but the longer it works perfectly, the more it reminds me of a tank. I'm very happy with my purchase.

I have used the frother much more during the cruel prairie winter. I have steamed through my inexperience and can now say that the frother is powerful and easy to use.

The Rituale is a show-stopper and conversation piece.

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review rating: 6.0
Posted: May 26, 2004, 1:39pm
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