Great, beautifully designed, traditional lever action espresso machine
Positive Product Points
Beautiful traditional heat exchange espresso machine made of shining stainless steel with a Faema E61 brew head, which produces excellent shots once you've dialed in your grinder. Frothing milk is easy. It works relatively silently and has a hot water tap.
Negative Product Points
No cool touch piping for hot water and steam. Tends to overheat when not used for more than 5 minutes and then needs cooling flushes (like most Faema E61 brew groups). You have to empty the cup warmer rack in order to refill the water tank.
I got this espresso machine labeled as a Poccino Opus One, which is identical in construction with the Isomac Millenium exept for a bigger boiler (1.6 Lt vs 1.2 Lt) and a bigger water tank (3.5 Lt vs 3.0 Lt) and is in fact manufactured by Isomac.
Once out of the box the Opus One is quickly installed and ready for use. It just looks beautiful in my kitchen with its heavy stainless steel body and the shining Faema E61 brew head.
Unfortunately only a nasty throwaway plastic tamper and no blindfilter are included in delivery. Besides that a measuring spoon and of course two professional heavy portafilters (with a single and double shot filter) are provided. The manual is relatively short but to the point. However, maintenance of the machine is only scarcely decribed: the need to backflush the brew head regularily isn't even mentioned. As a customer you simply have to know.
It has a large drip tray that can easily be removed for cleaning.
There is only one pressostat for boiler pressure, so you have to rely on percolation time and visual control for the quality of your espresso shots. The steam and hot water knobs are conviniently located, as is the traditional coffee lever, which starts the pump in its up position. The water tank can easily be removed for refilling and cleaning.
The 1,400 Watt heating element heats the copper boiler in about five minutes, but it takes the thermosiphon at least 30 minutes to warm the brew head sufficiently. You can shorten that interval a little by flushing.
The vibration pump is capable of delivering a maximum pressure of 15 bar, the safety valve set at 10 bar.
When the water tank is nearly empty a spring activated switch turns off the machine.
Once you have dialed in your grinder, you can pull one great espresso shot after another. Because of the larger boiler the Opus One has great steaming power, and frothing milk is easy.
So far the Opus One has performed flawlessly.
I bought at the Officina Poccino in Dusseldorf, a mixture of espresso bar, pasticceria, shop for espresso machines, coffee, cups etc. At the shop you can check out all Poccino espresso machines and get great advise. They also have a competent repair shop. I had to order the machine and could pick it up four days later. There is also an online shop (www.poccino.com).
Three Month Followup
This machine still hasn't let me down so far. I exanged the original single shot basket for a La Marzocco basket, which is easier to handle and yields better crema, but otherwise no mods. Still no regrets.
One Year Followup
The Opus One is no longer available from Poccino, it has been replaced by a more expensive machine, the Opus One Spirito. So far still no problems.