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Izzo Alex Duetto II - Erich Keser's Review
Posted: October 25, 2012, 5:00pm
review rating: 3.3
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
Izzo Alex Duetto II Dual Boiler PID
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More About This Product
Arrow The Izzo Alex Duetto II has 51 Reviews
Arrow The Izzo Alex Duetto II has been rated 9.34 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 23, 2009.
Arrow Izzo Alex Duetto II reviews have been viewed 222,641 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Jonathan Mohn 9.00
Ron Bilow 8.00
Michael Smith 8.00
Paul Levy 7.71
Tim Gilligan 7.33

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 7.4
Manufacturer: Izzo Quality: 7
Average Price: $2,295.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $2,850.00 Cost vs. Value 8
Where Bought: Cafetech Aesthetics 7
Owned for: 1 year Overall 7
Writer's Expertise: I live coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned: Brasillia, Gaggia
Bottom Line: I hope that our experience was unique, or at least rare.  The Duetto II does produces geat coffee, but can require maintenance,  so buy from a source like Chris's.
Positive Product Points

Appears to tick all the right boxes and offer all the best features.  Looks good on the outside and produces great coffee.  Chris Nachtrieb and his Coffee service have been outstandingly helpful and also very honest about potential problems and their cause, throughout.

Negative Product Points

Retail price has dropped by nearly a quarter.   The initial quality of the stainless steel used was mediocre: the inside of the steel sheeting panels was pitted and corroded after less than two years. UPDATE: Chris's Coffee Service, the North American importer and distributor states that the Stainless Steel was upgraded to a higher, more corrosion-resistant and expensive grade in the last 700 Duetto II's  and all subsequent machines machines.  (Ventilation also seems to have been  improved.) Still unsure whether the root cause of the responsible water/steam leaks is some strange problem with our water supply (which has not affected us our four aquariums of tropical fish) or some inherent defect or some combination of the two.

Detailed Commentary

We were very disappointed with the Izzo Alex Duetto II.  When you spend nearly $3,000. on a product, you do so because you expect it to last longer, and even to preserve some significant resale value than  cheaper alternatives.   Reassured by reviews, one of which even included mechanical disassembly, we bought a Duetto 2, and even had cabinetry and plumbing, including a second RO system and a special 20Amp electrical service installed for it.  Our previous Brasilia machine is still working for our daughter and son-law after 20 years, so we assumed that with the very light use it has and good care, we could spare ourselves the  additional cost of and extended warranty,  Four months ago, we noticed moisture under the back right side of the machine.  This seemed to get worse after we started, to turn the machine off, overnight.  (Previously, we'd generally left it on .)   Because our plumber had had considerable problems connecting the machine, we initially assumed a simple hose leak.  

When we  finally pulled the 75 pound machine out enough to take off the top plate, we were shocked to see extensive corrosion on the inside of much the supposedly stainless steel sheeting.  Apparently a nut holding the PID sensor was loose, and the pressure relief stack was leaking steam.  I have enough of a technical background to understand that there are different grades of stainless steel, and that simple steam and water should not, in such a short time, result in such extensive pitting and rusting in all but the poorest grades.  I expect this from bargain shiny goods from some countries, but not from what is claimed to be a high quality Italian machine.

BTW if you are in Canada, then don't buy from Cafetech!   They seem to be too busy to respond to calls, a major reason for the delay and likely extent of the damage.

Buying Experience

Initially terrible, bought for $3000 a year ago, now retails for 25% less, and possibly  resalable for about $1500, after extensive work, if we are lucky!  The local Museo Cafe, has done everything possible to diagnose and fix the machine, and there has been honest and conscientious support from the US distributor ( (we are in Canada so he was probably under no obligation to provide it) of Chris Nachtrieb and his coffee service.

Three Month Followup

The machine is apparently working well, except for a minor leak, but still under repair.  In the meantime, we have been given another machine on loan.  The length of time this has taken mostly reflects the situation of the person repairing it, who has been in the midst of opening up another location, across the street from a Starbucks, and also has seen his roastery business expand greatly, but also deeper problems with the machine, including partial, then complete failure of the PID controller.
Chris Nachtrieb personally, and his Chris's Coffee Service have been extremely helpful throughout.

One Year Followup

This machine does make very good lattes and cappuccinos,  It has an impressively sophisticated temperature/pressure regulating system and effective, double boilers.  It is working well now, except for bothersome but not excruciating noise and vibration (slightly canted circulating pump, perhaps during long repair). The cause of the initial problems - extensive corrosion of inside of stainless steel casing and other areas - is still something of a mystery. The theory that the particle-filtered, iron filtered, softened then charcoal-filtered and RO-membrane filtered otherwise very good well-water was so ion-poor that it caused the corrosion seems dubious. Tee salt residue in softened water seems a more likely cause.  Whatever the cause, a better grade of stainless steel would have greatly reduced any damage. Happily, Chris Nachtrieb of Chris's Coffee, the North American distributor, had already upgraded the SS in the last Duetto II's and added further improvements in the current model.  

However, there are design issues with this machine - such as having the electronics in a hot and somewhat water-vulnerable location and more easily understandable and more fundamental materials issues like copper rather than stainless steel boilers and other less than optimal materials that reflect the maxim "your get what you pay for".  As a well under $3k PID, E61, double boiler unit, it is a very acceptable compromise, especially with recent improvements.  Those unwilling to make such compromises can always buy a La Marzocco for nearly three times the price.

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review rating: 3.3
Posted: October 25, 2012, 5:00pm
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
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