The Alex 3.0 is the most used "appliance" in our household and puts all other appliances to shame with its beauty, sophistication, and delivery of satisfaction.
Positive Product Points
Excellent temperature and pressure stability/control, big boilers, ease and pleasure of use, aesthetics, quality of components, either plumbed or reservoir mode, 15/20 amp modes, quiet rotary pump.
Negative Product Points
Limited room between portafilter and drip tray.
My second espresso machine was a Pasquini Livia 90 Auto. I used that for 12 years. I learned to make acceptable espresso and lattes with it and came to appreciate the routine maintenance needed to sustain a machine in good operating condition. That machine had it's own quirks and required probably above average service intervals and expense.
I went to a half day barista training class that greatly improved my understanding of the process, variables, targets, etc. Following my newly learned skills, the Pasquini wouldn't produce a really acceptable latte. So I decided to upgrade.
I did what most do - used sites such as this to read reviews and seek out recommendations. Even with such extensive information available, it is challenging to select the right machine for your personal needs/wants. I had narrowed my search to a dual boiler machine. After completing my homework, I called Chris' Coffee to discuss the options. After very patiently listening and professionally answering many questions, we decided that the new Alex was the right machine for me.
It came quickly. I set it up immediately, and got to work dialing it in. A few minor adjustments were necessary, but I was quickly making very much better espresso and lattes. Within a week or two, I had the new workflow pretty much lined out and have been loving using the machine since.
I am sure more talented/knowledgable baristas can get better performance out of various machines (e.g. my old Pasquini), but I can report that the Alex 3 makes making a great drink straight forward and repeatable. My wife, who is less detail oriented in her use of the machine is making great drinks, too.
We love the new machine and don't foresee needing to upgrade again in the future. Keeping a regular maintenance schedule and attending to repairs as they are necessary, this machine will likely be the last one we buy.
Chris's Coffee folks were all amazing. They were exceptionally responsive, thoughtful, helpful, patient, respectful, and professional. It was a really great experience buying this machine from them. They delivered on every one of their promises. When I had a question or two shortly after the machine arrived, they provided thorough and accurate answers. Truly a great buying experience and one that is commensurate with the investment being made. I found them to be very accessible, too. While continuing to read about the machines on their website, the offer to web chat came up. I used this feature a number of times with great effect and success. They quickly assessed my level of expertise and tailored their communications to help me make decisions that I wouldn't change today.