Style, style and style! I'm not a guy who likes to upgrade equipment often. I hate the disposable aspect of our society. I like to make an informed, educated purchase and not look back. I plan to have Alex with me a long, long time. She has been utterly amazing thus far!
Negative Product Points
Would have been nice to have included a hole in the dual-wall casing for quick pump pressure adjustments, but that was nothing that ten minutes with a drill didn't fix.
God love my old Sylvia (she's still on duty these days - just at my work office), but the PID in the Alex is nothing short of amazing. My days are too busy to sweat half a degree - so, I never even look at the temperature before brewing - i.e. no surfing!! I have her on a timer, so by the time I get up, if the cups are warm I dive right in. No fuss, no muss - just pull a shot - it's perfect every single last cotton-pickin' time.
I got the rotary pump version, and plumbed her in - both drain and supply. What a pleasure it is to sit there, looking out the window, and feeling like a pro barista every morning. What used to take 10-15 minutes to get everyone caffeinated, now just takes 5. With all the speed, and prosumer features (like auto boiler refilling), I'm not afraid to leave her on half the day, so I've stopped making my big-gulp style cappas/lattes, and now make small cafe-style - latte art and all, and just make a refill when I'm ready.
This thing truly feels pro industrial. The design of the cup warming tray with its slots allows the cups to actually get "hot". She's a tank - no need to steady her with a hand when locking the portafilter in. And best of all - she's faster than I am. I have not once had to wait for her to heat up between multiple drinks - even with my common 110 house current.
Amazing design - amazing craftsmanship.
Dealing with Chris' Coffee Service was a great experience. I knew nothing about them before this winter, when I had a very bad experience with another vendor. I'm a patient person, but the other guy finally pushed even me too far, so I bailed out and came crying to Chris' door. As long as they're providing this level of great service, I won't go anywhere else again.
My Alex was assembled with an invisibly cracked internal steam tube. It was very difficult to hear with the cover on, but was spitting water onto one of the solid state temp relays. The next morning, I talked to Chris' service department, and a brand spanking new part was in my hands the next day. A few turns of the wrench, and she was good to go.
Seriously, in this day and age, service is a dying - no, dead and decomposed - art. The guys at Chris' really shine here. Not just sales - but tech and service too. Friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. When's the last time you called a vendor and got a friendly voice AFTER a sale??? I was pleasantly surprised to be treated so well after the sale. I'm very glad I bailed on the first vendor and chose Chris'!