The E-61, large insulated boiler, and the upgraded steam and water arms set it apart from comparable E-61 machines in the same price range. Having the brew pressure gauge is a nice touch as well.
Negative Product Points
After holding off on the review for a while so I could really get a feel for the machine, just the cheap looking screened Quick Mill logo on the drip tray. Chris has corrected this allready, which only speaks to the quality of the vendor.
I was in the market for a replacement for a Gaggia Carezza about six months ago, and was looking at the closeout Isomacs that Chris had. I was getting ready to pull the trigger on a Rituale or Tea, when I heard about the new machines that Chris had coming over (on CoffeeGeek's message boards, I believe) and decided to wait and see.
The purchase was very smooth, with the exception of the snail slow service that UPS ground provides from the East Coast (which was made much worse due to the anticipation of getting the Andreja.) It arrived double boxed very securely, and I was suprised when I got it open just how large the machine is (the pictures don't do it justice, it's a big hunk of chrome and stainless steel.)
The Andreja is easy enough to open up and tweak, and I can't really say anything about the E-61 that isn't common knowledge. If you need to know more, there is plenty of information available on the message boards. It does the job very well, as long as you know the limitations of the system. The upgraded steam and water arms are very nice, the joints they rest on are very smooth, and steaming and cleaning up are a breeze.
Now, a few things that the Andreja isn't. All of the comparable E-61 machines share these traits, so this is more a buyer beware about a E-61 HX than the Andreja: It's not whisper quiet(It's got a vibe pump...if you need a quiet machine, you've got to go with a rotary pump. I can't tell the difference in espresso quality, but if noise bugs you, that might be a problem. Unless you're situating the machine in a conference room, I can't see it being an issue, but some people might differ.) It's not super-auto simple (There is a routine you need to go through, group head flushing is a necessity if you're not banging out shot after shot. Your time investment will be amply rewarded.) It doesn't actually make you sexier (unless the object of your affection frequents CoffeeGeek.) If you can live with that, I don't think you can do better in an E-61 HX machine.
Chris is great. I've gotten replies to emails on the weekend, and at 11pm on the West Coast (which is pretty amazing since Chris is in New York.) Others have raved about him, and it is true. He's willing to spend the time with people who are looking at his products.