A wild horse out of the gate, this gleaming thoroughbred can be tamed with time and patience.
Positive Product Points
Beautiful Gleaming Piece of Kitchen Art Powerful Steamer Tons of fast Hot Water Multi-positional no-burn steam and hot water wands Wonderful tasting espresso
Negative Product Points
Difficult to fill water tank Need to refill tank every 10-15 espressos due to HX flush Only one in five espressos taste wonderful...so far Need to use high quality, recently roasted beans...once you try a good bean you'll never go back
I am a 4-6 espresso a day, 80 hour a week working stiff who needed more out of my Starbucks Barista. In my Barista's defense, it gave me 7 trouble free years, but after a taste of truly good espresso at Caffe Artigiano in Vancouver, I knew it had to go. After humming and hawing for the better part of 3 months I finally plunked down the cash for an Andreja Premium. I almost went for the Anita, but the no-burn positional wands were far superior. Most of the HX machines I tried were similar and gave a good espresso (especially when someone other than me made it), but I preferred the Andreja's looks and insulated boiler.
The first 3 hours after I plucked this beautiful 50 lb machine from it's well packed box, plugged it in and filled her up, I drank 15 not-so-good to freaking horrible bitter/sour espressos. Subdued, but not beaten, I relented to my wife's suggestion that my heart may not take kindly to any more caffeine. I retreated to Coffee Geek and Home-Barista's website to plan a new strategy. The next morning, armed with oodles of conflicting, but generally helpful information, I went out to buy the freshest beans possible, grind them to slightly finer than sugar consistency, flush my group head, flatten the grounds evenly with my fingertips, tamp them with a heavy 58mm tamper at 30 lbs of pressure, and pray.
Finally a drinkable espresso! Two weeks and 4 lbs of beans later I am shooting about 50% good drinkable shots and 5% unbelievably good shots.
Basically what I'm trying to say, in way to many words, is that this machine takes time, effort, research and good beans to give you what we all need... A thick syrupy espresso with red/brown crema that lingers georgeously on the palate.
This machine delivers, given all the above. If you want to buy pre-ground beans, shove them in and pull the lever, fogettaboutit. The Starbucks Barista will do for a 6th the cost.
On the basic use side-The Andreja worked as advertised the minute I flicked the switch. No hassles, the instructions never needed opening, it comes with a blank and a single and double portafilter, and fits easily under my standard kitchen cabinets.
If you want a manual HX machine and are willing to put up with it's idiosyncracies, buy the Quickmill Andreja or Anita. You won't be sorry.
If you live in Edmonton or Canada, Caffe Tech delivers.
Joe Parrottino at Caffe Tech kindly allowed me to experiment with all his available machines before my purchase. He also got me hooked on Intelligensia Black Cat Espresso Roast. I have now tried 8 different cheaper (Barzula, Mauro, Kimbo, Lavazza, Medallio Oro, Segafreddo, Iona, Kicking Horse) and 3 more expensive espresso brands (Danesi, Illy, Starbucks). In my opinion none of the other blends even come close to Black Cat.