Italian beauty seeks well-ground beans for morning ecstasy.
Positive Product Points
Beautiful (big) machine. Incredibly easy to use, wonderfully engineered, and spec'ed out with all sorts of nifty refinements.
Negative Product Points
It is a bit hard to see the water level in the reservoir, although the little drill-out in the cup warmer makes filling the reservoir a snap. Maybe a fishing float would do the trick? Anyway, minor inconvenience to an otherwise great machine.
I've had Andreja now for a month or so and have been quite impressed with (a) the speed with which I could get it dialed in with my grinder (b) the ability of the machine to keep on giving--never tires. Just add a bit more water, and there's a limitless supply of steam and hot water (through the very very nice stay-cool wands), and great temperature/pressure control on the E61 brew head. The insulated boiler sets this apart from the millenium; the machine is certainly hot, but it doesn't overheat my kitchen, and the insulation seems to dampen the decibels of the vibratory pump as well. The magnetic switch-off for low water is clever and accurate. Everything about this machine exudes top top quality. Beautiful to look at, exceedingly well calibrated and manufactured, and a joy to use.
Chris Coffee was wonderful to deal with. Chris sent me a long email when I was upset I couldn't get a Rituale from him, and I waited for Andreja. I'd contacted friends in Europe and been reassured that Quick Mill was well known in the espresso world there, and some web research confirmed that. Chris's excellent reputation and his incredible friendliness/willingness to answer many many questions made the buying experience top rate. Add to that Chris's detailed, well written and well researched instruction manual for the machine, and you've got a winner.
Three Month Followup
We've now lived with Andreja for four months and have a much better sense of the machine. I still feel that it is a remarkable machine, well worth the cost, and loaded with features that make pulling excellent shots consistently possible. It is big and chrome. And a bit noisy. But my daughter treats her as a family member, so it certainly can capture the imagination (she has not anthropomorphized any other kitchen appliances yet). She asked me if he (for some reason Andreja is a he to her) enjoys having his nose pulled off, and banged on the knock box. Yes, yes, I assured her.
The machine definitely needs a cool down flush before pulling, but that is to be expected. Somewhere on this site, there's a great video of how to properly pull the cool down flush to just below the insta-boil sputtering that comes out when the machine is at temp. Getting the whole machine to proper temperature takes a good 40 minutes or so; I would put mine on a timer, but the baby's bedroom is next to the kitchen, and Andreja can be a bit loud in its initial cycle. She's a bit pricey to keep on all the time, so we turn her off at bedtime and power her up when we get up. The first pull--if not properly heated--can be nasty. But that is hardly the norm, and is really operator error/impatience and has nothing to do with the machine.
The reservoir is fair, but occasionally we overfill it (through the convenient pour spout). But, since we use the machine so much during the day, we intend to obviate this problem by getting the plumb-in option from Chris coffee. With a filter.
Adjusting the pressure stat (I did a tiny little tweek about two weeks ago) is trivial. The gauges are handy as well--although I must admit I haven't really paid too much attention to them in the past month or so; they're pretty much always where they need to be.
The stay cool wands are, in a word, fabulous. The only one strange thing that happened was the inner cover of the hot water knob popped out one day--I popped it back in, and it has stayed put ever since.
Cleaning / back flushing is a snap--and so far, so good. No problems with build up or residue or any other nastiness that I'm aware of. The machine is big, but really quite sexy. I'm in the market for a new grinder, and I suspect a Macap will look nice next to it.
After a few months, both my wife and I realized that the supplied drip tray cover, while pretty to look at, was not functional--it allowed water to spill off the machine and make a mess. Just as I was about to post that as an update, however, Chris coffee contacted me (!) and said they had a newly designed drip tray cover and were sending it to me free of charge. This new drip tray cover--mesh/screen--is infinitely better than the earlier one, and has solved probably the only truly vexing problem with Andreja. Kudos to Chris coffee for solving problems and taking care of their customers oh so well.
One Year Followup
The Andreja is still big, chrome and noisy. She has become part of the family. She has her quirks, but generally continues to live up to the first heady few months of absolute joy. Several times, the pressure release valve has been triggered--no clear reason why. But, if you keep the maching clean, it seems that it can keep on giving. The only thing I would be inclined to do is to get the plumb-in option with an inline filter. Otherwise, I still feel that this is one fantastic machine.