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QuickMill Andreja - Bob Sanders's Review
Posted: January 23, 2005, 7:28pm
review rating: 8.0
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
QuickMill Andreja
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More About This Product
Arrow The QuickMill Andreja has 80 Reviews
Arrow The QuickMill Andreja has been rated 9.24 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since September 29, 2004.
Arrow QuickMill Andreja reviews have been viewed 440,031 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Michael Chamariver 10.00
Gery Bastiani 10.00
Pal Cabral 10.00
Bob Ponticelli 9.50
Bob Yellin 9.21

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.0
Manufacturer: Quick Mill Quality: 9
Average Price: $1,249.00 Usability: 9
Price Paid: $1,304.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Chris' Coffee Aesthetics 9
Owned for: 1 year Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I like coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Isomac Millennium
Bottom Line: Near  perfect machine for anyone wanting an E61 group head wih excellent steaming.
Positive Product Points

E61 group head makes it easy to make great espresso.
The streaming is near perfect.
Fairly quiet operation.
Great styling.

Negative Product Points

The steam and hot water knobs need to be approx. 1/4 inch larger in
diameter and kurled or textured.  The current knobs do not allow the
rolling of the valve on/off with the palm of the hand.  With the current
knobs, the smooth surface is too slick to roll with the palm of the hand,
and a bit too small to provide the leverage needed.

Detailed Commentary

I upgraded from an Isomac Millenium, which I used for about 20 months.
I was interested in the Andreja because of the E61 head and improved
internals.  Installing was very easy as I had Chris's Coffee install a Direct
Connect Kit, thus a quick disconnect of the water line on the Millenium,
drain, and move out of the way, attach  the pressure regulator with a
wrench, cut a new water line and plug into both quick connects.  
Then replace the group head gasket for the LaMarzocco portafilter
with a triple basket.

Upon plugging in the machine, I was very pleased with how quiet it is
compared to the Millenium.  The pump makes significantly less noise.
And the steam wand - how nice to swivel it where it's easy to use, plus
the no-burn feature makes steaming a joy - no worrying where my fingers
touch the wand.

Steaming is great.  While I generally prefer lattes in the morning, I use
espressos to adjust the grind.  In the afternoon, I'll make Americanos.
I find no real difference in brewing between the Andreja and the Millenium.
But the steaming is so much  better - not as overpowering as commerical
machines - such as the Caramalis or  LaPavonis at work, nor as weak
as the Millenium (with the small tip).  It's just right.

The drip tray is really nice as well - it can be removed, dumped, and
re-installed without the top screen having to be removed with it.
Very convienent.

I also like the styling - it's more subtle than the Millenium.  While it's
the same physical size, it doesn't look as large on the counter as
the Isomac does.  

For those concerned with having to "surf" the group head to get the
temperature  correct, consider that any espresso machine - including the
commerical ones, need a shot of water pulled to remove the stale water
from the group head and to clean the group head screen.  I simply put
my cup under the portafilter spout and run the 6 oz to 8 oz needed to cool
the head down into the cup - to pre-heat the cup  Then pull the portafilter,
turn on the grinder, dry the portafilter, turn off the grinder, fill and tamp
the portafilter, lock in place, dump the water out of the cup, place under
the portafilter and pull the shot.  That's all the temperature surfing that's
needed.

Buying Experience

This is the second machine I've purchased from Chris'  and while the other,
small items I've purchased from him came quickly, like my first, this one
also had a part waiting for arrival from Itay.  The first, with the Millenium,
was the Mazzer Mini.  This time, I had to wait for the direct connect kit.
This is my karma, not an issue with Chris.  The times I've called on my
Isomac - I talked to Chris directly and had my questions answered.

With the Andreja, Mary handled the call and made sure I still wanted the
Andreja when the direct connect kit arrived.  Chris' Coffee has always
been great to deal with.

Three Month Followup

Nothing to add to the initial review.  The machine preforms well.

One Year Followup

It's been over a year now and the machine is still functining well, even after
a house move.  Though, now, it's further from the kitchen.  It's on a cart in
the dining room, still plumbed in - the water line.

I've descaled the machine and found no scale build up.  But do have a few
comments on the build of the machine.

- The vapor lock valve sits inside a cup on top of the boiler.  There are times
 when this valve will overflow.  Not often, just on an occasion during warm
 up after powering on.  There was  evidence of this on the interioor
 sheetmetal base of the machine.  A drain pipe connected to the drain system
  would resolve this, at some additional expense.

- One of the rear cover screws had backed out over time.  This caused
 additional noise.  But was  resolved during the descaling.

- I still would like to see larger diameter knobs for the steam and hot
 water.  The valves on both have shown limited signs of wear, but can't
 be easily rolled on/off with the palm of the hand.

- I purchased a portafilter with a pressure gauge on it and found the one
 on the Andreja reads 0.2 bars higher than it does.  Perhaps it's because
 it's closer to the boiler.  Regardless, I adjusted the pressure down to
 approx. 1.1 bars from the 1.3 it was sitting at.  The reading on the internal
 pressure gauge still shows 1.3 bars.  Given that neither pressure gauge
 claims to be calibrated, I went with the newer one as the more acurate.
 Given that mine has the older capillary tubes, I may replace them at
 some point.  (Chris sells replacement tubes and gauges.)

- I find that the drip tray is about 1" too short when doing a portafilter
 wiggle.  But I suspect the same could be said for any of the prosumer
 machines.  It's a design element that no one has considered.
 This is using a portafilter with a blind basket in it.

As to brewing espresso, I've switched to a bottomless portafilter,
completely lost the technique of tamping and have slowly regained it.
Currently, I'm using a LaMarzocco bottomless portafilter with a
ridgeless double basket.  And, other than my technique, it's rather
easy to make decent shots of espresso, still.

For cappa's using a small picture for frothing, the steaming is almost
overpowering for 5 oz. of 2% milk.  But it does make an extremely
smooth froth when done right.  Even allows some art to be done in
the cappa cup.

I had some friends over to do espresso tasting and we went though
about 2 lbs of various espressos in one afternoon.  The Andreja kept
up with us.  After pulling the last of 10 successive shots, I gave up.
With about a minute between shots, there was no indication of any
variation in the the way the Andreja functioned.

Another thing I truly enjoy is the hot water tap.  I've made lots of tea
with this during tmes espresso didn't apeal to me.  Though I have
managed to cause the machine to vapor lock every so often when
pulling 10 oz. to 12 oz. of water out of the hot water tap.  Not often.
And recovery is easy, power off the machine, bleed some steam,
wait a few mintues and power back on.  It's just an occasional
annoyance.

Would I buy another one?  If I was in the market for an E61 HX
machine or even a a machine in the $900 to $2,000 range, yes.
Or perhaps the Vetrano Rotary.  More important to me now would
be the ability to plumb the drain in.  It wasn't high on my list when
the Andreja sat close to the sink, but now I see the need.

What would I consider as an alternative or perhaps adjunct to the
Andreja?  Well upgrade fever seems to be focusing on an Olympia
Cremina.  Being more in control of the process of making espresso
has a certain appeal to me.  But  take this with a grain or two of salt.
I still haven't atained enough finease to acurately surf the temperature
on the Andreja more than about+/-3 degrees.  

The machine is still much better than I am.

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review rating: 8.0
Posted: January 23, 2005, 7:28pm
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