Elegant, solid, coffee lovers dream machine, easy to use
Positive Product Points
- excellent tasting shots - elegant looks, stainless steel, classic knobs and handles. - easy to operate - powerful, instant and clean steaming - insulated and fully articulated wands for steam and hot water - large 1.8 l boiler - solid looking, easily accessible parts - well accessorized including branded full sized metal tamper - well written manuals, also DVD with espresso brewing, steaming and maintenance digital shorts
Negative Product Points
- drip tray smallish - brew lever and hot water wand too close to each other - water mains hookup would have been nice
After countless late-night hours of online research in search of a replacement of my now defunct Mokita, I finally opted for an HX machine that felt solid, with stunning looks and quality parts. The price ended up above my original target budget but I'm pretty certain I've nipped the risk of upgrade fever in the bud. What tipped the scales was E61 and the quality of the build, having had the opportunity to browse the insides of a fully disassembled floor model in the showroom of Faema on boul. St-Laurent in Montreal.
Starting with the very first shot, this machine has been delivering wonderful aromatic, beatifully textured, crema-laden, tiger-striped espressos, shot after shot. After some four years of struggles with the Mokita, blindly learning along the way (wish I had found online forums earlier), I can now claim some basic barista skills. I have the grind and tamp pretty much under control. I am just not a big fan of spending workday mornings surfing for the ideal temperature - I leave this for fans of elaborate Sunday morning rituals. With the Cellini V2 pulling a shot is a breeze once it's fully warmed up, as little as 20-30 minutes will do although longer is better if you want to reach full nirvana. I find this machine forgiving of minor errors but then again, I haven't subjected it to any beginner level treatment. I do have the feeling that I could teach a beginner to pull a shot that is very drinkable. I'll let you know in a follow-up.
I've paired it to an Isomac Granmacinino, decently priced machine that I've not seen that many folks rave about, but so far, whatever it has fed the Cellini has produced excellent tasting results with a no-frills doserless simplicity. I have to admit, the grinder was bought mostly on stainless steel looks and for the compact size. No complaints so far - it delivers repeatable, consistent grinds, somewhat irritating grinder chute that needs to be coerced with a few taps to relieve itself of the final few grams of grind.
The Cellini, although a full sized machine, still fits my 15.5" cabinet clearance. It has a presence that commands immediate attention and draws compliments from guests while taking up quite a bit more real estate that the one the Mokita gave up. Prepare to set aside aside a more sizeable chunk of counterspace and prepare for heavy lifting if you are upgrading from a Silvia or Mokita sized machine. On looks alone and quality, I feel there is simply no comparison to the SBDU machines that were previously on my short list (Venus, Silvia) but this does carry a much heftier price tag! In the end, I am glad I bought an HX machine, I can start steaming as soon as my hands are free from pulling the shot. For me it makes a big difference when you're in a morning rush or preparing a few in a row for guests. Most importantly, I am very satisfied with the espresso and cappuccino making capabilities. I have been easily able to produce better tasting shots than many a boutique coffee shop I've been to in Montreal. After some rewarding experimentation with fresher beans, once the free packs ran out, I can say that I am even more impressed with this purchase. I feel I can aim even higher now, could I hope to unseat my top three coffee shops? I'll let you know in a follow-up. "Toi, Moi et Cafe' on Laurier Str. is a very tough one to beat.
Bought at Faema, family owned, landmark store on the corner of Jean-Talon and St-Laurent in Montreal. My two visits were marked by a pleasant, no-pressure sales experience, but you need to talk with the owner/family members for a deeper dive in more advanced topics. Selection is weighted towards the home barista, predominantly semi-automatic mid-tier, some lever machines, some prosumer, a few professional machines for the corner espresso shop.