An awesome E61/heat exchanger machine for a great price, built to last and impress!
Positive Product Points
E61 heat exchanger machine for cost of most single boilers! Simple to use and very forgiving of my flaws. Looks fantastic in our kitchen!
Negative Product Points
The high plastic legs with the plumbable machine looks a bit cheap. Foaming is so so but could likely be my technique as I usually just do Americano's or espresso.
I researched machines for at least a year and felt that this one was the biggest bang for my buck! I initially thought a Rancilio Silva would be the machine but felt if I could afford a bit more than I wouldn't be upgrading again in a few years. I considered the Quickmill, Isomac and Rocket machines within the price point but felt that the Expobar with it's E61 group head and heat exchanger was the front runner. Also, buying the machine in Canada can be tricky if you want price and service so that was also part of my decision. Using the machine was simple straight out of the box. I bought the plumbable version but I've been filling the tank with descaled water as it is only used twice a day. We live in an area with very hard water and I didn't feel like getting a water softener yet. The machine is heavy so moving it once a week isn't so bad. Within the first 3-5 shots I was getting a great walnut colored crema using a Rancilio Rocky grinder at a setting of about 7 or 8. I rarely deviate from this except if I under or overfill the portafilter. I just bought a Compak K3 so I'm curious to see the change in my shots! It has a simple lever to operate the machine with a very large drainage tray (2 litres!). I do waste a bit of water as the plumbable units are not fed back to the tank but oh well. The operation of foaming milk on this machine is simple. However, I'm a beginner in the latte art world as I just don't like a lot of milk so my art is elementary at best. I'm currently researching how to improve as I've seen better results with a friend using my machine (he has a double boiler Quick Mill machine and was able to get similar results with mine). Maintaining the machine is easy thus far as I've used Cafiza 2 so far. It is still very shiny and impressive on our counter and am very happy with my machine. I would be hard pressed to see a reason to need to upgrade beyond this machine.
I have walked into a few shops and talked to a few online dealers and find most sellers of the equipment to be elitist snobs! Then again, once we buy the equipment, we become that way to everyone else who thinks Starbucks is coffee perfection. I bought the machine from Zcafe as I found them to be very helpful both via emails and on the phone. Their prices were as competitive or better than any other online retailer and I would recommend them to anyone.