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Isomac Amica - Andrew Gow's Review
Posted: September 10, 2011, 1:38pm
review rating: 0.0
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Isomac Amica
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Arrow The Isomac Amica has 2 Reviews
Arrow The Isomac Amica has been rated 7.60 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since February 18, 2004.
Arrow Isomac Amica reviews have been viewed 13,131 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
A D 5.10
Andrew Gow 0.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.0
Manufacturer: Isomac Quality: 8
Average Price: $1,649.00 Usability: 6
Price Paid: $700.00 Cost vs. Value 8
Where Bought: eBay Aesthetics 9
Owned for: 3 years Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Dalla Corte Mini, Izzo Alex Duetto
Bottom Line: Great fast espresso - great but slow milk drinks.
Positive Product Points

I think you'd struggle to make a better espresso shot (on ANY machine), given the pressurestat is set correctly, your grinder is dialled, and your tamping technique is good, and you've left the machine on for a bit.   My new Dalla Corte doesn't seem to make a better shot - or not yet.  Neither did the Lineas in the coffee course I did.  It's a truly excellent shot maker, and keeps better temperature than most HX machines (even a 12 litre Brasilia I used).  While not a powerful steamer compared to a full commercial machine, it makes amazing microfoam - possibly due to steam coming out so hot, if not in high volume.  Once the boiler is hot for steam, it's easy to clean the shower-screen just by running the group and steam comes out.

It looks beautiful, and is simple inside - solidly built and less to go wrong than even an HX machine, let alone a dual boiler or something with fancy electronics.  That also makes it easy to descale.  It's nicely made, and has a large drip tray.   There's space inside for mods like PID controllers if you want to!

Negative Product Points

Because you have to wait a minute for it to heat up for steam, it takes a while to make milk drinks.  You then have to wait more for it to stabilise before running shots again. If you make more than about 3 shots in a row, the boiler over-corrects and starts to run slightly too hot, so you have to wait a bit for it to cool down.  When the water runs low in the tank, the machine stops dead rather than warning you - though that makes the electrics very simple.  It's also a bit bigger than it could be given the size of the boiler inside.  The pump was noisy until I re-routed the silicon hoses to not vibrate against the case.

Detailed Commentary

Basically if you mainly drink espresso, and you're not making lots of them in a row, this machine will do you - for the rest of your life probably.  It's as good at espresso as far more expensive machines, including Alex Duetto and Dalla Corte Mini, both of which I've had side-by-side with my Amica.  That's at pretty much any point on the heat/cool cycle too - it's got a lot of thermal mass with the E61 group head and large single boiler  If the gauge reads really low I'd run a tiny bit of water to make the heater kick in again.  If you make the odd milk drink, then you'll be able to add excellent frothed milk to it when the need arises, and make latte art with ease.  And it's such a simple machine it'll probably outlast you, even if you have to replace the odd seal or vibe pump.

However, if you want to make milk drinks quickly, and more than one at a time, you'll want a means of steaming without having to wait a couple of minutes.  Unfortunately milk drinks take a long time on this machine compared to others.   It's still possible, and those milk drinks will be great, but be prepared to be patient.   (I indeed have been patient for the 3 years I've owned it!!) For what it's worth these points should be the same with the Zaffiro, which is apparently pretty much identical functionally - just different cosmetically.

So I do fully recommend this espresso machine - but for espresso.

Buying Experience

eBay - bought off a guy in London.  Though used for a few years already, it was still in great shape after a descale and clean.

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Posted: September 10, 2011, 1:38pm
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