Best espresso for the money! Stainless steel eye candy! AMAZING espresso!
Positive Product Points
After a short learning curve, prepare to fall in love with one of the best values in its price class! Not like looks SHOULD matter, but the Tea is some stainless steel eye candy as well. Don't forget the TWO gauges, pre-infusion with the lever design and the ability to run 24/7. Throw in a good grinder and you'll never want to taste espresso from those local coffee shops again.
Negative Product Points
Water level in tank can get low quickly-could be bigger. Large footprint of machine is borderline when trying to fit in smaller kitchens-measure your space before you buy.
Coming off of a two year love/hate affair with my Silvia, I knew the Tea would be a huge improvement just for the sake that it had a heat exchanger. Little did I know what all the coffee I've been using over the years REALLY tasted like after using the new Tea. I also enjoyed the instant steaming with the Tea.
Out of the box I was making good espresso. After adjusting the pressurestat to around 1.2 and OPV to 9 bars (see instructions on this site for making these easy adjustments) I was able to make excellent espresso after a few grind adjustments.
Day-to-day operation is a breeze: fill the tank, turn the machine on and let it warm up for a good hour (two is best-I place mine on a timer so it is ready in advance), fill the heated portafilter with 14-16 grams, tamp at 30 lbs and set aside, lift up lever to flush for about 20 seconds (until the steam stops hissing), place portafilter immediately and run for a 25-30 second extraction. Your ready for immediate frothing (notice I keep saying immediate-that is the great thing about the heat exchanger). When finished making the espresso and frothing, I immediately dump the puck and run hot water through the portafilter to clean. Backflush every day.
Purchased from Jim at 1st-Line Equipment. Although I've been buying from him for the past two years, this was my first purchase over $1,000. As always, their service was excellent and the machine arrived in record timing. Every queston I had was answered promptly and thoroughly before and after purchase. What really sold me was the fact that 1st-Line lists on their website all the improvements (with photos) to the Tea that Isomac made for them.