Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
consumer product reviews
consumer espresso machine reviews
Isomac Tea - Paul Cordes's Review
Posted: February 9, 2003, 6:51pm
review rating: 7.0
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
Isomac Tea & Tea II
Where to Buy
Arrow 1st-line Equipment
Arrow 1st in Coffee
 List your business site here.
About "Where to Buy"

More About This Product
Arrow The Isomac Tea has 66 Reviews
Arrow The Isomac Tea has been rated 9.09 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Isomac Tea reviews have been viewed 362,002 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Peter Bigone 10.00
Jim R. 9.26
James Schulman 9.17
Ton Boom 9.00
Blazej Mrozinski 8.67

Previous Review Next Review
Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.8
Manufacturer: Isomac Quality: 10
Average Price: $1,649.00 Usability: 10
Price Paid: $1,000.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Chris Coffee Service Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 4+ years Overall 10
Writer's Expertise: Just starting Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: None
Bottom Line: Great espresso after a short and easy learning curve.
Positive Product Points

If you've read the other reviews, you know all about the great espresso and the wonderful steaming ability of the machine.  You already know that it looks great sitting on a counter.  I'm here to tell you that the best feature of the machine is the drip tray......really!  Making espresso is a messy business.  The huge drip tray lets you rinse portafilters, rinse cups and pull more shots.  The only thing that would make this better is if it were plumbed to a drain.  But since I had to put it where there is no access to plumbing it's the next best solution.

Negative Product Points

The water resevoir is too small.  And because it sits adjacent to the boiler with nothing but a thin peice of stainless steel between it gets overly warm.  The resevoir sits on a set of springs that rides a microswitch so that it shuts down the machine if the water level gets low.  It came adjusted to shut off when the resevoir was half full!  I opened it up and readjusted the shut off for 1/4 full.  Easy enough to do as the Tea opens up easily, but really Isomac needs to rethink this.
Now, three months later I have another small issue.  I noticed that I had small cuts on my fingers from the drip tray.  There are sharp edges on some of that stainless steel sheet metal.  Took a coarse sharpening stone to them and rounded them off.  Alls well now.

Detailed Commentary

I've never had a real espresso maker before.  So I'm not sure how helpful I can be here.  I blew thru a pound of cheap beans from the local grocier adjusting the Mini Mazzer that I got with the machine.  Once adjusted (and getting my tamp reasonably consistant) I began reliably pulling shots of 2oz in 20 - 25 sec. from the double basket.  I then switched to the beans that I home roast.  I continued to have difficulty pulling sweet shots untill I started running water thru the grouphead and cooling down the heat exchanger.  Now the machine pulls shots consistantly, time after time as long as you pay attention to the details.  The actions needed are now second nature and I no longer have to watch the shot like a hawk.  I can get milk out of the fridge, or put it back, cause I know that the Tea is putting out a great shot.  I suspect that it would be possible if your reasonably coordinated to steam milk while the shot is going but since both come to a culmination at about 20 seconds that might get a bit rushed.  If you start steaming about 10 sec into the shot then you should be able to reach over and stop the shot while keeping the steaming going.
Steaming is interesting.  It happens pretty fast.  The very first time I tried it the milk turned to nearly perfect microfoam.  Or at least what I thought microfoam should look like (remember it's my first real machine.)  Then the next 10 times of steaming milk were a disaster with great globs of stiff foam over hot milk.  Now lately I'm beginning to get a feel for it, particularly the sound and the results are coming back around.  Just like dialing in the grinder and your tamp, steaming takes a little finesse.
The hot water dispenser is a nice thought but you have to be careful as the water arrives with quite a bit of steam and tends to splash about quite a bit.  It's actually easier to just steam water to the right temp.  Still I occasionally use the hot water wand for cleaning cups or making tea.  The occasional Americano is made with hot water and some cold water as straight from the wand it's just way to hot.  I like to run water thru the boiler as I hear it keeps the total mineral content down and keeps scaling to a minimum.
Three months later, the espresso is fantastic.  I'm using home roasted Malobar Gold from the Coffee Project.  Very nice.  I've had nothing but compliments on the looks of the machine and the great coffee that it turns out.

Buying Experience

If you've read any of the other reviews then you know how good Chris is.  My experience was no different.
Chris continues to contact me on a regular basis via Email, just to check.  Nothing has gone wrong so no repairs have been required.  I was offered the new steam tip and took him up on the offer, but it hasn't arrived yet.

Three Month Followup

The machine continues to operate flawlessly.  I have it on a timer and it comes on at 5AM to warm up for me.  Stays on till 9AM and then shuts down.
Over the last month I notice that I now have a small false pressure issue where the pressure registered on the boiler is, in fact, not correct.  Letting a little steam out of the wand brings it immediately back.  I understand that this is the vacuume release valve not functioning quite right......I'm willing to live with it.
The espresso is as good as the day after I unpacked it (it took a day to dial it all in.)

FOUR YEAR Followup.....
Wow! Time flys when your having fun.
The vacuume release valve issue mentioned above dissappeared about 6 months later just as mysteriously as it appeared and has not returned.  Maybe just a bit of gunk in the valve?

At the 2 year mark I replaced the rubber gasket at the group head that seals the portafilter.  The old one had become hard and did not seal well.

At the 3 1/2 year mark the whole machine refused to come to pressure or even pump water.  Opened the case and discovered that the plastic Y connector that directs water from the resevoir to pump etc had failed due to heat embrittlement.  Went to local auto parts store and found a near look alike and replaced and all is working fine.

Today is 4 years 3 months and I'm thinking that it's time to get another grouphead gasket.  The machine continues to function flawlessly.

One Year Followup

The machine continues to operate flawlessly.  I have it on a timer and it comes on at 5AM to warm up for me.  Stays on till 9AM and then shuts down.
Over the last month I notice that I now have a small false pressure issue where the pressure registered on the boiler is, in fact, not correct.  Letting a little steam out of the wand brings it immediately back.  I understand that this is the vacuume release valve not functioning quite right......I'm willing to live with it.
The espresso is as good as the day after I unpacked it (it took a day to dial it all in.)

FOUR YEAR Followup.....
Wow! Time flys when your having fun.
The vacuume release valve issue mentioned above dissappeared about 6 months later just as mysteriously as it appeared and has not returned.  Maybe just a bit of gunk in the valve?

At the 2 year mark I replaced the rubber gasket at the group head that seals the portafilter.  The old one had become hard and did not seal well.

At the 3 1/2 year mark the whole machine refused to come to pressure or even pump water.  Opened the case and discovered that the plastic Y connector that directs water from the resevoir to pump etc had failed due to heat embrittlement.  Went to local auto parts store and found a near look alike and replaced and all is working fine.

Today is 4 years 3 months and I'm thinking that it's time to get another grouphead gasket.  The machine continues to function flawlessly.

Previous Review Next Review
Write a Review for this Product
review rating: 7.0
Posted: February 9, 2003, 6:51pm
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
Interactive
Search
Login Password
forgot pw | signup
quickNav
advertisement
sponsorad
Craft Roasted Coffee
Some days you make the coffee. Other days the coffee makes you.
bit.ly/craftroasting-ks
sponsorad
Stefano's Espresso Care
Repair - Parts - Sales
Factory Authorized &
Trained Technician
www.espressocare.com
advertisement
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.188330173492)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+