The QM67's a great machine. Trade a rotatry pump for vibe to get a double boiler PID'd E61 group at this price? Made all kinds of sense to me.
Positive Product Points
Very solid build quality, good attention to detail heavy gauge stainless throughout. Heavy E61 group. Dual Boiler. PID controller, digital temp display. No-burn steam wand.
Negative Product Points
Vibe pump is not as quiet as a rotary. Reservoir is 3 liter, not tiny but not huge; requires vertical clearance above machine to get a safe, spill-free refill.
The QM67 was a huge step up for me from a low end Krupp and it brought equally huge improvements. Build quality and fit & finish are excellent, clearly care was taken designing and building the machine. Although the vibe pump is noiser than a rotary pump the one in the QM67 is not overpoweringly so and that's the only concession I see between this machine and what I'd consider my "ideal". But it delivers the performance I'm looking for at a price point I couldn't find a match for elsewhere The trade off from rotary to vibe is for me more than made up for by the QM67 being a well-build double boiler machine with a PID controller. Temperature consistency is spot on, like +-1 degree all the time. I've been making home espresso for years but still consider myself a novice barista so temperature surfing would have been very frustrating and, with good beans, very expensive. It's a significant additional variable that I'm happy not to have to worry about-- I wanted to be able to turn the machine on, get it up to temp and have my first shot be a consistently good one. I'm using a vintage Quick Mill grinder, no doser no nothing, but it's still grinding very dependably. Although I've experimented widely with all the national classics from Counter Culture, Intelligentsia and Stumptown I've standardized on a "local" roaster, Barrington Roasters in Great Barrington, MA, with their Barrington Gold Espresso, highly recommended. I'm using a bottomless portafilter and, inspired by many of the regional pros, will probably continue to do so forever. The QM67 is really stable and, once the dosing/distribution and brew time are dialed in, it delivers shots with classic "tiger striping" and consistent great taste- with the Barrington Gold that's a very balanced full bodied profile with a huge chocolate finish. The machine and particularly the brew group have a lot of mass-- I think the machine weighs about 60 lbs-- so once it's up to temp it stays there and I think that contributes significantly to pulling reliably tasty shots. I don't texture much milk but there seems to be more than enough steam for multiple milk drinks without any roll-off.
Eight months out the machine still looks, sounds and performs as if new, a testament to heavy gauge stainless durability. I have no ability to plumb so I had no interest in a machine that allowed that. The reservoir is, logically, across the rear of the machine and a bit narrow front to back so in my narrow countertop area with shelves above it requires a careful refill to avoid any water straying into areas with electrics. I've never fully drained the reservoir in a single session so I wait until I've backflushed, cleaned and powered off the machine before I refill the reservoir.
For me the QM7 was completely in the sweet spot. I wanted a long lasting solidly built machine that was a double boiler PID'd design to eliminate temperature surfing at a very competitive price. To go vibe rather than rotary pump to achieve this feature set at this price point seemed like a very sensible decision and it was great to see it being offered at Chris' Coffee.
I purchased from Chris' Coffee and can't say enough about their customer service They were helpful in discussing options in my price range and trade offs among the approaches that different machines use. I was able to do an in-person pickup of the QM67 and got a thorough tour of the machine including a maintenance overview from the Service Department. It looks like Chris' has played a role in the refinement of design and construction of the machine- layout, wiring and components appear to be fully matched to US not Euro power sourcing. A "10" for Chris' Coffee.
Three Month Followup
The QM67 continues to be reliable and maintenance free. I seldom have the time to dive in during the week but it gets a huge weekend workout. I haven't done a survey to see if any other comparable machines have come onto the market but I'm still completely satisfied with the QM67-- dual boiler PID controlled, can pull very consistent shots with no tweaking or experimentation. Occasionally have taken the time to explore other great beans but have always returned to the Barrington Gold blend for its toasty chocolate finish. Counter Culture Rustico is another favorite. Another advantage of the QM67's consistency is the ability to explore specialty beans without a lot of waste, once the grind's dialed in the machine always pulls a great shot. I suspect that someone who makes a lotta lattes might find the steam boiler's texturing capacity a little limited but on the few occasions that I experienced any limit it's recovery has seemed very fast. My milk consumption is limited-- a macchiato and steamed milk for my wife's London Fog-- but back to back lattes haven't strained the machine.