Anita is a gem, and will make the highest quality espresso drinks.
Positive Product Points
Excellent design and build. E-61 commercial group. Powerful heat exchanger. Thermal couple protection on the Ulka 52 watt pump. Outer shell very easy to remove. A stunningly attractive espresso maker. Very effective cup warmer. High quality hot water and steam valves, with quality knobs. A large and easy to take out drip tray. Smooth action brew lever. Separate gauges for boiler pressure as well as brew pressure. Large and very clear red and green heating element indicators.
Negative Product Points
Fairly large size if you have a small kitchen. No provision for direct plumbing. No product manual from the factory. (Chris Coffee provides a condensed Anita manual). E-61 commercial group gets very hot, which could cause problems for inquisitive little kids.
I have owned Anita for just a month so my 10 rating does not take reliability issues into account. To sum up my feeling about Anita the word fabulous comes to mind. My first week impression of Anita was that I was filling her tank up all the time. I had mixed feeling about heat exchangers thirst for water. Between the cooling water dance and hot water usage Anita kept demanding water. I now have an “Anita” routine and I actually enjoy filling her up. My routine goes something like this. I fill Anita with water, then attach my single-spouted portafilter with its dedicated double filter basket into the commercial group, turn the power on and walk away. I come back in about thirty-five minutes, and Anita is ready for business. The boiler was set at Chris Coffee at 1.2 bar, and this seems to be a very good pressure to operate in. My first step is to perform the water dance until Anita is not putting out scalding water. I take out my portafilter dry it up, grind my freshly roasted coffee into it, and reattach it to the E-61 commercial group. I am new to quality espresso machines, but I am convinced that the E-61 group saves me from some of my inexperienced technique. I flip up the brew lever, and my concentration focuses on the lower brew pressure gauge. My goal is to brew at 9 bar to 9.5 bar. The gauge is an excellent tool for monitoring grind and tamp consistency. My ability has been improving, and I have made some very nice doubles. I have not mastered frothing milk, so I cannot evaluate Anita’s ability to do it. I know one thing for sure; Anita can bring my freezing cold stainless pitcher with four inches of cold milk to 160 degrees within thirty seconds. The drip tray is easy to empty, and it has good capacity. Anita's stainless #302 construction will look great in any kitchen, and I must say Anita is a gem.
Before my purchase I had questions about heat exchangers and Anita in particular. I e-mailed Chris Coffee with my questions, and Chris called me on the weekend. He was very positive on The QuickMill Company, and the Following Monday I ordered Anita. UPS dropped her off on my front door, and she arrived from her trip across the country in great shape. My limited experience with customer service from Chris Coffee has been very positive, and their web site is fairly well laid out with a good FAQ section.