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QuickMill Anita - Greg Starr's Review
Posted: August 3, 2005, 1:19pm
review rating: 7.8
feedback: (7) comments | read | write
QuickMill Anita Espresso Machine
Where to Buy
Arrow Chris' Coffee Service
Arrow 1st in Coffee
Arrow iDrinkCoffee.com
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About "Where to Buy"

More About This Product
Arrow The QuickMill Anita has 47 Reviews
Arrow The QuickMill Anita has been rated 9.19 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since August 1, 2005.
Arrow QuickMill Anita reviews have been viewed 260,383 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Jeff Cirelli 9.00
Cameron Neilson 9.00
Tim Eggers 8.85
Michael Wolfson 8.35
Jeffrey the Barak 8.33

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.6
Manufacturer: QuickMill Quality: 9
Average Price: $1,595.00 Usability: 10
Price Paid: $895.00 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: Chris' Coffee Service Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 3 months Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I live coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Awesome machine, even if it had cost more.  No upgrade needed here!  Can't wait to use it every morning!  Paired with a quality grinder, tamper, and good beans, espresso heaven is yours!
Positive Product Points

An amazing machine!  A perfect example of industrial design, based on consumer needs being specified during the design phase.  Everything is where it is accessible.  Minimal electronics - manual steam and hot water controls were deemed best for the user, allowing for great control. Superb performance, professional results, very low learning curve.  Great aesthetics!  No need to upgrade, unless I open a coffee house.  Best machine value for the money and at under $1K - an amazing deal.

Negative Product Points

(Having to reach here)
Cup warming tray must be removed to fill reservoir (common to many pour over machines)
Nuts holding steam and hot water knobs in place become very hot
Steam and hot water arms only move up and down; do not swivel.
Stainless Steel - some consumers may not like the "fingerprints" issue.  Windex or a microfiber cloth is good for cleaning them off, but they are a point to consider.
Warm Up Time - recommended 30+ minutes (common to all HX machines)

Detailed Commentary

I purchased the Anita, after doing a comparison with the Expobar Brewtus, La Spaziale, and Wega Lyra.  I decided on the Anita, finding it gave me the most "bang for my buck" and after researching the details surround its custom design and production, specifically targeting ease of use, functionality, and durability.

Technical Specs (other than machine dimensions, measurements are approximate):

Width - 10 3/4"
Depth - 17 1/4"
Height - 15 3/4"
Boiler - 1.6 liter
Weight -  47 lbs
Reservoir - 3 L (with magnetic switch to control heating element in case of low water level)
Heating Element - 1400 W
Heat Exchanger - built in
Expansion Valve - adjustable brew pressure
Vacuum Breaker - no vapor lock
Pump - 52 W - Vibe
Group Head - E61
Drip Tray Capacity - 1750 ml/ 7 cups/ 57 oz. (useable, filled to the bottom of the turned edge on the steel, allowing you to carefully get it to the sink)
Drip Tray Depth - 50 mm
Standard Portafilter Diameter (inside) - 63 mm
Standard Portafilter Depth - 28 mm (to center of drain)
Standard Portafilter Basket Diameter (internal) - 62 mm, tapering to 58 mm at the coffee tamp level
Tamper - 58 mm
Cord Length - 5' 9"
Cup Warming Tray/Reservoir Cover- W: 270 mm  X D: 190 mm (10 5/8" X 7 1/2")
Warranty - One Year, by vendor
Free Shipping in the Continental US

Internal:  High quality fittings, valves, hoses, tubing, and adhesives, specified during the design phase to resolve issues discovered in other models.

Gauge Readings:

Standing, after 45+ minute warm up - Boiler: 1.1 Bar, Brew: 4.2 Bar
Brewing: - Boiler 1.2 Bar, Brew 10.1 Bar

Details:

I received the Anita on a Thursday, after ordering on the previous Sunday.  It arrived exceptionally well packed.  The instructions detailed both the startup procedure (minimizing risk the machine and owner) and a basic guide to using the machine.  A nice feature is the inclusion of water test strips to help the new owner determine the Ph of the water, before filling the machine.  An excellent idea.

First Impression: A compact, yet extremely sturdy machine.  Every control is obvious and its use apparent - no blinking for flashing controls - clear, straight-forward analog instruments, knobs, one lever (pump) and one switch - On or Off.  No "overhand" for controls, blocking the access to the work area.

The appearance is professional, industrial, but also has a retro feel to it...the Anita's appearance is classic - I could see working on a 1930's streamlined express train, a 1950's diner, or on the counter in the most stylish restaurant or cafe.  If you appreciate form following function, the Anita will more the please.

Operation:  As stated, the controls are almost self-explanatory.  The vibratory pump is fairly quiet (less noise than my Cunill grinder) and the working surfaces (other than the group head -GH) are cool, due to internal boiler insulation.  The machine reacts immediately to control commands - no delays.  Steam production is constant and steady, no spitting water.  The hot water production will fill a normal coffee mug in under 20 seconds, with no affect on the ability to pull a shot.

You receive 2 portafilters (PF) - single spout and double spout.  Both lock in solidly, securely.  No leaks or spray.  Baskets are finely perforated and easy to clean.  All PF parts are solid, heavy metal or commercial-grade plastic.

Brewing Sequence:  After the machine has come to temperature (if it has been sitting awhile, you may need to do a cooling flush), you grind, dose, distribute and tamp your coffee in the PF basket.  You have the option of having the retaining clip in the PF or removing it.   I prefer to tamp in the basket and then place it in the PF, so not having the clip alleviates and disturbing the tamp.  A bottomless PF eliminates the need for this.  Lock the PF in place, place your cup,  and raise the control lever to engage the pump.  The machine will begin filling the GH and, after approx. 4 seconds - depending on your grind and tamp - the espresso will start to flow out of the spout on the PF.  When you have pulled the shot your desire, you lower the lever and the pump stops, as does the flow.  The drip tray screen is of heavy gauge steel as the rest of the machine, and provides a sturdy surface for the cup.

Steaming:  The machine produces copious amounts of steam, more than enough to make a few milk drinks.  Microfoam is not a problem, once the technique is in place.  The wand will reach the bottom of most frothing pitchers and there is clearance to the side of the machine to move the pitcher as needed.

Backflush:  The Anita comes with a blank PF basket, to use for backflushing.  Backflushing is easy with the gauges visible and the accurate response of the pump to the lever movement.  Also, the vendor provides tips on properly doing a backflush, without damage to the machine.

Clean Up:  The drip tray was designed for easy emptying.  The surfaces, being stainless, are quickly cleaned with glass cleaner or all-purpose.  I also use a microfiber towel for day-to-day fingerprint removal.

Results:  While the quality of a shot has a great deal to do with beans, grind, and tamp, the shots produced by the Anita are of a consistently high quality, full of flavor, topped with a good amount of crema.  Milk drinks have also been exceptional, benefiting from the machines ability to do both shots and steaming, thus minimizing any cooling.

Buying Experience

Superb.  Chris' Coffee provided quick delivery, a well-packed product and ensured that the machine was ready to go, out of the box.  Calls to the company were answered quickly and in excruciating detail.  Quality comes first at Chris' and it is obvious.  I have made subsequent online purchases, and they have been of the same high quality.

Three Month Followup

3 months have gone by and the Anita still rocks.  It has consistently provided quality shots from a wide variety of beans and roasts.  Easy to use, easy to maintain, super design and appearance.  I removed the "On/Off" letters by the power switch - redundant (light on...I guess the machine's on). Cleaning is a breeze.  Micro-foam is min almost daily!  All in all, it is one of the best pieces of equipment I have ever purchased...a bargain had I paid full price or even more.

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review rating: 7.8
Posted: August 3, 2005, 1:19pm
feedback: (7) comments | read | write
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