Handsome machine that is providing consistent output very reliably. 1 year update posted 1/12/07
Positive Product Points
· Beautiful machine. Chrome everything and it is flawless · Pressure is consistent · Drip tray is big and easy to pull out and empty · Packaging seems designed to make roundtrips if needed
Negative Product Points
· Reservoir location in very back of machine is inconvenient if under cupboards. · Pump is a little loud.
Deciding on Anita was not too hard. I had called Chris at Chriscoffee to ask about Nuova Oscar and what he could do for me on price. As we talked about Oscar, he mentioned Anita was coming and there would be an initial $100 discount. He had a great deal that you could get on the waiting list and then they would call you when Anita arrived and you could still change your mind. After more info became available and pictures were posted I knew the two month wait was worth it. She is a beautiful machine with high quality polished chrome and so far very reliable. The only slight flaw I could pick out was that one of the pressure gauges was not mounted straight up.
Packaging was very robust. Chris tells you to save it in case the machine needs to be shipped back and it looks like it was designed for multiple uses. Unit arrived in flawless condition. Instruction manual is not too complicated, but also does not give much info on how to tweak. There is plenty of commentary on Coffeegeek and Home-barista.com on the Adreja which operates almost the same so that there is plenty of readily available advice on almost every type of operation and question you might have.
I have been using Anita almost everyday for about 3 weeks and have not had any issues. Operation has been consistent with the variability due to my learning how to dose and tamp consistently. Even though I am a barista rookie, there have been some incredible pulls as good or better than anything I have gotten from even the best coffee houses. This machine can put out the crema. I have tried espresso fresh roasted beans from Pacific Bay Coffee in Walnut Creek, CA and Has Beans in Mount Shasta, CA. Both gave comparable and excellent results.
Backflushing is easy. Anita came with a single and double portafilter. I set up one to be for backflushing. The steaming wand gets hot but has a rubber sleeve so you don't get burnt, though I think you would need to hold the arm for a few seconds to actually blister. The no-burn steaming wand and head are a couple things you give up buying Anita instead of the Quickmil Andreja which is the luxury version of Anita.
I have difficulty getting good microfoam, but I tend to think it is operator error and not Anita.
Chris at Chriscoffee took a lot of time on the phone with me to help decide on a machine and grinder. He was very personable and even though it was late for him (after 7:30 pm EST - I live in CA), he never tried to rush me or even push me for any kind of decision. He was just filling me up with information to distill at my leisure. So, about a week later, I got on the waiting list and then was notified when the Anita's arrived and asked again if I really wanted it. I bought the Macap 4, some cups, cleaner, coffeetool brush, and a pitcher. They ended up comping me on the cups. Shipping tracking worked fine and I always knew where in the country everything was until it arrived and all in perfect condition. Chris even throws in some water hardness strips to check your supply before using your new machine. Chriscoffee adhered to the schedule they provided when I preordered Anita.
Three Month Followup
- No reliabilty issues. - Maintenance has been easy - No degradation of product. I scratched it a little when removing the cover by not being careful enough with the screwdriver letting it slip off the screws around the stainless steel. - I have started experimenting with adjusting the brew pressure. You must take the outside cover off which is very easy (6 screws). The adjustment is easy and there are simple instructions with pictures on the Chriscoffee website. I have reduced it from the orignal setting of 10.2 to about 10 (I made a half-turn adjustment of the nut) and plan to take it down to around 9.5. My own inconsistencies in tamping are getting better, but still need to be improved before doing much machine tweaking. - There are many discussion threads on coffeegeek about Anita and what owners are struggling with and how to overcome which has been very helpful. For instance, I was not so successful with frothing milk and found quite a bit of helpful info in that regard. - I raised my original ratings slightly based on the excellent performance of this machine. - After consulting with Chris, I bought an Intermatic Heavy Duty Timer at the local hardware store for about $20 which has worked well for turning Anita on and off automatically. - My wife now enjoys caps which she never really did before. Our kitchen is actually more organized than before because we had to make room for Anita and Macap M4. The mail is now in the home office where it belongs. - I am using Anita 5 days a week (I'm gone a couple) for over three months pulling 2 - 8 mostly double shots. Pulling a good double is definitely easier for me than with the single basket. - No upgradeitis though I have seen the price of the Fiorenzato Briccoletta reduced at a couple sites which would have looked very tempting if buying today. - Followup questions to Chriscoffee have been handled quickly and expediently, though really, almost everything I have needed is already posted in either coffeegeek threads or on the Chriscoffee FAQ's. This has almost eliminated the need to contact Chriscoffee. - Current beans of choice are from Pacific Roast Co in Walnut Creek, CA and the Redwood and Sweetness espresso blends from Barefoot Coffee Roasters in Cupertino, CA. - I am very pleased with this machine and have no regrets on its purchase. I only wonder if I might have been happier with the MiniMazzer and its infinite grind adjustment vs the Macap M4 click system.
One Year Followup
- No quality problems that were build related. Once, I did not have the water inlet hose routed properly to the bottom of the reservoir which caused the auto-shutoff low water safety feature to be defeated. The machine was dry pumping for about 10 -15 minutes before I heard it, however, it still pumps the required amount of water in 30 seconds that Chris told me was spec. The pump "sounds" a little different but no change in performance. The fix was to ensure all the hose slack is pulled from the internal cavity and the inlet hose is at the bottom of the resevoir. - Everyone I make espressos or cappuccinos for comment on their high quality. Maybe not the best of the very best coffee houses, but, certainly better than anything you would ever get at Starbucks, most coffee houses, and any restaurant. - I have become so spoiled on Anita's high quality output I can hardly enjoy espressos or caps from commercial establishments. I only get coffee when going out unless going to one of the few micro roasters around the Bay Area that I know. - I tried various frothing methods recommended on Coffeegeek, but eventually went back to the method recommended by Chris Coffee that came with the machine. My tastes have evolved and I now find that most coffee houses over-froth their milk and the Anita is great for the micro foam I enjoy. - Chris has continued to be very helpful on the few questions I have had since the 3 month review. I know there have been a couple people complaining about Chris in other reviews and blogs, but, I cannot say enough good things about him and his organization - great customer service in helping to decide what to buy, the ordering and delivery process, and follow-up questions after purchase. - No upgradeitis which probably says the most of any other comment.