The Anita represents a fine value among the E-61 HX espresso machines available today
Positive Product Points
E61 grouphead Insulated Boiler Large Resovoir Large drip pan HX design Dual manometers
Negative Product Points
Gauge placement Size Requires at least a 30 minute warmup, 60 minute is better
The Anita is Andreja's "plane Jane" little sister. The differences between the two machines are slight. The important internal components are the same for both Andreja and Anita.
The Anita was purchased to replace a Silvia when it became clear that I was the only espresso drinker in the house. Other family members prefer milk drinks which can be made quite easily with the Silvia. It is just more time consuming. The Anita makes the home baristas job so much easier by providing an almost continuous supply of hot water and steam.
The brewing temperature is very consistent and predictable. The overall shot quality was improved with the Anita i.e. I am throwing away a lot fewer shots since making the upgrade. Undrinkable shots are very rare.
So far the Anita has been reliable. After two years the only failure was the resovoir float that Chris replaced at no expense under warranty. On workdays the machine is powered on in the morning for about 90 minutes and again in the evening for 3 or 4 hours. On weekends/holidays it is powered up in the morning and shut down at night. Grouphead maintenance consists of a backflush after every use, chemical backflush once a month per Chris' recommendation, and group gasket replacement once a year. The grouphead bristle brush is used to clean accessible surfaces at the end of every day. It has never been descaled. The water source is city tapwater run through a simple faucet mounted Pur filter.
The gauge placement makes them somewhat difficult to read. The machine is large, larger than I would have liked but the same can be said for just about every machine in this class. I don't much care for the look of the exposed shiney chromium plated grouphead and the mirror polished stainless sheetmetal work which is why I deducted a point or two in the looks department. Not everyone feels this way, however. Some friends and familly members have indicated that they like the way it looks sitting on the counter.
Chris and his crew are a pleasure to do business with. E-mails are always answered quickly and they work hard to accomodate the customer's needs. They set the standard by which other online merchants can be judged.