Which Quick Mill espresso machine do you recommend?

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
bleazier
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Postby bleazier » Tue Oct 10, 2006 2:04 pm

I really want an espresso machine and I have been reading the posts for a year now and I first thought that I wanted a Miss Silvia but I do not want to feel the urge to upgrade so I have been holding out. I would mostly be making milk-based drinks for myself, kids and friends but my husband is strictly a straight-up espresso guy.

I have been looking at the Quick Mill Vetrano, Anita and Alexis.

I need help in justifying the costs between these machines. If anyone has experience with any of these I would greatly appreciate. I am rather a newby and I want to make the purchase only once and not feel any regrets. And I do NOT have unlimited funds so stretching up to the Vetrano is really going to be a stretch for me but if its worth it, I will hold off to save up for it. But if there is no real difference between the Anita and Alexis that I will settle with the Alexis.

I am also going to be purchasing either a Rocky, Mini Mazzer or Macap (have not yet decided).

Thank you very much for your thoughts and directions on this purchase.

Barb

mybs
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Postby mybs » Tue Oct 10, 2006 6:09 pm

Considering that you'll largely be making milk-based drinks a large proportion of the time, I'd go ahead and cancel the Alexia from your stated choices. Since it's a single boiler machine requiring you to switch between brewing and steaming temperatures, it will be much less convenient for you.

The Anita, which I currently own, is a great HX machine, but it does lack certain features that the Vetrano possesses. First of all, it runs off a tank and cannot be easily plumbed in. This means that you will need to constantly refill the reservoir, which can be an additional hassle, especially since you need to remove the top cover (i.e. cup warmer) to add in additional water. The Vetrano also has an optional drain so that you don't need to bother with emptying the drip tray, which can be quite often if you flush/backflush the HX regularly. However, if you don't own your own place or do not wish to deal with a flojet system, the Anita is a great choice and offers some portability (well...as portable as an espresso machine weighing nearly 50 lbs can be...). Another difference is the fact that rotary pump in the Vetrano is quieter than the vibe pump found in the Anita. The Vetrano has no burn steam and hot water wands, which makes it less likely for you to burn yourself by touching them accidentally and also makes them easier to wipe clean. The steam and hot water valves in the Vetrano are also upgraded and of better quality than that found in the Anita. The dual manometer for measuring both boiler and brew pressure on the Vetrano is IMO better looking :)

Either Macap and Mazzer would make a fantastic pair with either Anita or Vetrano. I have the Macap M4 stepless myself and love it.

If I owned a home and knew that I wouldn't likely need to move anytime soon, then I would choose the Vetrano over the Anita.

grong
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Postby grong » Tue Oct 10, 2006 6:14 pm

I have a Zaffiro, I think comparable to Alexia. A great machine for espresso, but for steaming milk regularly as you indicate you will be doing, you might wish for an HX machine that will steam on demand. The Zaffiro is a powerful steamer, but you have to wait about 90 seconds to get to steaming temp, then let your brew temp lower for the next espresso. Good luck choosing your machine.

jchamb
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Postby jchamb » Tue Oct 10, 2006 9:25 pm

I have the Quick Mill Alexia, as well as the Quick Mill stepless grinder. Like you, I also drink mostly milk-based drinks, although my wife drinks americanos. As as been noted, the Anita is an HX machine while the Alexia is not. This means that the Anita (and Andreja and Vetrano) will allow you to pull a shot of espresso, and steam at the same time.

The Alexia is not an HX machine, so you have to pull the shot then flip the steam switch and wait up to 2 minutes for it to reach steam temperature. Actually I rarely wait the full time, as it is a very powerful steamer and I can easily steam my milk after about a minute.
Aside from that, it is an excellent, well built machine, with an e61 group and you can pull excellent doubles and singles.

My decision was based on mostly cost. The Anita runs about $995, which is about what I paid for the Alexia/grinder combination. For my personal preferences, I decided to wait the extra minute or two and fit the Alexia into my budget. Now that about a month has gone by I find that I'm very happy (extremely happy) with my decision. For the two of us (I rarely if ever entertain) it works well, and I can pull a double rather quickly and wait the minute to steam my milk.

Did I say that it pulls excellent shots? I'm sure that is true with any of the Quick Mill machines, but I'm amazed that I can consistently pull back to back really good shots - much, much better than my older Starbucks Barista.

That's the biggest difference between the machines, and there are some other minor things also, but I'm sure that you will love whatever you choose.

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CoffeeBeau
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Real Name: Bob Le Beau
Equipment: Anita, Rocky and RK
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Postby CoffeeBeau » Tue Oct 10, 2006 10:05 pm

Nice choices to wade through. I have the Anita and Rocky combo (the budget plan for HX espresso in at about $1265 plus tamper, pitcher etc). This is a very nice starting point for more serious espresso. The Hx gives you flexibility of flushing the head for cooling the brew temp.

I agree with the tank issue. It would be nice to have a direct connect, but I dont think this will be my last machine, just one that should last about 15 years or so.

Best of luck, and welcome to HB

Bob

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Fr. John
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Equipment: Quickmill Vetrano, Mazzer Super Jolly
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Postby Fr. John » Wed Oct 11, 2006 4:20 pm

You don't really need another detailed comparison, as it has been made already. My two cents:

I have the Vetrano and really can't imagine picking one of the other machines you mention. Not because they are not good machines but because the pluses of the Vetrano are necessities for me:

- rotary pump. I can't over emphasize how great this is. Low noise is fantastic!
- HX - though it is often cited that one of the primary advantages of an HX is the ability to steam and pull at the same time, I never do this. However, my argument for the HX does stem from this, as what I like is the ability to instantly start steaming when I am done with my pour, so I guess in a round about way it's the same thing. Not waiting for a single boiler to get to steam temp is great.
- plumbed, after using a pour over, this has spoiled me for good.

As for the grinder, all your choices are great. I went with the MACAP M4 over the Mazzer because of price and cleanliness. I sold my Rocky for the increased speed of the MACAP.
Fr. John

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mrgnomer
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Postby mrgnomer » Wed Oct 11, 2006 7:59 pm

I agree with Fr. John,

I upgraded a couple months ago from a Silvia to a Vetrano. Originally the Elektra A3 was at the top of the list for an upgrade but after trying the Vetrano out next to the Elektra the quality of the espresso was the pretty much the same and the Vetrano was easier for me to use. For a home machine the Vetrano is a very good deal.

The rotary pump is quiet and with the flushing you'll do a plumbed in machine is a worry free luxury. No worries filling a reservoir. The no burn, fully adjustable steam and water wands are features that aren't found on a lot of machines in the Vetrano's price range. The Sirai pressurestat upgrade adds to the quality and reliablility of the machine. The extra cost over the Anita or Alexis is well worth it. You can plump in the drip tray with a Vetrano as well.

The Silvia I passed on to my sister and brother in law. Recently I was over at their place pulling shots on the Silvia. I forgot about the lag to wait for the brewing temp to get into the right range and the lag for steaming. I don't think I'll ever be satisfied with anything but a good e61 HX or better anymore.

I've got a Macap stepless M4. Excellent grinder. The worm gear apparantly makes for much easier adjusting than the collar of the stepless Mazzer. Fine tuning the grind is easy and exact.

Quality wise I think the Vetrano not only will last a life time but I find it such a good machine and the shots so good that I've no thought of upgrading. With the Silvia, once I figured out how to get fairly decent shots from her, I was pining for an upgrade after a few months of getting her. As a collaboration with Chris' Coffee and Quickmill the Vetrano's been tweaked to offer all the options to make it the best e61 HX machine for home use.

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Fr. John
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Postby Fr. John » Wed Oct 11, 2006 8:14 pm

mrgnomer wrote:The no burn, fully adjustable steam and water wands are features that aren't found on a lot of machines in the Vetrano's price range. The Sirai pressurestat upgrade adds to the quality and reliablility of the machine.


Both excellent points I had missed, especially the no burn wands, really fantastic!
Fr. John

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Postby Compass Coffee » Wed Oct 11, 2006 9:00 pm

mrgnomer wrote:The no burn, fully adjustable steam and water wands are features that aren't found on a lot of machines in the Vetrano's price range.
As far as I know those no burn wands are features seldom found on machines other than Quick Mills at any price, commercial or prosumer! Personally I've never had a problem easily wiping a "standard" wand clean after steaming. And personally don't have a problem getting burned by standard wands though I suppose you can, just like you can burn yourself on an E61 group! Not saying they don't have their coolness factor, but see them as a non-issue in really comparing machine features.
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Fr. John
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Postby Fr. John » Wed Oct 11, 2006 9:28 pm

Compass Coffee wrote:As far as I know those no burn wands are features seldom found on machines other than Quick Mills at any price, commercial or prosumer! Personally I've never had a problem easily wiping a "standard" wand clean after steaming. And personally don't have a problem getting burned by standard wands though I suppose you can, just like you can burn yourself on an E61 group! Not saying they don't have their coolness factor, but see them as a non-issue in really comparing machine features.


I agree in that they certainly wouldn't be a deciding factor unless everything else was equal. However, they are nice, both funtionally and asthetically, the large diameter is pleasing.
Fr. John