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Buyer's Guide to the
Expobar Brewtus III
By Ian Stewart
When WholeLatteLove introduced the Expobar Brewtus in late 2005,
it was one of the the first double boiler espresso
machines to be rolled out for home use. Thanks to its
remarkable brew temperature control and compact design, it was a hit with the
home barista crowd. Abe Carmeli wrote the original buyer's guide several years
ago. In the meantime, other espresso machines have joined the double
boiler ranks. Does the new Brewtus keep pace with the competition? This
guide takes a look at the upgrades introduced by the latest model, the
Expobar Brewtus III.
The new Brewtus comes in three flavors:
Brewtus III-V— a pour over version with a vibratory pump similar to the original version,
Brewtus III-V Plus— a vibratory pump version that is "direct
connect ready", and the Brewtus III-R— a plumbed-in rotary pump model.
This review tested the Brewtus III-R. Other than the pump,
observations here should be equally applicable to other versions of the
To complement my more seasoned approach
to making espresso, this guide benefits from input from my wife, Karen,
who is is a devoted cappuccino fan with little patience for finicky
espresso machines. Her input was especially helpful when validating the
"newbie" viewpoint; I'll return to this point from time-to-time and in
The Brewtus III arrived in the double boxed configuration. The
machine is enclosed in a foam clamshell and the inner box is supported
by air-filled bags. The UPS and FedEx guys will have a difficult time
beating up this well-protected package! The machine is bulky and weighs
62 pounds, so you should enlist a volunteer to help you pull it out of
its cardboard cocoon (tip: lay the box on its side and slide the machine out).
Polished chrome E61 group
The Brewtus III has an all-stainless steel casing with an
impressive and shiny exposed E61 grouphead. As double boiler espressos
machines go, it is relatively compact, requiring only 16.5" in height,
10.5" in width and 17.5" depth. The stainless steel exterior is made from
heavy gauge material and feels quite solid when
lifting it up onto the counter.
Small drip trays are a pet peeve of mine, but the Brewtus III
sports a whopping 64 ounces of capacity. The tray can be either plumbed
in or emptied manually. The Brewtus comes with solid feet with rubber
pads and is nicely raised off of the counter; there's no slipping when
locking in the portafilter.
The Brewtus III is equipped with a no-burn steam arm mounted on
the left and a hot water tap on the right. The steam and water wands
swivel nicely in all directions. While the main benefit of the no-burn
design is a steaming wand that's friendly to the touch, a secondary
benefit is less effort to clean the wand since its cooler surface is
less likely to collect crusty milk residue.
As mentioned earlier, the Brewtus III is a double boiler—one boiler for
steaming and one for brewing. Each boiler has a gauge to indicate the
pressure, one for brew pressure and one for steam boiler pressure.
The Brewtus III also comes with a portafilter, single and double
baskets, a backflushing disc, plastic tamper and bean scoop. I still
haven't figured out why vendors bother with an ill-fitted plastic
tamper. The portafilter has a rounded bottom and the baskets are
Faema-style with sloped walls.
The Brewtus III-R has a rotary pump that needs to be plumbed in.
The machine comes with a long braided stainless hose and the owner's
manual covers the steps necessary to hook it to your water supply. The
Brewtus III-V has a water reservoir, so you won't need to worry about
plumbing. The Brewtus III-V Plus model can be converted to
Sub-degree brew temperature on the Brewtus III is managed by an
electronic temperature control unit (online forum participants
frequently referred to such controllers as a "PID"). The brew
temperature is displayed by the three digit LED display on the front of the