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Quickmill Vetrano
Conclusion


Chris' Coffee Service Looking among the reviews on this site today, the majority are E61-based espresso machines. Its good looks and forgiving nature account for the design's popularity. You may be asking yourself, "How am I going to decide among these maddeningly similar choices?!?" Frankly, online discussions of the merits of one model of an E61 espresso machine over another often devolve into bits-and-bolts comparisons because few have the time or access to really suss out the subtle differences. Terms like "commercial quality" are bantered about without attributing said characteristics to any identifiable component or behavior of the machine in question. It's a lot of hairsplitting, but it'd be oversimplifying to claim all E61s are carbon copies of one another. So in closing out this review, allow me to offer a list of noteworthy strengths of the Vetrano as an aid in your decision making process:


My final thoughts on the Vetrano are much the same as the Andreja Premium with which it shares many components: It's solidly built, easy to use, and makes mighty fine espressos. The added bonus over the Andreja Premium, of course, is the whisper-quiet rotary pump and driptray that converts to plumbed-in with minimum hassle. Chris' Coffee Service has Quickmill's ear and they've addressed the nigglers that would irritate increasingly discriminating home baristas (some of that feedback originated from The Bench research leading to this report, but a lot of it came from the owner, Chris Nachtrieb, and buyers of the first production run). As with many high-end speciality purchases, much of what you're buying is the support of the vendor that's behind the equipment as the equipment itself. Keep that in mind when comparison shopping.

This guide retains all the same informal scores of the previous installment, starting with the exceptional espresso score™. This is a rating of the espresso quality a barista with moderate experience should expect on a daily basis. Not surprisingly, the Vetrano earns the same score as its first cousin the Andreja Premium, an 8.5.

Next up is the "morning after" score. This is a relative scale that considers those who are learning and what they should reasonably expect in the early days following delivery—assuming of course that they have read the owner's manual, supplemental instructions provided by the vendor, and this guide's hints and tips. Once again it's an even race among E61-based contenders with all earning a respectable 7.5. This lower score relative to non-HX machines reflects the additional hands-on attention an HX demands. Eric Svendson's E61 adapter / thermocouple combo mentioned earlier in Developing Better Temperature Control Skills would raise this score to 8.5, nearly equalling the high bar set by dual boiler espresso machines.

Two scores for espresso down; now let's turn our attention to the cappuccino and latte lovers among us. Thanks to its added speed and steaming power, well designed tip, and nifty swivel steam arm, the Vetrano delivers a cappuccino lover's score of 9.0. As discussed in Steaming Performance, owners upgrading from less powerful espresso machines may experience an adjustment period; they may wish to purchase a thread adapter so the Vetrano will accept a number of low-volume "cheater" steam tips available from several online vendors.

The convenience and features score is where the Vetrano gloats over the Andreja Premium. Freedom from the need to refill the water reservoir and empty the driptray is a pleasure, doubly so if your espresso machine will be located under kitchen cabinets where it's difficult to access the tank. The purr of a rotary pump versus the buzz of a vibratory pump is another luxury you'll come to appreciate. Access to the machine's innards is easy and the minor changes incorporated into the Andreja Premium over the years have been applied to the rest of the Quick Mill line, demonstrating that the manufacturer is listening to customer concerns. The Vetrano joins the select group of 9.0+ espresso machines on this score, meriting a 9.25.

Quick Mill has established a reputation for quality products overseas and their attention to detail shows throughout, making the Vetrano a shoe-in for a materials and workmanship score of 8.5.

Exceptional
Espresso

Morning
After

Cappuccino
Lover's

Convenience / Features

Materials / Workmanship

Vetrano

8.5

7.5

9.0

9.25

8.5

Andreja Premium

8.5

7.5

9.0

9.0

8.5

Giotto Premium

8.5

7.5

9.0

8.0

8.5

It's understandably discouraging to see so little distinction in the numerical scores, although it shouldn't be surprising given how the E61 design has proven itself among home baristas as a solid platform. Does it deserve the popularity reported in the poll E61 Group Espresso Machine: Is its reputation justified? To-date, the majority's answer is a solid "yes" and I must agree.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Chris Nachtrieb of Chris' Coffee Service (website) for the evaluation machine. I would also like to thank Steve Robinson for his valuable contributions to the taste evaluations. John Weiss' peer review comments were helpful and succinct. Finally, special thanks are due Sean Lennon for his expert knowledge and loan of the "Wizard's Kit", which made studies like those documented in Pressure profiles, preinfusion and the forgiveness factor possible.

Want more information?

If you would like to read about the process of reviewing this machine, see this review's thread in The Bench forum. Like the "bonus DVD" included with many home movies, it augments this report with loads of pictures and commentary, most of which is relevant and sometimes amusing. If you have comments or questions specific to this article, see the Article Feedback forum.