Quickmill Andreja Premium
Conclusion


Chris' Coffee Service Wow, this has been a tough evaluation! No one espresso machine was a knockout winner, although extra points were scored by all in one area or another. I suppose this is expected when you're comparing what's among the best prosumer E61 espresso machines on the market. 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. It was a dead heat with each espresso machine pulling off 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 with all earning a respectable 7.5. This lower score relative to non-HX machines reflects the additional hands-on attention an HX demands (I modestly suggest the helpful HX hints and tips in this how-to automatically raise any HX morning after score by ½ point).

Two scores for espresso down; now let's turn our attention to the cappuccino and latte lovers among us. Thanks to their added speed and steaming power, well designed tip, and their nifty swivel steam arms, the Andreja and Giotto Premium lead with a cappuccino lover's score of 9.0. The Rituale follows with a score of 8.0, in recognition of the ease of producing microfoam, despite its leisurely pace and more restrictive movement of its L-shaped arms.

The convenience and features score shows more contender differentiation, ranking the Andreja Premium in first place, followed by the Isomac Rituale and Giotto Premium tied for second. The Giotto Premium, attractive as it is, loses points for lack of a brew pressure gauge, covers that are tedious to remove, and especially its low-capacity drip tray. On the other hand, it earns back points for its attention to small finishing details like the grooved portafilter handle grips and textured valve knobs with chrome end caps, not to mention its cool half-moon boiler pressure gauge. After all, at this price it isn't just about getting there, but getting there in style. The Rituale's L-shaped steam arm and water tap lags the ergonomic advantages of its competitors, but it offers a huge drip tray with a well-design splash cover and lift-off top. In the end the opposing strengths and weaknesses of the two machines cancel out, leading to an equal score of 8.0 for the Giotto Premium and Rituale.

Finally, a new category, materials and workmanship, closes out this evaluation. ECM and Quick Mill have established reputations for quality products overseas and their attention to detail shows throughout. Isomac uses many of the same components and has the tightest fitting case I've seen, however the wire routing and lesser-quality choices of a few minor components have proven troublesome to some owners. Now that Isomac has a single U.S. distributor, it's my hope that the manufacturer will be spurred to address these lingering quality concerns at the source. However, for the moment, the current Rituale materials and workmanship earns a 7.5, compared to its stronger rivals, the Andreja and Giotto Premium, who once again share the podium with a score of 8.5.

Exceptional
Espresso

Morning
After

Cappuccino
Lover's

Convenience / Features

Materials / Workmanship

Andreja Premium

8.5

7.5

9.0

9.0

8.5

Isomac Rituale*

8.5

7.5

8.0

8.0

7.5

Giotto Premium

8.5

7.5

9.0

8.0

8.5

Rancilio Silvia

7.0

3.0

6.0

5.0

8.0

Steam-type (no pump)

2.0

1.0

2.0

3.0

4.0

Typical café

4.0

n/a

4.5

n/a

n/a

Note: The Isomac Rituale, Isomac Millennium, and Isomac Tea are internally identical.

As before, I won't offer an overall score because it depends too much on the relative weight you place on each of the other scores. Lastly, to help you better appreciate the relative scale of these scores, I offer the same off-the-cuff evaluations for an advanced entry-level espresso machine, the infamous Rancilio Silvia, as shown in the table above. The table also includes the ubiquitous steam-type espresso machine and what one could expect from cafés in my area, if only to put things in proper perspective.

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