Need review of Izzo Alex

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z0h

#1: Post by z0h »

hi all-
am in desparate need of a new machine and have been digging around in archives, forums, and reviews. I have quite a few candidates lined up, including the QM, S1, and VBM. One that looks intriguing, but is lacking in reviews and other information, is the Izzo Alex- I like the E61, Rotary pump, and option for top fill or plumbed (will certainly be plumbing in the next year, but not immediately). This seems like a great machine, but I haven't been able to find any reviews or strong opinions about it. I'll be pairing whatever I get with a mazzer mini. It'll be making a mix of milk and pure espresso, and I'll also use it to hone barista skills- for these reasons, versatility is key. I'm not completely sold on HX vs. dblBoiler, but rather a good workhorse that will be consistent and good quality/functionality.

would love any reviews, comments, suggesitons, feedback etc.

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shadowfax

#2: Post by shadowfax »

I also find Alex perplexing. It seems like a real winner with the rotary pump, ability to switch to plumbed in seamlessly, and also its larger boiler 2L boiler. It seems like it has a huge drip tray too. The only thing I dislike about it is its weird martian look, with the silly legs and the disproportionately tall tray assembly, not to mention the 1980s heavy metal band "ALEX" logo.

I would have bought alex if it didn't look so funny, given how much cheaper it is than Vetrano, but I am much happier for all that I think. the commercial steam valves and no-burn wands are pretty nice for the extra price...
Nicholas Lundgaard

z0h (original poster)

#3: Post by z0h (original poster) »

not to mention the 1980s heavy metal band "ALEX" logo
I thought that was a selling point?

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shadowfax

#4: Post by shadowfax » replying to z0h »

I suppose it does fill a niche. Personally, I think the 1950s/60s style branding of the VBM is the coolest, but I don't want to pay what they want for a plumbed in rotary, not to mention it's not even here yet. The fancy-pants Victorian script of the QuickMill machines doesn't do much for me, but I definitely like it better than Izzo's heavy metal. I guess that makes me a child of the 90s or something (I am probably a young'un on this board, being in my early 20s).
Nicholas Lundgaard

tcampbells

#5: Post by tcampbells »

Just do a search for 'Alex". http://www.toomuchcoffee.com/index.php
Thomas

kinkbmxco

#6: Post by kinkbmxco »

Ill chime in with my 2 cents for whatever its worth...
I purchased an Alex by Izzo MK1 (The first model) from Chris' Coffee. I was in the same dilemma as you, however, my budget sounds like it was a little bit less. Finding a demo Izzo from Chris' Coffee saved me about $500. I paid $1000 for a first year model. The newer model comes with multi directional steam wands, a little deeper drip tray with a slight redesign, and a brew pressure gauge. For the year that I have owned it I have been fairly pleased with it's performance.
For the price I paid, I don't feel like I could have got a better deal. I wonder sometimes what it would be like if I had a Vetrano sitting on my counter top. But if I had purchased a Vetrano I may be wondering the same thing about the Alex.
I love the convenience of switching from line in to pour over. Not that this is a feature that is utilized very often by myself, but it's nice to know I can if I need to.
Minor annoyances:
I don't really like the steam wand or hot water knobs. They are a little bit small. The Vetrano has nice big round ones which I would prefer.
My pressure stat seems like it clicks over a lot and sometimes makes weird noises, I could insulate the boiler but I am too lazy.
Hmm... I guess that is really it.
In early January my Gicar box fried, but I wasn't able to diagnose the problem, instead I had to ship it to Chris Coffee, and they replaced it under warranty.
I don't really consider this a problem with the Izzo, because lots of machines use gicar boxes...
I ended up removing my Alex logo too by the way..
Anyways,
No buyers remorse after a year of owning it.

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#7: Post by cannonfodder »

Do a search for Izzo Alex. There are around 118 hits. You could also ask one of the many members that own one what they think if they do not chime in on this thread.
Dave Stephens

MellowCat

#8: Post by MellowCat »

there's some very knowledgeable users on this UK-based coffee forum:
http://www.coffeetimeuk.com/

Also check out their Wiki - there's some very good information collected there as well.

A UK distributor - bellabarista.co.uk - also has in-depth PDF-based guides for this model as well as the others they sell available on their website.

neilCC

#9: Post by neilCC »

I've got an Alex, I bought the MkII version from bellabarista.co.uk. The "Alex" logo was just a sticker that came unattached with mine and I never stuck it on. I got the pour-over only version. I've also got a Mazzer Mini (doser).
I think it is a good machine, I've no complaints with it at all. The large drip tray is useful for the flushing the HX requires, meaning you don't have to empty it quite as often, which is handy for me as I don't have it plumbed in nor out. It certainly seems like a good workhorse to me, but it is my first real espresso machine. I mostly drink straight espresso and I've been getting great shots from it. I only make an occasional milk drink and it seems to have plenty of steaming power for that.
I've had it for about 5 months now and I'm really happy with it. I was also considering double boiler at the time, but opted for this HX after reading more about flushing and HXs here on this site. Once I realised that there wasn't anything difficult about flushing it down to brewing temp, I decided I didn't need two boilers, which made my choice easier as I wasn't seeing many double boiler machines that I liked at my price range.

I've been meaning to post a photo on the "Post a pic of your home espresso setup..." topic.

neilCC

#10: Post by neilCC »

bellabarista have a good PDf manual of the machine showing all it's features.
http://www.bellabarista.co.uk/pdf/IzzoA ... lookv1.pdf

Two gauges, one for pump pressure the other for boiler pressure.
I've never tried a no-burn steam wand, but Alex's works fine so long as you only touch the rubber bit. There are so many different ways to burn yourself with these things that one more doesn't make much difference to me.