I share your views, having been in the same situation of owning a very well respected HX machine in the past.edna713 wrote:IMHO, an HX is optimized to make steam and VERY hot water w/ coffee as an afterhought......
I came to the conclusion that HX is probably a neat idea for commercial machines with large boilers which are in fairly constant use, but doesn't downsize well to the very much smaller boilers in the "prosumer" machines, and the relatively intermittent use they get in a domestic environment. A commercial machine with a big boiler will have steam to spare running at a lower temperature than is needed in the much smaller boilers in domestic machines. In addition, constant usage will keep the water flow through the HX's at a rate where overheating isn't going to be a problem. The combination of these 2 factors makes them much more easily usable than the situation home users are faced with.
Small HX machines are, of course, ideal for those who love to play around with flushes and practising their art of getting the temperature targetted to a fraction of a degree. I'm not sufficiently obsessive - see my username
I sold the HX machine, and bought a double boiler machine which is much much easier to use, and for me much more consistent in the end product it produces. It has electronic and adjustable temperature control of both boilers, insulated boilers, automatic or manual dosing, and is plumbed in and out.
I did toy with the idea of getting a good single boiler machine - Zaffiro type, and something like a silvia just to make steam. Decided that the space would be a problem...and aesthetics came into it a bit have to admit
Anyone who asks for my advice these days gets pointed towards a double boiler machine. It's a shame there are so few on the market, especially now the Reneka is no longer manufactured. If I had to buy again, I'd almost certainly get a La Spaziale S1 based on what's currently available.