Buyer's Guide to the Quick Mill Alexia

Behind the scenes of the site's upcoming equipment reviews.
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jesawdy

#1: Post by jesawdy »

Chris' Coffee introduces the Quick Mill Alexia, a single boiler E61 grouphead-based machine targeting the expectations of the espresso purist. The Quick Mill Alexia is based on the prior Quick Mill Eliane with some important upgrades.

Taking a cue from the success of the Quick Mill Anita, Andreja and Vetrano heat exchanger-based espresso machines, Alexia has the same magnetic float sensor for pourover reservoir low water detection, resettable high-temperature limit switch, ball-valve steam wand, and easily removable drip tray and cover. All this in the decidedly small package of 9"W x 15.75"D x 15.25"H, but still packing a 0.75 liter boiler and weighing in at 38 lbs.

Your first thought may be, "So what? It's just another single boiler espresso machine." But the Quick Mill Alexia has a reliable and adjustable stock thermostat AND the option to purchase a preinstalled PID temperature controller (installed by Chris' technicians) or adding the PID controller at a later time (Alexia's front panel is precut to receive a 1/32DIN PID controller module). Jim Gallt of PIDkits.com developed the PID controller upgrade kit exclusively for Chris' Coffee.

Over the course of the review we will evaluate this as an espresso machine for the walk-up, three to four times a day, 95%+ espresso drinker. I will first evaluate the stock Alexia with an adjustable thermostat configuration and then install the optional PID kit; Dan will chime in with his findings on the Alexia with preinstalled PID temperature controller.

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Quick Mill Alexia, stock and PID controller installed - images courtesy of Chris' Coffee Service
Jeff Sawdy

Mark08859

#2: Post by Mark08859 »

Really looking forward to this review. What is the time line on a project such as this?

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jesawdy

#3: Post by jesawdy »

My review machine just came out of the box late last night, so we are just getting started. I want to log some time with the machine before I say too much, but my first impressions are encouraging (only three shots pulled). Also, in an effort to assist all potential buyers, we want to give the standard configuration with the stock thermostat sufficient time to be reviewed. I figure three weeks or so without the PID controller, then the PID controller installation and further review.
Jeff Sawdy

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#4: Post by cannonfodder »

Most people would be surprised at the hours we put into these reviews. Between photos, photo editing, video, video editing, pulling the machine apart (usually several times), data logging, observation, testing, background research and drinking more espresso than should be allowed. Writing the bench reports, answering all the bench questions, lots of emails, writing the final buyers guide and more editing than can be imagined, we easily put in 200+ hours on each machine.
Dave Stephens

Espressyned

#5: Post by Espressyned »

cannonfodder wrote:Most people would be surprised at the hours we put into these reviews. Between photos, photo editing, video, video editing, pulling the machine apart (usually several times), data logging, observation, testing, background research and drinking more espresso than should be allowed. Writing the bench reports, answering all the bench questions, lots of emails, writing the final buyers guide and more editing than can be imagined, we easily put in 200+ hours on each machine. Happiness is a warm puck.
Thank You VERY MUCH for all your efforts and time.

Yes, it is amazing the lengths we will go to for a good reliable warm puck! :wink:

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#6: Post by cannonfodder »

Espressyned wrote:Thank You VERY MUCH for all your efforts and time.
And that is why we do it. You are welcome.

Also, playing with new equipment is fun. Kind of like being asked to do a review on a new sports car.
Dave Stephens

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lilotaku

#7: Post by lilotaku »

Very nice to see someone doing a review on the Alexia with and without PiD. This is the machine that i've been looking to upgrade to for a while and i haven't found any great detailed reviews on it. Now if someone did a thorough review on the Anita as well, that would be nice too.
War Cro Cop!
War Couture!
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War Coffee!

jgriff

#8: Post by jgriff » replying to lilotaku »

There are already reviews on this site of two other Quickmill machines - the Andreja Premium and Vetrano - that are nearly the same as Anita, at least from the perspective of what's in the cup. There are also quite a few HB'ers that own one of these machines, so whaddya wanna know? :wink:

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jesawdy

#9: Post by jesawdy »

jgriff wrote:There are already reviews on this site of two other Quickmill machines - the Andreja Premium and Vetrano - that are nearly the same as Anita, at least from the perspective of what's in the cup.
The Alexia is a single-boiler, dual-purpose (steam and brew from same boiler) machine... so it not quite the same as the Quick Mill HX-based machines that you mention. That said, one can expect similar fit and finish and vendor support as the aforementioned machines.
Jeff Sawdy

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jesawdy

#10: Post by jesawdy »

OK, time to kick off this Bench thread on the Quick Mill Alexia.

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Quick Mill Alexia - front badge

Chris' Coffee must be hooked up to some sort of UPS mainline. The machine was shipped late on a Monday (while Roger and I hammered out a plumbing order), and arrived at my doorstep by noon on Wednesday. The machine was well packed, double boxed with foam corners separating the boxes, and topped off with Instapak hard foam; ready for all but the roughest "What can Brown do for you?" treatment. In the inner Quick Mill box, the machine was in a plastic bag, the portafilters and accessories in a smaller cardboard box that was nestled between the grouphead and the drip tray, hard Styrofoam on the bottom and another Instapak foam on the top. Listed at 38 lbs, it was easy to unbox the machine.

The machine includes: two portafilters, one singe spout and one double spout; both single and double baskets; a blind basket for backflushing; a plastic coffee scoop with plastic tamper end; and a few water hardness test strips. There is no translated Italian Quick Mill manual, but instead a much more useful six page insert. Only a small portion of the guide is machine specific, and that's just the first-time setup page and steaming operation portion. The rest of the insert covers espresso brewing tips, frothing tips, and cleaning. This information is geared towards the first-time user, much less so an HB regular, but it is still worth reading.

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Quick Mill Alexia - included accessories

So, here she is, a simple and understated design. The curved side panel helps avoid the "square box" look.

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Quick Mill Alexia - fern pattern extra

All of the switches and panel lights are mounted across the angled top front edge. On my test machine, the toggle switches are mounted such that left is on, right is off. This is different than the stock photo on Chris' Coffee website, those switches are oriented up/down. The labels are screened or etched, I can't quite tell. On/Off for the power toggle, P for the pump toggle and a steam icon for the steam mode toggle.

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Quick Mill Alexia - controls
From left to right, green power indicator, power toggle switch, red heat indicator, pump toggle, steam toggle, red steam mode indicator
Jeff Sawdy