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Date: 29 Dec 2006 23:24:45
From: Lloyd Parsons
Subject: Izzo Alex review
I have posted a review of the Izzo Alex E61/HX machine on coffeegeek.com

Go to consumer reviews and do a search on 'Alex'

Lloyd




 
Date: 01 Jan 2007 16:29:41
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review
You have a good argument, Bertie. It was the argument that I used when
I bought my Brewtus. Perhaps, in this price range, the technology
isn't quite mature.



 
Date: 01 Jan 2007 09:38:11
From: daveb
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review
BD --

could the days of the dreaded pressurestat be numbered?

???

dave



> However, concidering the cost, the mothod of changing temps, to suit a bean,
> does seem a bit rudimentary, compared with some of the twin boiler machines,
> entering the ket.
> Bertie



  
Date: 01 Jan 2007 22:37:20
From: Bertie Doe
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review

"daveb" <davebobblane@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1167673091.044944.326490@a3g2000cwd.googlegroups.com...
> BD --
>
> could the days of the dreaded pressurestat be numbered?
>
> ???
>
> dave
>
The HX machine is not quite dead .... yet. However, in fond memory of them,
I shall name my next espresso blend .... 'The Screwdriver' (patient pending)
RIP

B.D.




 
Date: 31 Dec 2006 13:07:48
From: Omniryx@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review

Lloyd Parsons wrote:
> I was already stretching my planned budget with the Alex! And I was
> locked into the idea of the HX/E61 combo. The only 2 boiler machine I
> considered was the Brewtus, but frankly I think it is overpriced and the
> dealer has a spotty service reputation.

I went for a Brewtus from eBay and had nothing but minor difficulty
with it from day one. Leaks, more leaks, yet more leaks. Just minor
stuff. Brewtus has a rabid following but the more you read about him
the more you realize that his rabid followers love him in spite of as
much as because of.

Turned Brewtus over for a little more than I paid and have moved on.
My own choice was the Vetrano but it came down to that or Alex.

A very nice review. Thanks for sharing it.



 
Date: 31 Dec 2006 07:21:11
From:
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review

> I thought it read more like "Life on the Bleeding Edge." We all owe a
> debt to fearless early adopters.
>
> shall

You bet. That's probably why vendors usually offer new machines at a
discount for the first wave of buyers during the working out the bugs
period. I remember Chris doing that with the Vetrano.

Still, it's good to see Chris on top of his machines. He's a really
good vendor to have on your side and shows that he cares more about the
getting his machines running right than his bottom line. Fix the
problem, not the blame.



  
Date: 31 Dec 2006 09:47:21
From: Lloyd Parsons
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review
In article <1167578471.720164.279190@s34g2000cwa.googlegroups.com >,
mrgnomer@hotmail.com wrote:

> > I thought it read more like "Life on the Bleeding Edge." We all owe a
> > debt to fearless early adopters.
> >
> > shall
>
> You bet. That's probably why vendors usually offer new machines at a
> discount for the first wave of buyers during the working out the bugs
> period. I remember Chris doing that with the Vetrano.
>
> Still, it's good to see Chris on top of his machines. He's a really
> good vendor to have on your side and shows that he cares more about the
> getting his machines running right than his bottom line. Fix the
> problem, not the blame.

That is exactly right. Chris is an astute businessman selling top
quality equipment, and following up with superb after-sale support.
That takes the fear out of buying new product for the most part, and
allows him to bring newer and better products to ket. Because of
that attitude, many are willing to take a chance on a new piece that
they wouldn't consider from someone else.

I talked with Chris quite a bit before I bought my Alex and he was very
forthright in answering. When mine showed up there were no surprises or
disappointments.

The problems that have cropped up have been relatively trivial and could
have happened on any espresso machine.

There has only been one problem on one machine that we know of that
hasn't totally been solved yet and that is the 'wet steam' that RonL has
been getting. Two of us have tested our machines and don't have that
same problem, nor has anyone else reported it. And I have no problem
believing that Chris and his people will solve it for Ron.

The only other 'problem' that happened that caused a new buyer to return
it was because he didn't like the clicking of the power relay so often.
This is because of the tight deadband of the Pstat. Someone posted that
it is about 1/2 a degree temp and most have wondered why the individual
thought that was a problem and not a feature.

That person drove his back to Chris' and swapped it out for a different
machine with no hassle and a cooks tour of Chris' facility. He left
smiling and that is exactly what every st businessman wants to happen.

When I bought mine I was between two dealers, Chris Coffee and 1st-Line.
Frankly I would have expected them to be equal in after-sale support and
both handle quality equipment. Alex just happened to offer more bang
for the buck when the dust settled.


 
Date: 30 Dec 2006 19:24:42
From:
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review

Lloyd Parsons wrote:
> In article <14ldp2tg0gsra7jdjqpd85r4jop1dcsrru@4ax.com>,
> North Sullivan <northwrites@bluebottle.com> wrote:
>
> > On Sat, 30 Dec 2006 12:48:56 -0600, Lloyd Parsons
> > <lloydparsons@mac.com> wrote:
> >
> > >
> > >
> > >Excellent service and sale. You literally cannot ask for more.
> >
> > Thanks. Nice review. I really like the styling of that machine.
> > Sounds like you're happy with the quality of the shots that you're
> > getting.
> >
> > North Sullivan
>
> Of course the bottom line is how is the cup, and you are correct. With
> this machine and the SuperJolly, I'm pulling fantastic shots. Good
> enough that I'm drinking straight shots and I never did care for them
> before.

This thread on Home Barista is a good read concerning the Alex. Chris
at Chris' coffee has responded a few times about Alex issues, namely
wet steam.

http://www.home-barista.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2654&start=60



  
Date: 31 Dec 2006 07:05:04
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review
On 30 Dec 2006 19:24:42 -0800, mrgnomer@hotmail.com wrote:

>This thread on Home Barista is a good read concerning the Alex. Chris
>at Chris' coffee has responded a few times about Alex issues, namely
>wet steam.
>
>http://www.home-barista.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2654&start=60

I thought it read more like "Life on the Bleeding Edge." We all owe a
debt to fearless early adopters.

shall


 
Date: 30 Dec 2006 12:34:58
From: North Sullivan
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review
On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 23:24:45 -0600, Lloyd Parsons
<lloydparsons@mac.com > wrote:

>I have posted a review of the Izzo Alex E61/HX machine on coffeegeek.com
>
>Go to consumer reviews and do a search on 'Alex'
>
>Lloyd

Some folks from alt.coffee never go to coffeegeek.com. Why not post
it here?


North Sullivan







  
Date: 30 Dec 2006 12:48:56
From: Lloyd Parsons
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review
In article <74cdp25fokg36hn4m2huoml3lllsr2vltf@4ax.com >,
North Sullivan <northwrites@bluebottle.com > wrote:

> On Fri, 29 Dec 2006 23:24:45 -0600, Lloyd Parsons
> <lloydparsons@mac.com> wrote:
>
> >I have posted a review of the Izzo Alex E61/HX machine on coffeegeek.com
> >
> >Go to consumer reviews and do a search on 'Alex'
> >
> >Lloyd
>
> Some folks from alt.coffee never go to coffeegeek.com. Why not post
> it here?
>
>
> North Sullivan

OK, since you asked so nicely! ;-)

Here 'tis :

Positives :

Rotary pump
Pourover or Plumb-in
Tight heat/pressure band
Strong Steam

Negatives :

The portafilter with spouts installed presents a problem for taller
cups. This is because of the bigger drip tray that people complained
about with the previous version.
Very big.

Detailed review :

When I looked for an upgrade, I looked at all the favorites. Anita,
Tea, Bricoletta and Brewtus among them. I wasn't particularly
interested in plumbing in at that time. But as I got to looking,
reading specifications and getting advice from various forums, plumb in
started sounding pretty good. But still, I wasn't convinced.

Enter the Izzo Alex. Here was a machine with all the bells and
whistles. Rotary pump, pourover or plumb-in quickly and easily, E61
Grouphead, HX water system. And the fact that it was imported by Chris
Coffee was just the icing on the cake. Here is an excellent machine,
from a reputable dealer both in the sales process, but later in the all
important service and support. How could I not seriously consider this
machine.

I received the machine and set it up as a pourover. I then let it heat
up for about an hour. Realistically it is ready at about 30 minutes,
but I like my machines nice and hot all over. The boiler pressure on
mine was set to 1.4 bar. At that pressure, HX flushing takes a fair
amount of time and quite a bit of water.

I was able to pull a superb shot on the second try. Flushing took about
40 seconds and then a pull of 25 seconds produced the very finest
espresso shot I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. But I noticed
that even though the drip tray was big and the reservoir was too, I was
going through water and draining the drip tray quite often that first
day.

The 2nd day, I converted to plumb-in for water and a bucket to catch the
drain. Total time to convert and run the line was about 20 minutes,
thanks to the nifty hardware I bought from Chris Coffee. The only time
I used a tool was to attach the water line to the Alex (included),
attach the drip tray drain box and hose. The rest was push-in simple
thanks to John Guest fittings.

I also cranked the boiler pressure down to 1.1 bar from a recommendation
on one of the forums. This resulted in a much quicker flush, about half
the time and water. I will most likely reduce it down to .9 bar to test
that to see if it shortens it some more. Pours are still rock solid and
the brew pressure gauge is a very nice tool to ensure that.

Speaking of indicators and adjustments, this is one dead simple machine
to get into. Take off drip tray, remove 4 screws, take off plate screws
held down. Sides and back are all one-piece and held with hook-over
clips. Sides and back is also designed so that they stay cool.
Adjustment of the PressureStat for boiler pressure is simple. Remove
drip tray, look at the left front of the top and you will see a slot big
enough for a screwdriver to go in. Through that slot is the
PressureStat adjustment. OPV and Pump adjustments require removing the
outer shell, but otherwise they are easy to get to.

The PressureStat is a Ma-Ter and has a very tight deadband. You will
notice the click of the relay that controls the heater quite often. I
don't find it a problem, and I love that tight temperature/pressure
control, but at least one person found it irritating enough to return
the Alex for a different machine. Another thing that helps with
temperature stability is the very large (2 Liter) boiler.

Steaming is very powerful on the Alex. With the included 2-hole steam
tip, I found it difficult to steam the milk in my rather small pitcher.
So I got an Expobar single-hole tip and it fits fine and makes steaming
better for me. I suspect that the designers figured that people using
the Alex would be making more caps and lattes than the 1 or 2 that I do
at a time. As a test, I opened the steam up for 5 minutes and it was
still producing steam and the boiler pressure was dead on at the end of
that time. One thing to note is that the steam wand is not 'no burn',
but I didn't find that to be a problem for me.

The only way I can get the boiler temp/pressure to drop off more than
just a very small amount is by using too much hot water through the hot
water wand. When I had some friends over and made 6 Americanos, I
noticed that.

Included with the Alex are 2 portafilters. One with single spout, one
with double spout; 2 filter baskets and a blind filter gasket for
backflushing. Also included is the requisite plastic tamper that all
the makers seem so fond of sending with their machines.

Daily cleaning and maintenance is simple and easy. After each session,
you should flush and then backflush the grouphead. Once a week I
backflush with cleaner. This is important as the screen is not easily
removed and this is the only way to clean it well.

One big plus with the design of the Alex is the ease with which you can
change from pourover to plumb-in. Literally it is a 5 minute job. And
if you are taking her to an outing where you will be making lots of
drinks, then bumping the pressurestat back up to 1.4-1.5 is quick and
easy. At that higher pressure, you can make many more back to back
drinks, even the milk ones.

I had only two problems with my Alex. The first was when I started
using her. The drip tray plug was loose, either from shipping or just
never tightened, and I ended up with a bunch of water all over the place
when I first used her. You need to note this.

The second problem didn't show up until after I plumbed in. Alex has a
safety feature of shutting down and sounding an alarm when the reservoir
runs out of water. This works even when plumbed in. So you either have
to keep some water in it or weigh it down some way. I had filled mine
with water and after a few days noticed that I had a drip at the back
underside of the machine. It was overflow from the reservoir caused by
my OverPressure Valve being slightly misadjusted. I noted that in
another forum and later that day Chris responded in the forum and one of
his technicians sent me instructions and a picture showing how to adjust
it.

Buying experience :

From my reading here I had limited my dealer selection to just a very
few and ended up buying from Chris Coffee. Because of his reputation I
was willing to be an early adopter of this very nice machine.

I dealt with Angela early on and she was well versed in equipment and
made good suggestions after querying me about what I wanted from a new
machine. When I placed the order with her it was promptly handled and
shipped, with plenty of feedback via email or phone.

I also dealt with Chris. First when I had a technical question during
the early phase of the buying cycle and then later he called me to
ensure I had the answers I needed. He also ensured that I had the
proper response when I had a problem even before I had called them about
it.

Excellent service and sale. You literally cannot ask for more.


   
Date: 31 Dec 2006 17:48:52
From: Bertie Doe
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review

"Lloyd Parsons" wrote in message The boiler pressure on
> mine was set to 1.4 bar. At that pressure, HX flushing takes a fair
> amount of time and quite a bit of water.
>
> I was able to pull a superb shot on the second try. Flushing took about
> 40 seconds and then a pull of 25 seconds produced the very finest
> espresso shot I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.
<snip >
> I also cranked the boiler pressure down to 1.1 bar from a recommendation
> on one of the forums. This resulted in a much quicker flush, about half
> the time and water.

Hi Lloyd, I'm a Zaffiro owner, so I'm a sucker for E61 machines, but ChrisC
also has the La Spaz 2, weren't you tempted to go the extra $400 for the
twin boiler? as so much these days is made of temperature targets for
varieties or roast.

Congrats on getting your flushing down from 40 secs to 20, but dosn't this
make pinpointing a temperature target, a bit of a lottery? I assume the time
that the p/f sits in the group, post flush, is pretty critical too?

Suppose your 3 fav origins/blends were perfect at 197, 200 and 203F, what
would the boiler pressure increments likely to be? or would you regulate
flush times? TIA.

Bertie




    
Date: 31 Dec 2006 12:07:35
From: Lloyd Parsons
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review
In article <4vqbg8F1c0il7U1@mid.individual.net >,
"Bertie Doe" <montebrasite4@ntl.com > wrote:

> "Lloyd Parsons" wrote in message The boiler pressure on
> > mine was set to 1.4 bar. At that pressure, HX flushing takes a fair
> > amount of time and quite a bit of water.
> >
> > I was able to pull a superb shot on the second try. Flushing took about
> > 40 seconds and then a pull of 25 seconds produced the very finest
> > espresso shot I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.
> <snip>
> > I also cranked the boiler pressure down to 1.1 bar from a recommendation
> > on one of the forums. This resulted in a much quicker flush, about half
> > the time and water.
>
> Hi Lloyd, I'm a Zaffiro owner, so I'm a sucker for E61 machines, but ChrisC
> also has the La Spaz 2, weren't you tempted to go the extra $400 for the
> twin boiler? as so much these days is made of temperature targets for
> varieties or roast.
>
> Congrats on getting your flushing down from 40 secs to 20, but dosn't this
> make pinpointing a temperature target, a bit of a lottery? I assume the time
> that the p/f sits in the group, post flush, is pretty critical too?
>
> Suppose your 3 fav origins/blends were perfect at 197, 200 and 203F, what
> would the boiler pressure increments likely to be? or would you regulate
> flush times? TIA.
>
> Bertie

I was already stretching my planned budget with the Alex! And I was
locked into the idea of the HX/E61 combo. The only 2 boiler machine I
considered was the Brewtus, but frankly I think it is overpriced and the
dealer has a spotty service reputation.

My routine is pretty simple for a single pull. I grind the beans, then
flush and pull the PF to fill and tamp. Total time PF is out of the
grouphead is about 10 seconds or so.

The very few times I do back to back pulls I use multiple filter baskets
so swap out time is negligible. The beauty of the HX is that it is
pretty stable once that first flush is done as long as you don't dawdle
around, imo.

As to temp differences, my tongue is just not educated enough to notice
a couple of degrees difference in brew temp. But when doing a flush I
wait for a steady, non-sputtering stream and count to 10 then pull. I'm
consistent in that, but I couldn't tell you the actual temp 'cause I
haven't bothered nor have I seen a reason to. I'm pulling great shots
for straight and Americanos and my Cafe Cremas are scrumptious.


     
Date: 01 Jan 2007 16:38:16
From: Bertie Doe
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review

"Lloyd Parsons" <lloydparsons@mac.com > wrote in message
news:lloydparsons-0C3F73.12073531122006@individual.net...
> In article <4vqbg8F1c0il7U1@mid.individual.net>,
> "Bertie Doe" <montebrasite4@ntl.com> wrote:
>
>> "Lloyd Parsons" wrote in message The boiler pressure on
>> > mine was set to 1.4 bar. At that pressure, HX flushing takes a fair
>> > amount of time and quite a bit of water.
>> >
>> > I was able to pull a superb shot on the second try. Flushing took
>> > about
>> > 40 seconds and then a pull of 25 seconds produced the very finest
>> > espresso shot I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.
>> <snip>
>> > I also cranked the boiler pressure down to 1.1 bar from a
>> > recommendation
>> > on one of the forums. This resulted in a much quicker flush, about
>> > half
>> > the time and water.
>>
>> Hi Lloyd, I'm a Zaffiro owner, so I'm a sucker for E61 machines, but
>> ChrisC
>> also has the La Spaz 2, weren't you tempted to go the extra $400 for the
>> twin boiler? as so much these days is made of temperature targets for
>> varieties or roast.
>>
>> Congrats on getting your flushing down from 40 secs to 20, but dosn't
>> this
>> make pinpointing a temperature target, a bit of a lottery? I assume the
>> time
>> that the p/f sits in the group, post flush, is pretty critical too?
>>
>> Suppose your 3 fav origins/blends were perfect at 197, 200 and 203F, what
>> would the boiler pressure increments likely to be? or would you regulate
>> flush times? TIA.
>>
>> Bertie
>
> I was already stretching my planned budget with the Alex! And I was
> locked into the idea of the HX/E61 combo. The only 2 boiler machine I
> considered was the Brewtus, but frankly I think it is overpriced and the
> dealer has a spotty service reputation.
>
> My routine is pretty simple for a single pull. I grind the beans, then
> flush and pull the PF to fill and tamp. Total time PF is out of the
> grouphead is about 10 seconds or so.
>
> The very few times I do back to back pulls I use multiple filter baskets
> so swap out time is negligible. The beauty of the HX is that it is
> pretty stable once that first flush is done as long as you don't dawdle
> around, imo.
>
> As to temp differences, my tongue is just not educated enough to notice
> a couple of degrees difference in brew temp. But when doing a flush I
> wait for a steady, non-sputtering stream and count to 10 then pull. I'm
> consistent in that, but I couldn't tell you the actual temp 'cause I
> haven't bothered nor have I seen a reason to. I'm pulling great shots
> for straight and Americanos and my Cafe Cremas are scrumptious.

Fair enough Lloyd, I know most HX users enjoy the challenge of tweaking and
you've got a pretty good sequence going there, well done. In a commercial
environment, with multiple back-to-back shots, flushing ceases to be an
issue.
However, concidering the cost, the mothod of changing temps, to suit a bean,
does seem a bit rudimentary, compared with some of the twin boiler machines,
entering the ket.
Bertie




     
Date: 31 Dec 2006 12:20:19
From: Lloyd Parsons
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review
In article <lloydparsons-0C3F73.12073531122006@individual.net >,
Lloyd Parsons <lloydparsons@mac.com > wrote:

> In article <4vqbg8F1c0il7U1@mid.individual.net>,
> "Bertie Doe" <montebrasite4@ntl.com> wrote:
>
> > "Lloyd Parsons" wrote in message The boiler pressure on
> > > mine was set to 1.4 bar. At that pressure, HX flushing takes a fair
> > > amount of time and quite a bit of water.
> > >
> > > I was able to pull a superb shot on the second try. Flushing took about
> > > 40 seconds and then a pull of 25 seconds produced the very finest
> > > espresso shot I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.
> > <snip>
> > > I also cranked the boiler pressure down to 1.1 bar from a recommendation
> > > on one of the forums. This resulted in a much quicker flush, about half
> > > the time and water.
> >
> > Hi Lloyd, I'm a Zaffiro owner, so I'm a sucker for E61 machines, but ChrisC
> > also has the La Spaz 2, weren't you tempted to go the extra $400 for the
> > twin boiler? as so much these days is made of temperature targets for
> > varieties or roast.
> >
> > Congrats on getting your flushing down from 40 secs to 20, but dosn't this
> > make pinpointing a temperature target, a bit of a lottery? I assume the
> > time
> > that the p/f sits in the group, post flush, is pretty critical too?
> >
> > Suppose your 3 fav origins/blends were perfect at 197, 200 and 203F, what
> > would the boiler pressure increments likely to be? or would you regulate
> > flush times? TIA.
> >
> > Bertie
>
> I was already stretching my planned budget with the Alex! And I was
> locked into the idea of the HX/E61 combo. The only 2 boiler machine I
> considered was the Brewtus, but frankly I think it is overpriced and the
> dealer has a spotty service reputation.
>
> My routine is pretty simple for a single pull. I grind the beans, then
> flush and pull the PF to fill and tamp. Total time PF is out of the
> grouphead is about 10 seconds or so.
>
> The very few times I do back to back pulls I use multiple filter baskets
> so swap out time is negligible. The beauty of the HX is that it is
> pretty stable once that first flush is done as long as you don't dawdle
> around, imo.
>
> As to temp differences, my tongue is just not educated enough to notice
> a couple of degrees difference in brew temp. But when doing a flush I
> wait for a steady, non-sputtering stream and count to 10 then pull. I'm
> consistent in that, but I couldn't tell you the actual temp 'cause I
> haven't bothered nor have I seen a reason to. I'm pulling great shots
> for straight and Americanos and my Cafe Cremas are scrumptious.

I just did two doubles back to back and measured temp in the cup. After
flush, first pull was 182F. Pulled PF, knocked it, swapped filter
baskets and did second pull, no flush, temp in the cup was 184F. That
is close enough for me.


   
Date: 30 Dec 2006 15:21:36
From: North Sullivan
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review
On Sat, 30 Dec 2006 12:48:56 -0600, Lloyd Parsons
<lloydparsons@mac.com > wrote:

>
>
>Excellent service and sale. You literally cannot ask for more.

Thanks. Nice review. I really like the styling of that machine.
Sounds like you're happy with the quality of the shots that you're
getting.

North Sullivan



    
Date: 30 Dec 2006 15:27:02
From: Lloyd Parsons
Subject: Re: Izzo Alex review
In article <14ldp2tg0gsra7jdjqpd85r4jop1dcsrru@4ax.com >,
North Sullivan <northwrites@bluebottle.com > wrote:

> On Sat, 30 Dec 2006 12:48:56 -0600, Lloyd Parsons
> <lloydparsons@mac.com> wrote:
>
> >
> >
> >Excellent service and sale. You literally cannot ask for more.
>
> Thanks. Nice review. I really like the styling of that machine.
> Sounds like you're happy with the quality of the shots that you're
> getting.
>
> North Sullivan

Of course the bottom line is how is the cup, and you are correct. With
this machine and the SuperJolly, I'm pulling fantastic shots. Good
enough that I'm drinking straight shots and I never did care for them
before.