A great semi-automatic, heat exchange espresso machine, the Quick Mill Anita gives you all the features of a home machine, but with a little lighter impact on the ol’ wallet. Watch Gail as she walks us through the ins and outs of the Anita and whips us up a latte.
Our primary goal with auctioning off the Giro D’Italia Giottos was to raise a nice chunk of change for Coffee Kids, one of our favorite charities. And while we got a lot of coverage and many folks learned about our auctions, the going price for these machines wasn’t quite what we were hoping for — they’re more expensive than the regular Giotto Premium Plus models, but many of the going auction prices for this limited edition ended up being around the same retail as the standard Giotto. We weren’t able to close one of the bidding deals and we were able to secure one more machine, so we thought that we’d do something a little different with the final two for sale.
Instead of auctioning them off, we’ve opted to list them on our website for the price of $3299, which will include a $1500 donation directly to Coffee Kids. Our original goal was to raise about $2500 (or, $500 from each machine), so this will definitely cover that and then some. These are collector’s edition models and will only be more rare as time passes, so we’re hoping that someone out there will find the value in both the machine and Coffee Kids’ cause and purchase this model because they resonate with them both.
Our first real foray into charitable auctions didn’t turn out as well as we would have liked, but we learn something new all the time! We’re optimistic that the right two people will come along and purchase these last two available models at some point in the future, and that we’ll be able to pass along their generosity to Coffee Kids.
If you’ve just picked up a new grinder or an espresso machine/grinder package and you’re wondering how to get it setup for that perfect shot extraction, check out this video. Gail shows us how to calibrate a grinder with an espresso machine and discusses tips for determining the extraction level and tweaking your puck.
The Izzo Alex Duetto II features the same flexible plumping technology and double boilers as the original Alex Duetto, but has been significantly upgraded with an all-access PID interface that allows you to easily control the temperature on both boilers, switch either of them on or off (awesome energy savings for you espresso-only drinkers out there!), change it between 15 or 20 amp, select Celsius or Fahrenheit temperature readings and much more.
It also has the awesome E61 brew group, which we’re huge fans of because we definitely think it contributes to a great shot when compared to other models in this class that don’t feature this patented technology. The main drawback to this machine is that it’s a monster — requiring 16.5″ height clearance, which doesn’t leave a lot of room to move under most cupboards. We wish they would have made the warming tray sides up top removable to allow for more flexibility around space requirements, but it’ll give ‘em something to improve upon for V.3.0!
We are thrilled that today kicks off our series of five auctions of Giro D’Italia Giottos to benefit the non-profit organization Coffee Kids! This is such an awesome machine — we’re still waiting for them to arrive (they needed to engrave the name of 2009 winner Denis Menchov) and we can’t wait to get our grubby little paws on them.
These machines take all of the excellent performance and functionality of the Giotto Premium Plus and accent it with several specialized touches that make this limited edition stand apart — and since we’re the only US importer bringing these machines in stateside, these unique collector’s items are incredibly rare as well. But while your friends will be coveting the gorgeous stainless steel design or perhaps the Maglia Rosa-inspired pink manometer, the bragging rights will really be about all the money you donated to Coffee Kids, giving you a direct hand in helping to support tons of community projects for coffee growing families throughout Central America.
Sure, our espresso machines give us energy, but how much are they taking from the planet? We ran a test on a few of our favorites to show examples of the electricity draw and cost involved with running these machines each year. Our cost estimates are based on a national US average of $.11/kWh — you can find more accurate data for your specific area here.
|Machine Name & Type||kWh Used||Estimated Annual Cost|
Semi-Automatic w/Single Boiler
Semi-Automatic w/Heat Exchange
Incidentally, we measured how much kWh it took to make a one-touch cappuccino on the Jura Z7 and found that it was .02kWh — at $.11/kWh, that means you’d need to make about 5 cappuccinos to rack up 1 cent in energy costs!
Q. I have a Rocky Doser grinder and would like to know what the standard setting is for my Quick Mill Alexia espresso machine. Can you tell me what number you have your demo model set to?
A. Unfortunately, there is no standard setting for grinders and machines. Each grinder is going to be engineered a little bit differently, so while we could give you a rough estimate of the range, the best way to determine your grinder’s setting is to go through the calibration process.
To calibrate your grinder to your espresso machine, you need to time your shots. The standard timing for a double shot is between 25 – 30 seconds for two shot glasses filled to the 1.5 oz line. When you initiate your shot, you want the extraction to begin 7 – 10 seconds after, and then the espresso should run smoothly into the shot glasses until they’re full at that 25 – 30 second range. Note that this is for a standard shot and there are other shot styles out there (ristretto or luongo) that have shorter or longer extraction time frames. For the purposes of calibration, however, we’ll stick with the standard.
Start with your grinder in a lower end setting — for stepped grinders, maybe start around 5 or 10. Grind and tamp and then time the shot: If it’s coming out too slowly, you know your grind is too fine and you’ll need to make it coarser; if it’s coming out too quickly, then the converse is true and you’ll need to make that too-coarse grind finer. Keep an eye on your tamp because that could also being affecting it — too hard means too slow, too soft means too fast.
Continue to experiment until your shot extraction occurs within the standard time frame. Once you have calibrated your grinder to produce a shot at the rate and consistency described above, make a note of it. This is something that will need to be tweaked regularly — especially if you live somewhere with extreme temperature fluctuations throughout the year, as the environment and weather will impact the nature of the bean. You’ll also need to recalibrate if you try different beans, as they will have unique grind requirements.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that calibrating and getting familiar with your grind is a crucial element to producing delicious espresso, so don’t be afraid to experiment or change it often! Espresso is as much art as it is science — tweak it to your individual preferences, regardless of any tenets you may read elsewhere…after all, isn’t that why you decided to make espresso at home in the first place?