Out of curiosity, do you think it would be possible to plug the froth aider hole, and thereby improving frothing performance?
I've found it difficult to get the amount of crema Mark has in the ristrettos he pulled during the test. I suspect my bean freshness isn't up to par (2 week old s-bucks decaf espresso).
Does anyone have any tips on how to surf the temperature on this machine? I steam first, then brew, not before I run water through the empty brewhead (there's a lot of steam flashing to water).
Still, I'm in the dark a little on how to get optimum results on this machine. I've been doing the 30-pound tamp, and my grind is about as fine as it should be (bunches, then crumbles when pinched between thumb and index).
I tried the Starbucks decaf beans and got lousy results. I then tried pulling shots using fresher beans (Black Cat decaf) and I got wonderful shots with with good crema. You'll need a really good grinder - as someone else on this forum pointed out to me, the X3 isn't very forgiving.
Do you think the A9 doesn't cut it (not a pun!!)? I did a slight alteration to it to get the fine grind I need that I couldn't get in its stock format.
I do have some time remaining before I can return it to the store. I paid 172 CDN, tax in. Think I can do better? I would LOVE to have an ss rocky or even one of the new innovas. the mazzer, sadly is out of my range. I looked at the maestro, but the local retailer is selling it for $220CDN... a little steep!!
Posted Sat Mar 27, 2004, 7:27am Subject: Re: Francis! Francis! X3 Detailed Review
Not familiar with the A9 grinder. I use the Innova I2 doserless (they also make it with a doser) which rates equally to the Mazzer Mini in grind quality and actually beats the Mazzer mini for the minuteness of adjustment. The Mazzer is better built, heavier, wider burrs and is designed for low volume commercial use (grinds FASTER and quietly) and that is what you are paying for. As the folks at Chris Coffee said: a Rolls may be a better built car than a Chevy, but both will get you to the grocery store at the same time." The Innova sells for about $170 US or approx $231 CDN ($1 US = $1.32 CDN). The 3 highly rated vendors that I spoke to (2 of them do not even sell the Innova) told me to save my money and stick with my Innova - for my use it was a waste of money and they didn't want to "take me".
I was told that the minuteness of the adjustments may make it difficult for a newbie to get right but I have not found that to be the case. On my 4th try I started getting good results. By my 6th or 7th they were amazing (for my skill level)! Of course, it IS nice to have a Rolls in the garage!
espressobsessed Senior Member Joined: 23 Mar 2004 Posts: 798 Location: Saskatoon, SK Expertise: Pro Barista
Espresso: La Marzocco Strada & GB5 Grinder: LM Vulcano, Anfim, Ditting Vac Pot: Hario Deco Drip: Metal filter pourover, FP &... Roaster: Ambex ym-5 with Drumroaster...
Posted Sat Mar 27, 2004, 11:15am Subject: Re: Francis! Francis! X3 Detailed Review
Interesting. Thanks for the feedback. The Innova was probably the one grinder I was most interested in. When I go to Seattle next week, I'm going to take a good look at the Innova conical doserless, if I can find a retailer. I'm sure the $60 will be worth it in the long run!!
My KA A9 is going back... And I wasn't even using it for espresso! When I started noticing, after a month of use, "dust and boulders" in the spent grounds, I was done. And, if you're over your return-period with whomever you bought it from, may be time to undo your mod and rag on KitchenAid. I've heard rumor that they'll take it back and refund your money. You do have a one-year hassle-free replacement policy.
I replaced my A9 with an Innova I2, and can recommend it completely, though my use has only been over the last couple days. Incredibly consistent grind. But it's slow compared to the A9... Though that's a good thing. The burr speed in the A9 is way too fast.
Thanks so much for the excellent review of the X3. I am one of you typical new comers to espresso. My current setup is single serving stove top machine and a stove top steamer. I am looking to upgrade and if money was not an issue I would plunk down for Silvia and Rocky.
So I am thinking Solis SL70 or Francis X3 and a Solis Maestro grinder. But the various tradeoffs are making this difficult. The steaming ability of the Solis is a big plus, but the small group head and large amount of plastic doesn’t wow me. In some ways the Francis machines seams better but then the steaming abilities concern me. I think I may be spoiled by my stove top steamer. It flat out steams. Swirling milk and pourable micro foam. It has a volume of 12 oz (3/4 full) and sitting on top of a 12,500 Btu burner (that does not cycle) it is amazing. I think I will keep it around for times when I need to steam for multiple drinks.
So here is my roundabout question. If you were trapped on a deserted Island (that somehow had fresh coffee and electricity) and couldn’t have Silvia & Rocky (or better) what would you choose? Is the answer just to buck up and get the better equipment? It tough to be a newbie.
Thanks for a great review. I just got my new X3 delivered today, and I decided to buy it much because of this review.
Maybe the Francis Francis! people read the review too, because on my machine the overflow tube is flush with the "ceiling" above the reservoir, so inserting the reservoir is a piece of cake.
PS. My manual states that you should "under no circumstances" use the top of the machine as a cup-warmer. Does your manual say so as well? Would the reason be machine overheating because the cups prevents cool air from cooling the top of the machine?
Have just gotten my X3 Trio and thought I'd post some improvements that I think the X3 has undergone since Mark's review.
The froth aider easily unscrews and is therefore very easy to clean or get rid of.
The reservoir is easy to refill (possibly new/improved system or me not getting what the problem is/was, for mr there is a tube hanging down into the reservoir and nothing more)
Also a kit for ground coffee no longer ships with the new model and, as of yet, there isn't even one available for separate purchase so for now I have to do with pods (hopefully for a rather short period).
In my manual I see no banning of using the top as a cup warmer. Also, in the X-prject brochure pdf that Mark links to in the review there is a whole lot of cups on the top in the pictures.
well, that's my two cents (for now, anyway) /niles
I'm not sure about this but also FF! may have implemented the change Mark suggests in the conclusion. When I steam the light goes on and off frequently and since I'm a too much of a layman I don't know if this indicates that the problem with steaming power is solved via trick Solis trick or something like it or if nothing's changed since Mark's review...
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