2 thumbs up for Expobar. It does everything that a more expensive single-boiler machine will do. Great workhorse-definitely wins the "best value" award for prosumer machines. FWIW, I found I get more consistent shots with the Reg Barber tamper-it seems to fit the standard Expobar double basket just perfectly. The Lava I have used is just a little smaller-not quite as good of a fit.
The Pulser is an outstanding machine.IMHO the build quality is better than (at least as good as) machines costing twice as much or more. All the tubing is copper, the boiler is insulated and also larger than the competition. I have made some pstat adjustments because my machine had poor steaming performance when I first got it. (2min 20 sec to steam 12 oz of milt to 160 degrees F) Boiler pressure is now set to .9 bar, after a cooling flush, brew temp is 192 degrees F. With the standard Expobar 1 hole steam tip it takes just over 1 min 45 seconds to steam to 160 degrees. The 3 hole Rancilio tip steams 12 oz to 160 degrees in just over 1 minute. The standard Expobar tip produces better microfoam than the Rancilio tip, but I am currently using the Rancilio tip for the faster speed.
My recommendation; two thumbs up. By all means go with the Pulsar and a good quality grinder.
I've had an Expobar since some time in January. I have the control model, but the only thing I use the preprogrammed buttons for is the cooling flush and the backflush. I use the manual button for my shots. I got it next to new from WLL. I love the machine. I had never pulled a shot before, so I wasn't that good at it at first. After figuring out how much of a cooling flush to run, I was able to pull some great shots. In mid September I started noticing black specks coming from the hot water tap and the group. I contacted tech support and Todd suggested a boiler flush. He was willing to walk me through every step. Very good support. Eventually we determined that I should send the machine back. After receiving the machine Todd said that the inside of the boiler was actually flaking off. He wasn't sure why and had never seen this happen before. So I got a replacement refurb machine. The replacement machine also had something coming from the hot water tap. It was different from the first though. I called Todd and showed him some pictures of the water from the tap. He was very apologetic and said he would take care of it. Next thing I know I have a brand new machine on the way. He didn't even wait for the old machine to make it back. (In fact it's still in my garage and I getter get to shipping it back) I've had the new machine for 2 weeks now and love it. I liked the old style steam and hot water tap knobs, but these are a standard knob and it should be pretty easy to find larger replacement knobs. The knobs from the stove fit but look kind of funny ;). It also came with a one whole steam tip which I really like a lot. I have been told that my problems with the Expobar are very uncommon and from what I've read and heard I agree 100%. I would not hesitate to get another Expobar, and I wouldn't hesitate to get it from Whole Latte Love.
Rawman the Expobarbarian.. AKA the Original Jon R.
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