If you're a serious CoffeeGeek, you already know this machine. If you don't, go read our first look on it here. This is the Speedster Espresso machine, and for five years running, it is still the best single group espresso machine you can get for your home.
Why? Because of so many reasons. Let's get the looks out of the way. While there are a select minority of folks who think it's a bit over the top (including Ryan Block of Engadget), pretty much everyone who's seen the Speedster in person think it is a singular work of art. And to continue with looks and aesthetics for a moment - how about the custom, hand made machine billeted aluminum side panels. Comparably priced machine (the GS/3 for example) have plastic sides. Then there's the design of the drip tray which, when you're in the operator position, looks like it is floating on air.
Everything about the look and aesthetics is polished. All the seams and welds are polished and perfect. All the parts that fit together fit with no gaps, to the point where they almost look like one piece. Every thing about the machine's exterior exudes quality and singular craftsmanship with zero corners cut.
Now under the hood. This machine has no less than seven solenoid valves to control water flow here and there. It has two solid state relays to control the machine's electronics and run the brains. It has two PID systems on both of its boilers. It even has glossy paint red knobs for the boiler empty valve tubes - a part you don't even see unless you take the side panels off.
The Speedster can go from fully dressed to completely "naked" (all top and side panels off, showing the machine's innards) in under a minute. You can completely disassemble the entire grouphead in under 5 minutes. It comes with a detailed and personalised manual on maintaining the entire machine.
As for brewing, the machine has dual PID controls and has a multi-stage pressure preinfusion system you control through, for lack of a better descriptor, a two gear brewing position arm. Put the machine into 1st gear and you open up your water line pressure for super slow preinfusion. There's also a preinfusion piston chamber which "eats up" that 3bar of water line pressure for about 8 to 10 seconds, giving you in effect neutral preinfusion pressure, then 3 bar preinfusion pressure. Move the gear to 2nd, and you fire up the rotary pump, giving you 8, 9 or more bar of pressure (whatever you dialed into the pump). Finish off the shot by moving the gear back to 1rst, and ramping pressure back down to 3 bar.
Steaming? A freaking dream. It has what is probably the best steam tip ever made. Steaming power is immense, but you can still finesse the steam amount with the large front knobs, and easily steam in 12 ounce pitchers or 32 ounce pitchers.
This is a dream machine. The ex factory cost is 6500 Euro, but factor in shipping ($500), installation ($200-$500), plus electrical and plumbing (up to $1,000 or more) and this machine will easily cost you over $10,000 to put in your home.
But it is so worth it.
Product Link (Kees Van Der Westen, Holland)