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Isomac Amica - A D's Review
Posted: February 27, 2004, 1:28pm
review rating: 5.1
feedback: (3) comments | read | write
Isomac Amica
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More About This Product
Arrow The Isomac Amica has 2 Reviews
Arrow The Isomac Amica has been rated 7.60 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since February 18, 2004.
Arrow Isomac Amica reviews have been viewed 12,908 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
A D 5.10
Andrew Gow 0.00

Previous Review  
Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 7.2
Manufacturer: Isomac Quality: 9
Average Price: $1,649.00 Usability: 5
Price Paid: $750.00 Cost vs. Value 6
Where Bought: Chris Coffee Aesthetics 7
Owned for: 1 week Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: Just starting Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned: Krups Gusto
Bottom Line: A beautiful solid, classic looking behemoth, for an espresso aficianado!
Positive Product Points

Looks beautiful, a real a work of art.
Solidly built. Makes hot water in an instant.

Negative Product Points

Looks huge and intimidating, looks like it should be in a restaurant.  No water level indication, actually the whole water delivery and stoage system is a bit chintzy.  It would be nice to be able to get the water tank out of the side.  Actually it would have been easy with a small hinged door.  It's a pain to move around almost 50 pounds to fill the water.
Takes forever to heat up for shots.  Very intimidating for a novice user.
Too bad it's so tall that I cannot get my cups on the nice warm top.
As with most things Italian, more money goes into style than function.

Detailed Commentary

This is some machine.  It's big, heavy and shiny, beautiful.  Reminds you of a classic car in how it's made as opposed to the new super-autos that remind you of a high-tech sports car. I wonder if it will have the same caveats as a classic car, you car types will know what I mean, increased maintenance and tuning to keep it running right.   I am kind of waiting for it to break down.

It truly overwhelms my counter and I don't have a small kitchen.  I sort of regretted buying it because of it's sheer size.  Hopefully I'll get over the buyers remorse (in regards to size) when I start making some phenomenal espresso.  

I ordered the machine and Rocky doserless on Wednesday and it arrived on Thursday in great condition.  It sat outside, on my porch.  When I got it set up and warming up, an hour later parts of it were still cold.  This is no complaint, it just shows how much mass this thing has.  I am sure when it stabilizes in the house, it will retain heat just like the cold.  Actually this morning, the grouphead was still slightly warm to the touch, I shut her down around 9:20 pm last night.

I filled it, primed it and ran a bunch of water through it and it shut off on me.  I freaked, looked at the GFI, the breaker then realized that the low watercut-off was too sensitive, so I filled her up and back to life she came.

I was never happy with my Gusto and preground illy, but priorities being what they are, I endured this way for three years.  I decided to do some research when it finally died so I tossed around single group mid-priced (Silvia, Venus), or smaller of the super autos (Gaggia, Saeco), or full-on E61.  You see what I decided.

I guess I was under the impression that these machines are so good that you can just plug, play and start enjoying awesome coffee.  I think I was wrong and I have to go through a learning curve.  Also, the long warmup time is not condusive to the morning shot before running off to the office.  I am afraid of letting this thing go unattended, it just looks like it can burn the house down it's so massive.
To compare apples to apples, I made a couple of shots with said preground coffee, the shots were not much better than my cheap gusto, the crema was nicer though.  It must have needed more heat up time or maybe it's true that the coffee/grinder will get more results than the machine itself.

I also bought a rocky doserless at the same time and will grind some fresh beans this weekend.  I am sure with good beans, alot of practice, tweaking and a decent warm up this thing will rule. The battle in my head now is do I want to tweak, fiddle, etc for the lon term or do I wantto just push a button and go.  Of you see an Amica on Ebay in a couple of months, you'll know for sure.

The bottom line is, think really hard about how much you love this hobby before jumping in at this level. In hindsight I may have done something different.  It is easy to get taken by all the commentary, tweaking, testing, etc when in the end,  what you want is a decent shot of espresso.
Anyone who is debating over it's size, it will look bigger on the counter than you imagine, even though you made all the measurements.
With my schedule being what it is, a super-auto may have been the right match for me.  This is no bash against the machine just a commentary regarding the match between me and the machine.  
With such a fancy beast in the house, I really need to hone my skills and produce some amazing shots, or I'd be laughed out of town (OK so I am exaggerating here).

Buying Experience

I called Chris coffee and placed an order, no surprises, the package wsa in good shape.

Previous Review  
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review rating: 5.1
Posted: February 27, 2004, 1:28pm
feedback: (3) comments | read | write
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