A dream machine if you can get the hang of the frothing arm power!
Positive Product Points
Looks, coachwork and "presence"
Negative Product Points
Big, not for the faint hearted short of space Needs plumbed in, a bonus and a hassle depending on your kitchen layout.
The A3 is a bulky brute, far bigger than it appears in pictures, in fact my wife nearly had a fit when you saw how it dominated the kitchen! Its bulkiness though itís its winning ticket, it isnít subtle it yells at you! I donít mind being yelled at by a coffee machine though, itís wish is my command. The machine is only 34 CM wide but a whole 50 CM deep and 44 CM high.
The chassis is steel and the finish is chrome and it exudes quality everywhere. Iíve had to warn the local air port not to fly planes over my house in case the think I am signalling them for help with my ultra shiny machine!
The badge on the back is made of anodised aluminium and really catches the eye unless like mine it is facing a wall!
From the highly vented cup warmer to the clutter of levers and chrome fittings the machine has your eye roving over itís every curve and feature. Even the cable is something to behold, it would look more at home in a power station! Over engineering is evident everywhere.
The bakelite handles on the levers and porta-filter look rather like walnut and the detailing in the bakelite alone really stands out. The chrome detailing is a sheer beauty to behold, you could spend a lot of time just looking at the coachworks of the A3.
Both the hot water dispenser and the frothing arm control have hair trigger control and no finer feeling exists than working these levers. The lever for activating the group head is a masterful piece of engineering. Its double electronic action has a sure certainty about it. Its action feels velvety and cushioned and confirms where all that money you spent on the machine has gone. The lever mechanisms are tested to the same demanding standards as NASA components this is a real comfort if you are planning to take the machine to Mars with you and why not?
The patented group head claims to have heat stability mainly due to itís weighing 2KG (!). It does rather dominate the machine due to itís sheer size, but Iím not complaining itís really quite a focal point!
The precision pressure gauges have a heavy duty feel to them with a yellowed background and rather remind me of Smith Speedometers in Jaguar cars. The twin gauge measures boiler pressure and pump pressure.
The drip tray is literally stunning. Itís the last thing youíd really look at but again eye catching quality and stylish design really please the eye.
The machine plumbs in and even the drip tray can be fed to a waste pipe boy Iím gonna love this baby!
The boiler is 6 litre and coupled with a 2200 Watt element pressure and capacity are not an issue. In fact the pressure out the frothing arm is so great milk can be made to erupt from the jug leaving nothing in the jug and you crying over the proverbial.
In terms of look, as good as my old Bezzera BZ99 was, this simply is the bees knees in attention grabbing styling. The quality of workmanship far outshines every Bezzera machine I have ever seen. Its presence dominates our dining area and will be the focus of many visitors attention, not that Iím seeking that but it gives me a good chance to offer my Barista skills to them!
In summary you cannot fail to say ďWOWĒ when you see the machine it will not disappoint and the photos in brochures and websites do not do it justice.
In terms of heating up, about 40 minutes will get the machine to operational temperature but I like to leave it on an hour at least before first use.
The pump is very quiet which is good, as it is sold as ďsuper quiteĒ. The gentle distant whir is barely audible, a bit like a Rolls Royce.
Itís worth saying the manual is well written and does not suffer from translation issues. You can tell the people at Elektra love their machines as well.
I haveínt had much time to get to know the machine but the first shots produced were very drinkable. Iím about to get some different types of bean to try on it though. I have noticed the puck seems to be rather soupy though and I know someone else with this issue on the machine. Iíll work on that though.
The frothing arm as mentioned is extremely powerful and it looks like Iíll need to develop new frothing skills to handle the power and speed it operates at. Still, I know that extremely dense micro-foam is not far away.
I was bursting with impatience after waiting 8 whole weeks for my Elektra A3 to arrive from Italy and today it finally did.
Delivered upside down in a cardboard box that was struggling to contain it first impressions were not good. The box was also extremely wet and soggy and the machine itself was quite wet. Looking back I rather suspect the company that imported it tested it prior to sending it out and failed to drain it. My heart did temporarily sink though!
Three Month Followup
Getting the hang of it now...
One Year Followup
Still a winner, not a bit dis-appointed and it always gets comments on it's looks.