The expobar brewtus is known by different names depending on where you buy it. In the US we have the Brewtus, elsewhere we see the Minore, or Cafe Leva. Regardless of what you call it, this machine is a fine piece of machinery and more than enough for a home user like myself.
The machine sports two 1.7L copper boilers at 1250w each, coming to working temp in just under 20minutes. This machine is heavy, weighing in at just under 75lbs of chrome and steel, 9lbs in the e61 brew head alone. Initial set up is easy, simply fill the reservoir, turn her on, and open the lever until water is flowing. Once the start up is finished and you’re ready to start pulling shots the real fun begins.
Pulling shots is easy on this machine. The e61 brew group supports a three-position lever that makes the process exceedingly simple. To make the final product even better, the folks at expobar included a pre-infusion chamber above the brew head that evenly wets the coffee at low pressure before the pump turns on, giving you a well-rounded and smoother tasting espresso. To pull a shot, just load your portafilter, lift the lever halfway to release the pre-infusion, then all the way up to activate the vibration pump. Once you’re shot is done, drop the lever back down to release excess pressure into the huge drip tray below the group, giving you a clean, dry puck.
Steaming milk is just as simple. Upon start up activate the steam boiler and open the wand for pressure relief during filling (a safety pressure valve on the boiler is also in place but its quicker to fill just opening the valve). Once you’re at the proper temp, the boiler should sit at about 1.2-1.4bars of pressure. Steaming milk is easy with the single hole tip that expobar provides, but Ill get into that later.
Some deeper thoughts:
The machines single hole tip is adequate but not what I was hoping for. Luckily at the time I ordered the machine, I also received a 4tip pack from Rocket. After experimenting with different tips, I found that the 2 hole tip provides the best ratio of power loss to steam pressure for my steaming technique. That said, switching the tips is easy enough and absolutely worth a try.
The iv-P is a plumbable reservoir machine. Because of this, under the brew group is a spout that relieves excess pump pressure into the drip tray instead of the reservoir like some machines, since to do so when plumbed would eventually lead to a spill. However, I primarily use the machine as a reservoir machine, so I ran a 1/4in pvc tube back to the reservoir to act as a relief. This is done by removing the machines back and finding a t-connector stemming from the OPV. Remove the tube leading to the spout, and run a line from the open t slot back to the reservoir. The whole process took about 10 minutes, and as you can see from the pictures, everything is pretty easy to access.
The PID is simple enough to use, press down to access the programing mode to set your brew temp. Hold the up arrow to turn off the brew boiler and thus only steam. Steam pressure can also be accessed but at 1.2-1.4 bar, there isn’t much you should be changing anyway.
I found a cup rail online for the minore models, which sell for about $50. This, I thought, was ridiculous. Instead I sought out a 128mm steel drawer handle from the hardware store and attached it using shorter screws. This provides a nice looking cup rail that makes opening the top of the machine a lot easier.
Pulling shots on this machine is easy enough, and the pre-infusion is substantial. I had trouble adjusting my grind and tamp off of my ascaso I-1d so that I was getting 25sec 9bar shots, but with a bit of play this machine is a real smooth operator. The pump is quieter than my old le-‘lit, and the temp control really sells the thing.
As I play with it more I will post more reviews, but in the short term, this machine is a great option for a double boiler under $2k.
More info and photos can be found on my blog (coffeeandneuroscience.blogspot.com) as listing in my profile.