Brewtus2, Expobar Office Pulser, Nuovo Simonelli Oscar
Superb value for the home barista and espresso lover. A "set and forget, and use until the day I die" machine.
Positive Product Points
- Reliable, simple, robust, repeatable performance - Superb flavor extraction - Excellent temperature stability - Programmable temperature allows the user to adjust for different extraction recommendations provided by some coffee roasters - No-burn steam wand is extremely convenient - Hot water availability simplifies preparation of Americanos - Rotary pump is extremely quiet - Drip tray is huge, reducing likelihood of spilling the tray when you're on your way to the sink to empty it - Pre-infusion capability is nice to have and allows the user to experiment with their extractions - Though my machine is outfitted to be plumbed-in to a water line, it works superbly drawing water from a large external reservoir - This machine provides superb value, easily matching the performance of more expensive alternatives - The manufacturer has put the money into the build, where it matters in extracting superb espresso shots - Serious, industrial-quality appearance - The most frequent comment from my guests is "this is the best espresso/coffee/latte I've ever had". - The machine allows you to make many, many espressos back-to-back. I've never had it run out of steam or water, as long as I keep the reservoir filled - One of the Espresso blends I have used was from "Mr. Espresso" in Berkeley. Their recommended extraction temperature was much higher than what other roasters recommend (I don't recall the specifics, maybe 207 or 208 degrees F). The Brewtus-III handled this requirement effortlessly. - I've rated this product a 10 for quality, usability, cost vs. value and aesthetics because it represents such a tremendous value. Yes, there are other machines out there that are prettier and offer some nice capabilities (GS-3, Slayer) but the Expobar is (IMHO) an unbeatable value.
Negative Product Points
- Location of hot water spout can make it a little hot to use the hot water dispenser handle - Not as pretty or as heavily chromed as more expensive alternatives from vendors like Quickmill or Rocket
I've now owned this machine for than a year, so am updating my review with a few additional observations.
Time to reach operating temperature: as other reviewers have mentioned, approximately 20 minutes, though I have the machine on a heavy-duty appliance timer to turn on early in the morning to allow the machine to stabilize.
Changing brew temperature: the PID interface works extremely well and the time required to change temperature is comparatively minor, depending upon the change and which direction you are going - hotter or cooler. For example, if my first shot in the morning is Wolfmoon Espresso from Ritual Coffee, brewed with the PID set at 200 degrees, It only takes a few seconds to adjust the PID up to 210 for a second cup made from Mr. Espresso's Neapolitan Espresso. The change in temperature takes a couple of minutes. Note: I haven't timed how long it takes to go the other way, say from 210 down to 200, but I expect it might take a little longer, as the group head has a lot of thermal mass. For all practical purposes, though, this question is probably relevant to any of the "peer" E-61 home machines.
Steaming: I can steam as much milk as I need as fast as I can pull shots. Steam boiler recovery time, for me, is never an impediment to serving guests.
Back-to-back shots: Unlimited, for my use. I weigh and grind each shot I make and the machine recovers extremely well. I'm never slowed down with the reheating process.
Hot water reservoir recovery: Fairly quick. Sometimes, if I have guests who want tea (most request latte's) I'll drain the hot water reservoir into a kettle to shorten how long it takes to get the teapot steeping. If I do that, the red recovery light will illuminate for a couple of minutes. This has not been an impediment for me to make Americanos or back to back espresso shots. ---------Below is my original review of the Brewtus-------------
This is my third Expobar product, though I could have easily lived with the previous two. I'm writing this short review out of appreciation for this machine and consideration for those shopping for a "final" espresso machine. I've owned this machine for about a year.
My first Expobar was an Office Pulser. It was my first experience with an e-61 type group. The machine worked extremely well, though it did not offer any options for controlling the temperature. The push-button performance was reliable and simple.
I replaced the Office Pulser with a Brewtus-II, which became available at a very attractive price. That machine worked superbly, though my wife was less than delighted with the sound of the vibratory pump. BTW, the vibe pump was no louder than that on my Nuovo Simonelli Oscar or the Pulser. It was just a minor annoyance.
The Brewtus-II was replaced with a Brewtus-III with a rotary pump. The rotary pump is extremely quiet. I draw water via the plumb-in hose from a large external filter-pitcher. It works great. Minimal hassle.
It is hard to be brief when writing this review because I like this machine so much. I've also used a Rocket and find the temperature control on the Expobar to be much more convenient (the control for the Rocket is attached via a wiring harness and requires the user to mentally adjust from the displayed temperature to the final temperature at the group-head. At least that's what I recall.) The Rocket made good coffee, but the Expobar is IMHO every bit its equal.
I purchased this unit from someone close who had upgraded to a Rocket. They were great to deal with.