I am coming from a Rancilio Silvia which I had for two years, so much of this review is a comparison to the Silvia. The Isomac is bigger (more impressive), shinier (more beautiful) and more convenient (can brew shot and steam, shot and steam….). The convenience is really what I was looking for. I made great espresso with Silvia, it was just a lot of work and took a lot of time. I also wanted a pour over machine and the Isomac has a larger water reservoir and larger drip tray than Silvia. Like the Silvia there is a lot of stainless steel which is very nice. I like that there is only one electrical switch—the on/off switch. I love the lever to activate the pump. The pressurestat is easy to adjust with a small screwdriver and a flashlight. The espresso from the Isomac is great and the steaming is great as long as you use a good tip—see Detailed commentary below.
Negative Product Points
I am very picky about everything I buy. I’m sure that I would find a whole bunch of negatives in any machine. The above positives far outweigh these negatives. But some of these would be easy to fix. 1.Shiny finish—it looks great now, but after a couple years will it look as good? The shiny surface tends to show all blemishes. The surfaces had a few minor blemishes upon arrival. 2.Drip tray—I wish there was a hole in the top of the tray where the E61 shoots out excess water/waste. Because it goes through the mesh surface, the water (which comes out fast) sprays around on the machine and sometimes behind the drip tray. The drip tray slides out a bit too easily—there is no “catch” to keep it in place when you don’t want it to slide out. 3.Water in the reservoir heats up. I plan on putting in some insulation so the reservoir doesn’t heat up so much. 4.Positioning of the boiler pressure guage is not optimal. I have to lean down to watch it. It would be nicer up top at an angle like on the Tea. 5.It’s a pain to have to remove the cup warmer tray to fill the reservoir with water.
When I was looking for a better machine I thought that out of the box I’d be making great espresso and pouring latte art like I was with Silvia. After the first two or so days of receiving the Isomac Millenium I thought I had bought the wrong machine. Now, after almost a month (and too many gallons of milk and pounds of espresso to count) I couldn’t be happier. My first problem was steaming. I could not get microfoam if my life depended on it. With Silvia I was getting great microfoam and pouring beautiful latte art. This was promptly fixed by Chris at Chris Coffee. He sent me a new two hole tip (no charge) and I was back to making great microfoam and pouring even nicer latte art. It also took me a while to find the spot where I should be starting my shots. After about a week of adjusting the pressurestat I found the right spot for my espresso. It is sure nice to be able to make adjustments and have a pressure guage and not have to be tied to a timer like I was with Silvia. The machine has been so convenient and easy to use that I am buying a second Mini Mazzer—one for regular and one for decaf. Now I will have time to make my wife a decaf latte in the morning. I would definitely recommend the Isomac Millenium as a great machine. Also, if you are going to buy one, definitely consider giving Chris at Chris Coffee a call. He will take care of you in the long term. He also will soon have the improved steaming tip and his machine will come with the nicer knobs for steaming and hot water.
My buying experience with Chris at Chris Coffee has been great!