Best Dual Boiler, commercial grade, home espresso machine on the market...so far.
Positive Product Points
Dual Boilers 1 degree temperature control of the Group head VERY massive portafilter Direct Plumb Incredible steaming capability
Negative Product Points
Unable to use timer to turn on...digital on/off Noisy at first, solved with a screwdriver to tighten loose screws after shipping
After doing endless research on all the machines between $1000 to $2000, this was the only dual boiler home machine that seem to offer more than an Hx machine. Not thats there is anything wrong with the Hx machines, it was that for a few dollars more you can get a rotary pump, direct plumb, dual boiler, digital control to 1 degree of the group head, programmable functions, commercial grade components, and the ability to steam and pull shots at the same time(which I never do by the way).
In all the research of the Hx machines( La Valentina, Giotto, Isomac, Expobar, Salvatore, etc), to me they all seem to offer the same capability dressed in different forms of stainless steel. Which, by the way made the decision very difficult. SO many machines at almost the same price, with the same capability. How to pick one and feels good about excluding the other excelllent machines! Before deciding to get the S1, I had narrowed it down to the La Valentina and the Isomac Millenium. In an attempt to determine if the LA Val was worth the extra premium over the Millenium, I call Chris Coffee. We talked about the S1. I was brainwashed into think that an upgraded espresso machine HAD to have the E61 group, which the S1 does not. After I was convinced that the S1, was infact the best machine for the money, I ordered one, and have not regretted it at all. Here is a list of all the features:
Dual Boiler Steam Boiler 2.5 liter Steam Boiler Element 1250 Watts Group Boiler .45 liter Group Boiler Element 800 Watts Swivel Steam Arm Two Complete Portafilters One Single and One Double Direct Plumbed Rotary Pump Volumetric Dosing Volumetric Dosing Adjustable Through Touch Pad Group Temperature Indicated by LED Display Group Temperature Adjustable Through Touch Pad Electronic Boiler Refill Built in Safety Thermostat Semi Automatic Hot Water Delivery Manual Steam Valve Fault Diagnosis Alarms Boiler Pressure Gauge
As with any new machine it takes a while to "get it down". I am still learning on how to use this machine. One thing that I do not have to worry about is the temp stability of the group head. I usually let it warm up for 20-30 minutes before use, run a few blank shots in the portafilter, and pull some very good shots. I always did cold lattes, because the Starbucks Barista, just wasnt up to the task. Not the case with the S1. I think I could steam all day and not have an issue. Only issue I still work on is how much coffee to put in the portafilter, to strive for the 25-28 sec pull, without grinding to fine or tamping to hard. Lately having much better success with beans from the local roaster here in Vegas (The Whole Bean) on Sahara/Valley View.
All in all, I am very happy with the S1 and would not trade it for anything, although I would love to have the La Valentina for a day, just to play. Hard to beat having a dual boiler, plumb, rotary machine for a couple hundred over a Hx machine.
Nothing but positive from Chris COffee from day one. Very helpfull and knowledgable on everything espresso. Even offered a new steam arm at NO CHARGE.
Three Month Followup
One Year Followup
Well, I can't believe it has been a year since the S1 arrived FedEx. No regrets. It has has made a few moves, when we sold our house last summer. First to the Hotel, which was easily plumbed in for the 60 day stay, and no issues. Ran it in the 15 amp mode and did not trip the breaker once. Then to a friends house for about 45 day. Hooked up to her plumbing, chanded out the 15 amp plug, and worked flawlessly. And finally to the new house. WIfe said no to the install next to the sink. Oh NO. Installed on the other side of the kitchen, next to the frig, and ran a water line through the wall from the cold water line from the bathroom sink on the other side of the wall. Since this is a soft water line and the water at the sink is hard water, I was able to eliminate the soft water filer and only use the water filer for espresso water. Works flawlessly. This year, I did the motor mount mod, and wow, what a difference. Almost like I had a new machine, so if you have an older model, with the older motor mounts, DO THE UPGRADE! Still have the older electronics and the older steamer wand, both which I did not see as a big deal. Still pulls incredible espresso with ease and steams incredible. Best espresso machine I have ever owned, although the one prior to this was a Starbucks Barista, which was a good machine to learn on. Would I buy a different machine today? Sure, a $7000 La Marzocca F70, but it requires 220, is way to big for my kitched, a little excessive in price for a home unit, and the WIFE said NO. http://www.lamarzocco.com/fb70.html Take a peek. All in all I would buy the exact same one today, no reservations. Thanks Chris of Chris' Coffee http://www.chriscoffee.com for an excellent machine and purchasing experience.