Can find no reason to rate less than a ten on all counts
Positive Product Points
Beauty, company philosophy, build quality, function
Negative Product Points
When I heat the pod portafilter with a blank shot, the filter screen sometimes sticks to the shower screen. Easy to recover with a finger touch... but it should probably be a tighter fit.
Before I ordered an X1 from illyusa.com, I went to the francisfrancis.com web site. It certainly is not what I expected in a business venue. I love their presentation. I have made some print copies of the philosophy essays to share.
I have loved coffee for 50 years. I think that my home coffee has remained ahead of the street quality curve for 40 years. Espresso has been knocking at my door for 20 years. Recently I have been served some very good espresso in my home community travels. I decided it was time to answer the door to espresso. Because the ten year old memory of my first sighting of an X1 has never stopped singing in the artistic half of my brain, it was natural to go there first. I read good and bad about it. I heard the many arguments in favor of more “down to business” machines. I decided that the combination of Francis philosophies, the undeniable art of the company in general and the stunning beauty of the X1 in particular, ...along with many reports that the machine is greatly improved were all I needed to know.
I have the stainless steel model and I love it. The coffee has been better than anything served to me... and the machine is completely satisfying. The culture of junk... junk food, junk entertainment, junk government, junk products, ...has depressed me for some time and it has become much worse than I thought possible. This coffee machine has quickly become relief to me in many ways. People long for complete products whose every detail is uncompromised, ...including beauty. An example of the less obvious perfection of the X1 is the beautiful way that the water tank fits into the back of the machine, with a soft tube that is easy to move.
I read the instructions carefully, easily understanding them completely, and it seems that I can make no mistake. I am thankful that I was not distracted by other products and propaganda. The X1 is singing to me, and my family. Even my wife, who has never wanted coffee... is asking for the beautiful Cappuccino that I make. I have enjoyed the pod system and can dash off multiple quality cups very quickly. The ground coffee equipment that comes with the X1 produces fantastic coffee that fits my personal preference for a double with ease. I always get the beautiful puck discharge that some reviewers say is hard to obtain on X1.
I am completely happy with every aspect of the X1. I don’t know where the complaints come from if folks are using the latest version. It is ready to go faster than I am. The coffee is immensely satisfying by pod, ground product, and my fresh grind.
I easily produce a perfect milk froth. It is simple to keep clean. Illy gives you a lot of free coffee with the machine. I think it is one of those products that is worth full retail, but I have seen it at reduced prices lately. My coffee roasting season corresponds to the baseball season because the Minnesota winter is too hard to work with. I will look forward to trying home roast on my X1.
I have never used sugar with coffee, but have found that the raw cubes that come from France are a startling treat with espresso. I just soak the cube for a few seconds in the coffee, and consume it as a palate conditioner. Keeping the coffee itself unsweetened is better for me.
The comments on the coffeegeek site have been very helpful to me. I think that anyone who is interested in the FrancisFrancis! X1 should know that it lives up to all of its promises of function. No, coffee is not not what I live for. Many people are more serious about this than I am. I only love coffee as it was in the beginning, is now, and always shall be. Recognizing that Coffeegeek does not like overblown praise, I push those "10" buttons with caution. I was told about a machine that costs three times what I paid for this one... that produces espresso at the push of one button. I said I am not in that big a hurry. The reply was, "spoken like a retired man who has time to make espresso." -True.
Illy telephone ordering is great, as is Internet ordering. I was conscious that Illy would send me the latest version of the machine. They have some excellent product and service offerings.
Three Month Followup
I still use it every day and pardon me but the darn thing has been perfect. I suspect pilot error on the part of complainers.