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Isomac Tea - Barry Libenson's Review
Posted: February 6, 2004, 10:06am
review rating: 6.6
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Isomac Tea & Tea II
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More About This Product
Arrow The Isomac Tea has 66 Reviews
Arrow The Isomac Tea has been rated 9.09 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Isomac Tea reviews have been viewed 374,463 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Peter Bigone 10.00
Jim R. 9.26
James Schulman 9.17
Ton Boom 9.00
Blazej Mrozinski 8.67

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.6
Manufacturer: Isomac Quality: 10
Average Price: $1,649.00 Usability: 9
Price Paid: $995.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Chris's Coffee Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 1 month Overall 10
Writer's Expertise: I live coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Great machine, great shots, and it looks good too!
Positive Product Points

Dual guages are especially helpful for beginners.  Machine is rock solid and performs consistently even if I don't.  Machine looks great on the counter.  Once warmed up, it will pull shots forever.

Negative Product Points

Minor issue that is not really problematic is that the steam wand only moves in one direction.  Descaling the boiler is a non trivial task and without this web sites assistance may be impossible to figure out.

Detailed Commentary

I purchased this machine after owning a Starbucks Barista for three weeks.  Just as everyone on the site said, the Barista was a nice machine, but it would make you crave the real thing.  Based on other positive reviews, I opted for this machine.  I purchased it, along with a Mazzer Mini, from Chrisís Coffee, special plug to Mary who is an absolute pleasure to deal with.  Thanks to Chrisís supplemental instructions, setting the machine up was relatively straight forward.  Yeah yeah, the instructions that come from Isomac are terrible; however, you already know that.  Once I had turned the unit on, I ignored Chrisís instructions to let the unit warm up at least 45 minutes prior to pulling the first shot.  I attempted to pull a shot once the lights indicated that the machine was up to temperature, which took about 7 to 10 minutes. Not good.  Without giving the group head adequate time to come up to temperature and stabilize, the shot was cold and the consistency was bad.  I was also using pre-ground beans from a local coffee shop which were to coarse.  As a result, the machine could not get the right pressure built up and the shots were terrible.  New beans and 45 minutes later, the results were 100% better.  After some fine adjusting of the grind, the shots were perfect.  My machine appears to be pre-adjusted to about 9.8 Bar of pressure.  With a proper grind setting, 26 seconds yields an ideal double shot of about 2.5 oz.  If the grind is to coarse, the pressure will drop and an unattractive yellow swill comes out.  To fine and the pressure remains around 9.8 Bar and a very deep dark syrup slowly dribbles out as the machine struggles to force anything out of the portafilter.  After 20 seconds the quantity depends on just how fine the grind was, however, the shot tends to be on the bitter side and too thick for my taste.  Because of the warm up time, I have the machine on a digital Intermatic timer which turns the unit on a 6:10 am every morning. By 6:45 everything is ready and the shots are perfect.  I believe that all E61 group head machines require that you bleed the overly hot water before pulling the first shot if the machine has been sitting idle for an extended period of time. The Tea is no different.  I use the first 6 oz of water to heat my cappuccino cup as a result.  At first I thought that the steam wands inability to move in all directions would be a problem, however, I have not really found that to be an issue.  All in all, I am extremely pleased with the machine and would buy it again in a heart beat.

Buying Experience

Chris's staff is excellent.  They shipped everything the same day and have been a pleasure to work with on the few occasions when I have had questions.

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review rating: 6.6
Posted: February 6, 2004, 10:06am
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