Unbeatable machine for small cappucini for the price.
Positive Product Points
Excellent temperature control Steam and brew simultaneously Standard portafilter Nice fit and finish Outstanding build-quality and durability Small size Easy reservoir refill Can be plumbed-in
Negative Product Points
Steaming performance is weak
Basically, this machine stands alone in the sub $2000 price range. You can get a cheaper machine, but it will be much worse. You can get a better machine, but you'll pay much more. Quickmill really nailed the price/quality trade-off with this machine.
I was researching this machine for a long time for my home use, but ended up first buying two of them for my office. This is not a commercial machine, but it is built like one. We have around 20 people making two lattes per day on this machine and it has held up without a single issue for a year. Consider that these are your typical office workers who have no idea what they are doing, and are quite rough with the machine. The biggest issue I have is cleaning old coffee out of the group head, but that's not so much a machine flaw as user error.
I cannot think of any criticism about the machine's espresso brewing capability. It warms up fairly quickly because it is small, but has enough thermal mass for temperature stability. If I want to be very picky, I could say that the position of the brew/steam switch is slightly too close to each other such that it is easy to accidentally activate the wrong one.
The position of the water reservoir is very convenient for seeing the level and refilling. The drip tray is large and easy to empty. One small issue is that the three-way valve's exhaust hose can get under the drip tray if the tray is not pushed all the way in. Again, mostly user error, but could be improved upon by the design.
The only weakness of this machine is its steam performance. It has a steam bank, which is enough for up to 8 oz lattes. However, the hold in the nozzle is too large for the steam pressure. Because of this the steam comes out at fairly low velocity and getting a good rolling vortex is difficult. The squared shape of the tip is also challenging. I've use other very low quality steam bank machines in the past with much better results. I have not tried a different nozzle, but expect it could make a huge difference. The steam pressure also seems to drop off after about 30 seconds. I don't mind it taking a long time to steam my milk, since I can do it while I'm brewing on this machine. The issue is that the steam velocity is too low to make high quality foam without being VERY practiced at it on this particular machine.
One nice feature that is not advertised is that you can plumb-in the reservoir by adding a float valve. We simply drilled a small hole in the side of the reservoir for the inlet. Chris's Coffee was excellent in helping us figure this out after we bought the machine.
After using this machine for a year at work, and because I drink mostly milk-based drinks, I decided to buy a true dual-boiler machine for my home. However the machine to which I upgraded was more than twice the cost. So, if you have the money to spend and you like milk-based drinks, then go straight for a dual-boiler. If you drink small milk drinks or only do so infrequently, this might be your dream machine.
Excellent. Chris's Coffee helped us figure out how to plumb the machine after purchase.