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New & Old Espresso Machine Side-by-Side

Published October 20th, 2011

This is a side-by-side comparison of my old and my new espresso machines. The old machine is on the left, new on the right.

The Old

I had a Breville 800 ESXL consumer machine that retails for about $400. I threw away the stock portafilter baskets and replaced them with non-pressurized versions, which required some adjustments to the grouphead.

This machine uses a thermoblock for heating both steam and espresso brew water. This yields inconsistent temperature and pressure. It also has a built-in pre-infusion cycle, which I don't care for.

The New

This summer, I bought the Anita by Quick Mill. It's relatively unmodded, though I've adjusted the overflow valve to get ~10 bar pressure when pulling a shot (I like ristrettos). I also have VST precession portafilter baskets.

The Anita is a low-end professional machine designed for light use in a coffee shop. This is a machine uses a heat exchanger, which took some getting used to :) Moving to the Anita meant my coffee got *worse* until I adjusted, but the transition was worth it. It has an E61 grouphead with a built-in pre-infusion chamber which has better results than the Breville.

The Details

I used my old machine for two years and have become comfortable with my new one for about four months, so I'm familiar with what each machine takes to produce a good cup. For each, I used the same beans (fresh roasted Columbian) with the same grinder (Mazzer Mini).

The VST baskets in the Anita take 18 grams of coffee, while the double basket in the Breville take 14 grams.

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Both machines say warming up for over a full hour.

  • October 1st, 2011
  • Apple iPhone 4
  • 3.85mm / f/2.8 / 1/15 sec
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The smaller Breville portafilter on the left is also deeper than the standard E61 portafilter on the right. Reg Barber tamps, one stainless steel and one copper, above.

  • October 1st, 2011
  • Apple iPhone 4
  • 3.85mm / f/2.8 / 1/15 sec
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Watery espresso out of the Breville. Hard to get high pressure for good extraction using thermoblock.

  • October 1st, 2011
  • Apple iPhone 4
  • 3.85mm / f/2.8 / 1/15 sec
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Nice flow from the bottomless portafilter basket.

  • October 1st, 2011
  • Apple iPhone 4
  • 3.85mm / f/2.8 / 1/15 sec
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The result! Visually, the Anita (on the right) had a higher viscosity, which came through in taste.

  • October 1st, 2011
  • Apple iPhone 4
  • 3.85mm / f/2.8 / 1/15 sec
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The Anita has a three-way value for relieving pressure at the end of the brew, yielding a dryer puck.

  • October 1st, 2011
  • Apple iPhone 4
  • 3.85mm / f/2.8 / 1/17 sec
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See the difference? Watery muck on the left, dry puck on the right.

  • October 1st, 2011
  • Apple iPhone 4
  • 3.85mm / f/2.8 / 1/15 sec
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10 minutes post-brew.

  • October 1st, 2011
  • Apple iPhone 4
  • 3.85mm / f/2.8 / 1/15 sec
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20 minutes post-brew. Most crema from the Breville is dissipated while the Anita still clings onto the side of the demitasse.

  • October 1st, 2011
  • Apple iPhone 4
  • 3.85mm / f/2.8 / 1/15 sec

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ashfurrow
Ash Furrow  over 6 years ago

A healthy amount - barely.

tochilin
Andrey Tochilin  over 6 years ago

Nice pics :)

tchebotarev
Evgeny Tchebotarev  over 6 years ago

How much coffee do you drink? :)