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Francis Francis 207003 X7 iperEspresso Machine, Black
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- Pump-driven espresso machine that exclusively uses Illy coffee capsules
- 2-stage brewing process ensures full-bodied aromatic coffee with crema
- User-friendly control panel offers oversized backlit buttons and helpful icons
- 1-touch brewing with auto-stop; steam wand; 40-ounce removable water tank
- Measures 11 by 11 by 12-1/2 inches; 1-year warranty
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The X7 machines uses the new revolutionary iperEspresso Method to prepare espresso. Hyper Espresso is a unique and innovative two-stage process. The first is hyper infusion. The is followed by emulsion, resulting in a thick, velvety crema and full-bodied espresso.
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Of the big global coffee brands, I prefer Illy. It's rich and bold, yet very smooth--and much better than Nespresso or Lavazza. Of course the best coffee tends to be from locally-sourced, small coffee producers. For those coffee grounds, I use my simple Bialetti Moka maker.
Back to the Francis Francis X7 model... functionally, it works well. I've had mine for three years of heavy use without a single problem. The design is cute (kinda looks like E.T.!). But the two big negatives for me are: (1) the all-plastic body and (2) horrible steamer wand. For its price point the X7 should not be plastic. (The X1 model is metal, but also $600+.) The steamer wand produces microfoam more than froth, is annoying to operate, and the milk is never piping hot.
I ended up buying a separate Jura Milk Frother, which produces thick, spoonable froth and hot milk.
Since I purchased the X7, the more compact Y3 model has come out. The Y3 does not have a steamer wand, which is good because none of the Francis Francis steamer wands are any good. Today if I were to buy an espresso machine I'd get the Y3 and the Jura Milk Frother. Together they're $300, space saving, functional and stylish.
I can't stress that last point enough: what sets the Francis Francis machines apart is their chic, modern style.
I was making two espressos this morning. The first cup was fine. On the second cup, no water came out and the machine started making a very loud grinding rattle. I turned it off, let it cool down, and tried again with a new capsule. The same thing happened. I checked the top of both iperEspresso capsules; both were punctured.
I tinkered around with the X7 and noticed the water overflow in the bottom was full. I drained it, tried making another espresso with the drain cover off, and this time the water came shooting out of the bottom. The water flow has gotten clogged and the hot water is going out some overflow valve instead of to the coffee.
While I love this Espresso machine, for $400 it shouldn't die in eight months.
+++ UPDATE +++
Lilly sent me a new machine to replace the one that died. I Lilly absolutely did NOT want to replace my first machine, even though it had a twelve month warranty, I had registered the machine with them, and still had all the paperwork showing when I had bought it. It turned into the old "please let me talk with your supervisor routine." Eventually I was told how to send the old machine back. I received a replacement after about three weeks. Not bad.
The second machine also only lasted SIX months and died, just like #1 On the recommendation of a friend, I bought a Saeco brand machine in winter 2010 that uses regular coffee beans instead of expensive pods; it has a built-in grinder. I use it 4-10 times a week. I have not had one bit of trouble with it and love it. The Saeco was about the same price as one of these garbage Lilly machines, and I can buy bags of whole beans instead of pods. I will never buy another Lilly product.
First, let me start with Amazon. My purchase online was very convenient and the shipping was first class and fast - eventhough I did the free shipping. Also, the price was cheaper that what I had found on some other websites - - and Illy's own website for that matter. As of today, Amazon is about $200 cheaper than the Illy website.
Now for choosing the coffee machine. I first had to decide between the X6, which uses the pods, and the X7, which uses the capsules. I figured I would try the capsules because they are the new thing. I mean really, this is what Francis Ford Coppola uses (just Google his name and Francis X7 to see the article). I also read some other reviews in the Cigar Aficionado and Time that praised the X7 as well. So I got the X7.
As for the machine itsself, I am very impressed with the quality. It is not a big machine, but it is heavy and very sturdy. The buttons are made out of a very interesting soft material that actually glow when the machine is on and ready. The steam button on the far right of the machine lights up as well when the machine has warmed enough to produce steam. Nothing rattles. This is a much higher quality than you see on cheaper machines at the department store.
Now for the coffee. The X7 makes as good a cup of espresso as you are going to find. I tried the dark roast, but the medium roast "lungo" tasts the best and makes a bigger cup of coffee. I do not know how the machine does this, but the X7 makes a bigger cup of coffee with the "lungo" capusule than the regular espresso capsule on its own without adjusting any of the settings. Hmmmm.
Cleanup is a breeze because I do not have to fool with coffee grinds or the soggy coffee pods. Just remove the coffee arm from the machine and turn it upside down over the trash and the capsule is gone. No mess at all. No cleanup.
I did sign up for the home delivery on the Illy website to get the free cups and saucers. I recommend this as they are beautiful cups and look very cool sitting on top of the machine.
And one more thing . . . get the Red one.
Most recent customer reviews
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