A frequent question I am asked is what to look for when choosing between a heat exchange machine and a double boiler. Cost and size have always been the primary limiting factors, until recently that is…
In late August Quick Mill and Chris’ Coffee rolled out the brand new Quick Mill QM67 double boiler. It is a small and versatile Italian built machine that is PID controlled for precise espresso extraction, and a separate steam boiler for dedicated frothing ability. In addition, its price point is just low enough to compete with the heat exchanger family of machines.
In the past, espresso machine shoppers doing their homework would ask me what I think they should buy in the under 2k territory. A short battery of questions would usually ensue, but, if they said that excellent milk was of high importance, I would often recommend a heat exchanger like the Andreja. In this machine you get ample steam power, a very attractive classic Italian look, wonderful build quality, and a price of $1795. All this remains true with the QM67, of course, but at $1900 it offers almost everything the Andreja does and with a whole new world of control over water temperature. Temperature stability is one of the keys to excellent straight espresso, and now you no longer have to spend at least $2,000 to ensure that yours is up to snuff.
So how to choose between these two? Well, I think the same set of questions is still valid to ask. “What kind of coffee do you love?” Is it just one or two velvety cappuccino or latte’s in the morning? Holiday and/or dinner parties of friends and family once in a while? I’d say the Andreja is still the better option for you folks. Because the steam portion of its single boiler is quite large, larger in fact than the separate steam boiler on the 67, you actually have a bit more steamy oomph (aka pressure) available for just a few more lattes or hot chocolates. If your answer is more “We need our latte’s first thing in the morning, but I really do enjoy a true straight espresso in the afternoon or evening,” then that’s when I would start to think about a double boiler. Consider too what you might want to be doing in the near future. Either machine should last years if backflushed weekly and kept free of mineral deposits, and it might just benefit you to look down the line a little ways and try to determine how your tastes may change. We’re here to make sure that your investment will fit your lifestyle and last for years to come.