Italian espresso machine maker Izzo, and American machine importer Chris’ Coffee have been partners for years in designing and producing finely tuned espresso makers for the American market. They have just made public what the new version of the famous Izzo Alex Duetto II will look like. Let’s take a look at some of the particulars.
To start with, most espresso machine makers, once they have hit on a great combination of internal components, never change them. This is certainly the case with Izzo and their great dual boiler Duetto platform. Version 3 (set to land in New York as soon as the port is cleared from Hurricane Sandy debris) retains all that has made the Duetto II a staple in its class. Same internals, yet a fairly extensive redesign on the body. Sharp edges have been replaced with softer corners, the grill on the drip tray is made of wire, not stamped stainless. The handle on the drip tray has been removed (kinda bummed about that one actually). The cup warming tray has been changed as well. As with the drip tray grill, the layout has been opened up to a more horizontal grid pattern. Notice the included hand rails on the cup warming tray, making it easier to remove for access to the water tank. The horseshoe shaped casing has been changed, and is now made up of 3 panels hung off of the frame, making it easy to take off and re-install. No change in the steam and hot water wands and valve assemblies, same insulated lines as on the version 2. While I wish that Izzo and other Italian machine makers would move away from the no-burn steam and hot water wands, they remain on the new Duetto.
Besides these purely cosmetic updates, there are 3 caveats worthy of note. Several people have noticed that the Duetto’s PID display has changed color, from a dark blue, now to red. I spoke with the service department at Chris’ Coffee about this. They were advised by Izzo that the new red LED display for the PID system should be more resistant to the high temperatures associated with these machines. The other change that is not apparent is that the old drain line has been replaced with a more direct drain line to the drip tray. I’m still a little fuzzy on this feature, but the service department at Chris is adamant that this change, though small, is big deal. And I know from experience that the old line was a little out of alignment typically out of the box. It was copper, and susceptible to moving out of its little notched outlet during shipping. When out of place, the drip tray would then have a hard time sliding into its proper place, leaving the happy new machine’s owner to try and bend it back to position. This copper line has thankfully been moved on the new version, hopefully eliminating this problem. Izzo also beefed up the stainless steel backing behind the grouphead with an extra layer to minimize flex while inserting the portafilter.
Last but not least of the functional changes; the portafilters that come with the new Duetto have all new ergonomic handles, with a La Marzocco style slant back look. Very nice touch.
The other change is the price, of course! The Duetto II V3 will be priced at $2495, an increase from the version 2’s original price point of $2395, now at $2250 while supplies last. In my opinion, looks aside, the V2 is the smart buy at the moment. But for those of you who want the latest and greatest, only 1-2 more weeks of waiting are in store. The V3 should be shipping out just before Thanksgiving. Stay tuned for an update as soon as we get to fire our demo machine up!