Quick Mill Alexia Evo Review: Everything You Need For Great Espresso
Do you crave the perfect espresso? Nope, I’m not talking about a latte or a cappuccino. I’m talking about that ideal rich and flavourful shot with a thick crema and silky mouthfeel. If you answered yes, then you’re going to want to take a hard look at the new Quick Mill Alexia Evo.
This single-boiler espresso machine has some serious chops when it comes to pulling shots. Keep reading as we do a deep dive into the details of this impressive model.
Summary: Quick Mill Alexia Evo
- Lever operated semi-automatic espresso machine with E61 brew group
- Low-lead brass boiler with PID temperature control
- High-quality Italian manufacturing with stainless steel construction
The Alexia is a solid machine producing consistently delicious espresso, and it also looks really good in my kitchen. For me as a straight espresso drinker, the Alexia serves my needs really well.– George G., Customer
The Quick Mill Alexia Evo Review
The Alexia Evo is Quick Mill’s version of the popular single-boiler dual-use style of the semi-automatic espresso machine. It replaces the brand’s long-popular Eliane model. However, it also adds some modern features that make it better than ever.
In this detailed review, we’ll break down what’s new, what special features are sticking around, and why you shouldn’t or shouldn’t buy this machine.
Brewing Capacity 4/5
With only one boiler, the Quick Mill Alexia can’t brew coffee and steam milk simultaneously, but that is the only complaint when it comes to the brewing capabilities of this machine. It can make truly excellent espresso. And by doing away with a steam boiler, you’re rewarded with considerable cost savings and a much smaller footprint.
You’ll see the classic E61 group head with the commercial standard 58 mm diameter on the front of the machine. This traditional design, found on home and commercial machines for well over a half-century, uses a thermosyphon to continually cycle hot water from the boiler through the group head to maintain a stable temperature. The fact that it is so ubiquitous is undoubtedly a testament to how well it continues to perform (1).
With E 61 groups, shots are started and stopped using a lever on the side of the group. This definitely gives this semi-automatic machine a more commercial feel as compared with a standard home appliance. If you’re used to pushing a button for your coffee, you’ll probably enjoy the more tactile experience of the lever.
The PID Upgrade
Adding to the temperature stability on the Quick Mill Alexia is the fact that it uses a PID rather than a pressure stat (2). With the PID, you can set a specific brewing temperature using the digital display, but you can trust that there will be minimal fluctuations away from that set point. The same cannot be said for a pressure stat. Minimising fluctuations is crucial for shot-to-shot consistency, which if you’ve ever dialled in an espresso machine, you’ll know is essential.
The ability to adjust brew temperature is crucial for lovers of specialty coffee, as different roasts and origins extract better at different temperatures (3). According to industry expert Peter Garcia of espresso machine manufacturer Victoria Arduino, different flavour compounds are extracted at different temperatures. He says:
For a darker roasted espresso, we might use a lower temperature to make sure we do not extract any of the harsh flavours which can be present from the roast level.
On the other hand, he explains that light or medium roasted coffees are denser. So, a higher temperature is used to maximise extraction and adequately bring out the acidity.
The boiler itself measures 0.75 liters and is made from low-lead brass. On the inside, it has a T.E.A. coating, patented by Quick Mill, that ensures you never have to worry about any metal leaching into your hot water. It has an insulating velcro wrap on the outside, which improves both temperature stability and energy efficiency.
A compelling 1400-Watt heating element heats the boiler. Thanks to this high wattage, the Alexia Evo heats up fast and recovers quickly between shots. You’ll appreciate this feature if you’re serving a crowd, so long as the crowd isn’t clamouring for milky drinks.
The Alexia uses a Ulka 52 Watt vibratory pump with thermal overload protection to avoid potential damage. Plus, it has an added pulsar that makes it 25% quieter! While it still can’t match the low volume of a rotary pump, this machine is relatively quiet. The average prosumer grinder is probably louder than this espresso machine.
The front of the Alexia includes a dual-purpose pressure gauge, also known as a manometer, which reads both pump pressure and steam pressure. You can easily adjust the steam pressure by changing the set temperature on the PID. But a charming feature of this model is that you can easily adjust the pump pressure with the expansion valve. While many espresso machines have this valve stashed away deep inside the machine, with the Alexia Evo, it’s located right under the cup warming tray. You won’t need any special tools or skills to adjust it.
User Friendliness 4/5
Using the Alexia Evo is similar to using any single boiler dual-use machine with an E61 group. Yet, Quick Mill has outfitted this model with a few extra features that make it incredibly foolproof.
One thing familiar to many of Quick Mill’s espresso machines is the three-position power switch. And this is rarely seen in other brands. Its primary function is to avoid damaging your heating element during the initial start-up.
The switch’s center position is OFF. To power on for the initial start-up, move it to the left position, which is FILL. This fills the boiler and starts the water circulating. Then move the switch to the right, for power on and heating. This powers up the rest of the Alexia, including the heating element.
The water tank is similarly designed to avoid damage caused by user error. The large 3-litre water reservoir is equipped with a magnetic low water sensor that emits an audible beeping when the tank gets too low. When you need to refill the tank, it has a hinged top cover at the back of the machine, which means you don’t need to remove the cup warming tray. An unfortunate number of machines seem to overlook this inconvenience, so it’s nice to see the attention to detail here.
A pleasant surprise I discovered on this model, especially given that it is overall relatively compact, is the size of the stainless steel pull-out drip tray. It is a massive 1.36 litres. For comparison, 950ml is much more usual in espresso machines of this class. This means you’re going to be able to prepare many drinks before you need to worry about emptying the drip tray. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a sink as part of your espresso bar, you’ll appreciate this large, user-friendly pull-out drip tray.
Milk Frothing 3/5
As a one-boiler dual-use espresso machine, the Quick Mill Alexia Evo was definitely made with lovers of espresso in mind, rather than those with a penchant for lattes, macchiatos, and other frothy milk drinks. That isn’t to say that the milk steaming system is sub-par — it’s still better than what you’d get from an appliance grade model — but it’s not as impressive as the brewing capacity.
The stainless steel steam wand is a double-wall no burn design, which is undoubtedly excellent for the accident-prone among us as you’re less likely to burn yourself. And as an added perk, the cool exterior makes it much easier to wipe down afterward because you won’t be faced with charred milk scum on your wand. But of course, you should still purge your steam wand before and after each use and wipe it down as soon as you’re done steaming to maintain proper hygiene (4).
Anything different from the previous model?
The steam wand is fully articulated, so it’s easy to angle in any size of milk pitcher. This is a welcome upgrade from the older Eliane models.
You control the steam wand with a commercial-grade non-compression valve, which is easier to use and less expensive to repair when compared with a compression valve. It is capped with a two-hole steam tip, which is nicely balanced with the steam pressure.
You won’t get a ton of steam pressure out of the Alexia, given that it only has a 0.75-litre boiler. That said, it can get up to 1 bar, which is more than enough for that silky microfoam needed for the perfect latte art.
The main downside to the lower steam pressure is simply that steaming takes a little longer than it would with a double boiler or heat exchanger. Then again, if this is your first prosumer experience, you’ll probably appreciate the slightly slower steaming. It will give you more time to master the steam wand technique.
Build Quality 4.5/5
Like all the best Quick Mill espresso machines, the Quick Mill Alexia Evo build quality is top-notch. That includes a stainless steel frame inside and a mirror-finish stainless steel outer shell for the exterior.
The Alexia is a relatively compact model, measuring 9.5” wide by 17.5” deep by 15.5” tall, but still weighs 38 pounds. This is a great weight. It’s massive enough to indicate the use of durable, heavy-duty components, but it’s still light enough to move quickly around your kitchen. Many big double boilers are up in the realm of 70+ pounds, and it takes a village to get them situated.
The latest model of the Alexia has also been adorned with updated custom knobs, which are both aesthetically pleasing and easier to use.
For accessories, you’ll be happy to hear you get two commercial-grade chrome-plated brass 58 mm portafilters with this machine, one single and one double spout. Many manufacturers only provide one portafilter, especially with their lower-priced models, so it’s nice to see Quick Mill include both.
Of course, you’ll also receive the ubiquitous (and useless) plastic tamper, which you should aim to replace with something heftier as soon as possible. Increasingly, coffee research is demonstrating the impact tamping has on pulling espresso, so don’t sell yourself short by failing to invest in a great tamper (5).
Fortunately, because this machine uses the standard 58 mm diameter portafilter, accessories like tampers are affordable and easy to find. At Homegrounds, our favourite is the Espro Flat Calibrated Tamper, which guarantees the same force every time.
Cleaning and Maintenance 3.5/5
Any prosumer espresso machine will require a bit more when it comes to general maintenance than an appliance grade machine (6). But when you’re spending this much on a coffee maker, it only makes sense to put in the work and protect your investment.
Quick Mill espresso machines are regularly described as being built “like tanks,” so with the appropriate preventative maintenance, you should get many years of use from your Alexia.
The best thing you can do for your espresso maker is to use filtered water, which avoids the build up of scale in the boiler.
This is always preferable to descaling a machine yourself or summoning a technician to do it. Unfortunately, Alexia Evo’s water reservoir doesn’t come with an included water filter. I suggest you either buy one to install or fill the water reservoir using filtered water — from something like a Brita pitcher, for example.
A nice thing about the design of this machine from a service perspective is the no-fuss boiler drains. You can access these without removing any of the outside panels, making it easy to prepare this machine for shipping, should you ever need to send it away for work.
That said, the need to ship it for service is quite unlikely. For one, because the Alexia Evo uses an E61 group head, which is the industry standard, it’s effortless to find experienced technicians no matter where you live.
Additionally, this model uses a PID rather than a pressure stat, removing another possible need for maintenance. While the pressure is a mechanical part that will eventually fail, the solid-state PID keeps on trucking.
Don’t Buy the Quick Mill Alexia Evo If…
Milky drinks are a priority: The Alexia Evo is great for the occasional latte or cappuccino. Still, if you make a lot of milk-based drinks, you’re going to want a machine that can brew coffee and steam milk at the same time.
Quick Mill makes a few great heat exchangers for this purpose, though they will cost a bit more. Check out the Quick Mill Anita, or read our Quick Mill Andreja review for a slightly larger model. For a more affordable solution, consider the unique Silvano Evo, a single boiler with a separate thermoblock for steam.
Another option is to go for a small double boiler, which will also up your costs a bit and maintain the same degree of temperature control. Look at something like the Profitec Pro 300, Rancilio Silvia Pro, or Lelit Elizabeth.
You’re looking for something more entry-level: Though it only has one boiler, the Alexia Evo is quite advanced, with its E61 brew group and PID controlled. If you’re in the market for something a bit more basic and affordable, you have plenty of options from other brands. Take a look at the Rancilio Silvia, Lelit Anna, ECM Casa V, or Bezzera Hobby, for example.
You want a modern and programmable machine: If the old-school style of a lever operated espresso maker isn’t for you, you’re in luck, because Quick Mill makes an impressively modern model. The Evolution 70 features a large touchscreen that fills the entire front panel. This makes it easy to program all your favourite drinks.
If you don’t make many milky drinks, a single boiler dual-use espresso machine makes a lot of sense. You’ll get the high-end brewing capacity needed to pull a perfect espresso without wasting money and space on a milk steaming system.
Does that sound ideal? Then you’ll be very impressed with the Quick Mill Alexia Evo. Evo costs slightly more than some others in its class, but this is well justified by the E 61 brew group, PID temperature control, and durable build quality. You’ll be making delicious drinks with this machine for years, if not decades.
- Burton, G. (2011, January 11). The E61 Group Head: An Oldie but a Goodie. Retrieved from https://www.fivesenses.com.au/blog/the-e61-group-head-an-oldie-but-a-goodie/
- Partida, V. (2017, December 5). PID vs Pstat. Retrieved from https://coffeetechniciansguild.org/blog/2017/11/21/pid-vs-pstat
- Burgess-Yeo, S. (2019, September 20). How to Adjust Espresso Extraction & Create New Recipes. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2019/09/how-to-adjust-espresso-extraction-create-new-recipes/
- Bryman, H. (2017, June 28). PucMug Ultrasonic Steam Wand Cleaner Launching This Fall. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2017/06/28/pucmug-ultrasonic-steam-wand-cleaner-launching-this-fall/
- McKeon Aloe, R. (2020, April 9). Staccato Tamping: Improving Espresso without a Sifter. Retrieved from https://towardsdatascience.com/staccato-tamping-improving-espresso-without-a-sifter-b22de5db28f6
- Erasmus, D. (2015, September 18). Espresso Machine Maintenance: The Essentials. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2015/09/espresso-machine-maintenance-the-essentials/