Are Italian HX Espresso Machines a Good Choice?
Well, that depends. If you buy an HX Italian espresso machine with an Aus Spec thermosyphon (water circulation system) modification the answer is yes. However, if you buy an off-the-shelf HX Italian espresso machine set at Italian factory settings the answer is likely to be no.
The reason for this is that Italian coffee machines are setup at the factory to run near 96 deg C to suit dark roast Coffee Robusta coffee beans. In Australia most of our beans are 100% Coffee Arabica - the fruitier and brighter coffee bean varietal. Our roasts are also lighter than traditional Italian roasts. The ideal brew temperature for medium roast Coffee Arabica coffee beans is near 93 deg C.
If you are looking for an HX Italian coffee machine make sure that you find one that has been factory modified to deliver brew water near 93 deg C. The modification isn't as simple as just reducing the boiler pressure. The theromosyphon also needs to be modified as well to keep the brew temperature stable. These machines are referred to as Aus Spec.
Before committing to an HX Italian espresso machine ask your retailer "is the machine Aus Spec?" If the retailer doesn't know what this means then let the warning bells ring. The second question to ask is "what brew temperature is the machine set to?" Again, the retailer should know.