Expobar Brewtus Double Boiler Espresso Machine Review
It’s time to let the secret out. So hold onto your demitasse, you’re in for a real treat. The Expobar Brewtus is here! This dream machine was designed specifically to produce the best quality espresso with unheard of consistency. How? It’s all about control. You control the temperature with the only digital display in the industry and Brewtus keeps the temperature on target with unparalleled precision. What makes this different than those all so familiar heat exchanger machines you may ask? In a heat exchanger system there is one boiler performing 2 main functions: producing steam & hot water for brewing. With the Brewtus, there are 2 independent boilers. One for steaming and one solely dedicated to brewing.
The Brewtus Espresso Machine: by Expobar
There are a lot of factors that go into creating the perfect shot of espresso, but once you’ve mastered your technique, found the right beans and grind that deliver the taste you li
ke, it comes down to one thing. Temperature consistency. Any fluctuation will affect the taste of your espresso. It’s that simple.
In 2005 WholeLatteLove worked with Expobar for over a year to create what they call the ultimate semi-automatic espresso machine, and well they came pretty close with the Expobar Brewtus I double boiler “prosumer” espresso machine. Over the next 12 years, they and Expobar have been updating and up grading the machine with the Brewtus II, Brewtus Brewtus III, and now as of 2017 they are up to there curent model the Expobar Brewtus IV-R with a rotary pump, that comes in at well justified price of just under $2,000
Side By Side: Expobar Brewtus I vs. Expobar Brewtus IV
Expobar Brewtus I
Expobar Brewtus IV
Features of the Brewtus
This machine is all about temperature control. Or in other words, absolute, positive consistency. Shot after shot. Day after day. Year after year. And to achieve this, they had a list of criteria that had to be met, without compromise:
1. The machine had to have the most accurate and stable brew temperature of any machine on the market.
2. The brew boiler had to have an easily adjustable temperature control.
3. The machine had to be amazingly dependable.
4. The machine had to had to had to have the entire E61 brew group.
5. The machine had to have phenomenal steam pressure, so the barista could easily create perfect microfroth.
6. The reservoir had to be huge to hold a lot of water because no one wants to deal with plumbing a machine.
7. The drip tray had to be big enough to handle any spills and the excess water that gets released from the machine when it depressurizes so people don’t end up with a big mess on their hands.
Expobar then set about the task of figuring out what to do to achieve all these qualities. Some of them were obviously easy. Others were a bit more tricky. But, after much back and forth, and trial and error, it was achieved.
A Home Espresso Machine With A Double Boiler System
Expobar started with a double boiler system – one dedicated to brewing, and the other exclusively to the production of steam. The twin boilers are copper and are a mammoth 1.7 liters each. And another great feature is they both automatically refill, so you don’t ever have to worry about running dry or re-priming them. And they are both warmed by their own powerful 975-watt heating element to keep them at the right temperature. But they didn’t want you to have to rewire your electrical system to handle the Brewtus, so we designed it to work off a standard 15 amp household breaker.
The benefit of the double boiler system is temperature consistency – pure and simple. Because each boiler has it’s own function, there is no fluctuation like there would be with a single boiler machine that has to switch back and forth between steaming and brewing. Having two boilers also eliminates down time that you’d inevitably incur while waiting for one boiler to get to the proper temperature for either steaming or brewing. Oh, and while the heat exchanger system eliminates this, it’s important to mention that when you pull a shot right after steaming, you should actually run a little water through the lines first, because otherwise the start of your shot is going to be steam instead of hot water. And that can really affect the taste of your coffee.
Temperature Surfing With The Brewtus
The next logical step in our quest for unwavering temperature consistency was temperature control. A lot of people “temperature surf” when they pull espresso, meaning they will run water through the brew group before or between shots to make the water hotter or cooler in an effort to change the flavor of their espresso. Aside from the fact that this is just a gigantic pain because it slows you down, there are a lot of accuracy problems simply because it’s nearly impossible to repeat the exact same action for the exact same result.
Well no longer. Because the Brewtus has a digital temperature control right on the front of the machine. While 95° Celsius is accepted as the industry norm, you can now, at will and whimsy, change the temperature in 1°C increments with the push of a button. And your choice is displayed in a sharp, red digital display panel so if you find a temperature you prefer, you actually know what it is, and you don’t have to guess or estimate when trying to reach it again.
The Brewing And The E61 Brew Group
Okay so you’ve selected your temperature, and you know the brewing boiler is going to do its part. But can you be sure that water is going to stay at that temperature as it travels from the boiler, to the front of the machine, through the coffee grinds and into your cup as espresso? When it’s traveling through the E61 brew group, that’s not even an issue. And why the E61 is the only brew group we’d even consider for the Brewtus.
This is the mother of all brew groups, and the system all others aspire to. Made of solid, marine grade, chrome-plated brass, this entire assembly is hands down the best at maintaining the water’s temperature as it channels it through the front of the machine and through the grinds. (These channels cut through the brass are known as the thermal siphon system.)
Included in the brew group is the manual lever, which activates a three-way valve for brewing and depressurizing the Brewtus. The crowning touch of the assembly is the group head, which is the solid brass circular piece that the portafilter locks into. It too is channeled to allow the water to flow through it before flowing into the portafilter and onto the grounds. This keeps the brass warm, which in turn keeps the water at the same temperature it was in the boiler.
And while we’re on the subject of portafilters, the Brewtus’s is a hefty, chrome-plated brass, 58mm, professional-grade one. It has dual spouts, a heavy durable plastic handle, and comes with a single and a double-shot filter basket. (You can also get a special filter basket for pods if you’d like.
The Muscle Behind this Bruteus
Let’s talk about some of the other internal features that add to the Brewtus’s performance. Take the removable reservoir for instance. It’s a whopping 96-ouncer, that can easily be lifted out or refilled by removing the top of the machine (you’ll find the lift tab at the back of the cup warmer). For safety, the reservoir sits on a low water sensor which sort of acts like a scale. If the reservoir feels too light to the sensor, it will automatically cut the power to the boilers so the heating elements don’t burn out. Nice huh?
Speaking of power, the whole process is powered by a 47-watt vibration pump. The self-priming pump can put out pressure at a forceful 16 BAR, making it possible for the Brewtus to pump out the recommended 9 BAR operating pressure for perfect espresso without any strain whatsoever.
Wrap Up Review: Expobar Brewtus
The Brewtus comes with a slew of the other features that make it uniquely Expobar, from a review of is craftsmanship and quality standpoint, as well as aesthetically. First, it has a large, removable stainless steel drip tray that can hold up to 64 ounces of liquid before it needs to be emptied. Sitting on the drip tray is a stainless steel drip tray cover that also comes off for easy cleaning.
On the top of the machine is the stainless steel passive cup warmer – complete with a stainless steel cup rail for glassware safety. Warmed by the heat given off by the two boilers, the cup warmer is about as warm as they come without having its own separate heating element.
The front of the machine is a masterpiece in simplicity and balance showcasing the brew group. To the right is the stainless steel hot water dispensing wand. It swivels easily because it’s mounted on a ball joint for ease of use. Above it sits the hot water valve. It has the classic five rounded point design, giving it the appearance of a black star. Next to it is the pressure gauge and below it, the steam boiler indicator light.
Balancing the machine to the left of the group head is the matching steam valve, which sits above the stainless steel steam wand. The wand is also mounted on a ball joint so you can move it around freely for super frothing. It even has a black rubber safety grip so you don’t burn your fingers while doing so. The steam tip itself is a 1-hole commercial model, perfect for small amounts (like 8 ounces) of milk at a time. But because there is such an overabundance of steam with this machine, you can easily froth voluminous amounts of milk by ordering a different tip like the 4-hole commercial.
Finishing off the front of the Brewtus is the power switch. True to Expobar’s typical look, it is a red rocker switch that sits to the left of the group head.
Put it all together, encase it in sleek polished stainless steel, and you have a very handsome machine that’s simple in design and powerful in capability. It’s a shining example – literally – of what teamwork can accomplish.