Francis Francis! replacement tamper
I have a mostly love / occasional frustration relationship with our Francis X5. It produces delicious espresso but the proprietary (and non-standard sized) tamper and shower screen made a trip into the garbage disposer recently and we needed to find a replacement. If any of you have been on a similar search let me save you some trouble. If you call Illy America they will transfer you (unsuccessfully the first time) to Cafe West. Once you are in their hands they quickly and professionally ship you a new tamper and shower screen for $15 including postage. To contact them directly:
As far as I can find- there is no other place in the States to find a replacement. Please post a followup if you know of an alternative.
Is this that very colorful model that Illy is selling at a discount, provided that you buy a ton of coffee the first year? I've been considering it, even though it would take me years to use that much coffee (it's in cans, so not a problem). Now that I hear the concern about getting parts, I wonder if this is a big problem with Illy or with most of them?
I don't know if you're trolling but you're going to get creamed by coffee snobs for suggesting that you buy pre-ground coffee in tins :-) .
I purchased the Francis X5 off ebay a couple of years ago (plz note that earlier versions didn't have a lot of internal improvements so if you buy one, buy one new or make sure it is a later model) and have enjoyed it a lot. It wasn't cheap and I've heard that in the same used price range I could find Rancilio Silivia which a lot of folks will say is the gold std of home espresso machines. When X5 bites the dust I'll probably try a Rancilio to see if there's a substantial difference.
Whatever home machine you buy... you're going to want to spend the extra money to buy an espresso grinder. If you don't- you're buying a Ferrari and putting diesel in the tank. I tried to use packaged coffee, pods, even tried a good local bean roaster pre-grind for the freezer and the results are all just blah. The oxidation of ground espresso happens pretty fast apparently and there is a noticeable drop off after one day and after 5 it's garbage.
If you're going to use the coffee to make sugary hazelnut lattes it's maybe not such a difference, but for straight coffee or cappucinos you're going to want a good espresso burr grinder: Solis or Rancilio have affordable home models.