Owning a Quick Mill Andreja Premium

An owners perspective.

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Purchasing decision
I brought my Quick Mill Andreja Premium in October 2006 from Bella Barista www.bellabarista.co.uk. Details of which can be found here: http://www.bellabarista.co.uk/bellabarista_detail.asp?ProductID=12. The photos show the Andreja Top, because this was the name for the premium when originally launched in the UK, Quickmill later renamed it to the Andreja Premium, in line with the US.


I chose to buy from Bella Barista as I could visit and compare several machines. My initial short list included a Expobar Brewtus, a Izzo Vivi, an Isomac Millennium, a Izzo Alex and the Andreja. After seeing the machines the short list was easy to refine:

  • Brewtus – too ugly, difficult to descale, question marks over its reliability (web forums).
  • Millennium – out of stock and BB weren't re-stocking.
  • Alex – too big, too expensive

That left the Vivi against the Andreja. I chose the Andreja over the Vivi because,

  • It's much prettier
  • It has non-burns wands
  • It has ball-jointed wands whereas the Mk I Vivi didn't
  • It has group head and boiler manometers whereas the Vivi has only a boiler gauge
  • Filling the water tank from the top was simply a matter of removing a small cap and using a funnel
  • The gap between the group head and the drip tray is greater for putting larger cups under the spouted portafilter
  • The drip tray is larger and looked better finished
  • The cover over the drip tray is mesh, rather than laser cup sheet metal and so doesn't show any scratches or marks
  • The wand knobs don't have a hot nut in the middle
  • The wands have compression seals
  • Its proportions and detailing were more pleasing to me.

In practice some of these reasons are no-longer valid, as the Mk II changed, or proved to be inconsequential as I don't use the machine as I thought I would, or just trivial. Were I to choose again the following reasons would still be valid,

  • It's much prettier
  • It has non-burns wands
  • Filling the water tank from the top was simply a matter of removing a small cap and using a funnel (the cup warming tray doesn't have to be removed)
  • The drip tray is larger
  • The cover over the drip tray is mesh, rather than laser cut sheet metal and so doesn't show any scratches or marks
  • The larger gap between the group head and the drip tray is actually a disadvantage if using a naked PF as it allows the spritzes to spray further!

Faults and Modifications

  • My Andreja has had a number of component failures.
  • 2x failed temp limit stat;
  • 1x "Boiler at Temp" green bulb; and
  • The water tank low level sensor.

Both of the failed limit stats where the result of a spitting vacuum breaker valve that had some scale build-up on so it wasn't closing fully. Scale is a problem in the region I live, the water supply is very hard and the descaling process doesn't reach some components – the vacuum breaker being one! The green lamp wiring broke at the joint of a connector due to manipulation of the wiring when trying to resolve the failed limit stat. The water tank low level sensor just failed, cause unknown.

Modifications include,

  • Adding an adaptor to the non-burn wand so that a small Expobar single-hole steam tip can be fitted. This makes steaming small quantities of milk ten times easier (the standard tip is a bit of a challenge (English understatement) with small quantities of milk, i.e. anything less than 500ml). I briefly fitted a long Izzo steam wand but found that I had to purge it for much longer in order to get 'dry' steam, it dripped with condensation, was much harder to clean and hurts when you're used to a non-burn wand!
  • A thermometer that measures the temperature of the water just before it reaches the puck has also been installed. Details can be found here http://users.rcn.com/erics/ and there's extensive discussion on its use and benefits on Home-Barista. In my opinion it's a useful diagnostics tool and often tells me if I've done something wrong. I would buy another one (approximately £60) if I ever changed the Andreja for another HX machine.
  • I added a spacer underneath the tank bracket to stop a vibration problem, see this wiki article: http://coffeetime.wikidot.com/noise-reduction-in-a-quick-mill-andreja-premium.
  • I made a small splash cup over the vacuum breaker valve to avoid condensation spitting out before the valve closes. Details can be found here: http://coffeetime.wikidot.com/andreja-goes-pop.
  • At one point I'd thought the C.E.M.E pressure stat had failed so it was replaced with a MATER XP110, which was installed on newer Andrejas. After a short period the deadband on the pressure stat started to increase until, on some occasions, the boiler pressure would reach 1.75 bar! Therefore, this was replaced with a Izzo spec MATER XP110. This has a larger thread and operates at a higher range (1.0 to 2.5 bar instead of 0.5 to 1.5 bar). The deadband is very small (0.1 bar) and therefore the boiler temperature is more stable than the original C.E.M.E or initial replacement MATER.
  • I added an additional washer under the cir-clip on the steam wand knob to reduce the amount of free-play.
  • I only use Reverse Osmosis water to avoid further scale related failures – it's worked for the last 9 months.

If there's one aspect I'd like Quick Mill to improve it's the noise level: it's extremely noisy when filling the boiler and just noisy when the pumps running. Ideally, I'd like a rotary pump. And I'd like a visible water level indicator.

With the hindsight gained would I buy the Andreja again? Yes: the only other machine I'd consider (in this price range) is the Izzo Vivi Mk II. Admittedly, the Andreja is now around £170 more and arguably less reliable, but, for me, the combination of aesthetics, the non-burn wand, the drip-tray mesh that shows no scratches, the ability to conveniently fill the tank through a hole and the option to plumb it into the mains still swings it to the Andreja.