Second Look :: Izzo Duetto V3 Six Month ReviewMarch 22nd, 2013 by Chris Ryan
It’s hard to believe the new Izzo Alex Duetto V3 has been out since late November, but believe it! Since we’ve had about 6 months to use and evaluate this new version, we thought it was time to give you a quick update with respect to its build quality and performance out in the field.
No big surprises here, the V3 continues Izzo’s tradition of great Italian build (I know, sometimes an oxymoron), sturdiness, and curb appeal in a pro-sumer machine. After some heavy holiday sales and use, I took some time to listen to what a few of our early adopters had to say:
By and large everyone is saying the V3 is superb so far. Very few warranty issues, very stabile brew water temperature control, and very easy to use. So really, nothing has changed! Which jives with what we said 6 months ago, that this new version is mostly about cosmetic changes. Our showroom Duetto sees much use during our barista classes, where it pulls shot after shot for 2 hours straight without missing a beat. We have had zero problems with our unit, no adjustments to brew pressure, nothing.
But this isn’t just a fluff piece…
The most common comment that could be construed as a negative is that the Duetto V3 is just plain heavy. It has large boilers, and weighing in at about 92lbs with water, it can be hard to move around to add water, especially if the machine lives underneath your cabinets. The other comment is that the Duetto must be plumbed-in to get pre-infusion. These issues are connected of course, and have led me to advise folks to plumb this machine in, thus saving yourself from having to move it around to put water in the not-so-easy-to access internal water tank, and to reap the benefits of pre-infusion.
Something else I’ve heard (and experienced) is that with the steam boiler turned off, the coffee boiler has a hard time maintaining a steady temperature for your shots. This is because in the Duetto the steam boiler actually pre-heats the water for the coffee boiler. This saves a lot of recovery time when the machine sees heavy use, but is a bit of a bummer for those who want a shot brewer. I recommend simply that you don’t turn off the steam boiler. It is very well insulated, and really doesn’t take much power to keep it at the correct temperature. Your espresso will thank you.
If plumbing seems like a nightmare, well, you might be wrong, but you could be right. For your set up it might just not make sense. If you rent, or have a nice granite countertop that would rue holes being drilled, yet you want pre-infusion and an easy time of filling a machine with water, go ahead and look at the Quick Mill QM 67. It is essentially a smaller, non-plumbed version of the Duetto. You do get a limited pre-infusion which works well, and being much lighter, it is easier to move around. Plus it has the shiny Italian thing in spades. A little beast of a double boiler, it too will pull shots all day long.
The one thing we’d change on the V3 is the insulated steam wand. In my experience, the insulation in smaller non-commercial machines such as the Duetto slows down milk steaming and does not yield great micro-foam. So Ken (our service tech) and I just took the insulation out and added a rubber grip to the elbow of the wand. The result is a wonderful, easy to use and to control steam function that is more powerful without the insulation. We would definitely recommend this quick customization. Just unscrew the steam tip and pull the insulated hose out with a pair of needle-nose pliers. I think it took us slightly less than a minute, and is well worth the effort! (Note: This modification works on machines with large steam boilers like the Duetto and La Marzocco GS/3; in our tests the Rocket R58 and QM67 boilers do not work well without the steam wand insulation).