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    Published on November 11th, 2011 | by Greg

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    illy iperEspresso Francis Francis Y1: Fast and Inexpensive

    We’re par­tial to cof­fee around these parts. It might just be the Amer­i­can tra­di­tion, or the wider va­ri­ety in lo­cal brews. It might, in part, be a val­ue propo­si­tion: espres­so shots are small com­pared with a good mug of ja­va. Equip­ment might be an­oth­er fac­tor- a cof­fee ma­chine is sim­ple, but brew­ing espres­so at home is more com­pli­cat­ed.

    il­ly makes it sim­pler, and less ex­pen­sive, than ev­er to get good re­sults at home. We’ve tried out their cap­sule sys­tem be­fore, sim­i­lar to the va­ri­ety of pod cof­fees on the mar­ket, and found that their qual­i­ty is ex­cel­lent and ex­treme­ly con­sis­tent. The X7 is a beau­ti­ful ma­chine, clas­sic in style, if a lit­tle top-heavy. The new il­ly Y1 is more in­dus­tri­al-look­ing, thanks to the alu­minum body, and of­fers an odd fea­ture that our testers liked: the cup warmer plate that make up much of the sur­face of the ma­chine.

    As with the pre­de­ces­sors, cleanup is easy, and mak­ing a shot is as easy as pop­ping in a pod and press­ing a but­ton. Cleanup in­volves sim­ply dis­pos­ing of the pods that are col­lect­ed in the draw­er, and oc­ca­sion­al­ly clean­ing up a small amount of build up in the draw­er. There’s no need to tamp, grind, won­der about your grinder or pres­sure. And the ma­chine is small enough to fit in just about any kitchen, tak­ing up lit­tle coun­ter­space.

    One of the things we liked best: the price tag. il­ly is of­fer­ing a spe­cial deal at the mo­ment where they in­clude some cans of cap­sules, and sign you off for month­ly de­liv­er­ies. There isn’t a com­mit­ment, though, and you can can­cel when­ev­er you like. This pack­age nets you the Y1 for $125 plus ship­ping and the cost of cap­sules- a great deal, and one we def­i­nite­ly ap­pre­ci­ate. The down­side, of course, is that you are locked in­to their style of pods- and un­like Keurig’s K-cup ma­chines which of­fer a bas­ket for us­ing your own cof­fees, these ma­chines are en­gi­neered to re­quire the cap­sules. Ex­pect to pay around $1 each, af­ter tax and ship­ping.

    The Y1 is love­ly, and the re­sults are ex­cel­lent. Your av­er­age espres­so drinker won’t no­tice the slight lack of com­plex­i­ty and rel­a­tive­ly mi­nor cre­ma. Com­pared with an ex­pen­sive shot pulled by a pro­fes­sion­al, the il­ly puts out de­cent, pleas­ant espres­so. And though we missed a steam­er wand, folks who need their lat­tes or mochas can def­i­nite­ly find a va­ri­ety of oth­er ways to froth that milk.

    Avail­able now, on­line and in lim­it­ed stores. Al­so, Bay Area res­i­dents should note that il­ly is open­ing their first Amer­i­can stand-along cafe in less than a week. Espres­sa­mente will be open­ing at 123 Bat­tery Street on Novem­ber 15th, and will be fea­tur­ing a menu de­signed by Joyce Gold­stein.

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    About the Author

    Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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