FrancisFrancis! by Illy X1 ground coffee machine

Pros: professional-standard results, added functions for espresso enthusiasts
Cons: price, bulkiness


Star rating: 5/5

In terms of build quality, the X1 machine is absolutely at the top of the scale. Every detail – from the stainless steel body to the exquisite drawer and handle of the drip tray – seems lovingly designed.

But, there's plenty of substance behind the style. First, the X1 produces delicious espresso – it was judged to be the best-tasting of any in our espresso machine review. There's a lovely touch of crema, the distinctive thickness and a wonderful extraction of the coffee’s flavour.

Happily, this quality espresso does not necessitate any extra skill on the barista’s part. The machine takes roughly 15 minutes to set up and is easy to use once you've nailed the tamping down of ground coffee in the filter. Then, simply wait for the green light to signify that it has finished heating up before you start making espresso.

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There are also some impressive features to get excited about. The boiler thermometer is one of the best we’ve seen, as it gives a clear indication of when to start pouring, depending on your preferred temperature. We also liked the cup-warming rail around the top of the machine, which helped get our mugs up to temperature before we poured.

This machine is, however, heavier than most other home-use espresso machines. As a result, you'll need to take extra care when removing it from its box and setting it down – it also comes with a relatively large amount of packaging, and will take up a large amount of space in the kitchen.

In terms of clean-up, we found the X1’s accessories easy to wash-up. But, the stainless steel surface will need regular care to maintain its sheen – and we reckon it’s well worth the effort.

It is worth nothing that the stainless steel X1 machine comes in at more than £500. If that's not quite in your budget but you love the sound of this espresso maker, we'd suggest considering one of the coloured versions of the machine. Models in yellow, blue and black are available at relatively low prices.

Star ratings:
Functionality: 5/5
Results: 5/5
Ease of cleaning: 4.5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Overall rating: 5/5

Francis Francis coffee machine being tested in a home environment

Photo: Alice Ostapjuk

Pressure: 18 bar
Model number: F000879
Colour: stainless steel
Item weight: 9.07 Kg
Product dimensions: 25 x 26 x 30cm
Capacity: 1 litre
Volume capacity: 1000 litres
Power: 1100 watts
Voltage: 230 volts
Material: stainless steel
Auto shut-off: no
Special features: cup warmer, removable tank

Read our full review of the best espresso machines and best coffee machines.

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This review was last updated in October 2019. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at

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