Capacity: 1 litre
The Italian company Illy, together with the manufacturer Francis Francis (they go hand in hand) bring us a real jewel in the segment of premium espresso machines (exclusive design and high range). This is the Illy X1: Illy’s top-of-the-range coffee machine, not to be confused with other models from the firm that only work with pods: Illy X7 or Illy Y5, to name but a few.
This Illy X1, or Illy Francis Francis X1, also allows the use of single doses or ground coffee, just like a conventional espresso machine. This duality is undoubtedly one of its great advantages.
The other great feature of this Francis Francis X1 is that it is available in three different models or versions, each with its own particular features, although the design and external appearance is the same in all of them. We will talk about each one later, in more detail.
Illy X1 colour range
You will have noticed from the photographs that this Illy X1 coffee maker (as is common with all Illy coffee machines) has a very attractive retro design, which is perfectly complemented by a very lively, cheerful and varied colour range. Here we present you almost all of them:
Please note that not all models of the Illy X1 are available in all colours. For example, the Illy X1 Iperespresso is currently only available in red, black and silver.
Do you want to know which are the three models of the Illy X1 and how each one differs? Here we present them to you. There are three of them: Iperespresso, Trio and Molido.
Illy X1 Iperespresso
The Illy X1 Iperespresso is the basic model of the Illy FrancisFrancis X1 coffee machine, and we will describe it in greater depth than the other two because it has many of the same characteristics.
It is a coffee maker that uses Illy capsules (exclusive Iperespresso system, hence the name of the machine) and, needless to say, is striking for its powerful retro design (work of the Italian Luca Trazzi) and its lively colour range. It includes a panarello tube for foaming milk, which also serves hot water for infusions, and a water tank located at the back of the machine, with a capacity of 1 litre. The pressure pump works at 15 bars, and at the top there are some metal bars that act as a support for the cups or glasses that we put up there (to preheat them before serving).
More things that we like about the Illy X1: the compartment where the waste and drops of the coffee are stored is very tidy, and you can access it by opening a small drawer from the base of the coffee machine. Details everywhere!
This Illy X1 Iperespresso is also a much more automatic model than conventional capsule coffee machines. For example, the decalcification program is automatic, and the coffee machine switches itself off after 30 minutes of inactivity.
The entire external casing is made of stainless steel, and the water heating system is not Thermoblock but rather a brass boiler. You can see how the two systems differ here: Boiler vs Thermoblock.
Illy X1 Trio
The Illy X1 Trio E.S.E., in addition to supporting the use of E.S.E. single servings, allows us to choose from three types of espresso: a ristretto, a regular espresso, and a long espresso. That’s why it includes a conventional filter (like the one in espresso machines) made of steel.
How do we choose the type of coffee? Simply by turning the filter holder and leaving it in one of the three pre-defined positions. Each one corresponds to a different type of espresso. The Illy X1 thus offers us a greater variety and greater simplicity than a normal espresso machine.
The rest of the elements and accessories, including the design, are no different from what we find in the Illy X1 Iperesso. It has pannarello steaming, automatic decalcification system, various colours to choose from…
Naturally, this Illy X1 Trio E.S.E. is more expensive than the previous version.
Illy X1 Ground
As its name suggests, this Illy X1 Molido is the coffee maker that allows us to use ground coffee, in addition to the well-known Illy pods. If you have barista knowledge and prefer the versatility of an espresso machine, without giving up the quality of the products – and the coffee – of Illy, the Illy X1 Molido is your choice. To make your espresso your way.
It also includes a dispenser and press accessory to be able to serve the ground coffee in the filter with total precision.
One of the videos below talks about this “Ground” version of the Illy X1 coffee machine… we invite you to take a look at it to learn more about the operation of this particular coffee machine.
Illy FrancisFrancis X1: General characteristics
Below is a list of all the functions and technical specifications common to all three versions of the Illy X1:
- 15 bar pressure pump.
- Stainless steel housing.
- Brass boiler.
- Panarello steamer for making milk foam.
- Water tank with 1 litre capacity.
- Compatible with single-dose ESE type.
- The Trio model allows us to choose between three different types of espressos: ristretto, normal and long espresso.
- The Ground model allows us to use conventional ground coffee, like a lifetime espresso machine.
- Non-slip sideburns on the base.
- Automatic decalcification program.
- Allows us to prepare 1 or 2 cups at the same time.
- Temperature gauge integrated in the front of the coffee machine.
- Light and sound signals informing us of the status of each process.
- Space located at the top of the coffee maker, to preheat the cups, glasses or saucers of the service.
- Energy saving function: the coffee machine switches itself off after 30 minutes of inactivity.
- Dimensions: 26 x 25 x 33 cms.
- Weight: about 8 kg.
- Power: 1050 watts.
Advantages of the Illy X1
- The temperature controller, with the needle clearly visible on the front of the coffee machine.
- The possibility of using different coffee processing methods: Illy pods, paper single-dose, or ground coffee.
- The spectacular design of Luca Trazzi, enhanced by the colourful variety of colours.
- The 100% stainless steel body.
- It uses a brass boiler, instead of the increasingly widespread Thermoblock. This ensures a more uniform heating of the water and therefore a greater precision in the temperature of all the extractions.
Disadvantages of the Illy X1
- The Illy X1 Iperespresso model can only be used with Illy pods (which are not compatible with any other system, and it does not have white label pods either). It is a closed and exclusive system, although of superior quality.
- Its price is considerably higher than that of any other competing coffee machine, especially in the pod sector.
Illy X1: Videos
Do you want to know how to make a cappuccino in the Illy X1? Don’t miss out on this video:
And here we see her making two cups of espresso, simply perfect:
To conclude, if you want to see a more complete presentation of this coffee machine (Illy X1 Grinded version), explaining every detail, we leave you with the MaxiCoffee guys:
Why buy an Illy X1?
And why not buy it? It is really difficult to argue against a coffee machine as spectacular and as precise as this one. It has everything: it is beautiful, it is durable, it has quality materials, it is versatile, it allows the user to have great control over the process – the great disadvantage of capsule systems -, it has automatic maintenance programmes… a real marvel, although coming from a company as prestigious as Illy as the truth is that we expected nothing less.
The most complicated part is deciding which version of Illy X1 we are most interested in. Here is a summary of their differences:
- In the Iperespresso model, we can only use pods from the Illy system.
- The Trio model (or Illy X1 Trio E.S.E) is open to both Illy and ESE single-dose capsules.
- The ground model allows the use of ground coffee as if it were an espresso machine.
You know, each one is a little more expensive than the previous one.
Overall, the Illy X1 is a much more expensive coffee machine than other pod systems – even than many espressos – but its quality certainly justifies the price. Another thing is that, as users, this price and these features compensate us and we know how to take advantage of them. But if your budget allows it, don’t hesitate.
The benefits of the machine, if you have read the full analysis, are infinite. Author’s design (Luca Trazzi), lots of colours to choose from, panarello steamer, stainless steel body, brass boiler, compatibility with various brewing systems – Illy pods, ground coffee, ESE single-dose – and a long list of other qualities you won’t find in any other capsule coffee maker.
This Illy X1 has exactly that advantage: it is an espresso and pod machine at the same time.
Alternatives to the Illy X1? There are very few of these. The only one that can compete with it is the Nespresso Maestria, and if anything, some of the coffee makers mentioned in this curious ranking could be similar to it: the best retro style coffee machines.
Recommended for the real espresso gourmets, for those who love the quality of Illy’s coffee, or for those who want to have a pod, single-dose and ground coffee machine in the same maker.