So, you've been looking to move up in the world of espresso. Perhaps you have made do with an inferior "budget" espresso machine that has served you well (or not so well) over the years and have finally decided to make the leap. Then the late evenings start, repeatedly typing in various phrases into Google in the hopes of finding trustworthy advice on "what's the best espresso machine for X amount of money?". Maybe you've found forums with genuine enthusiasts making comparisons between this and that machine. You may realise that your initial budget may not cover everything you have set out to acquire. The word compromise may come to mind, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.
May we now introduce you to the Quick Mill - Carola, but wait, now you might be asking yourself "Quick Mill? Who are they?". For those that don't know, Quick Mill is an Italian firm based in Senago, close to Milan in the industrial north of Italy. The firm was founded in 1945, has been manufacturing domestic and commercial espresso machines in house, much of which was made by hand and still is! All components are made from the highest quality materials such as brass, copper, and stainless steel and have been sourced from within Italy, all this is proudly advertised in their company motto "Made to last for years" which in my opinion has been well earned.
Now that you have some background on Quick Mill, we go back to thoughts of compromise. So you've been researching on the web, and you're starting to realise that your budget may not be adequate enough for your check list of specifications, things like a PID, professional E61 group, Single or twin copper/brass boilers, etc etc... So to address the elephant in the room, no, the Carola does not steam milk plain and simple. For those espresso purists with no interest in steaming milk, please skip to the last paragraph for my conclusion of this machine, and for those with an interest in steaming milk, please read on. The one weakness of the Carola is also its greatest strength. Yes there is no capacity to steam milk but this is more than made up for when you take into consideration its specifications: E61 Professional Group, 0.75 litre brass boiler, PID temperature control, clixon protected pump, 1.8 litre water tank, and internal pressure gauge - no steam but it does everything else perfectly. Even the design of the Carola reflects its function driven ethos, the flat straight lines, indicator lights, pressure gauge, and switch give the machine a commercial, almost industrial feel, leaving no doubt that this machine was made for one thing only, not to look good, but to make great espresso.
And now for those who have no interest in steam or hot water, only espresso. This is the machine, you have found it. Every feature you could want in an espresso machine, but for a price far lower than you would normally pay. It is essentially a professional espresso machine in a highly compact package that proves, less can be more, and this machine is no exception!