August 3, 2010

Review: Francis Francis Y1 iperEspresso Machine

Review Single Serve Coffeeilly-machine_Y1full.jpg

Using iperEspresso capsules, the Francis Francis Y1 iperEspresso Machine is a new design from illy in the single serve coffee and espresso world. The Francis Francis Y1 iperEspresso Machine allows you to make shot of espresso or larger lungo cups of coffee to enjoy both hot and iced. We've been using the Francis Francis Y1 iperEspresso Machine over the past month since illy sent us a review model, and have to say this machine and system is nearly perfect.


Both espresso and lungo cups of coffee brewed hot or over ice have been excellent. There are 4 flavors of iperEspresso capsules available, but we've settled on a double shot of the medium roast over ice as our favorite. How does this system work? How is it different than other single serve coffee and espresso machines?

Design of the Y1 Francis Francis iperEsprsso Machine

At first glance we weren't big fans of this new square design, but after a month of use - we love it. In person the machine makes more sense then when we saw it in pictures. The water reservoir is hidden in the front, and the brew head and capsule bin is on the right side. The boiler or heating unit is on the main flat base giving you a cup warmer and a place to sit your glass or mug before and after brewing.


The machine feels very modern and clean, and the brew button control has a led light that lights up to tell you the machine is hot enough to start brewing. Overall there is just no part that doesn't fit perfectly together on this machine, and there's really no surface that's not easy to clean and use. The design is pure form meets function with the result being exceptional espresso and lungo cups of coffee.

Features of the Francis Francis Y1 iperEspresso Machine

Y1 features:

  • Sturdy aluminum casing with tempered glass cup holder
  • Measures a compact 9.45"w x 9.45"d x 10.83"h 16.5lbs
  • Pump pressure: 19 bars
  • Works exclusively with illy iperEspresso capsules
  • Automatic ejection of used capsules into side compartment
  • Manual shut off enables control of cup volume
  • Removable water tank for easy refilling
  • Height-adjustable cup drip tray accommodates a variety of cup sizes
The led light begs you to push the button and brew some espresso.  

There is a main power light as well for the switch in the back.

iperEspresso Capsules and Flavor Range

The heart of the iperEspresso method is the exclusive capsule with its unique iperChamber where illy coffee extraction takes place in two stages. In the first stage, hyper-infusion, hot water under ultra-high pressure mixes with the coffee under optimal conditions to enhance extraction of precious flavors and aromas, creating a richly complex flavor. In the second stage, emulsification, coffee is forced through the patented e-valve at the bottom of the capsule, mixing the aromatic oils with air to produce a full-bodied espresso and a thick, long-lasting crema. Capsules contain approximately seven grams of perfectly roasted and expertly ground and tamped 100% Arabica illy coffee.

The iperEspresso medium roast capsules vacuum packed
for maximum coffee freshness.

The iperEspresso capsules are available in the following flavors:

  • Medium roast for a sweet, balanced, pleasantly nuanced flavor
  • Dark roast for a more intense and robust flavor
  • Decaffeinated
  • Lungo, a medium roast long espresso (about 2 ounces) to be savored in a larger cup.

The way the iperEspresso capsules come packed makes them fresh. Stored in vacuum packed cans - they are super fresh, and also easy to store in the can.  

Brewing a Cup of iperEspresso Coffee and Espresso

It's really simple. You turn on the machine, fill the water reservoir, put your mug on the cup warmer and wait for the machine to heat up. Once the machine is hot enough, the led light will be lit and you insert a capsule into the brew head, shut it and push the button. There is no auto-off so you'll need to stop it where you feel comfortable for taste. The lungo will brew a 2 oz and the espresso capsules a 1 oz. You can obviously pull longer shots, and we found ourselves doing 2 smaller shots over ice and then adding a little milk. Delicious.

iperEspresso capsule in the Y1 Francis Francis.

Making a shot of iperEspresso.

A nice shot.

Some iperEspresso shots over ice. Yum!

A larger cup of iced espresso.


We really like the Francis Francis Y1 iperEspresso Machine and think the espresso and larger lungo cups of hot and iced drinks we could make with the system were excellent. The only downside to the illy system is the small amount of flavors of coffee and blends available. You're going to really need to like the medium or dark roast and if you do - this machine is for you. We sampled the coffee with over 15+ people and they all like it either iced or hot in the medium roast format. We also hope illy launches more iperEspresso blends in the future.

As far as consistently making a perfect cup of espresso or larger cup of coffee iced - well - the Francis Francis Y1 iperEspresso Machine is a winner. We love how easy it is to use, and we love the coffee and espresso it produces. Also the price is right at just $125 as long as you sign up for regular iperEspresso capsules being delivered from the illy Club.

At Y1 iperEspresso Machines

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Posted by Jay Brewer at August 3, 2010 7:35 AM
Recent Comments

We have had a Y1 for 10 months now and love it and the Illy Coffee capsules. It is easy to use, easy to clean and you always know what the espresso is going to taste like. It is easy to vary the time of the shot to tweak the taste. We like to make Americanos by just adding hot water when you want more than a 1 or 2 oz. drink. I am not sure about the temperature of the shots, though. I have measured 170-180 at the brew head. I believe it should be 190-200 degrees. I may be wrong. I have to believe that Illy knows what they are doing.

Posted by: Bob Sutton at October 8, 2012 3:43 AM

You say that it is "nearly perfect", what didn't you like about the machine or the coffee?

Is the Lungo also 7gms of coffee?


Posted by: JeffP at August 5, 2010 2:19 AM

How does the espresso compare to the Nespresso coffee?
as good? better?

Posted by: JeffP at August 5, 2010 2:18 AM

Any chance of talking them into sending you an X7 and an X8. I'd love to see a comparison article.

Posted by: JimS at August 3, 2010 9:12 PM

I think it does a little but not in the same way - meaning it's more crema than air.

Posted by: Jay Brewer at August 3, 2010 8:27 AM

Thanks, Jay. The description of the e-valve makes it sound like it's "enhancing" the crema with froth (similar to the Senseo). Did I misunderstand?

Posted by: jbviau at August 3, 2010 8:13 AM
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