In a Nutshell:

The Illy X1 iperEspresso Machine is beautifully designed, retaining its signature retro look and operating as a single-serve espresso machine. It’s expensive due to its unique aesthetic but is a convenient, user-friendly option for coffee lovers who are fine with minimal customization options.

Brew Quality
Customization options
Ease of Use

Overall Rating



  • Beautiful aesthetic design
  • Durable metal parts for longevity
  • Recyclable espresso capsules for eco-friendliness
  • Versatile: brews coffee, espresso, lattes, and cappuccinos
  • Auto Descale feature for easy maintenance


  • Expensive for a single-serve machine
  • Bulky design may not fit well on small countertops
illy X1 iperEspresso Machine

Recommended For: Coffee lovers who are fine with minimal customization options.

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When you’re in the mood for a cup of joe but don’t feel like measuring, tamping, and prepping the coffee, single-serve espresso machines are the answer to effortless brewing.

But does a capsule machine that brews quality coffee actually exist?

We investigate by looking closely at a meticulously designed model in our X1 iperEspresso review. Let’s get brewing!

FrancisFrancis X1 Espresso Machine and Why It’s So Iconic

The X1 espresso machine has been around for decades.

In 1994, Francesco Illy, a grandson of “THE illy OG,” Francesco Illy, founded FrancisFrancis! to produce high-quality espresso machines for home espresso enthusiasts. With the help of the renowned designer and architect Luca Trazzi, the bold and unconventional design of the FrancisFrancis X1 machine was born.  

FrancisFrancis! launched the X1 espresso machine to the market in 1995, and it quickly became a style icon of household appliances for its retro-futuristic design and wheel of bright jellybean colors. It was also one of the first espresso machines to feature the option of Easy Serving Espresso system (ESE) pods, a pod system invented by Illy that uses pre-ground single servings of coffee sealed in filter paper.

In 2004, FrancisFrancis! was purchased by Illy Caffe Group, and since then, it has become the espresso machine of choice for Illy coffee products.

In 2006, illy introduced the iperEspresso system to FrancisFrancis machines. This new system, covered by five international patents, features a unique two-stage infusion and emulsion brewing process and uses the iperEspresso capsule to produce a coffee with an intense aroma and velvety consistency.

Today illy offers two types of X1 espresso machines:

  • X1 E.S.E. Pod & Ground Coffee Machine
  • X1 Iperespresso Machine
Illy X1 Anniversary ESE & Ground Espresso Machine

Recommended For: Espresso enthusiasts who want single-serve and ground coffee options.

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For this review, we’ll be focusing on the iperEspresso variant.

X1 iperEspresso Design Overview

The X1 iperEspresso machine, as inspired by the original X1 model, is made completely of stainless steel, with a stunning retro style and Illy logo, making this particular model a vintage must-have for any coffee aficionado.

But while it still sports its original look, the newly redesigned Illy X1 iperEspresso incorporates single-serve capsule technology to make brewing espresso as simple as pushing a button.

Bear in mind that capsule compatibility is limited to iperEspresso capsules. Still, with this model, you can brew drip coffee, espresso shots, and milk specialty drinks, thanks to the manual steam wand.

Illy iperEspresso X1 with matte black stainless steel exterior and a white ceramic

The dimensions of the X1 are 13 x 10.6 x 9.8 inches, and it weighs 19.9 pounds. While it is bulkier and heavier due to metal parts, the trade-off is that you get a durable machine that you can count on for years to come.

Now, your jaw might drop when you see the price of the X1 iperEspresso. At around $600, it costs more than other reputable single-serve coffee machines. We’ll be honest here in our X1 iperEspresso review by saying that you’re paying for the aesthetics more than anything.

Does this mean that the coffee quality is mediocre?

Not in the least. Illy took the necessary steps to ensure a full-bodied experience, with a 2-stage pre-infusion that is as thorough as it is innovative at ensuring the most aromas and flavors are extracted.

So you get the ease of use, a beautiful machine, and good coffee? Perhaps the X1 iperEspresso is worth the splurge!

X1 Anniversary iperEspresso Machine Features

Using the Illy iperEspresso X1 is a pleasurable experience from the moment you load the espresso capsule into the holder to the very last sip from your mug.

It’s made possible by the advanced features, including the rapid brew system and user-friendly control panel. Let’s take a look!

Water Tank

Francis Francis X1 iperEspresso's transparent water tank at the back of the machine

The Illy X1 iperEspresso water tank is on the smaller side at 33.8 oz. That means you may have to refill it regularly, which can get tedious after a while.

That’s why it’s probably best for households or individuals and not practical for busy office environments.

The water tank is removable, which makes it easier to refill and clean without water splashing everywhere.

One minor drawback is that you can’t use a filter with the X1, so go the extra mile to use filtered water if you want to cut down on mineral build-up and improve the flavor of your coffee.

Cup Warming Tray

X1 Anniversary iperEspresso's cup warming tray at the top of the coffee machine

We are overjoyed that the X1 iperEspresso machine comes with a cup warming tray!

It is a nifty platform that warms up your cups before the coffee is dispensed. It may seem like a simple concept, but warmed cups have a profound impact on the temperature of your beverage.

When hot coffee is dispensed into a cold cup, heat loss is significant, affecting the overall quality of the drink.

But a warm cup ensures your coffee stays at the optimal temperature, giving you the best overall experience—and every coffee lover knows the experience is just as important as the drink itself.

Milk Frothing System

X1 iperEspresso coffee machine with matte black stainless steel exterior, temperature gauge, portafilter, and steam wand

The X1 iperEspresso machine comes with a manual steam wand that allows you to brew your favorite specialty drinks, including lattes and cappuccinos.

An automatic boiler refill keeps the steam flowing, so you’re ready to create a nice froth as soon as your coffee has been dispensed into your mug.

Note that this is a traditional steam wand, so it may take a few practice runs to get your technique down. Once you do, not only are you rewarded with a creamy latte, but you now have the basic barista skills to use a steam wand on any espresso machine.

Brewing Capabilities

Illy X1 iperEspresso black variant with a full espresso shot glass under the bottomless portafilter

The X1 iperEspresso brews with finesse, thanks to a 15-bar pressure pump and single brass boiler system that takes only 90 seconds to heat up.

This amount of pressure goes beyond the industry standard 9 bars of pressure for fast and efficient extraction, while the brass boiler ensures optimal heat retention.

Plus, this isn’t your typical single-serve. After placing the iperEspresso pod in the capsule holder, a patented 2-stage pre-infusion process extracts all flavors and aromas for a full-bodied espresso with a rich crema.

The iperEspresso capsules contain 7 grams of pre-ground coffee, tamped and ready to go.

But note that while the X1 does brew a tasty cup of coffee, you still can’t compare pre-ground coffee to freshly ground whole beans, so don’t expect it to be on the same level as a semi or superautomatic.

iperEspresso X1 Setup & Operation

Francis Francis X1 iperEspresso's capsule pods in different colors like green, black, red, sky blue, yellow, and light brown

You get the retro look with a modern twist—capsule coffee. This makes setup and brewing incredibly easy.

You don’t have to worry about grinding, measuring, tamping, or pulling espresso. Instead, just pop a capsule in the holder, and the Illy X1 anniversary iperEspresso machine does the rest.

Even the initial setup isn’t as time-consuming as other models. Here’s a quick breakdown of how to operate the X1.

1. Set Up the Water Tank

Before brewing coffee, you’re going to want to run the machine through a cycle with water only. It flushes out debris and warms up the machine after it’s been sitting idle on a warehouse shelf.

Start by removing the trays and water tank to rinse these parts clean. Fill the water tank to the MAX line and replace it on the unit, along with the drip and cup trays.

Use filtered drinking water if possible. As mentioned, the X1 does not come with a filtration system like other models.

2. Power Up the Machine

Once the water tank is attached and filled, hit the POWER switch. It will blink for about 15 seconds, then turn blue to indicate it’s ready to brew.

3. Flush the System

DO NOT put a coffee capsule in the holder.

Instead, place a container underneath the dispensing spout and run the Illy X1 iperEspresso anniversary 1935 machine as you would for brewing coffee—except only using water.

It will flush water throughout the system so it’s clean and primed for coffee on the next round.

4. Brew It Your Way

After the initial system flush, it’s time to brew coffee. Follow the same steps above, except place an iperEspresso capsule into the holder this time.

Since the drip tray is detachable, it allows users to brew with any sized cup without interfering with the dispensing spout.

X1 iperEspresso Cleaning Process

iperEspresso X1 with matte black stainless steel exterior and a half-full espresso glass under the portafilter

One of the conveniences of owning a single-serve machine such as the iperEspresso X1 is the low maintenance that is required.

Capsules keep the used coffee grounds contained, so there’s no mess to clean up! Just recycle the used capsule, wipe down the exterior of the machine with a damp cloth, and empty the drip tray as needed.

It is recommended to remove and thoroughly wash many of the parts at least once a week, including the water tank, trays, capsule holder, steam wand.

One neat function is the auto descale. While the X1 doesn’t take a water filter to cut down on mineral build-up, it compensates by handling the descaling process on its own.

It will even alert you with a flashing yellow light when it’s time to descale.

Illy x1 iperEspresso Anniversary 1935 Machine Pros vs. Cons


  • Beautiful aesthetic
  • Durable metal parts
  • Recyclable espresso capsules
  • Brews coffee, espresso, lattes, and cappuccinos
  • Auto Descale


  • Expensive for a single-serve
  • Bulky; may not be suitable for small countertops

While some coffee lovers are set on a machine based on functionality, others prioritize the aesthetic appeal it has on their kitchen counter.

The Illy X1 iperEspresso machine offers both. It’s a vintage gem redesigned to accommodate the busy modern lifestyle, utilizing capsule technology to make setup, brewing, and cleaning as effortless as possible.

There’s no arguing with the fact that single-serve espresso machines are easy. But the quality is known to be questionable.

Fewer customization options? Watered-down coffee? Plastic capsules that pollute the earth? These are common worries that come along with this type of setup.

The X1 does an above-average job of addressing these issues. For example, you can make specialty drinks with the steam wand. They also incorporated a 2-stage pre-infusion to improve coffee quality, and their capsules are sustainable.

If you like single-serve coffee makers, then this is a reliable machine manufactured from steel parts that will last.

But capsules with preground coffee just can’t offer the same flavor experience as fresh ground coffee beans. So for the high price, you’re going to have to decide if you’re in it for the retro style and convenience and less for the art of espresso brewing.

We recommend the X1 Anniversary iperEspresso Machine for…

  • People who like retro/vintage appliances
  • Coffee drinkers who want a fast, hands-free coffee machine with minimal cleanup
  • Small to large households

Illy x1 IperEspresso Machine Warranty

Illy offers a one-year limited warranty on the X1 iperEspresso machine from the date of purchase. You can read the warranty limitations in the X1 iperEspresso manual.

Comparable Products

Check out some other similar espresso machines to see how the X1 stacks up!

Smeg 50's Retro Style Espresso Machine

Recommended For: Retro lovers. If you love the 50’s aesthetic, this has the perfect look!

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

Here is another retro single-serve machine that gives a choice to use either preground coffee or soft pods (yes, they’re biodegradable). You have more manual options to customize your coffee and a 15-bar pressure pump.

Swan Retro One Touch Espresso Machine

Recommended For: People who’d like a retro-style semi-automatic espresso machine at a low cost.

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This one-touch espresso machine costs considerably less than the X1 and is also compatible with Easy Serve espresso pods. It comes with its milk carafe for steaming milk and a large 57-oz water tank.

Keurig K-Cafe Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker

Recommended For: K-Cup lovers who want a dedicated milk frother for authentic milk-based coffee drinks.

Check Latest Price Read Detailed Review

While Keurig embraces a contemporary design, they rule the coffee capsule roost with innovative technology and reusable coffee capsules. The K-Cafe comes with a milk frother, so you can enjoy the convenience of capsules and still get your cappuccino fix.

Illy X1 iperEspresso Review Conclusion

There’s just something special about that retro look. The smooth lines and stainless steel finish, levers instead of buttons, and rounded edges—it’s sure to be a conversation starter in any household.

That’s where the X1 shines, with a design that debuted in 1995 but is still admired by coffee aficionados around the world. And to be honest, that is probably what you’re paying $600 for.

To conclude this X1 iperEspresso review, this is a single-serve coffee maker with user-friendly functions, durable metal parts, and brew technology that ensures the coffee isn’t watered down. But if you’re on a budget and aesthetics isn’t a big deal to you, plenty of other quality models offer more bang for your buck.

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