ACS Minima Espresso Machine Review Spotlight

Written by
Chris Caruso
(we're on a mission)

The ACS Minima Review Spotlight


The Dual Boiler E61 espresso machine is one of the go-to options for home baristas trying to build prosumer-tier setups. While many of these machines look like the classic ‘E61 box’, the ACS Minima stands apart in design and value.

Advanced Coffee Solutions (ACS) is an Italian manufacturer of prosumer and commercial espresso machines. While not as common in the United States, one of their home offerings - the ACS Minima - has made an impression with its unique design, beautiful finish, and high value.

In this machine spotlight, we’ll examine the ACS Minima, covering its primary design choices, highlighting its standout features and flaws, and comparing it to the Lelit Elizabeth.

Let’s get brewing!

Table of Contents

Machine Overview

ACS Minima Espresso Machine Features

Dual Boiler Design

The heart of the ACS Minima is two dual boilers for brewing and steaming, respectively. The 0.8-liter brew boiler provides temperature-controlled hot water for pulling shots, while the massive 2.3-liter steam boiler provides hot steam and boiler water for texturing milk or making americanos.

The biggest benefit of independent boilers is the ability to brew and steam simultaneously, cutting down on the overall workflow time. In addition, the large boilers mean that you can serve back-to-back lattes for a crowd without slowing down.

E61 Group Head

The front face of the ACS Minima is drawn to the E61 group head. A solid piece of chrome-plated brass, the E61 design uses a thermosyphon design to circulate hot water through the group head. This design keeps the group head scalding and ensures thermal stability throughout the extraction process.

Atop the E61 group is a built-in brew pressure gauge that measures pressure at the group head, giving you insight into the current extraction pressure. This group-mounted design is often more accurate than a boiler-mounted pressure gauge that is subject to flutter caused by the vibratory pump.

PID Controller

The ACS Minima has a simple but functional PID controller that serves triple duty. The first is the actual PID regulation of the temperature. PIDs are functionally little computers that manage the temperature in a feedback loop and ensure the temperature of the boilers is what you set them to.

The second is the ability to manage the brew and steam temperature. The PID display has a simple up-and-down interface that allows you to independently set the temperature for the espresso and for the steam.

The third is the toggle-switch-activated shot timer. When the machine is activated, and the pump begins, the PID turns into an integrated shot timer that tracks the shot length. Once the shot is finished the PID controller goes back to a temperature display. This small but appreciated accent helps limit the need for yet another accessory to count shot time.

Vibratory Pump + Reservoir Fed

The ACS Minima is a relatively entry-level dual boiler that uses a standard vibratory pump and an internal water reservoir. Vibratory pumps—while less quiet than rotary pumps—are affordable, compact, and easy to replace. Some users on the Reddit espresso forums even discuss replacing the vibratory pump with the sound-insulated pump of the Lelit Mara X.

What makes the ACS Minima Special?

Unique Design

Of course, the most standout aspect of the ACS Minima is its striking design. While almost all E61 machines are cube shapes—known fondly as the ‘E61 Box’—the ACS Minima stands alone. With a small front face for the group head, the ACS Minima has a 45° cut design for the steam wand, hot water tap, and PID controller.

To go along with the angled face, an angled drip tray, angled cup warmer and overall unique build sets the ACS Minima apart. Some may find this design rather unappealing, but personally, I find it rather attractive. In addition, the ACS Minima is manufactured in a variety of colors, including stainless steel, black, white, and even a gold-bronze finish (color, not material!).

Toggle Switch Activated

Another departure from the E61 box is the implementation of toggle-switch activation over the E61 lever. Most E61 machines use a manual brew lever that activates the pump and opens the group head. The ACS Minima uses a simpler toggle switch interface on the left side of the brew group.

This is one area where I actually prefer the classic E61 design, as I greatly enjoy the manual and tactile feel of an integrated brew lever. That being said, a toggle switch is still more interactive and manual compared to a press button or rocker switch.

Commercial Style Steam Wand

On the angled cutout sits a hot water tap and steam wand. Although the steam wand is not true no-burn, it has an insulation rubber to help adjust the wand during steaming.

What is great about this steam wand is its huge articulating arm that is reminiscent of commercial-style machines. This design makes steaming milk a breeze and works with large and small pitchers alike.

High Value

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the ACS Minima is its value for the price. In the United States, the ACS Minima is one of the only (if not the only) E61 group dual boilers priced under $2000. In addition, the ACS Minima uses high-quality repairable parts, including stainless steel boilers.

The design, features, and quality of the ACS Minima are rarely found at this price point, and the value can not be overstated. For some reason, the Minima is not as common stateside, which is rather shocking given its overall value offering.

What is missing on the ACS Minima?

ACS Minima Downsides and Missing Features

Right Corner Compatibility

Okay, so the biggest limitation of the ACS Minima is actually the placement opportunities. Given the offset 45° design, the ACS Minima will not do well up against a right-hand corner. That means that you either need to place the ACS Minima in a left-hand corner or at the center of your brew bar.

Purpose Built Water Tank

The other complaint of the ACS Minima is the internal water reservoir design. While many espresso machines with internal takes are purpose-built to feed water from the bottom of the reservoir directly into the system, the Minima doesn’t.

The Minima uses a plastic hose that floats in the reservoir and sucks water out the top into the system. Functionally, this doesn’t impact workflow or design (as it is hidden away), but it is not the most confidence-inspiring design.

ACS Minima vs Lelit Elizabeth

When searching for a dual boiler under the $2,000 price line, the ACS Minima is often overshadowed by the more common Lelit Elizabeth. Lelit, known for its flagship Bianca, also offers a functional dual boiler: the Elizabeth.

ACS Minima vs. Lelit Elizaberth

Heating Element & Pump

The internals of both machines are relatively similar in terms of pure functionality. Both the ACS Minima and the Lelit Elizabeth are dual boiler machines powered by compact vibratory pumps.

The ACS Minima does step forward, however, when looking at the boiler size and back-to-back capabilities. The Minima wins with a larger 0.8-liter brew boiler compared to the Elizabeth's 0.3-liter boiler. Similarly, the Elizabeth’s 0.6-liter steam boiler barely holds a candle to the massive 2.6-liter steam boiler of the ACS Minima.


These two machines begin to separate when looking at their overall design and footprint. The Elizabeth is not an ‘E61 Box’, but it follows a simple, no-frills form. With a brushed steel finish and an overall plain face, the Elizabeth prioritizes functionality over design.

The ACS Minima is the complete opposite. Its angled face and long steam wand are much busier than the Elizabeth, but they also bring much more character and charm to the overall design.

Activation & Workflow

The ACS and Lelit offerings continue to diverge when looking at the overall workflow and activation. While the ACS Minima is an ode to a more classic era with its toggle switch activation, the Elizabeth indexes on the basic but functional with a button-based interface.

Both machines feature a pressure gauge to help gauge brew pressure during extraction. But while the the ACS has the manometer front and center on the E61 group, the Elizabeth has a small recessed brew pressure gauge above the PID controller on the front face.


One area where Elizabeth does take a step forward is with its feature offerings. While the ACS Is all about the manual and tactile experience, the Lelit comes packed with features some baristas may appreciate. In addition to an OLED PID controller (compared to the simple LCD on the Minima), the Elizabeth offers volumetric shot control.

Volumetric shot control is something almost never found on E61 machines, and Elizabeth's programmable volume is great for users who want a little more help on a busy morning and don’t want to accidentally over-extract while trying to steam their milk during the shot.

Which To Buy

While both the ACS Minima and Lelit Elizabeth are sub $2,000 dual boilers, that is about all they share in common. The ACS is an homage to a simpler time, with a tactile workflow, large internal boilers, and the ability to pull manual shots all day. The Elizabeth is a function-no-frills modern take that prioritizes ease of use and technology over classic experience.

If you value the design, ethos, and history of classic espresso, the ACS is the clear winner. But, if you’ve found yourself intrigued by the simple design and helpful features of the Lelit Elizabeth, I recommend you read a little more about it here!

Pricing and Availability

In 2024, the ACS Minima has a manufacturer-suggested retail price of $1,899. This is actually a newly updated price, a significant bump from the 2022 and early 2023 price of $1,500. As the ACS Minima gained a reputation as a high-value-for-the-money option, it seems that manufacturers may have realized the price point was too low in the current market.

The ACS Minima is sold in the United States through 1st-Line Equipment and is also listed on Amazon. Unfortunately, as of Spring 2024, the limited stock of the Minima has made it difficult to come by. If you find yourself intrigued by this unique machine and unique design, don’t wait to jump on one when it comes back in stock!

The Final Sip

The ACS Minima is one of those dark-horse espresso machines that packs a ton of value into an extremely unique package. With an E61 group toggle switch activated dual boiler, the Minima offers a collection of features normally only found on prosumer machines in a much higher price bracket. If you can get over the 45° angle design (and don’t need to put the Minima in a righthand corner), this ACS option is the perfect pick.

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