Here comes the ultimate gourmet espresso machine
The Bezzara Strega is a commercial lever group espresso machine in a small, pourover package designed for home use. Bezzera's goal for the Strega, as for all their home machines, was to make it so its owners could produce shots far superior to any capsule or superauto with only a minimal learning curve. But the application of this design philosophy to a lever espresso machine had an unintended and entirely spectacular consequence: they produced a lever-pump hybrid that, with a few simple operating tricks, can make some of the world's best espresso, especially when using lighter roasted coffees. These shots have a level of clarity, body, and wine-like sweetness that is only equaled by the most advanced double boiler, pressure profiling machines.
For many of us, the lever machine is an obsolete white elephant, slow and strenuous in use, hit or miss in result; for a dedicated minority, it is the instrument of choice of the true espresso crafter, rewarding constant practice with shots of unmatched delicacy and clarity. But the Strega does not really conform to either opinion about lever espresso machines. Instead, it is easy to use and makes dense, muscular shots. It does remain a lever espresso machine in terms of the greater physical effort required, the slower speed of use, and the greater shot clarity.
The Strega's espresso chops come from design features that control the temperature and the pressure in unique ways. The combination of heat exchanger and stored heat in the cylinder of the lever group produces a hot start/cool finish temperature profile. The higher initial temperature ensures a properly heated puck and a full extraction, so that the slower dissolving caramels and oils add sweetness and body to the faster extracting, aromatic fruit acids and Maillard reaction compounds (which create the toast, wood, and nut flavors). The lowered finishing temperature prevents overextraction, avoiding the muddy and highly bitter flavors one gets in bad ristrettos, in coffee left too long on hot plates, or in instant coffee.
Just as the Strega has two heat sources, the heat exchanger and the group heater; so it has two pressure sources, an Ulka pump, set at around 11 bar static, that supplies the pressure at the start of the shot; and a spring lever, that starts at around 9.5 bar and finishes at around 5.5 bar, which supplies the pressure during the rest of the shot.
The Strega also produces the flavor clarity of classic lever machines, since the declining pressure of the spring, coupled with the dropping temperature, completely prevents overextraction and its associated muddy or bitter flavors. The combination of a pump and lever produces one further unusual property in the Strega, but this one will reduce the shot quality if the user is unaware of it. For a given basket, you need to either grind finer or use more coffee to keep flow rates and shot timing similar to other espresso machines. Using ultra-fine grinds will usually drown out the coffee's acidity and Maillard flavors with extra caramels. This results in a nice comfort food espresso, but never a shot that will sing. So it is better to use the regular grind settings and overdose the baskets, using 3 to 4 grams more than usual in double baskets, or 2 to 3 grams more in singles. That will keep the flavors balanced properly for the best coffees.
All the Bezzera home machines, including the Strega, have 1.5L upright (BZ07) or 2.0L horizontal boilers (Strega), along with precise four hole tips which produce superb steam at a full commercial clip for about forty five seconds before needing to recover. This means you can steam milk for a perfect six ounce cappuccino in under ten seconds, and for a pair of twelve ounce lattes in about forty. People who use commercial steamers will find it a joy it use, people with less experience will face a learning curve to get used to this fast pace. Once they are used to it, they will find that steaming with just about any other home machine is a drag. The steaming pace means you can steam and make the shot at the same time, even for a pair of lattes.
Vibration pump for supporting the filling of the brewing chamber when the lever is locked down for pre-infusion and to refill the boiler out of the tank.
Pressurstat to monitor boiler's steam pressure
The grouphead is heated by a separate heating element to keep the temperature more stable.
There are weights placed in the lower rear of the machine's interior to keep it more stable while pulling it down on the lever.
Hot water wand on right side uses joystick controls.
Steam wand on left side is multi-directional and utilizes non-compression valve with a joystick control.
Boiler pressure gauge indicates steam pressure in boiler.
Pump activated for refilling the boiler as well as for pre-infusion of the coffee in the grouphead prior to full piston lever extraction.
What comes in the box?
1 x Espresso Lever Machine brand new
1 x Hand book with hotline phone numbers U.S. and international
2 x Spare part brewing group gasket
1 x Portafilter with basket for 1-shot extraction
1 x Portafilter with basket for 2-shot extraction
1 x Latte Art pitcher 20oz
1 x aluminum tamper 53/57mm polished
1 x Rattleware Easy 5" milk thermometer
2 x Espresso cup and saucer
1 x 1.1 lbs Il Caffe Manaresi espresso Bean
1 x Digital total water hardness meter to assess the water quality over years (if you might change from bottled water to different bottled water, you move, etc.)
1 x Dealer warranty on the machine
1 x Lifetime telephone support for setting up the machine, maintaining the machine, how to extract the shot and make a perfect latte and all other questions coming up over the years (support valid for you as long as you own the espresso machine
2 years Bezzera warranty parts and labor against manufacturer's material defects, shipping from and to repair facility not covered; Wear and tear as well as damages caused in not matching water quality like calcium and ph-value, or overpressure in the fresh water pipe are not covered under the warranty.
Height 28" including the lever
Weight: 68 lbs
Power: 110-120V / 60 Hz on a 110V 15A outlet
Boiler: 2 liter
Heater: 1,350 Watt
Fresh Water tank: 4 liter
Product of: Italy
Manufacturer: Bezzera, Milan
CE (European UL/CSA): yes
UL: no approval
CSA: no approval
ETL: no approval
NSF: no approval
The price is calculated as "free shipping" for the lower states. For Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Canada as well as international, please call us and we are more than happy to quote you your price including safe shipment to your destination.
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For the many Pavoni owners this machine will cure any upgraditis. This machine is a beauty. If you enjoy more than just pushing a button for amazing espresso this may be for you. It can be very simple or you can play with it changing your technique will change your extraction. I love it and Italian bean delight has the best pricing.