I hereby admit publicly: I love espresso. I firmly believe, all a young coffee bean hopes for as a child is to end up as a delicious little Italian coffee. Needless to say, one of the hardest decisions for me to make when thinking about our kitchen setup was, what espresso maker to get.
Now we recently went to Italy on vacation and as usual I admired the baristas and their fabulous espresso makers, and so we ended up asking one of them where to go to buy a good espresso maker. And a decent tamper, and -- for my parents -- a good coffee mill. Like most Italians he and his fellow bar owner felt honored and delighted to give advice and gave us the address of their commercial coffee maker vendor, along with this note card:
It reads: "From Luca and Fabio. Treat them well." Very nice!
There, I bought one of the most beautiful espresso makers evaar:
The "La Pavoni Europiccola" does not have an electric pump and thus works mainly with the pressure generated by the steaming water as well as the force from the operator's arm pressing the handle down. On the one hand, it is hard to generate a constant quality this way and, due to temperature variations, it is quite hard to make the first coffee in a batch "just right". On the other hand, with this machine, drinking espresso is celebrated rather than rushed, and each coffee becomes its own little "piece of art".
While I am still figuring out the "tricks", so far I really dig it. And one thing's for sure: This is one damn cool kitchen accessory.