Tomorrow will be a big day in my life as a lever head. Lever heads are those of us who choose to make espresso with lever espresso machines. I confess that I am a little bit of a disgrace to the world of lever heads because in spite of owning a La Pavoni lever and having started with that as my machine, I then bought a pump machine and decided that when push comes to shove I prefer the pump.
That was, on the other hand, a reasonable thing to do because the Elektra heat exchanger that I got was in theory a higher class of machine. If I had gone from a Pavoni to say a Rancilio Silvia that would have marked me as a true traitor, but perhaps this was more than understandable. (Note I like the Silvia a lot and think it is a good rival for the Pavoni so I do not intend that remark as a knock on the Silvia).
There has, however, been what is traditionally viewed as the holy grail of lever machines – the Olympia Cremina. We’ve certainly seen the Cremina mentioned here before as Samuellaw 178 is lucky enough to have one http://www.roaste.com/me/samuellaw178
and Son Ton another fellow lever head has posted about his attempt to buy one here correctly stating that the “Cremina is well known among enthusiasts as an ultimate manual machine.”http://www.roaste.com/CoffeeBlogs/sontondaman/Missed-out-great-deal-Cremina
Well, tomorrow I am going to get to try one out (just to play with not to buy). I have a friend who has restored a classic Cremina to a glory that it may not have even had when it was brand new and he has invited me to try it out. I cannot wait to see how it compares to other machines I have used. I do regret that like the Pavoni you cannot produce 20 shots in a row to explore the extraction space, but I hope I will not need to if I first dial the shots in on my Pavoni. We’ll see.
The closest I have come before this to a Cremina was one time I noticed one on Ebay. I was not in the market for a machine so I am not sure why I was looking, but I was and it was being sold by one of those shops that sells things on ebay for you and it happened to be a few blocks from my house. It had already sold, but they were nice enough to let me come see it. It was not in good shape and I did not get to see it pull shots, but it was still fun to see the machine.
The sellers had not realized what they had and someone had emailed asking “if I give you $800 will you close the auctionand let me have it?” It was just getting started and was up to a few hundred, but was not close to that level yet. They checked with the guy they were selling it for and he had found it cleaning out his dad’s garage so he was thrilled with the cash, not knowing it had any real value at all over a few bucks.
They said that after they pulled it they were berated by angry bidders who lost out on the chance to win it at an open auction. Perhaps those bidders were especially cranky because they hadn’t had their coffee yet.