Espresso Machine

My veteran espresso machine is about to peg out after 5 years hard labour in the hands of a hardcase coffeeholic.

I can really recommend this make, it’s called Briel (the model is “Chamonix”) and though it doesn’t look very fancy, its tough engine – a goodly sized pump – allows it to make decent espresso and creates enough pressure to froth the milk properly for a perfect cappuccino.
Overall much better than some of the mickey mouse machines made by household name brands who make everything from stick blenders to fridges.
Something about “jack of all trades, master of none”?

At the last count the Briel was available at the small Bewley’s on the first floor of the Blackrock shopping centre. Cost about e130 I think.

The Briel’s replacement will be a more upmarket machine – a tricky beast from those Italian coffee maestros Gaggia.
The model is called the Paros (I wanted one with a decent grinder), looks are laid-back stylish rather than traddy and it incorporates a burr grinder (doesn’t heat the beans when it grinds) like a mini version of the one the cafes have and a pump with even more testosterone than the Briel. Gaggia also do a similar model without the grinder, called ‘Tebe’ – from the specification it looks as though it’s innards are identical to the excellent Classic, though in a more contemporary shell.

I was going to buy one of the lovely Pavoni chrome things with handle and gauge that look like a steam engine from the early railway era but UK champ barista Simon Robertson told me to save myself 300 euro and buy either the Gaggia Classic or the Paros. The retro jobs, apparently, with pressure generated by a hand operated piston, are strictly for yuppie bachelor pads or total coffee geeks (see www.gurus.net/pavoni/intro.html ), the modern pump machines actually make much better espresso much easier and generate better steam for cappuccino.

Simon was giving demos of his pluperfect technique in BTs recently. He made some amazing coffee cocktails, too! He has his own cafe at Melton, near York – a ‘must visit’ for anyone travelling in that neck of the woods.
Be nice if he could come back and train some of the clowns who give us such woeful coffee in Dublin!

Full report on the performance of the new workhorse in due course. Meanwhile, if anyone wants to go down the same route the Paros and the Classic, plus other Gaggia machines are available in Brown Thomas and Arnotts