Finally, after getting and returning a worthless Francis! Francis! X3 (pod only although it was sold as the pod and ground coffee version by lusso.se) I’ve now got a suitable replacement. Even though it’s quite a bit more expensive I found no other machines in the budget class that seemed good or stylish enough, so I re-evaluated the market and looked to the lever designs which are cheaper considering their materials and potential performance than the semi-automatic models.
I chose between a La Pavoni Europiccola (5500kr, ~$690) and the utterly gorgeous but more expensive Elektra Micro Casa a Leva (8300kr, ~$1040). After reading up on the reviews at coffeegeek (Elektra and LaPavoni) it seemed as if the Micro Casa was the best match for our intended usage since it’ll be me and Jessica making coffee for both of us most of the time. The La Pavoni is less suited for making successive shots and it’s also more difficult to use by persons of less than average male height. Apart from that, I’ve had the Micro Casa a Leva on my list of things to eventually buy in my life (along with an Aston Martin and HD3 watch) for quite some time now.
First impressions is that it’s even more beautiful in flesh (actually brass and chrome) than photos can show, although I will try to portrait it the best I can, eventually. I ordered it from Espresse CoffeeShop based in Italy. One and a half day after my order FedEx delivered it to me, swift service and delivery is all I can say, expecially considering that Espresso CoffeeShop offer free delivery inside Europe if the order is above €300.
Previous experience from the ‘net says that the Elektra is very fussy with the freshness of the coffee beans, the grind, the tamping and the tempo when making it. Although we only tried with really old coffee and didn’t have time to try out the grinds and tamping on the first night, we still managed to get perfectly acceptable (which means average café standard) espresso from the first shots. Where it shined from the very first try is the frothing though, dip the steam wand into the milk, angle it slightly and surf the surface (so that a vortex forms) and it makes just perfect, creamy microfoam. I’m really excited to see what this machine can do once I’m (or Jessica) is in tune with it, for the moment I’m just so glad that it was a fluke with the Francis! Francis!.
On a sidenote, we went to see Caution by Bounce Streetdance Company last night, the only thing I want to say about that is ‘see it’. Just do it, it was among the top shows I’ve seen in my life and even better than The Score and Insane in the Brain.