espresso history & lever machine brands

Questing for crema: a concise espresso history

La Pavoni is the name that has always been highly influential in history of espresso coffee machine manufacturing. They started the production of their first machine as early as 1905, which came to be known as Pavoni Ideale. This was a robust boiler-like device that used stream power to produce coffee. More than a century has passed since and Pavoni machines still remain constant winners. Their dedication and tradition that goes into manufacturing these machines is immense.

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Archille Gaggia is the godfather of what we today know as espresso. It is within by his hands that the coffee machine without stream was born. It is somewhat unclear from the sources, but it seems that Gaggia bought the piston patent in 1938 from a man who became known as signore Cremonesi. Little is to know about him, but the invention of this rather unknown agent changed the course of espresso history. After the turmoil of WWII Gaggia and perfected the piston-lever construction and began manufacturing commercial lever machines. He was a truly self-made man: successful barman turned businessman from Milano. They promoted espresso culture, and the emerging trend was featured in countless chic movies internationally. Gaggia has been acquired by Saeco (Philips) and regrettably these days they do not produce lever espresso machines.

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Elektra is very much a go-to authority in the field of lever espresso machines. Since the birth of espresso with actual crema their perpetual presence has always been there. The company was founded in 1947 and is still in the hands of the founders, the Fregnan-family. They are technological innovators and they own many patents in the industry. Elektra has both a professional and a domestic product line, but on thing is common: they are all luxury products. These machines literally look like they have just been delivered from steam-punk heaven in a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud. Remaining faithful to their old creed, they have never made a fully automatic espresso machine.

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Pontevecchio are relatively newcomers in the field, they have been in business since 1999. Do not let this fool you, because these dynamic titans are making a name for themselves big time. Also, their products build on the heritage of successful SAMA machines. Proud of their craftsmanship, they manufacture using premium materials (brass and stove-enamelled steel plate). The company’s sole focus is producing professional-grade espresso machines for domestic use.

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Fred Waring is a man whom you can’t help admiring. He became super-successful as a singer and entertainer, sort of an American national figure around WWII. He did not misplace his investments and financed the development of the fist electric blender in the market. Waring’s name became associated with the blender popular also in professional and clinical environments. They became a trusted American household brand and also have a distinguished Professional line. The company was acquired in the 90s by the Conair Corporation and it keeps on manufacturing sought-after appliances.

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ROK is a lever espresso machine whose predecessor won the British Design price. Since then their product has only evolved – became even better and stronger. The company (Presso Ltd) behind selling these shiny beauties is the trading division of Therefore, a well-established and respected British design firm. They are known to many for their work on PSION SERVIES PDAs 3 and 5. Designers need good coffee, think about it.

see ROK products