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Thread: Strega or Londinium?

  1. #1
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    Strega or Londinium?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi Folks,

    I am thinking to take the plunge and buy a "serious" machine for home and at this point I am considering Bezzera Strega or Londinium.

    I know that this subject has been already discussed in some previous posts, but I would like to ask about some details. I mostly drink ristrettos and I want to achieve the creamy viscous goodness pulled on restored Rancilio z9 lever at my favorite coffee shop and don't really care about the steam, etc.

    I understand the differences in their design, the pump filled group in Strega that lets you play with the pressure profiling, etc. I also understand the differences in their dimensions and the fact that Londinium can get up to the working temperature much quicker (but I suppose one can compensate for this by using a timer switch).

    Are there any other compelling arguments towards choosing Londinium over Strega? Did anyone do side-by-side tests? Can Londinium take triple-basket? What about the long-term outlook: the comparative build quality, availability of the parts/warranty service.

    Cheers!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    I have a Strega vibe pump model and love it
    You may have seen my videos on YouTube
    Bezzera actually have another model that works as a plumed in machine and works the same as an L1

    A correction on heat times - the Strega is up to temp and ready to make coffee within 15 min, thats because the head is heated via electric probes or elements

    I haven't had the pleasure of a side by side comparison to judge, all I can say is that the coffee is flowing beautifully at my place
    By the look of the L1 it looks to be well made but so is the Strega

    Now to something more serious
    Buying from overseas or a local importer ?
    Only you can answer that question - Do you want to walk into a shop and take your purchase home with you,
    have back up if something goes wrong, have hands on training training if required ?
    Or become a personal importer,

    KK
    Last edited by Koffee_Kosmo; 30th March 2013 at 11:25 PM.

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    Thanks a lot for you thoughts KK. The price difference on importing vs local is significant, so I better sleep on this before making a final decision.

    P.S. I just watched your videos on youtube, they are very compelling

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    TC
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    Welcome demq,

    Perhaps you may want to have a look over the Quickmill Achille as well. It is far better finished than the Londinium and adds a rotary pump over it and the Strega as well. We've been been playing with one on our bench for 4 months now and the shot quality is now on par with our Izzo Pompeii. It will be more exxy than both of the others due to the specification, but I feel that once the Australian importer brings it to market, we'll be able to give the Londinium one hell of a run for its money.

    If you're in Melbourne, you are most welcome to come and see for yourself.

    Chris

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    Thanks Chris, Achille indeed sounds like a great machine, but seems to be on the more expensive side. Anyways, I went ahead with the Witch, can't wait to see how wicked is it going to be

  6. #6
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Congratulations on the Strega purchase
    You may choose to pimp it up with some custom resin handles or a naked PF if that takes your fancy

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/attachment...&thumb=1&stc=1

    KK
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Thanks, the custom handles look so seductive )

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    Congratulations on choosing a model from a manufacturer with a very long history and tried and proven track record for making excellent and reliable coffee machines, and having a long standing Australian sales, service and support network to benefit its many clients.
    Andy, Jonty and chokkidog like this.

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    If I had have seen this post earlier I would have suggested the "witch" (or wait for the AU spec Quickmill) too.
    Congrats on picking the right machine!

  10. #10
    TC
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    Agreed Andy,

    From what I have heard, demq did choose the right machine of the two short-listed.

    When the list expands to 3 in the next few weeks with the launch of the AU Quickmill, we'll ensure that the pencil is sharpened sufficiently to present a compelling argument to buy a superior machine locally. I have enough information now to know that it's a superior machine to the Londinium.
    Last edited by TC; 1st April 2013 at 04:53 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member shapeshifter's Avatar
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    demq, I would be interested in your thoughts about the Strega, I was also considering the same two machines

    I should add, I know KK's thoughts, photos and videos well so not dismissing his thoughts in any way shape or form, he loves the Strega and so does anyone else that visits him.
    Last edited by shapeshifter; 6th April 2013 at 01:42 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Congrats on your choice demq.
    Methinks you will be happier than with the other on your list! ;-)
    TC likes this.

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    Thanks for the kind encouragements all I am still patiently waiting for my order's delivery (I guess lots of ppl ordered stuff over the Easter ). Once it is up and running I will take some pics/videos and will share with my impressions. Cheers!
    shapeshifter likes this.

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    La Strega in casa!

    The Witch has finally arrived yesterday!

    I had a bit of a hiccup at the beginning. It turned out somehow the ground for the tank safety sensor had been connected to a wrong spot, so the machine would not work (draw water from the tank). After spending a couple of hours staring at the wiring diagram, opened it up and saw a screw laying inside on the bottom of the machine (in the end turned out to be the screw that fixes the tank to the frame from the bottom). In the end took it to my local repair shop where the super friendly and helpful mechanics traced the problem to the incorrect connection and fixed it for me at no cost!

    I've only made a coupe of espressos and one cappuccino this far. The crema looks great, but to me espresso tastes a bit overextracted and a bit too hot. The steam is very strong and makes good microfoam. I think I still need time to get used to the machine and get a proper tamper + tipple basket + naked PF (none seems to carry naked PF for Strega in Oz).

    Here are some photos, will post more once I get to know the which closer.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by demq; 11th April 2013 at 10:02 PM.
    KopiOkaukau likes this.

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    Strega or Londinium?

    There are few places that carry nakeds for Bezzera groups. Call one of the Bezzera suppliers in AU - JetBlack or Di Bartoli in NSW, Bezzera themselves in Brisbane.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    The Strega uses special PFs which are made deeper in the moulding process
    Not the same as the standard 58mm used on normal machines

    I had my second PF converted to a naked by a friend with a metal lathe

    A little practice goes a long way, get familiar with your machine to get the best from it
    Congrats

    KK

  17. #17
    Senior Member BLrdFX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by demq View Post
    Hi Folks,

    I am thinking to take the plunge and buy a "serious" machine for home and at this point I am considering Bezzera Strega or Londinium.

    Can Londinium take triple-basket? What about the long-term outlook: the comparative build quality, availability of the parts/warranty service.

    Cheers!
    I use a 22g VST 58mm basket everyday and split the dose between 2 morning coffee's, 1 for myself and 1 for my wife. She and I both love what it produces. Does it fit? Easily with zero clearance problems in the standard L-I PF. I have all the baskets that came with the L-I and its 3 PF's, Single, Double and Bottomless, and all the VST baskets 7g through 22g fit. It was a nice discovery since I already had the baskets and was using them in my GS/3.

    The L-I has not been around long enough to take a long term look. Strega might have been around a few months longer but neither as long as the GS/3 which has gone through several OEM mods to get to today's spec. The L-I will needs years to get to that point, just like the Strega.

    Has Strega done anything to address it's short comings?

    Lever-cocobolo.jpgToggles-cocobolo.jpgIMG_0003_2.jpgIMG_0001_3.jpgDoublePF-cocobolo.jpg

  18. #18
    Roz
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLrdFX View Post

    The L-I has not been around long enough to take a long term look. Strega might have been around a few months longer but neither as long as the GS/3 which has gone through several OEM mods to get to today's spec. The L-I will needs years to get to that point, just like the Strega.

    Has Strega done anything to address it's short comings?
    The Strega has been around for nearly 2 years, 3 models, Plumb / Tank only and a Dual mode model. I may be wrong but I don't think there has been any OEM mods to change it's spec since it arrived on the scene? apart from the handles that is the only difference I know about.

    What short comings does the Strega have?

  19. #19
    Senior Member BLrdFX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roz View Post
    The Strega has been around for nearly 2 years, 3 models, Plumb / Tank only and a Dual mode model. I may be wrong but I don't think there has been any OEM mods to change it's spec since it arrived on the scene? apart from the handles that is the only difference I know about.

    What short comings does the Strega have?
    Well, it must have had issues with handles. I do not own one, never used one, but anything/everything gets things changed in production for one reason or another and it is no fault to the machine, the company or the owners of same. Look at cars, you can almost bet that one model year will have slight changes to the following model year, it's just the way it goes. My Caterpillar bulldozer went through many changes and mods before the thing was discontinued many years later.

  20. #20
    Roz
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    Yes I'm not doubting that good products eventually have changes and improvements, just like the continued Giotto and Izzo Alex range improving on the next revisions of the the machine, I'm sure the Londinium will be no different and maybe even the Strega but so far the only change that I know about are the handles which are a cosmetic change, these handles come from the commercial Bezzera machines and they might be making the change across the whole domestic Bezzera range? I'm sure a Bezzera dealer could clarify, personally I'm not a big fan on those handles I prefer the old ones or custom.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLrdFX View Post
    Well, it must have had issues with handles. I do not own one, never used one, but anything/everything gets things changed in production for one reason or another and it is no fault to the machine, the company or the owners of same. Look at cars, you can almost bet that one model year will have slight changes to the following model year, it's just the way it goes. My Caterpillar bulldozer went through many changes and mods before the thing was discontinued many years later.
    The Strega never had issues with the handles - the same handles have been in use by many manufactures for decades
    I changed my lever handle because of the height and overall position my machine is located and my height
    For this reason I can now operate it with less muscle power ( its purely a fulcrum thing )

    Now Bezzera have modern design with logo branded handles as a distinguishing feature

    This is a photo of my current, custom made resin handle - its 180mm long

    image.jpg

    KK

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    Day 2: I made a PF sleeve from a plastic cup, that makes it easier to updose/declamp the coffee in PF. With a little tweak in the grind, as well as pulling the shot straight after the cooling flush made a world of difference in the cup. The shots taste decent and I can control the flow rate with the grind much easier, up to a point of a very slow drip. Now I can see the potential for greatness, though still have plenty to learn.
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    I used a Strega for 23 months.To be honoust not one shortcoming comes up.

  24. #24
    TC
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    Quote Originally Posted by bezzieman View Post
    I used a Strega for 23 months.To be honoust not one shortcoming comes up.
    FWIW, we saw a couple of early ones into Australia. I liked the machine but felt that it had a tendency to cook shots. It was just too hot.

    One of the good things about the Bezzera group is that it's actively heated. Hopefully these are now in a cooler Australian spec. machine.

    Like all Bezzera product it has very robust construction. If you like the design, they are very well finished.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    One of the good things about the Bezzera group is that it's actively heated. Hopefully these are now in a cooler Australian spec. machine.
    As far as I can tell from the diagram, the group heating element is switched off at 95C (no matter which version of the machine you take, the part is THERMIC SAFETY DEVICE 250V 95C AUTOMATIC). Then for the water passing through the heat exchanger, the only way to change the temp in that would be 1) Change the boiler temp - should be easily done by turning the yellow knob on top of the pressostat. Playing too much with it would affect the steaming the milk if you reduce the pressure much though. 2) The water flow rate through HX through the brew pressure - as far as I can understand this comes from the pump and the suppression valve - should be harder to fiddle with and would have strong impact on extraction of the coffee.


    My first two shots were too hot. Then I started pulling the shots straight after the cooling flush and they taste fine and are not too hot to drink (like the first two were).
    Last edited by demq; 13th April 2013 at 09:51 AM.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    I have adjusted my Pressurestat setting to cut out midway between 1 and 1.1 bar of boiler pressure on the gauge, that setting gives me good heat and steam
    I don't flush however I am not against flushing
    But flushing must be done with care as it could be dangerous, the safest way to flush the Strega or any lever machine is with an empty ( no coffee ) PF locked in place

    KK

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    Sure the thing overheats.Watch it sizzle after an hour as you pull the lever.steamdragon!
    It's an HX.You must flush it.Like al the Hx's out there.
    I always clean te group before each shot I pull so no big deal.About 5 seconds is good if it's been on for a while.No problem.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by demq View Post
    As far as I can tell from the diagram, the group heating element is switched off at 95C
    The cheap bimetallic thermostat might have a rating of 95C, but anyone who has extensive experience with a single boiler machine will tell you that in practice they have quite a significant deadband. I have yet to do tests, but I would warrant that the group temp nearest the thermostat would be oscillating a good 10 degrees C + or - around the rated switch-off temp. Whether this adversely affects group and shot temps in general I don't know, as the group may have enough mass to effectively absorb the overshoot, and the thermostat/cartridge heater is assisting the HX on heatup - it may not even be active after the machine is properly warm.

  29. #29
    Senior Member shapeshifter's Avatar
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    Coffee machinist - the Strega has a 'cheap bimetallic thermostat' unlike what? What do the other levers have and how are they better than what the Strega has, which from what I'm told carries a commercial cylinder and that a fluctuation of 3 to 4 degrees not 10 degrees would be normal.

  30. #30
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shapeshifter View Post
    Coffee machinist - the Strega has a 'cheap bimetallic thermostat' unlike what? What do the other levers have and how are they better than what the Strega has, which from what I'm told carries a commercial cylinder and that a fluctuation of 3 to 4 degrees not 10 degrees would be normal.
    The Strega has a commercial cylinder and at a guess the brass its made of would weigh close to 9 kg
    That's a big heat sink

    KK

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by shapeshifter View Post
    What do the other levers have and how are they better than what the Strega has
    Other levers have traditional means of heating the group - conduction of heat through the HX or across the boiler flange / dipper tube. Bezzera were the first to add a cartridge heater to a lever group to my knowledge, which is a very clever way to heat up a chunk of brass. In my opinion they spoiled the elegance of that solution by running it from a thermostat with a 20 degree deadband, but as KK says, in real world measurements of shot temp. and group idle temp. it just may not matter that much. Likely the cartridge heater is only active during A. heatup and B. long periods of inactivity

  32. #32
    Junior Member muzz88's Avatar
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    Digging up an old thread, but can anyone confirm if the Strega portafilter fits the VST triple/22gr baskets. I've read mixed comments about the VST baskets not fitting in the Strega.

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    Very few spouted PFs fit the VST triple in my experience (other than the Cafelat removable spout version). I use a naked for my triple basket.

  34. #34
    Roz
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    Quote Originally Posted by muzz88 View Post
    Digging up an old thread, but can anyone confirm if the Strega portafilter fits the VST triple/22gr baskets. I've read mixed comments about the VST baskets not fitting in the Strega.
    A VST triple fit's but basically touches the bottom of the portafilter so I have only ever used a triple in my naked portafilter for Strega, I bought one from Europe.

    I have not tried a EP triple but I have one coming but I suspect it will be the same.

  35. #35
    Junior Member muzz88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roz View Post
    A VST triple fit's but basically touches the bottom of the portafilter so I have only ever used a triple in my naked portafilter for Strega, I bought one from Europe.

    I have not tried a EP triple but I have one coming but I suspect it will be the same.
    Great, thanks for that Roz.



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