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Thread: Bezzera Strega - still a good choice?

  1. #1
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    Bezzera Strega - still a good choice?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi guys, have not seen many posts about this machine since 2011 when there was a lot of hype.

    I still like the sound of it and am thinking about upgrading my PIDed minore 2. I don't really want a machine I have to mod with a PID but I am fairly obsessive.

    Are Strega owners still happy in 2016? Is it still highly regarded for unbeatable shot quality and flexibility? Will I need to mod it?

    Thanks

    David

  2. #2
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    G'day David....

    Have a read through this thread by Rick Bond (Coffee Machinist) and be prepared to be amazed...
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...ra-strega.html

    Mal.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks Mal,
    I did see that one... I guess my question is really targeted at longtime owners who have not felt the need to PID the Strega to get consistent great shots.
    I would rather not plan to buy a machine that I have to mod... But I really like the idea of pressure profiling, and getting drinkable espresso from lighter roasts (as per the jim shuman comments from 5 yrs ago)

    I guess if I buy one and then feel I have to pid it it won't be the end of the world, - as long as I have the best espresso possible at home.

  4. #4
    kbc
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    I was very tempted by one of these a few months ago. Nice machine. Ricks mod makes it a great machine.

  5. #5
    TC
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    You need to tame the witch to get great results from a Strega. It's a quirky machine in that they did everything right in the build including the actively heated group. The problem with Luke's machine was that it cooked shots due to running hot. That was our experience too.

    I heard a rumour that Luke's tame one may be planning to fly off soon due to upgraditis.... Watch this space
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  6. #6
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    Is adding a pid simple on these? - I am not an electrician but can think logically and had no issues adding one to my minore II. Never seen inside a lever machine before...

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    Hi David,
    I know its more money, but have you thought about saving a bit more for an Izzo Leva? I see occasionally they come up 2nd hand also
    The Leva is brilliant and when I was thinking about machines, I wanted a great machine and simplicity but also robust as I live a long way from a big centre for repairs.
    I am still delighted with the Leva after 26 months of ownership and cant see any need to upgrade in the foreseeable future
    For me ( and we all think differently) - I'd wonder where to stop as you upgrade machines to get them to perform. We dont all think the same, but personally I'd prefer a sorted machine
    Good luck
    Dave
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    Thanks for the recommendation Dr Dave will check them out. Are they known for thermal stability and ability to produce really good espresso?

    - I love espresso and feel like I can't get the best of it currently.. And I want something different... I initially was eyeing off the Strega because it's different and had an early reputation of making the best espresso... Now I am not so sure.

  9. #9
    TC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sink_cut View Post
    Thanks for the recommendation Dr Dave will check them out. Are they known for thermal stability and ability to produce really good espresso?

    - I love espresso and feel like I can't get the best of it currently.. And I want something different... I initially was eyeing off the Strega because it's different and had an early reputation of making the best espresso... Now I am not so sure.
    G'day Sink_cut... I reckon that they are pretty much perfect... Better though to read the opinions of some CS owners: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...alex-leva.html

  10. #10
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    Hi David,

    I have had my Strega for about 3 1/2 years. It was an ex demo machine from the importer. I still love my machine and have no desire to upgrade. I do about 50 shots a week and the only problem I've had is a dodgy pressurestat about 18 months ago. I must admit the Izzo looks an impressive machine and would pull a better shot but if I had to buy another machine today I'd buy the Strega again.

    All machines in this price bracket are capable of pulling great shots, it often comes down to the quality of the beans, quality of the grind, and knowledge of the operator. Just my my two cents worth

    Cheers,
    Dave
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  11. #11
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    Thanks Dave - good to know.
    Why do you think the Izzo would pull a better shot?

    Do you think the Izzo would pull a better shot than a Strega with a PID fitted to the group heater?

    From what I can see online I would get an Izzo over the Strega for the overall quality. In terms of consistent shot temp there is no data on the Izzo, there is heaps on the Strega with and without PID, so very hard to compare.
    My logical thinking would say that a modded Strega with PID direct group heating would have a more consistent temp than an indirectly heated Izzo group. However, the opinion seems to be the Izzo is very stable.

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    Hi Dave,

    I bought a Strega from Antony at Casa Espresso in the middle of last year as he recommended it to me as positive step up from what I had.
    I was working with a standard E61 Magister with a vibration pump and I was already producing damn fine coffee from this unit.

    Previously, part of my wonderful history was as a restaurateur which for me meant constantly improving all pertaining to the production of great food and beverages for my customers.
    At my last gig I had an old lever arm machine, which I always loved so Antony's suggestion sparked memories that were too good to ignore.

    So, I bought it _ Yay!

    Now, notwithstanding anyones comments about other machines here, I can say the Strega is an absolute beauty.
    I have had no trouble producing great shots and the steaming is pretty damn amazing.
    All it took for me was a bit of fiddling and playing to get used to the unit, such as always giving a quick flush before producing a shot, listening for the air to escape and timing the pre infusion.

    The coffee always comes out as planned, smooth and creamy with amazing flavour extraction - the puck is always dry as a chip after each shot pulled.

    I have seen other machines on the market which have a (slightly) better build quality but they are madly more expensive and are not as versatile and portable as the Strega and they invariably have a larger footprint:
    Everyone still comments on what a great looking machine it is;
    Operating on a tank with pump, it can be moved around with comparative ease (and I cannot plumb it in so a double bonus for me);
    & It's also quite quick to heat up so it won't slow you down if it is for your morning brew on the way to work.

    My only gripe about the Strega is that it's pump is a tad noisey at the beginning but I guess that is the price for portability.

    As for the PID Rick installs, it is no doubt a huge improvement and will help to automate some of the fine tuning and produce even more consistent shots.
    But you said you wanted to get something with a minimum of fuss so it's worth a try and gives you the option to upgrade to a PID installation from Rick if you want to take it to the next level down the track.

    Cheers,
    Raymond.
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  13. #13
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    Thanks Raymond for the great review.

    We do consider ourselves lever specialists here (or maybe that's because I'm just a bit obsessed with them)

    With thanks to Chris from Talk Coffee we have now added the Izzo Alex leva to our range.

    Our leva range now includes entry level machines all the through to top end PID domestics and plumbed comercial variants

    La Pavoni Europiccola
    Elektra Micro casa Leva
    Strega Leva
    Strega Leva PID
    Izzo Alex leva
    Victoria Arduino Athena 2 and 3 group

    Antony
    Casa Espresso
    Last edited by Casa Espresso; 28th May 2016 at 06:13 PM.
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    Thanks Mondoh for the review, it will be useful for many people considering their purchase. I am sure I would have been stoked with the Strega.
    I ended up getting the Alex leva from TC, and am incredibly happy with it.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    The Strega is a great entry level lever. Use it stock then yes, Rick's PID is a great upgrade option down the track.
    I have a Strega and a Profitec Pro800 on display in my showroom. Visit any time for a play.
    $3000 machine entry level!

  16. #16
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    I just missed out on one of these on Trade Me here in NZ. 4yr old machine in immaculate condition with a fresh full service. It went for $1500 to some very lucky bugger.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Damn. $1500 - that's the dream zzzzzzz
    Tell me about it. Bargain.

  18. #18
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Quick plug - I still have one Strega on clearance. Just one that I want out before June 30. See here: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/showthread.php?t=43666
    I'll give you $1500 for it. I had a laugh.
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  19. #19
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    Sorry for my ignorant. How could a HX Machine benefit from PID?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by KopiOkaukau View Post
    Sorry for my ignorant. How could a HX Machine benefit from PID?
    PID is for the cartridge heaters on the group head. Some people say the stock thermostat makes it too hot.
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  21. #21
    Junior Member KopiOkaukau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sink_cut View Post
    PID is for the cartridge heaters on the group head. Some people say the stock thermostat makes it too hot.
    Thank you Sink_cut for clarify this.
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  22. #22
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    it indeed is
    really versatile machine

  23. #23
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eanion View Post
    it indeed is
    really versatile machine
    We have just delivered another of our PID Stregas to a happy customer.

    Someone is getting a great Christmas present this year!
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  24. #24
    Senior Member shapeshifter's Avatar
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    *sigh* wish it was me.

  25. #25
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    Howdy .. I've had my new Strega for around 6 weeks ... love it .. but the pstat seems strange and comes on and switches off erratically.

    I'm wondering whether it is faulty .. so I'm here hoping to get some feedback from other Strega owners

    1. Yesterday after switching it on .. the yellow light switched off, as did the heating element after a few minutes... it did come back on a minute or so later.

    2. The yellow light switched on and off at least 15 times during the 15 minute heating up process

    3. Once reaching 1.05 bar on the pressure gauge .. the yellow light switches off .. leaving just the green light on.
    The gauge slowly loses pressure and the yellow light comes on with a loudish click when the heater comes on for a few seconds to heat the boiler back up to 1.05 bar
    The strange part is - that after reaching max .. and switching off .. the pstat and yellow light switches on and off between 2 and 5 times when the 6th time it gives that louder click when the boiler heats up. Is this normal?

    I have no previous experience with these machines - only this seems very odd to me.
    There was a problem with the original Mater p/stat that wouldn't allow the boiler pressure setting to be lowered .. so it was changed before I picked it up.

    Does it sound like this p/stat is on the blink .. as it seems to be doing a lot of unnecessary work .. and I have reservations about it going the distance.
    Obviously being new ... it is under Warranty.

    Cheers for any assistance with this matter.

    Great Coffee machine .. and makes great Coffee
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  26. #26
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonshine View Post
    Howdy .. I've had my new Strega for around 6 weeks ... love it .. but the pstat seems strange and comes on and switches off erratically.

    I'm wondering whether it is faulty .. so I'm here hoping to get some feedback from other Strega owners

    1. Yesterday after switching it on .. the yellow light switched off, as did the heating element after a few minutes... it did come back on a minute or so later.

    2. The yellow light switched on and off at least 15 times during the 15 minute heating up process

    3. Once reaching 1.05 bar on the pressure gauge .. the yellow light switches off .. leaving just the green light on.
    The gauge slowly loses pressure and the yellow light comes on with a loudish click when the heater comes on for a few seconds to heat the boiler back up to 1.05 bar
    The strange part is - that after reaching max .. and switching off .. the pstat and yellow light switches on and off between 2 and 5 times when the 6th time it gives that louder click when the boiler heats up. Is this normal?

    I have no previous experience with these machines - only this seems very odd to me.
    There was a problem with the original Mater p/stat that wouldn't allow the boiler pressure setting to be lowered .. so it was changed before I picked it up.

    Does it sound like this p/stat is on the blink .. as it seems to be doing a lot of unnecessary work .. and I have reservations about it going the distance.
    Obviously being new ... it is under Warranty.

    Cheers for any assistance with this matter.

    Great Coffee machine .. and makes great Coffee
    Some may have seen my original Strega posts from several years ago - I am happy to report that it's performed flawlessly since I brought it home and has been used daily to this day

    I offer two simple solutions for Moonshines problem

    Its is more than likely a water quality problem - read that as over filtered water like RO and its not conductive enough thus tripping the low water level safety switch
    Or
    The the screws inside the water tank have some sediment film covering them and again fooling the low water safety switch to activate - In this case the fix is to remove the tank and wash it out with bleach then thoroughly rinse out until clean then refit and fill with water

    KK
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    Hi KK ..[Moon from over yonder] Anyway, yeah .. now you mention your post from yesteryear .. I did read it not that long ago, and thanks for the reminder about filtered water causing a problem as I use water from a 10" benchtop Matrikx 5 micron cartridge.

    Cheers
    Last edited by Moonshine; 4th January 2017 at 07:07 AM.

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    I grind a little salt into the water reservoir and this seems to have done the trick

    Cheers KK
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  29. #29
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    It does .. and seeing I picked up one of those battery operated salt grinders that lights up when you press the button .. it's fun... not to mention the salt is that pink Tibetan rock salt .. so it is an exotic experience ... and that's even before I get to drink the Coffee.

    If I was salt conscious .. all I'd need to do is cut back a tad on what I add to my chips .. and it's all good. The added salt probably preserves the water longer and doesn't need to be emptied out the boiler as often.
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  30. #30
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    Hmm .. well so much for the whizz bang electric salt grinder with all the bells and whistles.
    Lasted 12 days of light use ... probably all of about 2 minutes when I add it all up. Back to Cash Converters for a refund.
    Last time I purchased something from them .. It was faulty and took it back for a refund .. only to drop back in a couple of days later to find they put it back on the shelf for sale to some other poor sucker. I amaze myself even going back to that joint.

    I guess I'll just have to drop a few salt crystals in by hand ... tough times ahead .. but hey .. a lovely Coffee at the end makes it all worthwhile

  31. #31
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    Bought my Strega around 18 months ago after cutting my teeth on a La Pavoni Pro. It's a great machine and I still enjoy using it everyday I performed a mod as soon as I got it to upgrade the pressure relief valve on the boiler and plumb it in to the overflow line so there is no steam/water going inside the machine.
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  32. #32
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonshine View Post
    I grind a little salt into the water reservoir and this seems to have done the trick

    Cheers KK
    You can also add a cup of regular tap water - that will do the trick equally well
    I love the daily tiger stripe shots I get out of my Strega

    KK
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  33. #33
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    Cheers fellas

    Thinking about upping the dose for a slightly stronger coffee flavour

    Standard basket sizes that come with the machine are 7g and 14g I take it?

    A 10g and an 18g basket might be the way to go.

    What do you have .. or recommend?.. and where is the best place to get the good ones?

  34. #34
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonshine View Post
    Cheers fellas

    Thinking about upping the dose for a slightly stronger coffee flavour

    Standard basket sizes that come with the machine are 7g and 14g I take it?

    A 10g and an 18g basket might be the way to go.

    What do you have .. or recommend?.. and where is the best place to get the good ones?
    Hi Moonshine

    the double in the Strega is really almost 18, its quite deep

    I have the IMS single (12g) and double (20g) here in stock

    Drop us a line if you want some

    Cheers

    Antony
    Last edited by Casa Espresso; 25th February 2017 at 12:46 PM.
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  35. #35
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    Hi Antony

    Do you have a link to these baskets - had a quick look and couldn't find them listed

    Also .. I assume they fit the std PF .. as I don't have a naked one
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  36. #36
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    Hmm .. Just did my usual grind dose to check the weight of my double basket .. it held 19.73 grams

    My tamper is a Stainless steel convex one - and quite heavy .. so I only use the weight of the tamper and twist to polish .. no pressure.

    25-30 seconds for a 40ml shot for my mug sized latte. Bean using a blend for the last kilo .. only have 5kg of green arriving Mon or Tues.
    Have gone for the Costa Rica Tarrazu Single Origin. I like the SO beans better than the blends these days.. and prefer a dark roast that cooks until about 10 secs after 2nd crack begins when you see the smoke starting to bellow out .. then straight into the wooden bowl and put the small fan on top of the beans. I used to wipe the oil off some of the beans with a paper napkin ,, but don't bother now. It's all good.

    It's funny .. I used to write off my first coffee in the morning cause I couldn't taste it with any clarity. I put it down to my taste buds being sluggish and still waking up .. ie they need the coffee hit as well to get going.

    Since giving the smokes away .. 9 days ago (rollies) .. my taste buds are now functioning and wide awake when having my first coffee .. excellent.
    Last edited by Moonshine; 25th February 2017 at 10:05 PM.

  37. #37
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    40ml from 19grams in 25 seconds is quite restricted. But if you like it who cares.

  38. #38
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    What do you mean by 'restricted' ... a 40ml double shot should take only 15 seconds?

    or do you mean the shot volume should be more .. like 50-60 ml and let it run for say .. 40 seconds?

  39. #39
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    General rule is 60ml in 30seconds for a double. Youre doing 40 in 25. So the flow is restricted.



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