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Bezzera Strega - still a good choice?

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  • Bezzera Strega - still a good choice?

    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
    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
      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.

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

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        • #5
          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
            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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            • #7
              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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              • #8
                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.

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                • #9
                  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

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                  • #10
                    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
                      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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                      • #12
                        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
                          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; 28 May 2016, 06:13 PM.

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                          • #14
                            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.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by K_Bean_Coffee
                              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!

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