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Coming to terms with the witch: strega

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  • Coming to terms with the witch: strega

    Well, its been 2 weekends with the witch and I must say it has been a good run. The Jim Schulman videos have been very helpful, and although I have not been doing much calisthenics with the lever I have found shots much more satisfying than the Silvia.

    Interesting machine, appeals to both artist and/or scientist. Also interesting the pump is preventing this from being the darling of the lever crowd...

    Anyway, Im hoping to learn more about what this machine can do. If you are playing with one please share your experiences.

    Thanks by the way to the crew at Sibonis for letting me play. And having one in stock! By the way my short list included Elektra SA, Rocket, Junior. The Strega makes sense for someone not necessarily interested in playing barista for a group but to further the experimentation beyond roasting. Still more efficient than a single boiler though.

  • #2
    Re: Coming to terms with the witch: strega

    I was the first to use it in Australia a possibly the first to make and post a video
    We have a thread here - http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1299032000/0

    And yes if I dont fall for the BZ2006AL and if available in 240 V I will be getting my hands on a Strega

    Bezzera is now making available the Strega as a plumbed in without pump
    (but not yet available in Australia at the time of posting)

    So I may be looking at this one as well
    To many choices

    KK

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    • #3
      Re: Coming to terms with the witch: strega

      I am also very interested, but will wait at least until there is some feedback on the plumbed, pumpless variant, which appeals from the peace and quiet POV but would appear at least to remove some of the pump/air pressure/lever combinations that Jim Schulman goes weak at the knees over!

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      • #4
        Re: Coming to terms with the witch: strega

        KK, the first couple of sessions was really about trying to find the baseline and making sense of the pump and spring. I really wanted a machine I could experiment with beyond a press of a button. For me it was the unboring choice.

        Java, I like the flexibility of the stand alone. Its all relative I guess. Grinder is noisy, pump noise for a brief few seconds... Everyones gotta make sense of their own coffee world.

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        • #5
          Re: Coming to terms with the witch: strega

          Originally posted by 767A7373707072796061617A7B150 link=1319882086/3#3 date=1319909770
          KK, the first couple of sessions was really about trying to find the baseline and making sense of the pump and spring. I really wanted a machine I could experiment with beyond a press of a button. For me it was the unboring choice.

          Java, I like the flexibility of the stand alone. Its all relative I guess. Grinder is noisy, pump noise for a brief few seconds... Everyones gotta make sense of their own coffee world.
          Personally I have no problem with 5 or so seconds of pump noise
          And as you say all other components like grinders make just as much noise if not more

          Many many years ago I tuned boats,cars & cycles for a living
          So I actually want or prefer to hear that its working  ;D

          Just for reference here is my video of the Bezzera Strega

          [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fYXZv07LEI[/media]

          KK

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          • #6
            Re: Coming to terms with the witch: strega

            Yes, Im not all that fussed about the noise - it is certainly a whole lot quieter than what I have now either way. Id still like a plumbed and drained model as it gives you two less things to do, but if people find they miss out on the possibilities the current model offers, then filling tanks and draining drip trays isnt a big deal either.

            Id be really interested in some more detail about your experiences CG. On the topic of callisthenics it seems logical to me to just have it on a higher bench (or on a platform on your existing bench) if there is ever a danger of RSI of your lever arm! ;D

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            • #7
              Re: Coming to terms with the witch: strega

              KK, thanks for linking vid. One thing I noticed about the shots from this machine is that it doesnt blond out so fast. I guess its the decreasing pressure? Currently pulling (literally!) Hazels house blend. Where does she get that nutty flavor. Yum.

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              • #8
                Re: Coming to terms with the witch: strega

                Java, when I wrote calisthenics, i meant the retardation of shots etc. And varying between pump and spring. But youre right! It is tricky when theres no puck. I have the go ahead to acquire a bench for this setup so Im carefully weighing options.

                Back to coffee... I switch beans a lot and that means the grind can be off. What I have found is that if the pour or brew goes a little quick, I just lean on the lever and restrict the flow. Almost like saving what would have been too bright a shot.

                Or maybe in fact saving the shot!

                Will post as I go.

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                • #9
                  Re: Coming to terms with the witch: strega

                  Just a quick note.

                  This week I have been able to roast one of the harrar beans a little more developed than the typical medium filter roast. Usually with the Silvia the results in the cup are too sharp with the single origin fruity beans. I imagine this is true for many pump only machines.

                  This morning I am enjoying a doppio cortado without the harsh sharpness but a pleasant level of brightness. And not just one spike but seemingly more complex than just bright. Hehe.

                  Methinks this is more a feature of lever extracted coffees than just the Strega itself...?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Coming to terms with the witch: strega

                    Deep deeeeep handles mean a triple basket fits comfortably. One of the upgrades to a slow machine like a Silvia is a triple basket so you can make 2 cups for you and the other. The problem of course is the stock handle is not deep enough. Naked means only 1 cup. Although the Strega is not a slow machine as steam is on demand, the option is still welcomed.

                    I continue to be amazed by this machine. Small things that make a huge difference for me such as the feel of toggles instead of turning knobs. The drip tray is generous. Im sure I would have been irked by the rockets shallow tray.

                    Everythings kinda easy and the feeling of involvement is satisfying.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Coming to terms with the witch: strega

                      Ahh, what can I say? Im led to believe Santa has left his digs a bit early this year, and after a brief touch down at Bondi Junction is continuing south ... where someone is counting sleeps!

                      Many thanks especially to Renzo at Di Bartoli and also Chris at Sibonis for their outstanding hospitality and even better coffees that filled every minute of what was otherwise a very tight schedule in Sydney a couple of weeks back. I would highly recommend a visit to either establishment ... even if you dont want to be tempted by something big, Italian and very very shiny! Thanks also to Chris at Talk Coffee ... sorry mate, it was very close.

                      Pictures and perhaps a vid or two next week.

                      Cant wait!! 8-) ... is that sleigh bells??

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                      • #12
                        Re: Coming to terms with the witch: strega

                        Nice pickup JJ,

                        Youll love it and thanks for supporting a CS sponsor. That is what its all about.

                        I havent had time to do a detailed review on the machine and its unlikely that I ever will :

                        Looking forward to hearing more of your experiences with the Strega. Its one impressive piece of kit when used well.

                        Enjoy! 8-)

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                        • #13
                          Re: Coming to terms with the witch: strega

                          The Strega will possibly grace my kitchen bench sometime in January (fingers crossed)

                          I cant put my finger on it but just to comment that, it just feels right to both use and enjoy the coffee that it extracts

                          KK

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                          • #14
                            Re: Coming to terms with the witch: strega

                            Thanks Chris that means a lot. I think the "when used well" part might take a little longer than a conventional HX but for me that is part of the fun, and I think/hope it will keep me enjoying the possibilities of the machine for longer without feeling the need to lust after something else ... well thats the plan anyway! It doesnt hurt that it is just a beautiful (and beautifully engineered) machine that will be a talking point amongst those that have some idea of what it does ... and those that dont care but just like coffee!

                            KK it will be great when you have one too - not the least because I think a KKTO is the next logical step in my roasting journey (the Baby Roaster will be struggling to keep up with the no doubt increased demand! ;D)

                            I agree on the feel of the machine and once dialled in most of the coffees were just superb ... did I say I cant wait??

                            Oh btw - Santas little helpers have insisted on a Mahlkonig Vario coming along for the ride! 8-)

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                            • #15
                              Re: Coming to terms with the witch: strega



                              Are TNT called TNT because someone should BLOW THEM UP??

                              I did have a bit of a look at the box in the depot ... but when I got home ... one look at my not quite so beautiful ... twisted machine  > led to a closer examination, and yes, clearly the box had been dropped on one corner ...

                              The good news is that Renzo and the crew from  Di Bartoli and Barazi  have literally leapt into action and a replacement is on its way 

                              The bad news is Im back to counting sleeps ... 

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