News just in... Enrico Maltoni will have some of his collection on display in London too.
Standing before a 1950 Faeme espresso machine at a Tuscan market place two decades ago, Enrico Maltoni was love struck.
“It was not just a coffee machine, but a work of art,” says the now 38-year old Italian of that life-changing purchase which turned into an addiction equally as strong as that of coffee itself.
“The Faema Marte is still definitely my favourite, like a first love. The aesthetic of this jewel of design is incredibly similar to the bodywork of an Alfa Romeo car.”
Since then, the espresso-phile has mustered up the biggest collection of fully functioning vintage espresso machines in the world and become an expert on coffee history and the restoration of old machines.
In June, Maltoni will bring 24 members of his travelling collection to London to participate in Caffè Culture, Europe’s leading café bar trade exhibition,
“It is the first time there has ever been a collection this big in the UK”, says the espresso entrepreneur.
“At this show, I want to promote the real history of espresso coffee which is inseparable from that of 20th century Italian culture and design. Yet many people believe that espresso coffee was invented by Americans!” he protests.
Under the banner Espresso Made In Italy, Maltoni has visited five continents in his mission is to make “Italian style” known to the world and to set the record right on the true origins of espresso culture.
His 100-strong collection of macchina da caffè starts with several impeccable models of the steam-powered cylindrical espresso machines a colonna, invented by Milanese engineer Luigi Bezzera in 1901.
These early machines revolutionised the standard Turkish infusion method of coffee consumption. Two of the most iconic models - the eagle-topped Victoria Arduino ‘Venus’ (1910) and La Pavoni’s ‘Ideale’ (1905) will be among 24 classic machines on show in London.
Most of Maltoni’s favourites however stem from the fifties when Milanese bar owner Giovanni Achille Gaggia invented a manual lever-driven espresso machine. “The 1948 model Gaggia Classica was the first to produce a velvety crema caffè by improving the extraction and eradicating the burn aftertaste of its predecessors.”
The lever machines remain the crema de la crema for Maltoni – an absolute benchmark of excellence when it comes to the quality of drink produced as well as for aesthetics.
Several of these ‘masterpieces of modernism’ will make an appearance in London. A certain eye catcher will be the shiny, shapely ‘Lollobrigida’, a stunning San Marco machine from the 1950’s named after the Italian actress.
On top of the nostalgic machines will be a handful of contemporary marvels including the Lavazza Blue capsule machine, designed by carmaker Pininfarina in 2005, the Lavazza ‘A Modo Mio’ (2008) and La Cimbali’s cutting edge new design, the M39 GT.
Coffee machine and car design go hand-in-hand in the high-tech age. Another centrepiece of the exhibition will be the Faema Emblema (2008) – automobile designer Giugiaro helped turned this magnificent retro remake into a powerful commercial espresso machine.
Enrico Maltoni’s library of historical documents, advertising posters and photographs on coffee production will also be on display at Caffè Culture.
He is the author of two recent books on Italian coffee history, Espresso Made in Italy 1901-1962 and Faema Espresso 1945-2010.
The Collezione Enrico Maltoni will appear at Caffè Culture at the Olympia in London from June 23-25th.