Bezzera Strega Overview
The Bezzera Strega is an old school lever-style espresso machine that pays homage to the very first espresso machine invented by the company’s founder Luigi Bezzera, all the way back in 1901. Now, it returns with distinguishing wood accents that lend it a natural flair.
Features and Performance
Ever the innovators, Bezzera takes inspiration from a classic lever machine without getting stuck in the past. They’ve integrated both a hydraulic spring and vibration pump to ensure even pressure and offer control over pre-infusion. The Strega was intimidating to some of us, and it does take practice to get the process down, but, the adventurous among us found the Strega to be as fun as it is capable.
As a heat exchange machine, it is capable of brewing and steaming simultaneously once you’ve got your shots down, and it can even be plumbed directly into a water line. Bezzera’s specially designed group head electronically heats up to make sure the brew water is never shocked by a cold component, though it will need to be flushed between uses, as the group can heat up a little too much. The Strega allows you to step back in time and experience what it’s truly like to pull a shot.
Using the Strega is tricky at first, but, once you get the hang of it, it’s totally worth it. One of the key benefits to brewing with the Strega is the unique way in which it controls both temperature and pressure. The high temperature of the copper boiler helps to properly heat the puck for a full extraction while the stored heat in the lever group allow for slightly lower finishing temperatures that prevent over-extraction.
Similarly, the pressure produced by the machine trails off as well. The pump provides an initial 11 bar followed by the lever spring that starts around 9.5 bar and tapers to about 5.5 bar at the end of the shot. Remember to guide the lever up, because it will snap up quickly, and, we can tell you from experience, it hurts. For milk drinks, the Strega can produce roughly 45 seconds of steam time before needing to recover. The steam wand features a commercial style 4-hole tip that speeds up milk frothing and can require a bit of a learning curve for those who aren’t used to steaming so quickly.
Why You Should Get It
A good, traditional lever-style espresso machine is one of the most enjoyable ways to pull a shot, and the Strega happens to be a great one. The copper boiler helps with temperature stability and the manual pressure profiling lets you experiment with your shots and get unique results.