Since this blog began as a platform for me to review coffee from my travels, I figured I should post something about my new espresso machine. It's the Rocket Giotto, from Rocket Espresso of Milan. The name is appropriate; it looks like a small spacecraft!
Rocket Espresso began in the 1970's as ECM (Espresso Company Milano) when two business partners, Friedrich Berenbruch and Ennio Berti, ventured into the fabrication and production of commercial grade machines for home use. They created the Giotto, which remains a classic today. (For more info, go to rocket-espresso.it).
During a recent week in Wilmington, Delaware while the quartet was performing and recording a cd with the Delaware Symphony, I discovered that their music director, David Amado, with whom we've collaborated in years past, was a fellow coffee enthusiast. No, actually, enthusiast isn't the word; he's an espresso maestro. He roasts his own beans at home, and has as much or more knowledge about espresso brewing than any coffee specialists you can find online. Just one look at his machine of choice, the Expobar Brewtus, says it all.
He introduced me to the bottomless portafilter, an object of true wonder. A portafilter is that metal basket with a handle you see baristas filling up with ground coffee, extracting a shot, and then banging out the used grounds. This portafilter has no spout; the bottom has been hacked off to expose the bottom of the basket. Extracting espresso through this produces the thickest, richest shot of espresso, finishing with a trail of crema the likes of which fantasies are made of.
The machine was waiting for me when I got home from tour, so I've only had it a few days. I'll have to increase my skills at it, but I trust that the resulting golden brown cups of distilled coffee essence will only get better and better!