Bezzera Strega TOP Professional
The Bezzera Strega TOP, also known as ‘The Witch’. Is capable of producing shots, at least, comparable to complicated and expensive machines that cost several times more. At the same time being ridiculously durable which not many machines can match.
Review from Whole Latte Love
Professional review by World Cupper Jim Schulman
The espresso shots extracted by the Bezzera Strega TOP, are easily more superior than those made from common espresso machines used in the cafes. To put it simply, the way it extracts will reduce the astringents coming from the coffee every time, allowing the aromatic notes to clearly stand out. The machine fully complies to established researches on the science of coffee, applying the right amount of pressure at the right time.
When the user pulls down the lever of the Bezzera Strega TOP, the pump will work and push water into the brewing chamber.
As the water starts to flow into the chamber, it wets the coffee and begins the preinfusion. Then the pressure will gradually increase until it is enough for the water to push through the coffee grinds. The user can now carefully release the lever after spotting the first drip to stop the pump*. This also drops the spring’s force onto the coffee. As it extracts, the pressure gradually reduces as the water in the chamber reduces and the spring extends its coil back to its relaxed position. There’s no vibration from the pump during the extraction, reducing the chance of channeling issues.
The above animated photo shows what happen to the pressure in a successful extraction with proper grind setting. At different pressure, aroma blossoms differently. This gradual action creates impossible master shots. This action reduces the astringents from the extraction towards the last part of the extraction, greatly spreads a fuller bouquet of aroma. At the same time reduce the sharp ends of the sourest and bitter parts of the coffee. This means a more balanced taste, which is evidently seen as good espressos. Even poor quality coffee can taste a lot better.
The above is not the only one way to use the machine. If the coffee turns out to be more bitter or sourer than expected, the user can use other techniques to tame the coffee. If it is bitter, he can release the lever earlier, to use a lower range of pressure.
Otherwise, users can also allow the machine to run at normal straight-line pressure by not letting go of the lever, let the pump works throughout until the extraction is complete, this might do well for lightly roasted coffee that might turn out more acidic than expected.
* Be careful during the release, if water could not be retained in the brew chamber due to low resistance from incorrect grind setting, oxidized coffee or insufficient coffee. You will see water coming out from the spouts very early and the flow is very fast. That’s because the weak resistance from the coffee can’t hold the water from escaping from the brew chamber. The lever will bounce back with great force upon release as there’s no water retained in the brewing chamber to cushion and hold the spring. Always hold the lever and release carefully during first usage or when water flows out too rapidly.
With the Bezzera Strega TOP, an exceptionally huge amount of preinfusion is always done before extraction, and users are able to use finer grinds to bring out the most from their coffee. Shots are a lot more uniform.
2 Litres Copper Boiler
Copper’s natural microbial properties actively kill 99.9% microbes, increasing effectiveness as it ages. No rusting.
A full 2 litres size, to ensure better back to back thermal stability
The Bezzera Strega TOP works well with all types of coffee beans, whether in pure origin or blend.
Drinkers can always expect greater clarity of flavours from the wider spectrum of aroma released found in no other machines.
Fast start up
One of the fastest spring piston machines, it requires only 12-15 minutes to stabilize. This is due to the smaller and better heat exchanger boiler design.
The fast start up time will also mean that the user can finish his coffee faster and switch off the machine earlier.
The pump allows a smooth stream of water to the brewing chamber. During extraction, the spring takes over the job of extraction through compression. It has no tremors or any vibrations from pumps that may disturb the espresso from channeling out. This allows very smooth extraction.
The grouphead is maintained by heating element to keep the temperature constant. The design of the boiler reduces water from overheating too much. During extraction, an equilibrium is created and temperature remains extremely stable.
Faster thermal recovery.
As this is not a thermosiphon system, the drop of temperature in the boiler after extensive use will not drop the temperature at the grouphead. The grouphead’s temperature is maintained by individual heating elements. This allows users to repeat shots back to back more rapidly.
A safe material with natural anti-microbial properties to continuously kill 99.9% of bacteria that cause hospital-acquired infections, keeping water in the boiler always potable. One of the most conductive metal on earth, making the machine very efficient in starting up and recovering from lost heat. Will never rust like stainless steel, or release lead from brass, will only oxidise and increase its antimicrobial properties as its age.
High-quality Bezzera boiler.
Many manufacturers purchase their components from 3rd party vendors around the world, of unmeasured quality and reliability. Bezzera welds and makes all their boilers from their factory in Milan. Boilers are tested at high pressure to ensure that they are safe for usage.
Food Grade material
A few years ago, users from Europe had found out that many espresso machines, including cafe machines, are leaching huge amount of toxic metal. That includes aluminium, lead and other metal that can cause bioaccumulation of toxification. Potentially causing organ damages, cell mutations and other complications.
Bezzera’s machines were found to be among the safest, topping the result in lab tests as compared to its peers. It’s interesting to know that some machines with stainless boilers, which were claimed to be safer, actually fared much worse with high level of lead detected in the water.
That’s possible because Bezzera is a real factory that produces most of its main parts inhouse, with full control over its production and parts. With ample experience of over 100 years and huge amount of R&D done to understand what’s best for the machine, and also the user. The machines are safe enough for us to feel assured that they can be used by our own family and friends.
Bezzera scrutinize all their suppliers with the most stringent requirement, in both performance and material integrity. All parts are produced in Italy and most parts by Bezzera themselves. This is a stark difference compared to many companies who outsource or purchase components wholesale and only does assembling in their factory without much tests or evaluations done.
Not only that, we are pleased to inform you that all newer machines are now equipped with a new generation of fittings and parts that make the safe material they use, significantly safer. This is the type of quality that you can’t see in the specifications.
The Bezzera Strega TOP is extremely hardy, above all classes of espresso machines. The extraction is done by the spring than any moving pumps like most coffee machines.
There is no 3-way valve to discharge waste water. The 3-way valve has a few silicon gaskets that may wear and tear over time. An additional heating element at the grouphead shares the load from the boiler and reduces the chance of overheating.
In this version, the machine is equipped with components of higher tolerance.
The springs do the extraction automatically and will always pull a uniform shot, always consistent. Since it is a heat exchanger machine. Meaning users can brew coffee and froth milk at the same time.
Another huge advantage to the delight of all baristas, is the Bezzera Strega TOP do not require backflushing to clean exit valves. A flush and a wipe for cleaning is suffice for daily cleaning. There’s no need for flushing with grouphead detergent too but it’s recommended to pull down the show screen to clean regularly.
Tank or Plumb
That’s the meaning of TOP, you can either use the tank or connect to the tap for continuous feeding of water.
Before you think of using the tap, you must bear in mind that water softening is very important. Refer to this article: Water softening
If you intend to connect to the tap, you can’t use the water from the tap directly. You will need to install a commercial water softener treating the water before feeding it to the machine. Else the machine will not be able to last well as limescale form within. Limescale damages are devastating and can cost a lot to remove. Limescale can’t be easily removed without extensive dismantling.
If you intend to use the water tank, you can simply install a water softener in the water tank: Bezzera water softener
In any case, the softener must be replaced regularly to maintain its efficacy.
Contrary to most beliefs, the Bezzera Strega TOP is an equipment that is actually easier to use and has an upper edge in pulling higher quality espresso shots.
It’s reliable. It’s high performing. If you need a machine to satisfy the best drinkers, you will love the Bezzera Strega.
However, the users must have the physical ability to pull the lever down, as well as being careful of the lever striking back by accident.
Tips on usage
We will advise the following flushing routine. It is quite different from regular machines.
Pull down lever to 90 degrees to release the steam, without releasing much water.
Never put your head at the direction where the lever could bounce back.
The lever could bounce back with great force when water is not retained in the grouphead. This can happen if there’s no portafilter fitted, the amount of coffee used or grind size is not correct, or when there’s no coffee in the portafilter. During your first use, be more careful as your grind setting could be incorrect, and water seeps out of the grouphead instead of being retained in it.
In the event that you notice that the water is not retained in the grouphead and you’ll like to bring the lever back to its original upright position. Hold the lever and slowly guide it back to its position.
Always pull the lever downward, not pulling the machine forward and topple the machine. Always be careful of hot surfaces, water and steam. You should never remove the portafilter when the grouphead is still pressurized with hot water.
If you had added too much coffee or the grind size is too fine and water is unable to pass through. Switch off the machine and wait a while, allow all water to slowly seep out of the grouphead before removing the portafilter. The Bezzera Strega machine must never use a blind filter, it does not need to do any backflush.
This is an example of how much force the lever can strike.
Do not allow vibration pumps to activate for more than 2 minutes, allow half amount of rest time for any long duration of activation.
Bezzera Strega Introduction.
Bezzera Strega Explanation.
|Grouphead..||Bezzera’s Professional Classic Lever|
|Boiler Type..||Manual Lever with Heat Exchanger|
|Pump type..||Commercial Grade Vibration Pump|
|Quick Start Up..||No|
|Operation..||Manual Lever with Pump Assist|
|Indicator Lights..||On, off, heating|
|Boiler Capacity..||2 Litres|
|Water Tank Capacity..||4.0 Litres|
|Water Tank Access..||Via separate flap|
|Plumb in connection..||Yes|
|Internal Control..||Internal Pressurestat (With higher resistance)|
|Chassis Construction..||Stainless steel AISI 304 body|
|Steam/Water Valve Type..||Joy stick|
|Low Water Cut Off..||Yes|
|Low Water Indication..||Light|
|Heat Resistant Wands..||Heat Proof Grips|
|Number of Portafilter Holders..||2 (Double and Single with baskets)|
|Free Accessories..||Coffee Powder Scoop and Plastic Tamper.|
|Place of Production..||100% Italy, Milan by Bezzera|
|Place of Assembly..||100% Italy, Milan by Bezzera (By Hand)|
|Dimension (W x D x H)..||330 x 450 x 710 MM|
|Net Weight..||31 KG|
|Gross Weight..||33.5 KG|
|Power Supply..||240V 50-60 Hz|
Link to official website: Strega