The Bezzera Strega, also known as ‘The Witch’. Is capable of producing shots, at least, comparable to complicated and expensive machines that cost five times more. Durable enough to easily outlast them.
Review from Whole Latte Love
Professional review by World Cupper Jim Schulman
The average shots extracted by the Bezzera Strega, are generally better or comparable to the best shots one can get from common commercial groupheads due to its pressure movements.
When the user pulls down the lever of the Bezzera Strega, 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 in a very gentle way with no vibrations, as the water in the chamber reduces and the spring extends its coil back to its relaxed position.
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. One thing it is effective to do is to reduce the astringents from the extraction towards the last part of the extraction. This 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 bad coffee can taste a lot better.
The above is only one way of how 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 throughtout until the extraction is complete, this might do well for lightly roasted coffee that might turn out too acidic as expected.
* Be careful during the release, if water can not be retained in the brew chamber due to low resistance from incorrect grind setting, oxidised coffee or insufficiant 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. The lever will bounce back with great force as there’s no water retained in the brewing chamber to cushion or hold the spring. Always hold the lever and release carefully during first usage or when water flows out too rapidly.
With the Bezzera Strega, 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 stabilise. 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 channelling 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 and 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
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 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.
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 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.
Contrary to most beliefs, the Bezzera Strega 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.
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.
Warning: Never put your head in the direction where the lever will bounce back.
If the machine is not loaded with a portafilter with sufficient coffee powder.
During the first use, please be careful as your grind setting maybe too coarse!
There will be no resistance and the lever will bounce back with great force once released.
To release it back to the original position, hold on to the lever and slowly bring the lever back to the original stand up position.
Be careful of hot surfaces, water and steam at all time.
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..||No|
|Internal Control..||Internal Pressurestat|
|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..||28 KG|
|Gross Weight..||30.5 KG|
|Power Supply..||240V 50-60 Hz|
Link to official website: Strega