The New Bezzera Strega is a very innovative lever espresso machine with shot profiling abilities beyond the common lever or pump machines.
Positive Product Points
Commercial size group HX Pump assisted pre-infusion Extreme profiling abilities Group heater 58mm pf Price
Negative Product Points
Pressure gauge placement too low and near steam Flushing can dribble a bit over front edge of drip tray without using a catch container
With a trend towards Superautos and very expensive profiling extreme machines Bezzera surprises us with a very interesting and capable hybrid spring lever machine at a very attractive price. Being HX you can refill the reservoir without having to cool down the boiler to refill. The vibe pump auto refills. The pump also fills the group for pre-infustion. The lever is pulled all the way down which activates a micro switch that starts the pump. A slight lifting of the lever shuts off the pump and the spring lever action takes over. You can choose the pressure of pre-infusion by how long you keep the pump engaged. The pump will add as much as 10-11bar pressure to pre-infusion. Once the spring lever takes over you can also hold it back if desired to control flow rate. The piston has a dual spring setup. The extra punch in pre-infusion teamed with the beefy spring setup while having the ability to control flow. Sound interesting? The group is quite temperature stable with a general quick flush. It also utilizes group heating elements.
No burn steam wand with 2 hole tip that can adjust positions and steams very well and quickly as well as a hot water wand. It sports a 110v 1350watt boiler heating element and with the group head heater, all comes to working temp. quite fast. The pump noise is not excessive and is off during the pour after pre-infusion. It comes with 2 PF's with a single and double pour spout and a single and double basket. The pf's are deep and should fit many style triples if desired. There is a nice amount of room under the group/pf if use of a scale is desired.
The drip tray is not huge nor is it small and removes easily for dumping. The cup warmer space is limited due to the reservoir fill door, typical for HX type machine. Care needs to be taken with the lever as it has quite a kick when released with no coffee loaded. Not something children should be playing with. It is not that difficult to pull for most adults of various heights.
So far I've produced some fantastic shots with the Strega, Light roasted coffees with a creamy and concentrated brewed coffee taste. Med. roasts with nice body, crema, clarity and character.
The Strega is a handsome machine and well built for it's price range. Without having to pay for a lot of beauty embellishments often found on much more expensive lever machines
Exceptional SO light roast results!
For mad espresso scientists and those who want a DIY lever machine that sports modern conveniences and a great price.
Footprint 13" wide x 18" deep x 16" to top of case and 28" to top of lever
Here is some more info/discussion with video's from the H-B forum bench Bezzera Strega
Bought from 1st Line the US importer for Bezzera, packaged it well. I Drink Coffee offers them in Canada, as well as a plumbed in version