It's my desire to create a shop setting that returns the customer to an earlier era, a time that appreciated the skill and time required to produce a superior product. The location I am considering is a former pharmacy located behind the local hospital ER, next to all the private doctors' clinics. With my love for the Golden era of the 1930's, and my appreciation for Art Deco design, it felt right to consider recreating the old soda fountain/drug store of days gone by. However, instead of the soda jerk working the fountain, I would have a barista operating an espresso machine.

The only machines I have seen that remotely appeal to me, and that would fit the image of the shop I envision, are the Athena, and the Astoria Rapallo. I have read Alun Evans' blog post on the Rapallo. Both seem like wonderful machines. But I still have questions.

What other manufacturers make a commercial-grade 2-group lever machine?

What about using a gas-fired machine?

Do these machines use standard 58mm baskets?

I tend to be obsessive about procedure, and thus, training...I know that the limiting factor of the lever is employee knowledge and training. I am committed to getting this part right. But who trains the trainer (me)? Who offers service for these machines?

I probably have more questions to follow.

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Rancilio classe 6, I think, comes in lever. Not as sexy as the ones you mentioned.
I am no expert on these machines but I have tried the Athena, which is practically a modern Nuova Simonelli beneath the lovelly retro cover, although more expensive. This means that your local Nuova Simonelli service company should have no problem with it + it is as reliable as any modern machine. Gwylim of WBC fame is using it and I have also seen it here in Stockholm, it looks really nice if you can place it so that the "back" is visable.

Training for lever should not be much different than training someone to use let's say a Linea paddle machine, Strada or a Synesso, as the lever action is similar to paddle preinfusion, it is slightly repetitive pulling the lever so baristas better have strong backs and arms! :-)
An important consideration is that many commercial lever machines DO NOT use heat exchangers. That means brew water is at boiler temp. I believe that the Arduino machines use the same heat exchanger as the rest of the Simonelli lineup.

Don't forget the Kees machines :).

The ones you've mentioned all use 58mm baskets.

Don't get a gas fired machine unless you are running a cart.

Any of your friendly neighborhood Nuova Simonelli or Rancilio dealers could set you up with a machine, parts, and support for these machines. I think if you thought really hard you could find, erhmm, someone, to hook you up... even if they were, say, 3-1/2 hours or so away.

Does that help?
If you can get your hands on one, the Faema E-61 is a gorgeous machine that does wonderful things.

OTOH, it'd be better to find someone to maintain your machine, and then decide what parts they'll be having on hand before you buy something that they can't service.
And the other poster was right, you want electric except in cases where you can't get it.

And the seller/maintenance folk *should* be able to get you to pull decent shots, after that, we can help you fine tune! ; >
Yeah, Brady, I can think of a few. :) And I would guess the Kees to be rather pricey. But I'm not sure the Rancilio are "classe" enough...sorry, bad pun.

Brady said:
An important consideration is that many commercial lever machines DO NOT use heat exchangers. That means brew water is at boiler temp. I believe that the Arduino machines use the same heat exchanger as the rest of the Simonelli lineup.

Don't forget the Kees machines :).

The ones you've mentioned all use 58mm baskets.

Don't get a gas fired machine unless you are running a cart.

Any of your friendly neighborhood Nuova Simonelli or Rancilio dealers could set you up with a machine, parts, and support for these machines. I think if you thought really hard you could find, erhmm, someone, to hook you up... even if they were, say, 3-1/2 hours or so away.

Does that help?
Wondering if we could get a price break if we ordered a few of these together....

http://www.keesvanderwesten.com/news/Cremas-amazing-espresso-machin...
I would suggest that you take a look at Idrocompresso by Kees Van Der Westen. I have one of his Speedster machines and love it. I bought mine from Nasi Kajani at CoffeeShop Solutions. He was a pleasure to do with.

http://www.keesvanderwesten.com/mirage-idrocompresso.html
http://www.coffeeshopsolutions.com/
So, being the espresso rookie that I am, and given the fact that the only espresso machines I have been able to work with have been simple on/off La Marzoccos, not the programmed variety, one of my problems is getting used to stopping the shot. My understanding about the Idrocompresso is that the shot stops when the piston returns to the bottom. With proper timing on pulling and holding the lever down, I can virtually guarantee a properly timed shot, provided I did my job with the dosing and tamp.

Am I understanding this aspect correctly?

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