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I worked my way through college at a series of coffee houses, becoming a manager at one of them. I wound up with enough knowledge under my belt to be able to train the noobs and instruct them in the ways of the Bean. Some of them did a good job. The ones that didn’t – well, let’s just say that those fully automated espresso machines at the big chain places exist for a reason.
But I digress. What I want to tell you about is my Espressione 1387 Caffe Novocento. Until now, I thought I would have to spend a couple grand to get a quality, at-home espresso machine that was up to my standards. I gotta tell you, though: I love this thing! It has a sleek, chrome plated retro look, but the Espressione 1387 Caffe Novocento is no joke. From the cup warming station on top to the heavy duty brass portafilters and screens, this thing has it all.
Here are some of the things I’m in love with:
I have used some other home espresso machines in the past, especially before I knew what I was looking for, that didn’t make the kinds of drinks I was able to make at work. Small capacity water tanks, not enough pressure to steam milk properly, lightweight portafilters, etc. I’m happy to say that the Espressione 1387 Caffe Novocento has none of these. I usually use fresh ground beans from my conical burr grinder, but in a pinch I’ve had to use some of the pre-ground stuff. The brass filters that fit inside the portafilters com in one or two shot sizes, and the group head keeps the assembly nice and hot.
The ThermoCream disc inserts that come with the machine compensate for less than optimal coffee and help to create a rich, golden brown crema on top of your shot. In fact, I was hard pressed to tell the difference. Just to see what would happen, I bought some of those pod things as well. Surprisingly, the results were pretty good. I could tell the difference if I was comparing shot for shot, but for a latte or a cap, the Espressione 1387 Caffe Novocento does ESE pods right.
Speaking of cappuccinos and lattes, the steam wand, while a little close to the body of the machine than I was used to, can make good foam. It took a bit of trial and error with it to make something that was more like a velvety-smooth air/milk mixture than a meringue from the Espressione 1387 Caffe Novocento, but I’ve noticed that a lot of people prefer the thick, spoon-able foam unless they’re trying to make latte art.
The tip is easy to remove and clean, and if you’re a geek like me, you can swap out the one from the factory for a more traditional nozzle. This is especially nice if you make a lot of mochas, steamers and hot chocolate.
The warming tray on the top of the Espressione 1387 Caffe Novocento is compact, seeing as how a bit of the real estate is taken up by the rather large thermometer. Personally, I like the thermometer where it is, because it’s a lot easier to read. I work around that by heating up any additional cups with the steam wand, but unless I’m making drinks for a party, I find the space on the tray to be sufficient. Your mileage may vary.
All in all, I’ve been very pleased with my Espressione 1387 Caffe Novocento machine. It’s compact, easy to use, and very versatile. I never really have to think about whether or not it’s “too much trouble” to go through when I want to make some espresso with the Espressione 1387 Caffe Novocento. I just need to tell my sister to get her own, because she’s hanging around my place too much. (Just kidding, sis!)