La Piccola Sara ClassicAugust 25, 2009
I don’t feel like a “barista” because I ‘feed’ my machine only coffee pads, not freshly grounded coffee beans. I especially like the dark roasted ‘Illy Black Label’ and the slightly milder ‘Blue Smart’. But about one week ago my espresso machine lost it’s appetite for these pads. It always grumbles a bit to me and if I use steam for a cup of cappuccino it hisses. But now it made a very loud noise, like the pump for espresso was broken or had run dry. I opened the water reservoir but there was plenty of water in it. I checked also the two little tubes for air bubbles. The one for coffee showed no movement of those bubbles.
I decided to call the shop where we bought it almost four years ago to ask where I should go for maintenance. The owner told me that the best I could do was to contact the importer directly (a more convenient address in Utrecht), he would repair my coffee machine immediately. Marcus took me to Utrecht in his car and after searching for a while we found the address. Once inside I looked immediately for the toilet and Marcus took my espresso machine of almost 10kg to have it repaired. When I came back from the toilet I was greeted by a gruffy man who stared at my blue helmet. At a certain moment he asked “What can I do for you?” in not a very way. I realized that he didn’t make the connection between Marcus and me so I explained that I was the actual owner of the espresso machine. That reassured him visibly.
He explained to me that I had made a mistake. The tube with the huge water filter was not at all for coffee but for steam. The little tube was for coffee! Didn’t I know that for espresso the ideal water temperature lies between 88 and 92 degrees Celcius? And that therefore it never comes to the boil? To steam milk it’s another story: that water needs to be softened to keep your machine in perfect working order. Hence the huge water filter. Ahhhhhh …. I said, that’s why!
He took my espresso machine to the back and we followed him. He fixed my machine to his own water reservoir and made a few cups of coffee. He asked me what coffee I normally used and so I told him that I preferred the dark Illy for espresso and Blue Smart for the occasional cappuccino. Wrong answer! Didn’t I know that he was sole importer not only for the la Piccola brand but also for Jolly Cafe? I told him that I ordered my through the Internet but that I remembered that when I bought my espresso machine I got a huge box with Jolly cafe for free. And because I got annoyed with this man I added “I don’t like Jolly cafe so much, it’s not strong enough for me”!
Because the temperature in the room had suddenly dropped we decided to leave. We thanked the man (he wanted no money for his services) and took my espresso machine to the car. That evening I tried to make several cups of espresso. The loud sound was back although it produced a wonderful espresso! I told Marcus and he couldn’t believe what I told him. So tonight Marcus will pick me up from the RCA to listen for himself to the sounds of my espresso machine. To be continued!