Bezzera Strega - Second Look - Page 12

Behind the scenes of the site's projects and equipment reviews.
User avatar

#111: Post by espressotime »

I've used both and the problem you describe is pretty much eliminated with the toggle on the Strega.
Push up and lock the toggle.Release and it's "steam be gone now" .
Pushing down means you can control the amount of steam to your preference.
So in my opinion the system works good.

User avatar
Team HB

#112: Post by another_jim »

Yeah, the steam is instant off and on.

The actual power is about the same as a good commercial machine (keep the tip at the bottom when you turn it on, otherwise it's clean up in the espresso aisle) ; but with the smaller boiler size, the pressure will drop off after about 45 seconds and need some time to recover. That is enough to steam 16 ounces of milk. 4 ounces for a cappa steams in about 8 seconds. Now that I'm used to it, the 15 seconds on the Elektra feels slow.

Also, the stock four hole tip is really sweet for texturing; so I'm going to give it a 9.5 or 10 on steaming (all the Bezzera machines would get the same). People used to steaming on home machines who still have problems texturing milk are probably better off getting the two hole tip. But if your texturing skills are good, you'll love the four hole once you get the hang of it.

(TIP) I heat the milk as the shot starts without stretching it much, then set it aside as the shot finishes. By the time the shot has finished, the milk has stretched and thickened by itself, so that a few knocks and swirls has it ready to pour.
Jim Schulman

User avatar

#113: Post by Chert »

Great! Another plus for the Strega. Thanks for the info.
LMWDP #198


#114: Post by Gruven75 »

Moving back to the Strega, we have had our machine for about a month now, between the two of us we average somewhere between 6-10 shots pulled a day. I am curious about the flex in the group head area.....Does anyone else have similar concerns, or suggested bracing? I don't see it being a huge deal, it is something that catches my eye every time I pull a shot. Being a Millwright/Machinist, you always want the most ridged set-up, this is something I would like to see being improved.

Also I am finding that I am getting some small calcium scale particulates when I pour water from the hot water wand, can this be cleared out by flushing the system out our should I be considering a descale already?

User avatar
Team HB

#115: Post by another_jim »

Gruven75 wrote:I am curious about the flex in the group head area.....Does anyone else have similar concerns, or suggested bracing? ... Also I am finding that I am getting some small calcium scale particulates when I pour water from the hot water wand ...
The flex is in the front panel, which is braced at the bottom, but has no cross pieces from its top to the bottom rear of the case. The top plate secures the entire case assembly somewhat loosely, and limits any flex. I mentioned it earlier, and don't know either if it will get worse or not. I don't see it being a problem operationally, since it isn't flexing the boiler or other components.

I don't use the water wand much, but haven't seen any scale when I do. Visible bits of scale usually only form this quickly where the water both flows and pools (like at a slightly leaky faucet), so it's probably originating in the wand or valve itself, rather than the boiler.
Jim Schulman

User avatar
Team HB

#116: Post by another_jim »

More on the flex when pulling the Strega's lever. Bottom line, I do not think it is a problem:

I have the case off, prepping for a video of the internals, and found the source of the flex.

The machine's frame, lever group mount, and boiler mounts are made from rigid steel "L" shaped pieces welded together; you'd need a sledge hammer to deform them. There is no flex at all in these.

But the case flexes easily and is simply suspended from the frame by hooks hanging on the shafts of six screws. Moreover, the legs have rubber cushions at the base, where they stand on the work surface, and at the top, where they meet the frame.

When you pull down the lever, the force is transmitted through the entire frame and presses down on the front legs, whose rubber mounts compress. This deformation in turn slightly flexes the case. In effect, you are seeing the entire machine shift relative to the surface it stands on, and its case. This is an odd effect, but can have no mechanical ill effect, since none of the actual working parts are bending, flexing, or shifting relative to each other.
Jim Schulman

User avatar
HB (original poster)

#117: Post by HB (original poster) »

Dan Kehn

User avatar

#118: Post by espressotime »

Today I have the Strega exactly for 7 month's.
Pulled app. 1600 espresso's with it.

Do I like it?Yes
It pulls great soft and sweet espresso's as I expect from a lever.I hated the noisy pump so after 3 month's or so I took that out and plumbed the machine in which made me like it even more.
Great steamer and the heating elements in the group make it fast.20 minutes or so and I can pull my first shot in the morning.

Just hope the flex in the machine when pulling the lever won't become a major issue in the near future.

Would I buy it again or recommend it?

My 5 cents.


#119: Post by sekihk »

I'm interested in getting a Strega and will considering to PID the heater in brew head for better temperature control. Before buying, I'd like to confirm with you all what filter size is being used? I asked a retailer and he said it's 57mm but not 58mm. So, is it a 57mm or 58mm filter sized portafilter? I had several VST baskets that I want to use with this machine. :roll:

User avatar
Team HB

#120: Post by another_jim »

It's a 58mm commercial group and all regular baskets fit it. However, I believe adding a PID to the group and using a VST basket are two very bad ideas.

The strength of the machine is that the group head heater is deliberately underpowered, getting overheated water from the HX and produces a strongly declining temperature that converts the high acidity to wineyness, while eliminating bitterness. Correcting this "fault" with a PID would eliminate this strength.

Another oddity of the machine is that it requires an unusually fine grind or high dose. Even baskets with few holes and which use coarser than normal grinds require overdoses and fine grinds. The VST 15 and 18 baskets, which uses finer than usual grinds, would only work if you ground to Turkish fineness. This will give you sludge, not espresso. The only VST that will work with normal grinds is the triple dosed at around 24 to 26 grams. I did not get much happiness doing that, but it is at least possible.

I now use a basket that doses at 12 grams for the same grind setting that would dose at 18 grams in a VST (on a regular pump machine). On the Strega, I dose this 12 gram basket between 17 and 20 grams. It is the only basket I found that has the combination of hole pattern and depth to allow this.

I'm sorry to sound so negative; but there has been quite a few posts that portray the Strega as an interesting machine with design flaws that are obvious to us clever HB espresso experts. This is simply not true. I've done a lot of testing on this machine, and it is as the best tuned machine out of the box I have ever seen anywhere. In fact, it's innards and group show lots of signs of somebody revising the machine extensively, and in very odd and unexpected ways. These oddities are all clearly vindicated by the way it makes shots.

So I am very sure that somebody with very good taste and lots of skills used this machine for a few months and tweaked it before Bezzera brought it out. So my advice is to be very careful in the improvements you attempt; they are far less likely to work on this machine than most others.
Jim Schulman