I'm new to home barista, but I almost passed out when I saw this post - let alone posts about all sorts of lever machines... I am not alone.
I've been into espresso since I was about 15... which is going on 20 years ago now.. sheesh! I have no idea how I would have survived any finals, hang-overs, or just morning now with a nice double-cap. Mmmm...
Well, I stumbled into lever machines - literally. I was rolling though garage sales with my dad one morning and I stubbed my toes on this old square, copper hunk of junk. My pop, being a damn clever dude, offered the guy $40 bones for the toe busting piece of $#%&! and the guy said sold!
Dad took his prize home and I was off doing other stuff. In my absence, my dad had chopped up several leather belts trying to create a piston gasket for this old lever machine. No dice.
Being internet savvy, I rolled online (with like a 1400 baud modem back then!) and found a shop in San Francisco to fix things up. I almost passed out when the boys at Thomas Carra told me it would be $150 bucks to fix up the old machine - but it would be worth it. When we got it back, it worked like a champ and served my dad well for many years.
I've called it many names: Mister Copper, Old One Arm and even, Precious! Watching Lord of the Rings - I think precious is most fitting- I remember my dad being so hard up for a shot, the poor bastard repacked a spent puck and tried to suck some more cremma out of it.
Yeah... it didn't work. Damn funny though to think of now. Especially since my order of Ambrosia is on the way as I write this.
My dad passed away about 7 years ago. And Mister Copper, One Arm, Precious is sitting on my counter and produces 5 or 6 doubles a day. I've got my wife hooked too...
Until I found this forum, I'd been on my own. I had no idea anyone else out there, aside from Tomas Carra guys knew what my old Cremina 67 was.
I've used a Francis X1 and some other machines, but nothing holds a candle to my precious. I have a feeling I'll be pulling shots with it until I stop waking up in the morning. And, heaven forbid, something should go wrong with it.. something disastrous... I'll pony up the $2500 clams and buy another. It *is* worth it. If only cars, computers and friendships were built to last as well as my Olympia.
Anyhow, my machine is number 7310736. I'd be willing to share what I know and learn what I can from you guys. I'd love to be part of the project... just give me a number!
Glad to find you all.