Strietman CT1

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.

#1: Post by erik82 »

For a month now I'm a happy owner of the Strietman CT1 number 14. In the past I've owned several espresso machines (pump and lever) and after switching to levers a couple of years ago I knew there was no way back. I tested and drank espresso from lots of different machines varying from Rancilio to KvdW over the years. The levers I owned in the past are 2 Bezzera Strega's, a new Olympia Cremina and a La Pavoni. The last one was the Strega which gives a really nice taste but a "real" lever provides you with an even smoother and softer tasting espresso. As an espresso-only drinker I was looking out for a machine which would give me that nice traditional lever espresso with a minimal amount of maintenance and short heatup time. For this reason I bought a brand new Cremina 3 years ago but due to the production issues they had at that time (returned it 6 times the first 6 months) that didn't work out very well. It gave me the great shots I wanted but not the build quality one expects so I went back to the Strega which I also owned before the Cremina.

After I forgotten all about the Strietman ES-3 for a while my friend and fellow HB-member bobbee mentioned the Strietman CT1 and I contacted Wouter Strietman to have a look and try it out. The ES-3 is a beautiful machine but just not suitable for my kitchen due to the soft walls. The CT1, on paper, was the machine that looked to be perfect for me. After just two days I drove to Eindhoven and met Wouter Strietman in his workshop and we talked for a while and had some really great espresso's from his ES-3. Wouter is a real nice and knowledgeable man. I was lucky that the guys at HB where too busy testing and just postponed testing the CT1 for a couple of month. Due to this the last CT1 of the first batch came available right at the time I visited Wouter and I ordered it right away. I was really lucky for not having to wait several months but just 2 weeks.

The CT1 just looks astonishing and the detail on it is great. It's a true masterpiece of engineering. The only piece of electronics in the thermostat. The CT1 is built to last and made out of SS and raw brass and copper with nice wooden handles. It came along with a tamper with wooden handle. Every aspect of the CT1 is well thought out to make it a superb functioning lever combined with a beautiful package. The filter baskets are made by the company that makes the IMS baskets and screens. Everything is thought out. The CT1 has 49mm filter baskets so you can also use other manufacturers filter baskets although the provided ones are really well made. I takes only 10 minutes to fully heat up the CT1.

The design with open boiler means it works the same way as a fully saturated commercial group. The group and all the water are the same temperature which makes it incredibly temperature stable. The intake of the water isn't like a normal lever on the backside of the group but is built into the piston with a seal. If you pull the lever up the seal in the piston opens from the middle and once you pull it down it closes. This means there won't be any air in the brew chamber. You slowly pull the piston up which moves the water down. This gives great feeling in the lever. Combined with minimal play in the lever (not the wobbling like a La Pavoni but the perfection of a Cremina) it is so much fun to work with. The thermostat heats the group from the back and the group in it's turn heats the water. You don't have a heating element which breaks down if there is no water in the espresso machine. Combined with a thermal protection with reset the CT1 combines and oldschool lever with modern technology and all the safety function you want to make it completely safe. Behind the group there is a knob to adjust the temperature of the thermostat for full control.

And finally the most important part of it all, how does the espresso made with a CT1 taste. It took me a couple of weeks to get used again to a manual lever but now that is over I'm becoming more consistent again. I can only subscribe the taste as amazing. The fully saturated group combined with great thermal stability and the innovative designs make for a superb extraction of your fresh coffee. Paired with the HG One it makes espresso's which are on par with a KvdW Irdocompresso in a professional coffee bar. Compared to the CT1 it made all the machine I ever tested and owned look bad. It is that good in a very small package. If you're an espresso-only person and lever lover than the ES-3 or CT1 are great machines to own and enjoy for many years to come.

I quickly took some pictures to add to to my story

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#2: Post by TomC »

Beautiful writeup!


#3: Post by bas »

Yes Erik, I am playing with the ES3 CT1 number 7 with great pleasure. I can endorse everything you have told in your post. Great machine! Have fun :)


#4: Post by bobbee »

Yes, it is an amazing machine! Funny you mentioned me being part of you buying the strietman. :)
And then again it has to be said that it was Bas who showed me the pictures and told me how happy he is with the strietman which got me thinking this also had to be the machine for you!

Last sunday was a really nice day when I could see the strietman live in action and taste it's espresso's at your home together with your HGone and my Mahlgut MG-1, 3 extraordinary machine's all within reach! If I was an espresso only drinker like you I would certainly buy a strietman!

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#5: Post by arcus »

I love the look of the machine. I think the Mahlgut MG-1 and the CT1 make a terrific combo.

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#6: Post by dominico »

Out of curiosity, what isn't "real" about the Strega?
Il caffè è un piacere, se non è buono che piacere è?


#7: Post by JFDUP »

Wow that looks clean.

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#8: Post by peacecup »

The CT1 is the fruition of Strietman's dedication to put the craft of espresso-making literally into the hands of the barista. It is a work of art in the truest sense, building upon the tradition of Dr. Salari's Caravel and reinterpreting the vision in a whole new light. It is far and away the most inspirational piece of espresso equipment I've seen in the 10 years I've been a regular on the lever forum, although I find the hausgrind a contender for that honor.

I am extremely unsusceptible to upgraditis, but if I ever was to wish for a new lever machine it would be the CT1.

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Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."


#9: Post by mathof »

One of the things I didn't like about my La Pavoni was that you had to heat it up for each session. With the L1, by contrast, I can just walk up to the machine at anytime, pull a shot and get back to what I was doing in about 5 minutes (including hand grinding). Can the CT1 be left on all day?


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#10: Post by FotonDrv »

Nice write-up and a beautiful machine!
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