Fiorenzato Bricoletta - A Pro's Perspective

Behind the scenes of the site's upcoming equipment reviews.
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malachi

Postby malachi » Jun 24, 2005, 9:16 pm

Next up on the bench for me... the Fiorenzato Bricoletta.

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The classic style of the Bricoletta, perfectly represented here by its badge

Dan (along with others) suggested that this might be an ideal candidate for my next review based on my thoughts on the Mia. So (being the guy he is) he managed to round up a plumbed-in, rotary pump version from the kind folks at 1st Line.

Of course, with perfect timing the machine arrived right before I have to leave for the weekend. Whatever, I figure I can be a little late, right? There is no time for me to actually pull any shots or anything (that's going to have to wait until next week) but at the very least I figure I can shoot some 'teaser' photos for you all.

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First impressions are favorable - the machine reminds me of the classic Gaggia and Faema machines from the '50s. A beautiful look IMHO. The machine is very solid and well constructed seeming.
I'm really looking forward to this!

See you next week.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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HB
Admin

Postby HB » Jun 24, 2005, 9:28 pm

Thanks Chris for taking the time to snap a few pictures! Enjoy your weekend, and in the meantime, below are my thoughts from last year's Counter Culture Coffee EspressoFest:

Jim at 1st-line sent down the Fiorenzato Bricoletta lever model with rotary pump and direct water connect. I've plumbed in my own machine, La Valentina, and wouldn't go back to the tank-and-driptray routine again. The Bricoletta represented one of the three machines with direct plumbing at the 'Fest.

The Bricoletta arrived Friday, so I didn't get any quality pictures (sorry!). It initially didn't heat up and we found that one of the heating element wires had pulled loose during shipping. While we had the covers off, I had a chance to peek more closely inside. I was impressed by the component choices at the price -- in addition to the rotary pump, it includes a Gicar controller, two-level driptray drain like on the Cimbali Junior, and even stainless steel push-in connectors between the pump and boiler. The boiler is nickel plated, which made for a machine nearly as bright on the inside as the outside.

I watched a couple attendees using the Bricoletta but somehow never managed to get behind the wheel myself. I was curious to see how the combination E61 / rotary pump worked in comparison to an E61 / vibration pump, i.e., would the faster ramp up in pressure affect the preinfusion noticeably? And how was the steaming on it?

Later in the same thread (link), I summed up my picks for "best of show - newcomers" which included the Briccolletta:

Fiorenzato Bricoletta - although I only watched others work this machine, I had time before the event to poke around the insides and noted good component choices. The rotary pump filled the space usually reserved for a water tank and the drip tray was ready for plumbing. In my book, any rotary machine that breaks the "fill it / empty it" cycle out of the box and doesn't scrimp on the internals at the Bricoletta's price point is one to watch.
Dan Kehn

Caffewerks

Postby Caffewerks » Jun 25, 2005, 1:45 pm

Hey Chris,

That machine looks cool. I will see you on Monday for the install!

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shadowfax
Team HB

Postby shadowfax » Jun 25, 2005, 3:46 pm

Man, Chris, you haven't even had the time to take the black cap off the top of the E61 group bolt or the sticker off the top of the head! you must have been in a hurry.

Very nice pics, I'm really looking forward to this one... I thought about getting this machine, until I saw Valentina.

I'm curious, though, you like the look of Bricoletta, and yet you said of Mia (my favorite line in your review) that you liked how she didn't get "all bauhaus on [you]"--I would have thought that Bricoletta, with its curvy E61 head, 19th century-style lever and knob controls, and corrugated housing, would be about the textbook definition of a machine getting "all bauhaus" on you.

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malachi

Postby malachi » Jun 27, 2005, 12:29 am

The Bricoletta is Art Deco, not Bauhaus.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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shadowfax
Team HB

Postby shadowfax » Jun 27, 2005, 1:12 am

I had no idea you were so specific when you said Bauhaus... I assumed you were referring more to modern, quirky, unusual style design. whatever, hey...

I'm not sure if I'd classify it as art deco, though. Certainly, though, you're right, not bauhaus as such. little too decorative for that. I might classify Valentina as a bit bauhaus, though, except for the E61... It's sort of innately decorative. But the flat panels, the smooth knobs, the sharp angles. it's a pretty plain design, Valentina.

Briccolletta is more decorative, but I don't understand what's specifically "art deco" about the design. When I think of art deco I think of those funky rectangular/other geometric shapes, stylized everything, concentric arches, etc. Lots of lines and edges, in a much more elaborate way than bauhaus design. Bricoletta doesn't fit that image to me, it's got a lot of curves and contours, from the E61 head to the corrugated cover.

Sorry, heh, I am distracting you from the true pursuit. I look forward to reading your first impressions tomorrow :)

Edit: Oh, I did just notice the logo in the picture you took... hadn't seen that before. What a badass logo! I'll definitely give you that I think the logo is very art deco.

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malachi

Postby malachi » Jun 27, 2005, 10:19 pm

So day one is down. Whew...

The machine is all set-up (for now it's running off a 5 gallon tank, a Flo-Jet pump set-up with an Everpure filtration unit and a 3 gallon wastewater tank). Setting it up was actually pretty damn quick. I continue to wonder why all home machines are not plumbed in.

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After my first day - I honestly cannot see why anyone would prefer a not plumbed in machine. It is so nice to be able to go back to rinsing cups under the hot water spout, dumping shots in the drain tray, pulling shot after shot after shot... and just not worrying.

Anyway... the machine is simply gorgeous to look at. It really reminds me of the Art Deco "trash can" Faema machines from the late '40s and early '50s. It just, to me, screams Italian Espresso Machine. Lovely!!

I started off by stripping the chrome out of one of the provided double portafilter. I hate the taste that a new, chromed portafilter imparts to espresso and for the last 3 years have assidiously stripped all chrome from new portafilters before pulling any shots.

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Well broken in La Marzocco on left, new stripped portafilter in middle, new raw portafilter on right

I scrubbed and backflushed the machine and then pulled a couple garbage shots. Then I loaded up the Cimbali Junior with some of the Olympia Coffee Roasting Big Truck espresso (as Terry was helping out) and pulled a triple shot.... a bit hot and a bit fast. A quick adjustment and the second shot...

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Wow.
Terry and I looked at each other. I said, "you know this blend better than I do but this tastes like the best shot of Big Truck I've had." He said it was an excellent, excellent shot.
Damn.
Nice powdered chocolate notes, a little high end winey fruit, good aromatics, heavy body... nice.

Okay... some more shots. Some experimentation. In goes the naked portafilter, then the stock portafilter, then back to the La Marzocco one. Wow... more really good shots.

Roll in the Stumptown Hairbender, swap in the standard Bricoletta portafilter and a few tweaks to the grind later... voila.

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I believe we have a winner.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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JonR10

Postby JonR10 » Jun 27, 2005, 10:52 pm

Great photography!
Mouthwatering shots!

Yowsah! :D

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malachi

Postby malachi » Jun 27, 2005, 11:06 pm

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow.

I've got some Stumptown Hairbender, some Stumptown Guatemala Finca San Vincente, some Olympia Big Truck, some Zoka Yirgacheffe and some Zoka Col. Fitzroy all lined up. WooHoo!!!

I opened the machine up this evening. It's very cool. Very simple, stripped down and almost basic, but almost every single component is top-notch. Construction is solid and professional. Very smart, very cool.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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luca

Postby luca » Jun 28, 2005, 8:41 am

Chris,

The phrase 'kid in a candy store' springs to mind ;P

I wonder if it will be up to snuff steaming-wise.
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