Inside South Africa's biggest vintage espresso machine collector's showroom

Thursday, 29 August, 2019

Alessandro Morrico with his collction, the Faema President in the foreground

"People ask me why I drive a bakkie around, well the answer is that I spend all that money on these beauties!!!" Alessandro Morrico has spent many years collecting vintage espresso machines from around the world and refurbishing them to the incredible state they are in now. I'm not really one for machinery, but the history contained in these pieces of coffee equipment is a sight to behold. They are truly magnificent.

Coffee has such a rich history and the history of the espresso machine is no different. The espresso machine has always been a point of pride in the cafe space and you can see from the constant jostling to out do each other currently going on with the top manufacturers when it comes to design, that this still holds true today. The game was a bit different at the beginning and the people at the forefront of espresso machine created works of art with steel and copper influenced by the style of post war Europe.

These 12 beauties below were our favourites, and they range from the mid 1940's all the way through to some classic early 80's models. If you are interested and want to visit, they are on display at the Morrico showrooms in 6th Street, Parkhurst.

This beautiful Faema Tartaruga 2 group lever machine is from 1945 and has that classic retro design that set the tone for diners around the world post WWII.

A classic La Pavoni Lilliput 2 group lever machine with all the classic dials, gauges and knobs - considered a "modern" espresso machine during it's heyday!

This single group LaMarzocco GS2 was the Rolls-Royce of home espresso machines and the predecessor to the now-famous GS3.

Look at the detailing of the lines on this 4 group La Cimbali Granluce lever machine! It recalls design elements of pop culture in the 60's  - The juke-box and the original Cadillac lines.

This La Pavoni Concorso (Diamante)paneling is surely a one-of-a-kind. Also an unusual 4 group lever configuration, sure to catch the eye of passing customers by it's sheer geometric magnificence!

Another example of a classic Faema Marte lever machine, the design also speaks to the era of pop-culture in the 60's - when television, the space-race and line-form design were at the forefront.

This Victoria Ardunio VENUS, before the horizontal boiler design that we all know today, this was how espresso machines were built!

La Dorio espresso machines are sought after by collectors all over the world. This classic burnt-ornage single group lever is restored to it's glorious original state! A valuable piece indeed!

This single group lever La Cimbali Rubino follows the similar design principles of the 4 group featured earlier. The classic lines and exquisite detailing of the era are something not found in modern espresso machines.

This little Faema has a unique hourglass shaped group head and a short lever, which has been modified, along with the portafilter handle to create a modern classic.

Another example of the triangular handled levers, which has seen a re-birth in modern machines like the LaMarzocca LEVA released in 2018, with some necessary safety modifications, of course!

A fitting way to end the tour! A one-of-a-kind Lambro, harking back to a time when form was prioritised alongside function, and a fitting tribute to the design elements of the era.

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