COLIN AND JUSTIN
Coffee. Aside from our affection for Scotch and old-school French wine, it’s fair to report that indulgent caffeinated drinks are our only addiction. And we’re not talking double doubles from Tim Hortons. No Sir. We’re talking rich, aromatic brews, topped with hedonistic frothy crema, pulled with love (not to mention water pressure and determined steam) from the mechanical jaws of the world’s best coffee makers.
Yes indeed, at-home coffee consumption has come a long way from kettle on, powder in a cup dullsville of days gone by. Transitioning from the humble stove-top pots and percolators of the 1970s, to the oh so chi-chi French press plunging that proliferated the 1980s (and onwards), coffee is no longer simply a drink: it’s a way of life. And a seriously hip way of life at that. But which device should you choose?
For those who aspire to join the hipster coffee brigade, the Oracle Touch, from Australian manufacturer Breville, is the machine equivalent of having your very own at-home barista. And its operation couldn’t be easier: a fully automated touch screen simplifies everything into three easy steps — grinding, brewing and milk preparation.
You can adjust coffee strength, milk “texture” and temperature to suit personal taste and then save that “pattern” under your name so that every cup brewed, thereafter, is identical. Smart, huh? Position one on your countertop and its chunky lines and stainless steel cladding will joosh up your kitchen in the same way a shot of espresso would enliven your day. For more, visit www.breville.com and prepare to caffeinate.
Next up? The Elektra MicroCasa a Leva, a piston operated beauty available in three gleaming finishes to complement your decor. This beauty is a wonderfully hands-on experience requiring a lil’ practice and commitment — essential characteristics for a professional at-home barista. And take it from us: it is, quite literally, one of the loveliest objects we’ve ever seen.
And so it came to pass that, for a recent Cityline segment, we tracked one down in Canada and, as our producer unboxed it at the studio, we swooned. In a world where many other machines have taken on a homogeneous appearance, this shiny Italian stallion is next level gorgeous. And OMG, the coffee it delivers ...
Elektra, a family-owned business, was founded in 1947 in the Veneto region of Northern Italy. But worry not — you can find the company’s feted devices this side of the Atlantic via respected Canadian merchants Zuccarini (www.zuccarini.ca).
Invest in an Elektra via Zuccarini and you won’t just be buying a coffee maker, you’ll be supporting the people who brought espresso machines to Canada for the very first time. Back in 1954, Giacomo Zuccarini opened his Sidewalk Caffé at Toronto’s Yonge and College, and so began Canadian distribution of the Gaggia line and eventually a large number of similarly exclusive marques, not least the beautiful Elektra.
From the dramatic lever that presses water through the coffee grounds, to the pressure gauge that tells you when the machine is ready, the entire experience is wildly rewarding.
Writing this column, we’re actually in Scotland, but, as soon as we’ve consigned our musings to Martin, our editor, we’re off for dinner to our neighbours, a folk singing couple who, coincidently, recently imported their own Elektra, direct from Italy. So we know how this evening’s repast is scheduled to conclude.
There’ll be wine, sure, and we know there’ll be whisky, but it’s the prospect of the rich espresso that we know our pals will brew, that’s really driving our anticipation. So, if you’ll excuse us, an evening of Scottish gastronomy, Gallic fiddle music and fine Italian coffee awaits. More from us — sated — next week ...