For more than 70 years, Faema has been a respected name in espresso machinery, lighting up many European post-war-era bars and clubhouses with captivatingly styled machines. The company then broke new ground in 1961 with its now-iconic E61 grouphead, widely recognized as both the first heat-exchanger machine as well as the first machine to push water through coffee at 9 bars via volumetric pump in place of a lever.
In its 71st year of operation last year, the company built upon that legacy with its design for the E71: a stylish new flagship machine featuring individuated groups and a suite of clever and innovative features controlled by digital grouphead touchscreens, each topped by a lever-style actuator.
Beyond the patent-pending thermal stability system applied to each individually heated group, its efficiency-minded power-saving mode and other features, the most apparent distinction presented by the E71 is in its interface options. A 4.3-inch touchscreen grants power over three phases of brewing: Bloom, Preinfusion and Extraction, for each of which the barista can control duration and water pressure, while also controlling the total duration or volume of the shot. The barista can use the group-top lever to craft a shot profile on the fly, and store that profile into the machine’s memory for precise repetition.
Additional boilers are dedicated to hot water and steam. The hot water can be dispensed at three user-settable temperatures, and the steam actuator has 50 percent and 100 percent steps that are easy for the barista to slide into. Portafilter baskets are engineered with calibrated, conical filter wholes and electronically polished surfaces in an effort to maximize hygiene and the smooth sliding of fats and fluids while minimizing blockages. And, of course, the E71 has Wi-Fi.
The smarts inside the E71 grant baristas or managers the ability to program every setting on the machine or view diagnostics and other stats via laptop or other device. Alternatively, there’s a USB port, for users of the wired persuasion. The machine also communicates via Bluetooth with PGS (Perfect Grind System) enabled grinders that adjust the grind automatically based on the machine’s settings and the monitored performance during shots.
Other handy tricks include quick, single-touch group flushes and wand purges. It’s got barista lights, the screens are customizable for company logos and colors, and at the tips of its cool-touch steam wand is Faema’s patented AutoSteam Milk4 technology, which detects temperature and emulsion level to provide four stored milk profiles, hands-free, if the barista so chooses.
The first official launch party for the E71 occurred in April last year, in conjunction with the London Coffee Festival. In the United States, anyone interested can steal their first glance and learn more at the SCA Expo in Seattle, where the machine will make its stateside debut at booth #1016.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.