Food

Coffee with a gilded touch of history

If the desserts weren’t enough, Conçu now has a coffee machine that offers bliss in a cup

If the sights of the desserts at the new Conçu aren’t enough, there is another thing that screams for attention. The shiny mini-space-shuttle look-alike structure with a moulded metal eagle on it. After taking my desserts, I was glad I ran into Sahil Taneja, the man behind Conçu.

“What is this machine for?” I asked. “This... this is the Ferrari of coffee machines,” he replied. Having caught my puzzled look, Sahil gladly decides to explain, “The Central Perk Café in the popular sitcom Friends is where the coffee machine is seen. However, that is not the reason why it is here. This is the Bezzera Eagle Dome, first of its kind in India.”

He continues explaining that the founders of the machine — Luigi Bezzera and Desiderio Pavoni — are the Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs of espresso machines. Bezzera, a Milanese manufacturer and crafter of liquors, had the know-how and invented single-shot espresso in the early 20th century while looking for a method of quickly brewing coffee directly into the cup.

Bezzera made several improvements to Moriondo’s machine, introduced the portafilter, multiple brewheads, and many other innovations still associated with espresso machines today. But Bezzera’s machine was heated over an open flame, which made it difficult to control pressure and temperature, and nearly impossible to produce a consistent shot.

“Consistency is key in the world of espresso,” explains Sahil. “Bezzera designed and built a few prototypes of his machine but his beverage remained largely unappreciated because he didn’t have enough money to expand his business or any idea how to market the machine. But he knew someone who did — Desiderio Pavoni. Bezzera and Pavoni worked together to perfect their machine. At the 1906 Milan Fair, the two men introduced the world to ‘café espresso’.”

Pavoni bought Bezerra’s patents in 1903 and improved many aspects of the design. After the Milan Fair, similar espresso machines began to appear throughout Italy, and Bezzera’s early utilitarian machine evolved into the elaborate gilded contraptions.

“This machine is a masterpiece and I was sure to get it here because I want the best for my patrons. Nothing can be better than this coffee to go with the gourmet desserts we make here,” saying so, he offers a cup of Baileys Latte. The aroma was more than enough to assure what all the Ferrari of all coffee machines can do.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 8:11:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/coffee-with-a-gilded-touch-of-history/article22295158.ece

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