On our way home, Roemer edited some of the footage we (mostly he) shot during the visit:
What struck me is how open and communicative Strietman is about many details of his design and the learning curve he has been going through since desiging and selling his first Espresso Strietman model. He seems to fit very well in the world of young coffee entrepeneurs, where very few people hold their cards to their chest.
Sometimes he wished he'd had 20 years of experience in the development of prototypes already but luckily he knows people who have and he learns from them. For instance, one senior sharing the huge workshop full of machines and parts to work with wood and metal has been a lifelong prototype / mockup engineer for Philips.
On the floor below one of his work benches, Strietman has three huge classical vintage machines that he has practically stripped to study the work of the earlier espresso machine designers. One machine with a boiler that looks bomb proof has a huge brew head where line pressure is hydraulically converted to 9 bar pressure, another is the E64 brew group and the third an old dual group lever.
On the table, some test samples of copper plates turned into a half ball and a cone, one done using a slow pressure method, "diepdruk" that's time consuming and the other by using a mold and stamping technique. For the top cone of his ES3, the time consuming method is used as it costs about ten thousand Euros to get a mold to create the cones in a quicker fashion.
The workshop is filled with pleasant jazz music from Strietman's sizeable collection of mostly jazz vinyl records. His stereo is on a high plateau above his work space:
|Jazz and more|
It's also a storage for the early ES boxes. Strietman has since learned that he needs bigger boxes and sturdier foam filling to buffer all the abuse that couriers can do to a parcel after they picked it up.
In a corner of his work space is a small collection of early models and parts:
|A very early model|
|Already a small museum of "old" models and parts|
|Some parts of the current production|
Recent good news has been that his ES3 passed the tests required to carry the CE rating and it shows:
|ES3 brew head part with CE logo|
About these baskets: they are the same 50mm size as the pre-millennium La Pavoni levers and some of these owners may be thrilled to hear that Strietman has ordered the production of several hundreds of special baskets which have much more precise holes. The VST baskets and their quality prompted him to get a similar rate of precision for his ES3.
He showed us one and we were quick to pre-order a few from him. Since I only have one pre-millennium La Pavoni, I will be able to give a few of those away.
Strietman is fascinated by the fact that so much of the espresso technology is still very close to the level of development of the fifties and sixties. It's charming to have this technology lasting all those years basically unchanged, but it also poses a challenge for some to try and outdo the masters, developing a simple machine that takes some of it all a few steps ahead.
Then he makes us some shots of fine espresso. The first cup was absolutely delicious and the others were very good as well but quite different, even though he used the same Ethiopian beans for all the shots. He demonstrated that a slightly finer or courser grind and a slightly higher or lower temperature setting of the ES3 can make a lot of difference. Some like a shot that tastes like successful shot from a La Pavoni, others prefer a light and fragrant shot that brings to mind specialty filter coffee extraction. Each can be accomplished with the right tweaks in the hands of a maker.
|Strietman knows he should buy or make his own tamper...|
|Watching the first drops (picture by Roemer)|
|Observing flow (picture by Roemer)|
|The machine and its maker staring at one another (picture by Roemer)|
|Picture by Roemer Overdiep|
|Picture by Roemer Overdiep|