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'99 Zacconi Riviera -- Sold!

One of the first machines from the "new" Zacconi, which rose out of the family bankruptcy of the earlier generation.  This is the "new" Riviera so parts are still availble from the company. 


Just rebuilt with all new piston seals, portafilter seal, and steam shaft seals.  It's been descaled, cleaned. lubed and the new pressurestat has been adjusted to a civilized 1 BAR.  

We installed a new steam wand as well.   


The chrome on boiler is still very nice.  The base has the typical small scratches, and some plating loss in the drip tray area Zacconi's are notorious for.  Fortunately, with the cup tray installed, it's not visible. 


The unique "filler valve" (or drain, if you prefer!) on the right side of this Riviera actually works!  (Not that you'd ever really use it.)  But the buttons are often seized on these, so to find one in working order is kinda cool.


This Riviera apparently got banged at some point (not by us!) and there is a small dent on the back near the top of the boiler.  Fortunately it's not very noticable, and on the back, so against a wall your friends will never see it while "oohing and ahhing" at the majestic chrome eagle.   


This Rivera was one of the few spring loaded "home" lever machines that aspired to basically put a downsized commercial lever machine from the 50s and 60s into your kitchen.  


They came in a variety of color and metal combinations, with brass and chrome options for the boilers and groups, and brass, chrome or red or black painted metal bases.  The "new generation" boiler is constructed slightly differently, but looks the same on the outside, so Rivieras, both first generation and this one,  have always looked like Rivieras.


The logo on the front is the only obvious way to tell the first generation from the second, and this is the original logo from the "new" company.


Zacconi has now stopped making the Riviera, so if you've thought about adding one to your collection, they will be gradually disappearing.   


The popular "knock" on home spring driven espresso machines has been that since they can't fit a giant spring inside the smaller groups, they don't acheive the same brew pressure.  That's partially true.  In general, the small spring drive machines give a lighter crema, and more delicate shots than a commercial spring drive machine.  But that's not a bad thing, and a lot of people actually prefer the results of home spring levers. 


You probably won't be grinding as fine with these as your electric pump machine, and it's funny to see MORE crema and better extraction (which is the only real meaningful metric for measuring espresso machines) with coarser grinds and lighter tamps on some machines.  


The other thing you have to be conscious of with all home lever machines is the smaller groups.  You're going to be pulling smaller shots.  Because not only are you working with less coffee in the basket, the water volume inside the piston bore is fixed, and limited on each stroke of the lever.  So you have to be ok with smaller (although perhaps more awesome?!) shots of the vintage home levers.


We always remind people that the Italian's idea of a machine in this era was something to make their typical small, intense shot of espresso, to go with a cigerette, before leaving the house for work!  They never conceived of triple lattes!  


Getting accustomed to smaller shots isn't as difficult as it may sound.  It's simply a matter of reorienting your American espresso experience.  And since prepping and pulling is so much fun for leverheads (especially compared to the pushing of buttons) it's a great excuse to pull more shots per day!  


Of course it's harder to make espresso if the whole gang of friends show up.   But it's perfect for making small god shots for yourself, while sheltering in place, or comtemplating nature out the window with Miles on the phonograph.      

Smaller shots are also a great way to improve your technique, and really taste your beans.  There's no hiding crappy roasts, or a bad grinder, or weak extractions, in a small cup!  


This comes with a double filter basket.    


A genuine US 120 volt version of the now dwindling legend.  The Zacconi Riviera.


'99 Zacconi Riviera -- Sold!

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