You want "patina?" We got Patina right here!
An early copper and brass Riviera. (Originally Imported by the folks in San Fernando Valley who brought us the pimped out brass faux "domed" commercial Gaggia levers of the 70s and 80s, before Thomas Cara, Ltd, in San Francisco, became the Zacconi distributor.)
Unfortunately, like some other Italian machines of the era, Zacconi made the dubious decision to copper plate OVER a chrome body, in order to meet the then hot American market for copper and brass.
Clearly, the exterior plating on this one has seen better days, but despite the obvious "character," she works as well as ever. (This one came out of the Salton Sea area of Southern CA, so maybe fumes from the "lake" had an effect on it, ha!)
We've gone through her, descaled the boiler, cleaned, lubed, replaced the piston and steam seals, and adjusted the pressurestat, and it's ready to go.
The "eagle" topped filler cover is missing, but we actually like the "steam punk" look as it sits, so we haven't replaced it. (Although we have added a new brass drip tray "grid." Might have to "distress" it to match the rest!)
The pressure gauge has a little axial play in the body, but works fine, and aside from that there really are no other issues with the machine.
So we're selling this with the obvious aesthetic "discount." Somebody's chance to get a now disappearing Zacconi Riviera on the cheap.
For those unfamiliar with Riveras, Zacconi made these heavy duty spring lever machines for several years in the 70s/80s, before the company died with the increasing popularity of "automatic" espresso machines in the early 90s.
The brand was ressurected by a new company calling itself Zacconi Workshop in about 2005, and the Riviera (along with a new line of "direct push" style levers) was reborn. The later Rivieras had different heating elements, and some small changes, but it was basically the same design, with most parts interchangeable.
Zacconi recently decided to stop production of these, which means finding a "used" Riviera is now your only option if you want a spring loaded Zacconi.
Like most vintage home lever machines, the portafilter baskets are smaller than a "commercial" portafilter. Which means they produce a smaller "single" shot with each pull of the lever.
Since the spring determines the amount of pressure on your shot, there is more consistency with pressure than a Pavoni style "push," but that also means you'll have less "leeway" to play with grind.
The bottom line is these make a classic "delicate" shot of espresso, with a lighter body than an electric pump machine.
We love the Zacconi Riviera. It's a shame they won't be built anymore. But we'll keep bringing them when we can find one, to Voltage110.
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