Jumping Java

Buon Giorno jacks up DFW coffee scene with obscure espresso machine

Buon Giorno jacks up coffee scene with obscure espresso machine

Buon Giorno
Buon Giorno in Grapevine is raising the coffee stakes. Photo courtesy of Buon Giorno
Buon Giorno, David Clarke
Buon Giorno's David Clarke and his magical espresso machine. Photo courtesy of Buon Giorno
Buon Giorno
Buon Giorno, David Clarke

Grapevine coffee spot Buon Giorno Coffee is taking us to the next level of coffee geekdom with its acquisition of a new espresso machine that's even more obscure than Marzocco.

The new machine is manufactured by Londinium, a company in England, and represents a kind of anti-technology artisanship. Although news about a coffee machine may seem more technical than most cappuccino drinkers care about, it ultimately improves our coffee savvy and creates a richer, more interesting local java scene.

 "It's a bit retro. It's very straightforward. That's the beauty of it," says owner David Clarke.

The machine takes a step back from automation to a more manual method, which is what attracted Buon Giorno owner David Clarke.

"Previously, I had the more standard electronic machines, but I wanted to go one better," he says. "I wanted to get my espresso the way it was made in Italy in '40s and '50s, when they used these mechanical devices.

"It presses the hot water using a mechanical system so the pressure is more evenly spread over the ground coffee. You're not relying on electronics. It's a bit retro. It's very straightforward. That's the beauty of it."

According to the manufacturer, the design is a "lever" or "manual" style, inspired by the famous Faema and Gaggia machines whose history and Italian provenance give them a romantic cachet.

But beyond aesthetics or nostalgia value, lever espresso machines can be more reliable and easier to service than the higher-maintenance Marzocco machines that have become trendy lately.

Lever machines such as Londinium also reportedly make better-tasting drinks. Hot water is forced through the espresso at a more consistent pressure than the newer electric pump machines. Commenters on coffee-themed website CoffeeGeek are calling it "the dream machine."

Clarke went to the factory in Birmingham, England, to test the machine.

"I've been around coffee for 35 years, and I know most of the machines that go on the market," he says. "I always make a mental note of what machine people are using; that's just something I do. This machine is unique because it allows you to go back to the way it was done in the first place."

Best for Clarke is the positive feedback he's received. "It's been popular with my customers. Many feel like it has gone to a whole new level," he says.