Photo Courtesy of Hammacher SchlemmerAs you may or may not be aware, the original column espresso machine was patented in 1901. This means that unlike most current versions, the original was a handcrafted thing of beauty with brass, copper and mechanical dials. Of course today, you can get an espresso machine almost anywhere, but they seem to have lost that charm that the original had. Enter Hammacher Schlemmer and the Italian Astoria Dual.
Originally, espresso making was an art requiring years of practice and the perfect timing required to get the milk and water at just the right temperature. While H&S might have made the Italian Astoria Dual look old school, it is decidedly modern in its functionality. The internal brewing mechanism is microprocessor controlled and will automatically adjust the water amount based on the serving size to make sure that you get the ideal water to grind ratio without the guesswork.
Additionally, you can select between four different brew strengths, even during a single brewing cycle. The Italian Astoria Dual also has a built-in water softener system, thus ensuring the perfect cup of coffee.
No mass produced piece of plastic, the Italian Astoria Dual has an ornate copper dome that is handmade in Morocco and topped off with a brass eagle. The frame is constructed from 18-gauge steel with polished copper panels, as well as stainless steel steam wands and an 12-quart boiler. This little slice of coffee nirvana will set you back a cool $8,000. The good news is that for your money you not only get a lifetime warranty, but Astoria will come and install the machine for you. For more details visit Hammacher.com.