Why Elektra is Good
Posted May 9, 2002 10:40pm
One of the definite highlights of my trip to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Conference was meeting Dr. Federico Fregnan of Elektra SRL.
Before I launch into my ramblings on Elektra, the company and the products, I want to say a word about Dr. Fregnan first. The man exudes class, culture, refinement and style. Sophistication is a word that comes to mind. But along with all of that, he's a very generous and kind person, very easy to talk to, and where others who are labled as having class, culture, refinement and style may be a bit put-offish with some people who may not dress the right way, or speak a certain way, Dr. Fregnan is not like that at all.
In other words, he's what I call a true gentleman. And the bonus for us espresso fans is this - he is passionate about what he does, and in my opinion, an icon for the industry as a whole.
Basically, I want to be like Dr. Fregnan when(ever) I manage to grow up :)
I'm sure the stuff I wrote above would make him extremely uncomfortable if he were to read this, so I'll move on to discuss his company.
I like Elektra. I like the company a lot. For me, Elektra does everything I want in the drink I like most. It brings the world's most perfect, yet most technologically challenging beverage (espresso) together with an amazing sense of design style, form and visual impact. Elektra simply makes some of the espresso world's most beautiful machines.
Two commercial models are standouts for me. The Barlume machine (see it here) is a combination of form and function at the highest levels. Attention to microscopic details combine with an excellent undercarriage to produce first rate espresso and make a visual impact while doing so.
The Belle Epoque machine (see it here) strikes and even greater impact. It is easily one of the most visually unique espresso machines you'll ever see.
Dr. Fregnan also takes this approach to their consumer line. I've always thought that the Micro Casa a Leva was the most striking home machine on the marketplace, but that changed when I went to the SCAA and I saw the Micro Casa Semi Automatica, and especially the Chrome Deco model. This is a full blown heat exchanger machine unlike anything else on the marketplace, and while I have not used the Deco model, every indicator points to it being a world class brewer, at least if you read the specs right. (you can see all the Micro Casa machines here)
This is how it boils down for me. Many people see espresso as a pursuit for perfection in a cup, and nothing else is important. Not how it looks, not how it is presented, not how it is even necessarily achieved.
There's nothing wrong with that approach, and I'm not criticizing it at all. In fact, I'm thankful to the people who take that approach - the help the achievement of espresso perfection for all of us.
But for me, espresso is a perfect drink that leads to memorable occasions. It can trigger events and memories. And it is as much about the artistry and culture that surrounds the globe's most elusive, difficult, and perfect beverage as it is about the beverage itself. In other words, espresso for me is as much about the ambiance that surrounds it as it is about the beverage itself.
Elektra is one company that constantly pursues this marriage between style and technical perfection, the marriage between form and function. And for that, I thank the company, and I thank Dr. Fregnan.