Suddenly obsessed with coffee, Americans are becoming as selective about the quality of their beans, equipment and tableware as their counterparts in Italy.
By Roger Grody
Tom Dixon Brew Cafetiere
Kees van der Westen Speedster
Lux/Eros espresso cup and saucer
Photo courtesy Consort-Design.com
As luxury homeowners increasingly desire to master their own barista skills, demand for high-end products for home kitchens is skyrocketing. Coffee aficionados now enjoy many ways of transforming an ordinary cup of Joe into a work of art.
Handcrafted in Florence, Italy, La Marzocco espresso machines are coveted by professional baristas worldwide, and the company’s Linea Mini ($4,500) is specifically designed for the home. “With the introduction of Linea Mini, we now have a professional-quality machine for anyone interested in creating a café experience in their kitchen,” says Kent Bakke, CEO of La Marzocco International. With a design based on the iconic La Marzocco machines used by the pros, this version is compact (i.e. counter-friendly) and turns out a perfect latte.
Slayer Espresso has earned a cult-like following that appreciates both the performance and aesthetics of its espresso machines. The Slayer Single Group, the company’s model for the home, features dual boilers and a touchscreen that assists in temperature control and flavor profiling, resulting in espresso with great body and a rich crema. Peruvian walnut accents and custom colors or finishes give this machine the sexy looks of an Italian sports car, yet is built by artisans in Seattle. The hefty price tag of $8,500 is no deterrent to those who have a passion for espresso. “Let’s face it, espresso equipment options have been around for a long time and everyone has some form of so-called espresso maker in their gadget collection,” says Slayer Espresso founder and CEO Jason Prefontaine. “Trust me, our espresso machine with flavor profiling, needle valve technology will forever change your coffee ritual…. Don’t be surprised if you end up loving coffee like we do,” he adds.
An exclusive Dutch brand renowned for its edgy industrial designs, Kees van der Westen offers the Speedster for home use, loaded with bespoke options. Inspired by automotive and motorcycle construction, this pricy toy (approximately $13,000) delivers professional-quality espresso drinks and will definitely be noticed by your guests.
Coffee is not simply about roasted beans and steamed milk, so luxurious accoutrements are essential. The MOOD collection by Christofle, the venerable French manufacturer of elegant tableware and accessories, presents a set of six espresso spoons — clad in silver ($360) or gilded in 18-carat rose gold ($650) — in a gleaming egg-shaped chest. These spoons are just the kind of accessories to elevate any perfectly crafted cup of espresso.
Among other fashionable coffee-related accessories, British designer Tom Dixon has created this cafetière, more commonly referred to as a French press. With a modern unfussy aesthetic, the gleaming copper-finished stainless steel body is classic Dixon, and its heat-resistant handle is artfully functional. Many connoisseurs believe the best way to enjoy coffee at home — short of purchasing one of the espresso machines featured on these pages — is by small-batch brewing in one of these low-tech devices. Besides, setting a French press on a dinner party table quietly announces a host’s sense of sophistication and elegance. This product ($210) is available at British online retailer Amara, where founder/creative director Sam Hood has assembled an international collection of designer accessories for the home.
Unique espresso cups and saucers ($50) by Lux/Eros, the ceramics brand from designer Desanka Fasiska, feature an elegant rusticity. They are hand-carved and hand-glazed to order in California, with no two pieces being identical. Distinguished by their high-gloss 90-degree angle handles, these products are available at Consort stores in New York and L.A., or online.