Barista Magazine

APR-MAR 2014

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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"Such a process, coupled with a good thermal balance at an optimal temperature, avoids the accumulation of heat when the machine is used most. In the past, when a barista needed to prepare several espressos in a very short time, the machine would overheat quite rapidly." With such a technical mind and an instinctive understanding of not only how espresso machines do work, but how they should work, Piero has had a hand in the conception, design, and engineering of every La Marzocco machine currently in production. The Linea Classic was the first machine for which Piero led design, and it went on to become the company's most popular and cherished machine. When the much-anticipated update to this definitive espresso machine was released in 2013—called the Linea PB in Piero's honor—it was heralded by the Linea Love Campaign, wherein baristas and café owners for whom the Linea Classic played a signif- icant part in their development as professionals shared their fondest memories of the Linea online ( Piero is not only beloved for his exceptional contributions to espresso-machine engineering, however. His passion for his work was motivated by a forward-thinking understanding of the chal- lenges and triumphs of the barista. Because of this, La Marzocco was among the first companies to champion the barista as a pro- fessional, rather than a transitory service worker. Before it was fashionable, La Marzocco wanted to hear what baristas thought about how coffee equipment could be improved; while today there is a culture of famous baristas who consult with coffee-equipment companies, this was hardly the case 10 years ago—with the exception of Piero and La Marzocco. "The direct contact with baristas when out selling the machines played a fundamental role in developing their passion in light of the suggestions, comments, and constructive criticism provided by the baristas themselves," he explains. It's a spectacular autumn day in Scarperia, a municipality in the Provence of Florence, at the La Marzocco factory. The company's idyllic setting is no accident; in fact, the famous La Marzocco lion ("Marzocco" comes from Mars, the Roman god of war) acts as a symbol of the people's power, and was adopted by the Florentines upon the advent of Christianity. "I think the environment you grow up in strongly influences your cultural growth at an unconscious level," Piero says. "My family was definitely influenced by Florence, the city of art par excitive where they were surrounded by timeless works of unique beauty created by self-made artists and artisans, a tradition that has continued over the centuries and that has very rarely engaged in large-scale production because the terms 'art' and 'craftsmanship' were inscribed in the artisan genes." Days ago, I was with Piero and the La Marzocco family 180 miles northeast of Florence in Milan, for the legendary La Marzocco Out of the Box (OOTB) event, which is held every two years concurrent with the massive HOST MILAN hospitality show. OOTB is every- thing HOST is not: It's intimate and informal, collaborative and innovative. Baristas, café owners, and roasters from around the world come together at OOTB for two days of workshops, lectures, and revelry—and, this year, for something extra special. 102 barista magazine B o o k 5 5 - 8 8 . i n d d 1 0 2 Book 55-88.indd 102 3 / 1 9 / 1 4 1 0 : 1 2 P M 3/19/14 10:12 PM

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