A clear winner for the espresso enthusiasts and for all low-volume coffee shops (up to 200 cups per day)! This Bricoletta has a rotary vane pump, direct water connection, and electronic, programmable dosage of the water through the coffee grinds for a very competitive price! The Bricoletta sports a very solid, thick gauge stainless steel frame which is overshadowed by its one-of-a-kind polished, stainless steel body.
When we say 'heavy duty', you will see we mean heavy duty.
It is also the most powerful machine in its class with 1900 watts of power. We certainly recommend a 20-amp circuit and appropriate wiring to supply electrical power to this machine. Why the high wattage? With the highest wattage in its class, it offers the quickest recovery time in the boiler for the most demanding applications. In addition, we have found that this is the ONLY machine in its class where you can actually make espresso and steam milk at the same time without a complete degradation of boiler pressure. In other words, we have found all 15 amp models in this class to not maintain boiler pressure while extracting espresso and steaming milk at the same time. the reason is that 15 amps in the electrical outlet is NOT enough power to do this.
The frame of this machine is constructed of two parts - the front and rear are held together with four locknuts. Initially, we has some problems with the front frame buck during shipping. Fiorenzato in Italy has placed reinforced stainless steel in the front portion of the frame to remove the potential for damage during shipping.
What we 'can' and 'can not' figure out
We have been carrying the Fiorenzato line for over 2 years with very minimal defects. Mostly, for the Bricoletta line, the defects were the heating elements that stopped functioning due to the customers' lack of surge suppression. This is common problem on many espresso machines as the filament inside the heating element is very susceptible - even to the smallest surges. therefore, we always recommend acquiring a surge suppressor, and even more so when placing a timer on the espresso machine. This one we have been able to figure out.
Like many other machines in this category, the Fiorenzato Bricoletta utilizes a MATER pressurstat to regulate the boiler pressure for steam performance and temperature for the espresso coffee extraction. A common problem with MATER, CEME, and JAEGER pressurstats is that they malfunction. The simple reason is that the diaphragms and microswitches on these pressurstats are too small. The small diaphragms are VERY susceptible to limescale, and the microswitches are VERY susceptible to carbon build-up - this typically happens with about 100,000 on/off cycles. In both cases, the pressurstat is usually replaced by the customer. Although the process is simple, it is a hassle. And, in most cases, manufacturers will not cover this under warranty because it is not considered a manufacturer's defect.
Since we started carrying the Fiorenzato Bricolettas over two years ago, we have yet to replace a MATER pressurstat for any customers who purchased their Fiorenzato Bricolettas from us. We actually purchased 80 pressurstats from Fiorenzato-USA, and just to move inventory, we have placed them on other makes and models of espresso machines that utilize MATERs, CEMEs, and JAEGERs. In 2006, we even asked the president of Fiorenzato Italy why his pressurstats do not fail. Unfortunately, for competitive reasons, he would not share their competitive technical advantage. This one we have not been able to figure out, and this is one main reason why we do not recommend to customers to upgrade to a better pressurstat - the simple reason is that you do not need to at this time.
Easy repairs lowers your TCO (total cost of ownership)!
When this machine needs repair (as every espresso machine will someday need repair), it is very easy to work on. There are three philips screws to remove the top cover, and then only 2 allen key bolts and one flat screw on the wrap-around side body panel. All parts can be replaced while the machine is standing up. There is no need to turn the machine upside down to get to a bottom access panel for access to a heating element underneath. Even the machine reset switch can be accessed with the machine in the upright position. The bottom line is that most customers can repair this machine with the 1st rate guidance of 1st-line's technical support. If not, the machine can be shipped in for repair, as well. 1st-line also stocks replacement parts for the Bricoletta.
Did we mention safety features?
Did you know that many machines in this class (except Fiorenzato, Vibiemme, Pasquini, and Bezzera) have a missing feature to their safety designs? Most espresso machines in this class utilize a single boiler probe to monitor the maximum water level in the boiler. This is to make sure that the internal heating element has enough water to submerge the heating element fully in water. A heating element not submerged in water in the espresso machine's boiler can become damaged.
The problem is these same espresso machines still send power to the heating element even before the maximum water level has been reached. The bad news is that the heating element could get damaged from lack of enough water upon initial startup, or from the boiler refill valve, pump, or water tank cut-off mechanism failing. The other place we see this heating element failure is when a user removes too much water from the water wand. The water level will drop faster than the internal pump can refill the boiler. Hence, the heating element can become damaged.
The beauty about the Fiorenzato Bricoletta is that no power will be sent to the heating element UNLESS it has the maximum water level in the boiler. This is a great feature, and one of the main reasons we have never seen a damaged heating element strictly from lack of water in the boiler. Yes, our technicians can tell if a heating element became damaged from a lack of water. The bottom line is that if you do not get an espresso machine with a feature such as this, the user must be cognizant of the fact that the heating element could be damaged.