The Best Espresso ?, here is the tools of the trade

With these tips in our pocket, we’re about ready to go. First, let’s get our gear together:

GRINDER: Consistently tasty espresso starts with consistently ground coffee. To get the most out of your beans, choose a “burr” (not a “blade”) grinder that can grind finely with many steps of adjustment.

Fred grinder PL044MMT with conical mills in automatic dosing

MACHINE: Our favorite espresso machines sport solid components, stable temperatures, and a sensible interface. If you’re in the market for a new machine, you can rest assured that every model on our website meets these criteria.

La Grande Bellezza LGB Coffee espresso machine

FILTER: Your espresso machine may have arrived with a few options. For starters, grab a two-spouted or bottomless portafilter and insert a double basket – that’ll most likely be the largest of the baskets you received.

TAMPER: For a secure “coffee puck” and even extraction, pick a tamper that fits your portafilter basket snugly. Most baskets have a diameter of 58 millimeters.

Tamper Steel and Wood

SCALE: With a gram scale, you’ll be better equipped to monitor parameters, produce consistent results, and diagnose problems. We favor those with low resolutions, reading in 0.1- to 1-gram increments, and recommend that you weigh both dose and yield.

VESSEL: Something to catch that liquid gold. A volumetric shot glass can help you keep track of how much espresso you’re pulling, especially if you don’t have a scale handy.

Master hatmaker in Milan: Lorenzo Borghi

In Italy many artisans have become unique in the world thanks to their work, style and passion. This is the case of the master hatmaker Lorenzo Borghi.

In a narrow street hidden in a labyrinth of picturesque alleys behind the Duomo, the landmark cathedral in the centre of Milan. It seems an unlikely location for a modest shop that welcomes clients from all over the world. There is nothing more than a single display window with a handful of striking hats and a small sign to mark the entrance.

Hat with spilla

Hat with spilla

Inside his shop the master hatmaker Lorenzo Borghi has been working for nearly 60 years, creating elegant hats for clients ranging from well-heeled Milanese women to international royalty, including the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II who received one of his hats a decade ago.

Borghi was born into a poor family in wartime Milan in 1940. Desperate for a job, the young man lied about his age to secure a spot in the hat maker’s shop. When the owner learned the truth, Borghi had proven his worth in the atelier. The young Borghi had creative flair and a knack for selecting the right materials. A quick learner, he was also humble enough to keep a close eye on his employer, picking up whatever tricks of the trade he could. He moved past the more traditional styles embraced by his master and began adding details in silk, organza and stiffened lace that exploded in a burst of color.

After more than half a century of hat making, Borghi still believes the creation he loves the most is the hat he “hasn’t made yet”.


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