While store-bought coffees are good, nothing beats the satisfaction of brewing your own shot of espresso or making a cappuccino yourself at home. However, your usual coffee maker or even a French press just won’t cut it.
What you need is an espresso machine.
Now there are a lot of espresso machines out there in the market that can just leave your head spinning. One useful trick is to stick to the good, old classics, and to that end, nothing beats the classic Faema E61.
Keep reading for a detailed Faema E61 review and why you need this machine at home or even in your café.
If you’re new to the world of coffee and espresso machines, Faema might not mean much to you. However, for those who have been here for a while and really know their espresso machines, Faema is a bit of a celebrity in the business.
It was founded in 1945 in Milan, and produced top-of-the-line espresso machines, especially after World War II. However, the real revolution came in 1961 when they released the E61 model.
The E61 espresso machine was one of the most advanced and innovative machines of the time and some of its technology is still used in espresso machines today. The brand has released many more models after that but the E61 still enjoys a lot of popularity to this day.
Faema E61 Review
So what is it really about this model that makes it so special and a popular choice for many espresso connoisseurs? Let’s get into this Faema E61 review and find out.
Here are the key features that make the E61 such a great option.
Built-in Volumetric Pump
Before the E61, most espresso machines had a lever and piston mechanism that required a lot of training and strength to pour a shot of coffee. The E61 with its built-in volumetric pump totally changed the game.
Faema replaced the lever mechanism with the volumetric pump which gave the water the perfect 9-atmospheric pressure during the entire extraction process without the use of any extensive manual labor.
This was the key feature that really blew up espresso machines and made them more accessible for common people.
Once you have the group head loaded, you simply raise the lever all the way and the pump starts pushing out the brewed coffee. You can control the dosing of the coffee according to your preference for a perfectly brewed shot of espresso every time.
Automatic Boiler Filling
The E61 also comes with an automatic boiler filling system. This is crucial for many reasons. The espresso machines need hot water for the brewing process as well as boiling water for the steam wand.
If the water level drops too low or there is not enough boiling water, it can result in inconsistent water temperatures and an inconsistent flow of steam in the steam wand.
With the automatic boiler filling feature, the espresso machine always has the optimal level of water in the boiler to keep a consistent stream of steam to make your frothed and steamed milk.
Moreover, considering the fact that even the smallest changes in water temperature can affect the taste and quality of the resulting brew, you need precise temperatures during extraction as well. The automatic boiler filling helps make that easy.
Two Pressure Gauges
The E61 also comes with two pressure gauges, one to control the boiler pressure and one to control the pump. Again, this allows you to maintain a steady temperature when using the steam or when extracting your espresso brew.
Since the E61 uses a heat exchanger system, you need to manage the temperature yourself by flushing the system. Other than that, the pressure gauges come in handy for experimenting with different brews as well.
Thermal Balancing System
Not all coffee grounds are the same and therefore, they need a different extraction process to bring out their best flavor. Some types of coffee need a higher temperature while some need a lower temperature to extract their full flavor.
This is why Faema offers a thermal balancing system in the E61.
This allows you to be flexible with your coffee extraction process. If you have multiple group heads, you can program them to have different water temperatures and consequently, deliver the optimal brew according to the type of coffee.
Even if the coffee is the same, different people can have different consumption preferences. Some might prefer a stronger brew while some might prefer a weaker brew. Nevertheless, the thermal balancing system allows you to control all that.
The Faema E61 also has a preinfusion system to further improve the extraction process and deliver a richer brew. The way this works is that once you’ve attached the group head with the coffee grinds, you push the lever midway.
This releases some water into the coffee chamber inside the group head which allows the coffee to get properly soaked all the way through. This increases the time in which the coffee interacts with the hot water.
Eventually, when you push the lever all the way and activate the pump, the hot water is easily able to travel through the pre-infused coffee and deliver a better-quality brew.
While this does not mean that you can’t get a great brew without pre-infusing the ground coffee, the preinfusion system does make it a lot easier to achieve a great brew.
Ease of Use
Overall, the E61 is easy to use. It doesn’t have a lot of complicated mechanisms that would have you confused.
It’s quite straightforward as long as you know the basics of how espresso machines work. Especially with the automatic boiler filling, pump, and volumetric dosing feature of the automatic E61, this espresso machine is convenient to use.
You can pull out great-tasting espresso brews in no time. If you have the machine with several group heads, you can make multiple cups at a time.
Additionally, the heat exchanger also ensures that you can use the steam wand simultaneously while brewing your coffee.
All technical features aside, it doesn’t hurt that the E61 is nice to look at too. It has a retro design with a vintage feel to it.
However, it still has a sturdy build that will last you for years and decades without much trouble. The body is entirely made of stainless steel with some illumination at the back to give it a cool look.
The original E61 was released in 1961 but the E61s on the market today are a little different.
Now called the E61 Legend, the espresso machines come with most of the original features as well as many innovative add-ons. These include the automatic boiler system, more efficient pumps, thermal flexibility, and more.
The E61 Legend series comes with one, two, three group heads. Moreover, there is the additional Jubilee series, which is the automatic version with a volumetric dispensing and hot water dosing feature. The Jubilee line comes with one and two group heads.
Faema also offers a one-year warranty on their E61 espresso machines. So, if you were having any doubts about the machine or fearing that the old model would break down, you can rest easy.
If you face any problems or find faulty parts, you can claim the warranty and Faema will have it all sorted out in no time.
Besides that, if you ever face any difficulty in using the machine, you can approach the company any time for guidance and help. They will also demonstrate how to use the machine at the time of installation.
While the E61 is certainly a great espresso machine, it is not perfect. So, a Faema E61 review would be incomplete without addressing some of its drawbacks.
For starters, the E61 espresso machine is not a great option for people who are completely new to the world of coffee brewing.
It doesn’t come with all sorts of automatic features and does require some manual controlling which can be difficult for new brewers.
For instance, you have to learn the art of flushing the brewer to maintain the temperature sometimes. Similarly, the steam wand is fixed in place and not adjustable, so unless you’re a pro at steaming and frothing milk, you might struggle with it.
Nevertheless, once you cross that learning curve, the E61 is undoubtedly a great machine for brewing great coffee.
Judging from this Faema E61 review, we would conclude that the E61 is a great choice of espresso machine for those who have a bit of prior knowledge and some experience with how espresso machines work.
Moreover, it is also a great option for those people who love a more hands-on experience and enjoy getting more involved in the brewing process.
Ultimately, one thing is for sure and that is the fact that the E61 can brew a great shot of espresso, be it for an Americano or a cappuccino. It has a long history which further adds to its charm and a nice build as well.
Other than that, if you are still not too sure about it, you can check out the E71 from Faema.
Check out CafeLast.com for all of your espresso equipment needs!