I had my first decent espresso with Whit Diffie in Caffe Verona back in around 1993; a couple of years later – after researching on USENET – I bought a Zassenhaus hand-grinder and a Krups Espresso Novo 2000+ (model 988) to experiment with everything up-to and including roasting my own beans.
The two devices worked well in complement, the Z able to produce any quality of grind that I required – and I viewed the Krups a little sentimentally, so much so that it got a plug in the Crack 5.0 credits file in 1996:
crack v5.0 was completed under the influence of the following sensual
experiences: pulp: different class; radiohead: pablo honey, the bends;
blur: parklife, the great escape; oasis: what’s the story; ocean
colour scene: moseley shoals (probably the best album of the lot); all
about eve: scarlet and other stories; pink floyd: various; sisters of
mercy: floodland; sting: ten summoners tales; glenmorangie; laphroaig;
smws cask 40.4; west oxfordshire cotswolds; marks and spencer 100%
cotton socks; linux versions 0.96 through 2.0.24; emacs, and a krups
espresso novo 2000+ coffee maker.
After a few years of use – and trying to be kind to it – by around 1998 the Krups started leaking water from behind and I thought that the pump seals had perished, putting it into the uneconomic-to-fix category; a shame because I expected better of a German machine.
So I boxed it and put it in the loft.
In 1999 I moved house and came to Hartley Wintney; around 2007 I bought a Nespresso for home – which then was relocated to my desk at work when I bought a nicer one for home, one with a steam wand. The former returned to my home when I left Sun in 2009.
A few days ago I had a conversation with Stuart Murdoch about cleaning the group head on his Gaggia with a blind filter, a process I view slightly dubiously for a home device but which involves deliberately overpressuring the machine with a blanking plate to force gunk back up the overflow (“backflushing”).
And then, cleaning house yesterday, I rediscovered the Krups – and it struck me that the weeping from the back of the cabinet was also consistent with it backflushing itself due to congestion – rather than terminal pump leakage; so I stripped and cleaned everything that was removable, reassembled it, and fed some water into it.
Nothing happened. Hardly any flow, even. But removing the brewhead showed chalk dusk.
Strip off the brewhead again and fill with descaler in double volumes.
Nothing happens for 30 seconds except for the 15 bar pump manfully throbbing away, and then there’s a trickle, and then a thin stream, and then WOOMPH a fount of steam and acid, and it’s pouring again. A couple more cycles, some more cleaning and reassembly, and a machine that’s been idle for 13+ years springs back to life.
I ran some rice and then some leftover Lavazza beans through the Z to clear that, and then ground some nice beans to have as a ristretto. Worked well.
It’s early days yet but I’m evidently not the only one to like the Novo, so it might even be possible to get spares should that become necessary.
For the moment, though, it’s nostalgia in a cup; and the Novo will drink only filtered water from now on.