Few people could have predicted the way specialty coffee has boomed in Istanbul over the last five years. It wasn’t that long ago you could count the number of specialty coffee shops in Turkey’s largest city on your fingers. Now that list is well over 60, and the lion’s share of those cafés have a La Marzocco espresso machine on bar.
The Florence-manufactured espresso machines are truly an icon of contemporary coffee culture, especially in brand-conscious Istanbul, where a La Marzocco espresso machine often symbolizes a larger commitment to quality. But the machines are not just on display in cafés anymore.
The new La Marzocco showroom, located on Beşiktaş’s busy Barbaros Blv., opened on Sunday, and the La Marzocco Turkey team threw a massive party for the Turkish coffee community to celebrate. The event brought together coffee professionals from dozens of companies, some as far away as Izmir. Of course, a wide variety of coffees were available, though the real star of the party was free beer and steak, both served from converted Linea espresso machines.
The party was also the second stop on a tour showing off La Marzocco’s latest machine: the Leva. La Marzocco’s product improvement manager Enrico Wurm flew in from the company’s Milan office to give a lecture, translated into Turkish by Ayşin Aydoğdu, about the inspiration behind the machine. The idea for the fully manual machine started, oddly enough, with La Marzocco’s highly digital Strada EP.
“The Strada is my baby,” Wurm joked. “It kept me up at night more than my son!” Wurm and the rest of the Strada team were surprised to learn that even though the Strada EP offers complete control over the pressure profile of each shot of espresso, the best results came from emulating the pressure profile of a classic lever machine (a short ramp up to 9 bars, followed by a slow ramp down). This inspired the team to reexamine the classic lever machine, improving its temperature stability and ergonomics.
Guests were given a chance to try out the machine (including this coffee blogger, who admits using the Leva felt a little bit like driving a manual transmission, when one is used to an automatic). The Leva was on display next to the brand new Modbar AV, which is also manufactured in Florence now.
But the La Marzocco Turkey showroom isn’t just for people shopping for an espresso machine. Inspired by the La Marzocco café in Seattle, Aydoğdu explained they hope the space can highlight the best Turkish roasters, making it a coffee destination in its own right.
The La Marzocco Turkey showroom is located at 34 Barbaros Bulvarı.