The Real La Marzocco Experience by Carl Pierre
La Marzocco is in many senses, a loaded term. If you were to enter any circle of coffee aficionados or speak with any barista worth their mettle behind an espresso machine, they would tell you that the words La Marzocco are synonymous with the words incomparable, inimitable, or perhaps nonpareil (for the more verbose coffee enthusiasts). The fact of the matter is they wouldn’t at all be lying, since this particular piece of machinery is probably one of the most elegantly refined and elaborately designed tools in the world of coffee, specifically engineered to pull the perfect shot of espresso. With that said, you wouldn’t believe this assertion if you were to look at the current status quo of how these machines are treated or used in many parts of the country today.
My own personal experiences with La Marzocco serve as the best case study for this point.I first became acquainted with La Marzocco when one of the best baristas (I’m certain you can guess which one I’m alluding to) in the country trained me on one. Suffice to say it was a magical machine to interact with, and like anything that possesses the intricacies of creating nuanced notes and flavors for the palate, I was taught to treat it with respect. Unfortunately for me, I was hired by a bakery that cared little for the quality of coffee or the power of the machine they possessed. They were concerned more about the ability to tout to their customers that they had the ‘best coffee in town’, and flaunt the brand recognition of the beans they purchased and the machines they were paired with.
The potential for creativity, the possibilities for imagination, and the dynamic between barista and machine pushing the limits of the espresso were lost in the shuffle of profits and decent margins. The volume of rushed, poorly made drinks went up and the beauty of working with this machine quickly diminished.Suffice to say my brief journey with La Marzocco became tainted, and I personally quit being a barista. I later learned that the bakery eventually abandoned using the bean suppliers they originally partnered with, blaming them for their drop in customers and they scrapped their coffee program all together. To this day I’m unsure as to what they did with their machine.As depressing as that anecdote was, particularly for a brand as celebrated as La Marzocco, it’s a common story for growing coffee shops across the country. The appetite for exploration and creativity has abated to gorge the masses in caramel macchiatos and 20 oz soy lattes. Which is why we have approached La Marzocco with this modest proposal: lend our cafe and men’s shop a machine for six months.
The driving idea of State of Affairs is to emphasize the small wonders of quality, a pleasure often overlooked by many of the men in D.C. We want to provide our customers with the same quality materials and suits you would find in parisian boutiques or shops in Italy, but have the ability to pair it with coffee of comparable quality. When it comes to the drinks we serve, the journey of crafting our beverages is almost as important as the beverage itself.
The price tag and luxurious nature of the machine are both inconsequential and not relevant to our customers, it’s the ability to pair the right barista with the right machine to deliver the perfect shot of espresso that will reconnect our clients with the perennial adage that quality should never be compromised. We would like to rediscover that joy again, rekindle the lost art of creating superior espresso with the ability to experiment and deliver our customers to the driving roots of La Marzocco. Incomparable, inimitable, non pareil. La Marzocco can embody these words again. At the very least, we can try.Thank you for reading our open letter.
The Gentlemen of SoA