like an iphone for your stomach

March 12, 2008 – 8:48 am

this blog’s enthusiasm for the pocket wonder of espresso machines, la marzoccco’s gs3, did NOT collapse like a hot souffle. it collapsed like a stale, forgotten, marbleized souffle left outdoors for three winters and sucked slowly to a shrivelled crisp by fume-loving mites devoid of options. because, you know, they gave us that much time to fall out of love.

this home machine was supposed to completely eclipse the endless line of finicky steel boxes that required you to plead and flip switches and guess. there was the near-weepy initial bench review that stoked fever dreams, the raffles and prototype models wowing fanboys at trade shows, calls for input, an early europe rollout … and then governmental delays and increasingly plaintive forum threads: “is it born yet?”

as a topper gift to you, the price went up by 67 blimey percent to a galling $7,500, and you could hear patient waiting listers (like the bioluminescent cypriot) heave large sighs and turn back to their water hiss flushes.

as marketing strategies go, this kind of product rollout is like asking drooling newborns to help design the perfect nuk, then making them wait until they’re 4 to get one — forfeiting their allowance before the final, long-awaited suck.

well, almost. the analogy worked in our bloghead until last week’s feckless spro-tripping ended in cincy, and the madman’s gs3 emerged from its cardboard womb and winked blue for the first time. minutes later, this blog was a tight, tight barista.

we’d struggled in vain to nail the quintimicrocrux espresso on la pavoni levers. the leaky elektra didn’t seem worthy. then, on our second gs3 pull, that nectar sweetness dribbled out the spout in a way that makes those hanging casually about pause a moment and gaze — and we didn’t do anything. it just happened.

taste-wise, it was vintage microcosm. the barista-poet said so, and we nursed it jealously. resta the afternoon, hacks became lords on this machine, and photos took themselves. we think it also helped the snow to melt.

still, we simply pine from afar. this blog won’t be buying one, and neither will the other die-hards we know. the price tag, on some level, just hurts too much, like when you’re a sprawl-hating, bike-loving urbanite who can nonetheless not afford the downtown townhome with doggie yard. in any way, shape or form.

we’ve heard all the reasons la marzocco and its u.s. counterparts are not to blame, and we don’t disagree. in the end, though, the flame fired again. but the souffle, it was just too soused.