Espresso is a subtle, elegant beverage. So it's only natural that the equipment used to brew it is as beautiful as the dark elixir itself. Such is the case with the Strietman ES3 -- a lever operated device with copper and wood parts that you mount on the wall.
While most modern espresso machines use an electric pump or steam to generate the pressure to push water through coffee grounds, the ES3 is old school in its use of a lever and piston that you pull down to extract the espresso. This method makes for a much smaller, simpler machine. However, lever machines are known to be more difficult to control with consistent results.
Control over water temperature is key for proper espresso brewing. The ES3's boiler, filled from the top, is heated with an electric element and can be controlled via a thermostat. That won't give you super precise readouts like a PID controller would, but it's helpful nonetheless.
The ES3 costs a pretty penny at $1700, so it's no Nespresso. But what you are really paying for is the craftsmanship and design put into the Netherlands-made device. [FastCo Design]