A few days ago I sold my much loved ’96 Olympia Maximatic to a good coffee loving friend. I know well it’s going to a better home where it will be both used and appreciated more, but it’s still sad to see so special a machine depart. If you are familiar with the Maximatic then you can stop reading here, you know what I’m passing along and just how special it is. If not, then keep reading…
The Maximatic is (was) the perfect home espresso machine. It’s built the way a small commercial espresso machine is built, but in a tiny package that can sit on a kitchen counter and actually look like it belongs there. Furthermore, it’s innards are the right size for the home, heating up completely in under 15 minutes. The quality of the components and design is excellent; the best that I have ever encountered in a consumer machine (none of that “prosumer” stuff in this discussion).
The only problem with the Maximatic is that the current price new of almost $4000 makes it impossible to recommend to anyone. The nice thing is that Olympia Express (or some incarnation of it) has been building Maximatics by hand for over 35 years, and, although the quality has increased over time, it started out so high that little is sacrificed when buying used. My pristine ’96 Maximatic cost just under $1000 with the addition of an adjustable OPV. This is rather high, but it’s in perfect condition with all of the little bitties that often get lost on older machines. For quite a while the Maximatic was also sold as the Coffex and the Pasquini Livietta. I have restored 3 Liviettas, all purchased in at least aceptable working condition for $300, $400, and $450. At $500 there isn’t anything that can be purchased new that performs half as well and whose build quality is even remotely comparable. I have machines that do better, but they cost more, take twice as long to heat up, and are easily three times as large.
So I’m sad to see my Maximatic go. To me it represents the true spirtit of home espresso machines; easy to use, easy to own, and capable of tremendous quality in the cup. And it will carry that spirit on for decades.