La Reale : Whenever a luminary of the world of coffee chooses to purchase one of your professional coffee machines ahead of all the others in the marketplace, you experience a frisson of pride and a swell of satisfaction. So it was no wonder that Rinaldo Colombi’s decision to instal a Gaggia La Reale at his state-of-the-art crucible of coffee, Rinaldo’s Speciality Coffee & Tea Ltd, located in Kendal in The Lake District, had everybody at Evoca UK’s HQ at Kingswinford buzzing.
Frankly, Rinaldo is a bit of a legend. By his own admission, he’s ‘generally pogo’d from job to job like a one-legged tap dancer, hoping that the next gig would bring me some sort of incredible career satisfaction.’ None of them did; until he had his ‘road to Damascus’ moment. ‘One day, some years back I tasted my first cup of speciality coffee. I was gobsmacked. I didn’t know coffee could possibly be that good – full of flavour and with no hint of the harsh bitterness I just assumed was the ‘coffee taste’. Where was that stomach-ache I’d come to expect? I bought another – it tasted even better. I was hooked.’
Rinaldo started out in the coffee business operating from a van. He moved to his current premises three years ago. The company these days is an independent coffee roaster and tea merchant dedicated to high-end coffee, tea, barista training and equipment.
His love affair with La Reale began at the London Coffee Festival in 2019. He was intrigued to learn that Gaggia Milano had launched its first new professional espresso machine in many years, so he made a bee-line for the Gaggia stand. From the outset he was impressed with both the looks of La Reale and its performance.
The machine left a lasting impression. Fast forwards 18 months: when his old machine needed replacing, Rinaldoknew immediately what would take its place…
So much of the pleasure in drinking coffee relies on the theatre involved in creating the drink: the sights, the sounds and – of course – the aroma. And like all good theatre, the ‘set’ is all important. Rinaldo’s stage is his espresso bar, andLa Reale is the star of the show. As customers enter the shop, they are presented with the back of the machine – something that does not go unnoticed.
‘It’s the first thing they see, and so many people comment on how great it looks’, he says.
According to Rinaldo, other machines just don’t have the same impact. ‘La Reale has a quality of classic cinema architecture to it, the machine is beautiful and stylish, yet this is a sturdy and robust machine that will deliver a strong performance for years to come.’
Rinaldo’s mission is to convey his enthusiasm for coffee to his customers. Now in the 6th year of roasting his own beans, his philosophy is to bring ethically sourced high-quality coffee to Kendal’s residents and visitors, all the while maintaining a down to earth approach. He has created coffee heaven in the small Cumbrian town. 100% arabica beans, roasted on the premises; domestic and professional coffee machines for sale to discerning customers, in-demand barista training workshops and, of course, a cup of the very best coffee is on offer in the bar – courtesy of La Reale.
So, aside from its aesthetics and status as an industry icon, which features of La Reale would Rinaldo single-out for praise? ‘Economy’, he says immediately. ‘La Reale is extremely economical to use. We have noticed how quickly it gets up to temperature. In eco mode, it takes just seconds to warm up, whereas it’s not unusual for other machines to take 20 minutes, or even longer.’
Rinaldo also extols the virtues of La Reale when it’s hard at work. ‘We find that it’s very easy to operate, and the steam wands give a really good quality to the milk foam’, he says. ‘The interface on the group head is especially user-friendly and it’s easy to clean and empty the drip tray. These are important considerations when you’re running a busy outlet. Anything that detracts from being able to serve customers quickly and efficiently would not be welcome, but we don’t have any of these concerns now that we have La Reale.’
You see? Not only gorgeous, but practical, with it. And Rinaldo’s new coffee machine is pretty cool, too!
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