A while back I did some barista training for a two cafés in North Carolina, where I worked on Astoria machines. I did okay with them, but I didn’t realize how accustomed I was to the power of the bronze-aluminum, sandblasted , snakeskin-wrapped panels of the Rancilio Classe 10 in our 260 Franklin St location. Pulling that first shot, I realized that it was good to be home.
Having competed on a Nuovo Simonelli and noticed the ubiquitous La Marzocco at most of the other Boston cafés, I wondered why the double R logo of Rancilio has been a fixture in Flat Black stores for 10 years and counting. For the answer I turned to our Vice President, Jeff Chatlos. In a word: “They got us off the ground, and we stuck with them.”
When the owners opened the Lower Mills store in 2003, they wanted a workhorse that was known industry-wide for reliability and value. Fair enough. Though upgraded at that location, that machine is still going strong. Jeff went on to explain, that as the company grew, so did Rancilio. In the last 15 years, other flashier machines eventually took over Rancilio’s sponsorship of SCAA events, but they kept innovating at their own pace, most recently putting out the temperature profiling X-celcius to rival the Strada, and a new heat reducing grinder—the first of its kind. In 2013, our president Dave once again showed his loyalty by competing in the 2013 East Coast America’s Best Espresso competition on the Rancilio. He took home third place.
And maybe there is something more. Rancilio has been a family business since 1927. The Italians are proud people, and the Rancilio family knows this machine bears their name. We respect that and promote a similar family feel in our company. They must reciprocate our respect, because when we were looking for a showpiece for our flagship store they offered us the Classe 10 used in a commercial by Giovanni Rancilio, the grandson of the Roberto, the founder. Pretty cool.