Posted by: Andre | November 13, 2009

Meet the Arrarex Caravel

First just let me say…I love this espresso machine. Everything about it just works, and is truly built with longevity in mind. It is made from INOX Stainless Steel for every part that touches coffee (aside from the seals). This last fact alone is extremely rare in the espresso world. Nearly every other machine uses copper or brass for a majority of parts. So lets go over a list of the Caravel’s main features:

  1. All stainless construction (in the places that matter)
  2. Direct Manual Lever (cam system helps to save space for shorter lever)
  3. Open boiler (operates like a kettle basically…water is gravity fed. This allows for PID controls!)
  4. Designed to disassemble completely in literally seconds…without any tools! (The only exception here is if you want to take the piston head apart from the cam assembly to replace a tiny inner o-ring. This needs snap ring pliers)
  5. Cheap! (Astonishingly this can be had these days for about 100EUR on eBay Italia…plus about another 60EUR shipping. Still this is a steal)

Not a whole lot is known about the origins of this machine, other than that it was designed by a couple guys in Milano Italy in roughly the 1960s. Many revisions of the machine design were made, but the main one that matters is when the manufacturer switched from the seals on the piston itself, to a design where the seals sat in grooves in the cylinder itself. I have the earlier design with the seals on the piston. A lot can be learned from the Caravel super thread on HB here: http://www.home-barista.com/levers/arrarex-caravel-t5752.html

Arrarex Caravel

Piston with Seals on it:

Caravel Piston

More detailed pictures will follow later.

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