Many of our premium espresso machines are regularly compared to a Rolls Royce. A massive engine, sturdy build quality, and all the features and amenities you need for a stunningly smooth ride. If all that sounds boring and you’d much rather hop in a McLaren, oh boy do we have the machine for you.
The Dalla Corte Mina is a one of a kind machine. Anyone can tell you that just by looking at it, but its beauty is more than skin deep. Aside from its unique, angular stature, the airplane-throttle-like lever bolted to the top of the machine is usually the first thing that catches people’s eye. It’s one of those designs you can’t help but reach out and grab. That’s no accident: this lever is a manual control for the Mina’s unique flow profiling system.
The Mina has an aperture-like flow restrictor valve that allows a barista to precisely alter the flow rate of water to the group head. Dalla Corte’s associated app allows you to set up to five discrete stages of flow. You can either cycle through these stages manually using the aforementioned lever, or alternatively, you can preprogram the duration of each step and have the machine automatically cycle through them. You can even brew pour over with it! The implications of this are as deep as they are complex. The most common flow profile looks like a staircase. The stepwise increase in flow rate allows for something that is akin to a pre-infusion but smoother and more controlled. Not only can this aid in reducing channeling and distribution, it alters the overall flavor of your shot, allowing you to bring out fruit notes while diminishing acidity, for instance. After toying around with this machine for just a few days we’re astonished at the shots we could pull at the touch of a button. They were unlike anything we’ve achieved on any other machine.
All this tech is exciting and makes for some incredible opportunities, but it can also make the machine a bit intimidating to new baristas. In order to get the most out of the Mina, you need to have a willingness to tinker with different settings and learn to use the machine’s controls, which takes a little practice. We’re the only importer that has made content specifically for the Mina in order to make this process easy. With a little guidance, this machine is a joy to use.
Cutting edge technology aside, the Mina is formidable. Its massive 3L steam boiler is equipped with a heat exchange system that fills its 0.5L brew boiler making it fully capable of commercial use and makes serving a large dinner party a breeze. Volumetric shot dosing and a quiet rotary pump mean you won’t even break a sweat or disturb conversation. Its dimensions are also rather compact given the power packed inside - it fits nicely on shallower countertops with a depth of about 15 inches. With a narrower 54mm group head, consistent extractions are a bit easier by reducing the opportunity for channeling.
The build quality suggested by the Mina’s steel exterior is present from the solid steel frame inside to the hand-bent cup rail up top. The Mina may be at the forefront of espresso tech, but it still upholds the romance and tradition of Italian design. We’re impressed by every touch point and detail - the satisfying, yet quiet click of the selector knob, the sturdy heft of the portafilter, even the precise half turn required to activate the steam wand. One of our favorite details is the pressure gauge front and center on the machine’s group head. It measures pressure at the group as opposed to at the pump like most machines. Now this is perfection.
The Mina has all the beauty you’d expect of an Italian-built espresso machine but at its core, it’s a cutting-edge tool designed to give you complete control over your extractions. The joy in mastering its use to pull the most complex shots you’ve ever tasted can’t be understated. Neither can the taste of those shots.
Intrigued? Check out our video on the Mina App!